Tag Archive | "Thanksgiving"

Griffin to Go: Listen to Those Cranberries When They Call

Cranberries are a'calling.

I was walking through the produce section of the grocery store when I heard the cranberries beckon me. They had dulcet voices in an alto range, you see, and sounded like some forlorn Greek chorus. Thanksgiving is over, but the tart joy of cranberries lives on, they seemed to say.

It’s not often that food calls me like that. OK, ice cream calls me all the time, but that’s another matter.

What would I do with those little beads? I could string them for the Christmas tree. But I already have strands of red beads made of wood that look like cranberries. I didn’t need the fruit on top of it.

Then it hit me: Cherry-Cranberry Pie.

My mom had mentioned last week that she made a cherry pie for Thanksgiving, and the mere thought of it had me drooling, though we had enjoyed a blueberry-blackberry pie and her pumpkin pie. But nothing has quite the hold of cherry pie, no matter the time of year. So, why not combine the two into a sweet-tart treat, I told myself.

But how should it be seasoned?

Cherry-Cranberry Pie

I decided simplest would be best and that I would take my cue from cherry pie, not a cranberry relish. Yes to almond extract and lemon juice. No to cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and even my favorite, ginger. I also went with the frozen sweet cherries at the market instead of the canned sour cherries because of the tartness of the cranberries. (If I were back in Louisville, I’m sure I’d use some of the sour cherries that my parents grow in their backyard and freeze until needed.)

I used the base common to many of the fruit pies I make: tapioca pearls for thickening, brown sugar, salt and a little butter in addition to the almond and lemon.

With a plan in mind, I was ready to go. I started playing a favorite CD, “Christmas with Maureen McGovern,” and started to work with no thoughts of deadlines or obligations, just the image of happy faces eating pie. Before I knew it, the stress of the day was gone, the strips of lattice had been woven on top and the pie was in the oven. And yes, it came out exactly as planned.

I hope the rest of all of our holiday baking goes by as dreamily.

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Ask a Foodie: Saving a Soggy Pumpkin Pie

Q. My pumpkin pie won’t set up. It’s a runny mess. What can I do?


A. Don’t despair and don’t throw it away. If the pie is thoroughly cooked but it’s still a pool of pumpkin goo at the center, there’s one way to save your hard work: Pull out the blender.

Cut a slice or two of the pie, throw it in the blender, crust and all. Add vanilla or pumpkin ice cream and a little milk (not too much since the pie is already a liquid). In a few pulses, you’ll have a pumpkin pie milkshake with the crust adding a nice flavor.

You can also top this milkshake with whipped cream and you’ll have a whole new reason to be thankful.

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Grilled Cornbread Dressing with Sweet Sausage

Grilled Cornbead Dressing with Sweet Sausage

Fire up the grill to make your next bowl of dressing.

Grilled Cornbread Dressing with Sweet Sausage

12 ounces mild (usually labeled ‘sweet’) Italian sausage
2 large red bell peppers
6 large cornbread muffins
2 tablespoons butter
2 onions, chopped
A handful of fresh sage leaves, chopped
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 egg
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock

Set up grill for direct grill method. Add soaked wood chips to the fire.

Grill sausage over direct heat until it reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees. Cut into thin slices, and set aside.

Roast peppers over direct heat until completely charred and skins blister. Place in a bowl and cover. Set aside for 10 minutes, then chop.

Grill cornbread muffins on all sides until lightly charred. Crumble and set aside.

Melt butter over medium heat in a medium sauce pan. Add the onions and cook, stirring for about 10 minutes or until soft and caramelized.

In a large mixing bowl, add crumbled cornbread, sage, chopped peppers, thinly sliced grilled sausage, and caramelized onion and combine well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, cream and chicken stock. Pour mixture over the cornbread. Stir dressing together, spoon into buttered baking dish and bake 20 to 25 minutes at 300 degrees.

Garnish with chopped parsley.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

From Garrett Stephens/The County Line

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Grilled Green Bean Casserole with Portobello Cream

Grilled Green Bean Casserole with Portobello Cream

A portobello mushroom is simply a cremini mushroom that has been allowed to mature, says Garrett Stephens of the County Line. The flavors have grown earthier and meatier as the cap has gotten larger. It’s that added oomph that you want when making this green bean casserole.

Grilled Green Bean Casserole with Portobello Cream

1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed and trimmed
1 can fried onions
2 tablespoons butter
10 ounces portobello mushroom, rinsed and sliced
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half

Set grill for a direct grilling method. Add soaked wood chips to fire.

Place beans on a grill pan and grill directly over hot fire until nicely browned. Set aside. Cut in half.

Place fried onions on a grill pan and toast for 2 to 3 minutes.

Melt butter in a large oven-proof sauté pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up liquid, 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and cook 2 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add stock and cook for 1 minute. Decrease the temperature to medium low and add half-and-half. Cook until mixture thickens, approximately 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and add green beans. Top with fried onions.

Make at 300 degrees for 15 minutes. Serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

From Garrett Stephens/The County Line

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Pit-Kissed Cream Corn with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Pit-Kissed Creamed Corn with Parmigiano-Reggiano

When you’re making a recipe that calls for scalded cream or milk, bring it up to room temperature first so that it doesn’t burn, says Garrett Stephens of the County Line.

Pit-Kissed Cream Corn with Parmigiano-Reggiano

2 ears corn
Light olive oil
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
1/2 tablespoon flour
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, shredded

Set pit up for direct grilling method. Add smoked wood chips to fire.

Pull the husks back on the ears of corn, and tie with string. Do not worry about the silks, as they will burn off.

Brush the corn with light olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place corn directly over the fire and cook on all sides until the corn is nicely browned.

Remove corn from heat and let cool. Cut the kernels from the cob. Set aside.

In a small pan over medium heat, combine cream, ginger, salt and pepper, and reduce by one-third, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add kernels, chicken stock and flour to reduced cream and cook for 10 minutes or until cream thickens to desired consistency and is absorbed by corn.

Remove corn from heat and stir in scallion and cheese.

Makes 2 servings.

From Garret Stephens/The County Line

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Brussels Sprouts with Warm Brown Butter Vinaigrette

“As a child, I used to feed the brussels sprouts my mom would make for dinner to my dog under the table — and the dog didn’t even want them,” writes chef Andrew Swallow in “Mixt Salads.” “Over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate them, however. The leaves taste earthy and delicious, and have a sweet, savory bitterness. I add the turnip to the mix for its raw crunch.”

Brussels Sprouts with Warm Brown Butter Vinaigrette

2 pounds brussels sprouts (should yield 12 ounces of leaves)
8 strips bacon, cut into lardons (1/2-inch chunks)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Fuji apple, cored and sliced 1/2-inch thick
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1 white turnip, julienned

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil on the stove and prepare a large bowl of ice water.

Remove the bottom of each sprout and peel apart all the leaves. Blanch the leaves for 2 minutes in the boiling water, then shock them in the ice bath; drain and set aside.

In a sauté pan over medium high heat, sauté the bacon until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate and set aside. Drain the fat from the pan. Add the butter to the pan and let it slowly melt, browning slightly, then add the sage and sauté for 1 minute to infuse the butter. Add the mustard and vinegar to the pan, then whisk the mixture until emulsified.

Place the sprout leaves in a serving bowl or on a platter and toss with the apple slices. Top with the brown butter vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with the bacon, pomegranate seeds and turnip.

Makes 4 servings.

From “Mixt Salads” by Andrew Swallow with Ann Volkwein

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Don Strange’s Corn Pudding

“When Don (Strange) and his parents began to cater large parties serving their popular barbecue, Don wanted to serve side dishes that were also noteworthy, rather the same old menu of coleslaw, potato salad, and pinto beans,” writes Frances Strange in “Don Strange of Texas: His Life and Recipes” (Shearer Publishing, $34.95). “He settled on Corn Pudding, which no one else served with barbecue, and it became one of the company’s signature barbecue side dishes in the 1980s. … Hard to beat a good side dish!”

This easy-to-assemble dish will also go great with Thanksgiving turkey, grilled steaks or whatever you’re serving.

Corn Pudding

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup sour cream
2 cups cream-style corn
3 eggs, beaten
1 (6-ounce) package Pioneer Brand corn muffin mix
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it is wilted and transparent, about 5 minutes. Do not allow it to brown. Remove from heat and blend the onions and sour cream in a bowl. Mix well; set aside.

In a separate large bowl, combine the creamed corn, eggs and muffin mix. Turn out into the prepared baking dish. Spoon the onion mixture evenly around the baking dish in dollops. Scatter the shredded cheese over the top and bake in preheated oven until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cut into squares and serve hot.

Makes 8 servings.

Variation: Cornshuck Pudding

For a striking presentation at a formal seated dinner, serve Corn Pudding in corn shuck “bowls,” which are made by lining a large muffin tin or popover tin with corn shucks.

Soak 12 corn shucks in a large bowl of lukewarm water for about 45 minutes, then drain and pat dry. Instead of a baking dish, use a muffin tin with 12 large (2 1/2-inch-diameter) cups; spray each cup with nonstick vegetable spray. Push a softened corn shuck down into each up, letting the ends extend upward. Set aside and make the Corn Pudding as directed in the rcipe.

To bake the individual puddings, spoon equal portions of the corn batter into the muffin cups. Spoon equal portions of the sour cream mixture into the center of each cup. Scatter the shredded cheese on top of each serving and place the tin on a large baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden toothpick inserted in the enter of the cups comes out clean, for about 30 minutes.

To serve, grasp each end of the corn shucks and gently lift the puddings out. Place on individual serving plates and serve hot.

Makes 12 servings.

From “Don Strange of Texas: His Life and Recipes” by Frances Strange with Terry Thompson-Anderson

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Give Your Seasonal Sides a Fresh Twist

Grilled Cornbread and Sweet Sausage Dressing

If you’re looking to give your side dishes a little more sizzle this holiday season, consider a few fresh ways of preparing them.

How about a green bean casserole made with smoked beans and a homemade cream of mushroom base? Or creamed corn using grilled corn?

Several of the attached recipes are from Garrett Stephens, pitmaster for the County Line, 10101 I-10 W. Another is from Don Strange of Texas, which has served up corn pudding for years to great success.

SavorSA also shares our recipe for Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Lavender Honey, a sweet-savory take on the traditional Thanksgiving dish. Plus, we include Luby’s Cornbread Dressing, a local favorite.

The last is a new way to look at that most wonderful yet abused vegetable, brussels sprouts. Try this version for a rich and satisfying flavor.

Pit-Kissed Cream Corn

Here are links to the recipes:

Pit-Kissed Cream Corn with Parmigiano-Reggiano

Grilled Green Bean Casserole with Portobello Cream

Grilled Cornbread and Sweet Sausage Dressing

Brussels Sprouts with Warm Brown Butter Vinaigrette

Spicy Roast Sweet Potatoes with Lavender Honey

Luby’s Cornbread Dressing

Don Strange’s Corn Pudding

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Celery Root and Apple Purée

Celery root is also known as celeriac.

“Cooking watery or fibrous root vegetables like celery roots, turnips, carrots, rutabagas and beets with a little white rice ensures that they will be exceptionally creamy and have a very pure flavor,” writes Sally Schneider in “A New Way to Cook.” “The apples enhance and sweet the vegetables. … This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Do not double or triple the amount of milk, though — use just enough to cover the celery root by 1 1/2 inches.”

Celery Root and Apple Purée

1 pound celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 cups milk (can use low-fat)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided use
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 1/2 tablespoons white rice
2 small Macintosh apples (about 8 ounces), peeled, cored and quartered or 1 small pear, peeled, quartered and cored
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Place the celery root in a medium saucepan, add the milk, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and a grinding or two of pepper, and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Stir in the rice, lower the heat, partially cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the apples and simmer for 10 minutes longer, or until the celery root is very tender. (The milk will curdle, but the curds will be incorporated when the celery root is puréed.) Drain the mixture in a colander set over a bowl; save the cooking liquid.

In a food processor, purée the celery root mixture for 1 to 2 minutes, until perfectly smooth, adding a tablespoon or two of cooking liquid if necessary (Save the remaining flavorful liquid for soup; it can be frozen.) Process for several minutes more, scraping down the sides several times, until you have a fine purée. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Add the butter and process to blend.

You can make the purée several hours ahead and reheat it (or keep it warm), stirring frequently in a covered double boiler.

Makes 4 servings.

From “A New Way to Cook” by Sally Schneider

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Scarlet Roasted Vegetables

A medley of root vegetables will turn scarlet from the beets.

“I call these scarlet vegetables because the beets bleed into the others, making everything red, messy and yummy,” Alicia Silverstone writes in “The Kind Diet” (Rodale, $29.99). “This is a pretty dish, perfect for Thanksgiving or any time.”

Scarlet Roasted Vegetables

4-6 shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
3 large beets, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 parsnips, quartered lengthwise
1 large fennel bulb, halved, cored and thickly sliced
1-2 cups kabocha squash, cut into big chunks (peel only if the squash is not organic)
3-4 ribs celery, cut in 1-inch pieces
3-4 dried bay leaves
1/2 cup pecan halves
6-8 dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1-2 teaspoons shoyu (see note)
Grated zest of 2 lemons
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a large, shallow baking dish.

Combine shallots, beets, parsnips, fennel, squash and celery, bay leaves, pecans, apricots, shoyu, lemon zest and oil in a mixing bowl. mix the vegetables to coat them well.

Transfer the vegetables to the prepared baking dish and spread out evenly. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for 40 minutes or until the vegetables are soft when pierced.

Remove the foil and roast for 15 minutes longer to let the vegetables brown a little. Remove from oven and toss with the lemon juice. Garnish with the parsley.

Note: Shoyu is a type of soy sauce. It is available at Asian Markets and Whole Foods.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

From “The Kind Diet” by Alicia Silverstone

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