Macaroni and Brie
Perhaps like many first generation Americans, Thanksgiving is a time to remember where we came from. What I love most about our Thanksgiving is the mix of people and places that sit around the table. We have the English-speaking contingent, and the French corner. And I’m not sure which is more thankful to be American on Thanksgiving. What I love about America is that everyone had a reason to come here. For some of my relatives it was freedom, for others it was safety, and for others it was love. No matter what the reason, they came to America to fulfill it, and they all found what they were looking for. So while they may have come here for a million different reasons, they are all thankful for one thing: to be here, in America, on Thanksgiving. And as for me, the first in my mom’s family to be born in the States, I am thankful that after so many years abroad, I am finally back home to partake in the most Franglais feast ever known to mankind: my family’s Thanksgiving.
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Posted by Kerry |
Categories: 60 Minutes, Easy, Eat, Franglais, Main Courses, Recipes, Series, Sides, Starches, Vegetarian, Vegetarian
The mighty little cranberry continues to fascinate me the more I investigate into its background. Did you know that only 5% of cranberries are sold fresh? And from my perspective, I only see that 5% from November to December. So, we need recipes that use the other 95% of harvested cranberries that are turned into juices and sauces, and, as we use them in this recipe, dried cranberries.
Everyone knows Thanksgiving is really all about the sides. I usually wind up making more sides than there are guests at my table.
Lemon Lamb Shanks
I love this time of year. Not only is November home of Thanksgiving and my birthday—the two greatest dessert experiences per annum—but it’s finally, definitely, and indisputably cold. While others pull out cashmere scarves and fleece-lined gloves, I pull out the enamel stew pots. It’s braising season.
These sweet-tart lamb shanks fall of the bone with the prick of an eager fork. Tender, but bright, they don’t lull the taste buds to sleep like many another seasonal stew. The meat is braised with windowpanes of garlic, dry white wine, rosemary, and lemon confit. Roasted pearl onions add a delicate, earthy sweetness that complements the deep citrus acidity of the lemon. The result is still comforting, with the braised, autumnal texture, but the flavor is pert and unexpected.
Parsnip Purée with Olive Oil and Sage
This is the perfect Thanksgiving side dish. It accommodates vegans, lactose-intolerants, food combination dieters, and people who like delicious things. I find that every Thanksgiving, the volume of dishes I try to create always leads to a cramped, hectic kitchen. So, this year, with this recipe and my recipe for Cranberry Chutney on The Secret Ingredient, I am making only simple, honest, delicious food that will not overwhelm me. This recipe has three ingredients, plus salt and pepper, and is nothing more than heating and blending. The result is something sweet from parsnips, and intensely savory from sage and olive oil. It’s a creative, healthful alternative to the standard mashed potato, and it’s a crowd pleaser. I’m making it this year, and I hope you will too!
Parsnip Purée with Olive Oil and Sage
- 2 pounds parsnips, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch chunks
- Kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 6 leaves fresh sage
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 fried sage leaves as garnish (optional, see note)
- Bring large pot of water to boil over high heat. Salt water well, and add parsnips. Cook until very tender, 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil small saucepan with 6 sage leaves. Heat on the lowest flame for 5 minutes, remove from heat, and allow to steep for another 5 minutes.
- Drain the parsnips and place in food processor. Remove sage from oil and add sage oil to food processor along with remaining 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Purée until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with fried sage leaves (see note).
To fry sage leaves, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in small saucepan to 325°F. Drop sage leaves in three at a time and cook, agitating occasionally until crisp, 45 seconds to 1 minute 15 seconds. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.
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Green Egg Soufflés and Ham
Sam I am not. But I love green eggs and ham. I love them here; I love them there. I love them anywhere.
Just because green eggs were created for kids, doesn’t mean they haven’t grown up along with the rest of us. Green eggs are perfect as a 3-ingredient no fuss soufflé that anyone (yes, anyone) can make. Herbs and goat cheese give the soufflé a gourmet omelet flavor, with none of the drama of complicated béchamel-based soufflés. For ham, I make simple crisp baguette toasts draped with salty jambon de Bayonne or prosciutto di Parma. Together, the combination is effortless, but impressive.
I am an inveterate breakfast skipper, but during the holidays, breakfast is the cornerstone of hospitality. Impossibly early breakfasts on Christmas day, or tide-me-over brunches before a 6 o’clock turkey. It’s a fact of life: guests expect breakfast. And if you’re lucky enough to have a brimming house in the coming weeks, I suggest you get cracking, cracking some eggs.
I love cranberries. I love that their arrival in the produce section is the natural equivalent to the burgeoning supplies of Christmas stockings and Indian corn I suddenly see everywhere. And what I love most about them is how American they are. Though I have traveled far, and for a long time, I have never seen the fresh patriotic little berry anywhere but our continent. They are just everything Thanksgiving to me, and because it is my favorite holiday, cranberries hold an esteemed place in my heart.
In doing my cranberry research for November’s cranberry series on The Secret Ingredient, I confirmed my suspicions that cranberries are distinctly American and Canadian. We actually started exporting them to Europe in the nineteenth century, and Native Americans were indeed using them both for food, and for medicine and dye. So it is probable (I will even venture likely with no expertise except enthusiasm!) that they were served at the first Thanksgiving. Which is why I always serve it at mine. (Even though some of my European relatives are a little skeptical of the ruby-hued bitter-sweet jam that I heap onto my plate and mash into my stuffing. More for me.)
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Posted by Kerry |
Categories: 15 Minutes, Bread & Butter, Dips, Spreads, Preserves, Eat, Main Courses, Poultry, Recipes, Series, Sides, The Secret Ingredient, Vegetables, Vegetarian
Pâte à choux, or choux pastry, is the Madonna of doughs. It is always reinventing itself. It can be fried into beignets; boiled into Parisian gnocchi; piped into éclairs; piped with cheese and roasted in gougères; sliced and sandwiched into profiteroles. But the most simple and perfect of them all is when they’re crusted in sugar and baked into the little-known (Stateside)chouquettes.
Chouquettes loosely translates to “little bits of choux.” They are usually sold in baskets perched atop the glass pastry cases of bakeries and pastry shops in France. A sort of afterthought, they are just profiteroles shells—crisp, airy, and hollow, crusted in lumps of pearl sugar. They are just a bit sweet, and slightly rich and eggy from the pastry. They make the perfect snack: unassuming, unextravagant, unfilling. But yet they add that touch of afternoon sweetness to the day, and take the edge off a rumbling belly.