Green Beans

Thanksgiving Menu Guide

November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Menu Guide

In the spirit of getting organized here is a Thanksgiving Menu guide that can help you plan according.  Print this list out and add your own notes.  Remember that the key to a successful Thanksgiving dinner is organization. 

Soups & Starters

Italian Wedding Soup (Tiny Meatballs, Tortellini & Escarole)

Creamy Mushroom Soup (Rich Mushroom Broth With Sliced Mushrooms)

Sweet Potato Kale Soup (Sweet Potatoes, Corn & Peppers Simmered in Broth, Topped With Kale)

Butternut Squash Soup (Sweet Butternut Squash Simmered in a Light Vegetable Broth With Ginger & Mace)

Chicken Stock (Chicken Bones & Fresh Vegetables Simmered For Hours)

Wild Mushroom Strudel (Portabello, Shitake & Button Mushrooms Cooked With Garlic & Herbs Finished With a Mix of Goat, Mozzarella, Gruyere & Cream Cheese Wrapped In a Crispy Puff Pastry Shell

Bacon Wrapped Scallops (Sea Scallops Wrapped in Smoked Bacon)

Sides

Garlicky Greens (Steamed Kale & Chard Seasoned with Roasted Garlic)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Roasted Brings Out Their Natural Sweetness)

Green Beans With Almonds (Fresh Green Beans With Sliced Crisp Almonds With a Touch of Tarragon)

Creamed Spinach With Roasted Garlic (Spinach Seasoned With Nutmeg & Tossed With Cream & Garlic)

Roasted Corn Pudding (A Savory American Classic)

Roasted Butternut Squash With Dried Cranberries (Squash, Roasted With Onions & Herbs)

Cornbread Stuffing With Sausage & Spinach (Sausage In Rustic Stuffing)

Traditional New England Stuffing (Moist Bread Stuffing With Herbs & Spices)

Classic Mashed Potatoes (Velvety Smooth Made With Cream & Butter)

Maple Bourbon Sweet Potatoes (Mashed Sweet Potatoes Sweetened With a Bourbon Maple Syrup

Home-style Green Beans (Fresh Green Beans With Cherry Tomatoes)

Apple Fennel Slaw (Granny Smith Apples, Horseradish & Fennel)

Green Salad (Mixed Green Salad With Cider Dressing)

Sweet & Sour Cabbage (Red Cabbage Braised in Duck Fat)

Peas With Pearl Onions (3 Types of Peas With Pearl Onions)

Autumn Vegetable Ragout With Soft Polenta (Vegetables & Polenta)

Roasted Beets With Orange Vinaigrette (Warm Roasted Beets With Orange Dressing)

Celery Root Salad

Warm Spinach Salad With Goat Cheese & Apples

Sweet Potato & Banana Puree

Apple Bacon Cornbread Stuffing

Mashed Potatoes And Parsnips With Crisp Root Vegetable Strips

Roasted Cauliflower And Shallots With Chard & Dukkah

Brussels Sprouts and Wheat Berry Slaw With Smoked Paprika Dressing

Rich Turkey Gravy (Smooth With Deep Roasted Flavor)

Vegan Wild Mushroom Gravy (Deep, Robust Flavor From Wild Mushrooms and a Splash of White Wine)

Organic Cranberry Orange Relish (Organic Whole Berry Relish With Orange & a Touch of Cinnamon)

Brandied Cranberry Sauce With Pecans (Whole Cranberries Cooked With Pecans, Brandy & Sugar)

Main Attraction

Organic Whole Turkey (Brined or Un-brined)

Roast Turkey With Sage Butter

Cherry Glazed Turkey

Turkey Breast

Orange Pecan Cornish Hens

Vegetarian Eggplant Parmesan

Breads

Family Style Cornbread

Parker House Rolls

Boston Brown Bread

Parmesan Garlic Biscuits

Popovers

Desserts

Pumpkin Pie

Apple Pie

Blueberry Pie

Cherry Pie

Pecan Pie

Apple Crumb Pie

Carrot Cake

Pumpkin Cake

Maple Bread Pudding

Cranberry Pear Crisp

Black Mission Fig Tart

Assorted Cookies

Make Ahead Items

Many Thanksgiving dishes or parts of dishes can be made in advance which is a big help. After writing out your menu and shopping lists look to see what can be done ahead of time. 

Most soups can be made 1 or 2 days before serving.

Most appetizers (or parts of them) can be made 1 day before serving.

Roux for gravy can be made several hours before using.  Just mix butter and flour together, reheat and add stock and pan drippings when time to make gravy.

Vegetables can be chopped 1 or 2 days before using.

Grate cheese or spices 1 to 2 days before using.

Wash, dry, and wrap lettuce in paper towels, and store in a ziplock bag. Place in the refrigerator until ready to toss 1 day before serving. 

Most salad dressings can be made 1 to 2 days before serving.

Have turkey as prepped as possible (salted, spiced and rubbed with butter, in its pan) and ready to go in the oven.

Stuffing items such as onions, celery, mushrooms, etc can be cooked 1 day before combining with bread and stuffed into the turkey.

Bread for stuffing can be cut up the day ahead and stored in a paper bag. Dried out bread is the best for stuffing.

Desserts or parts of desserts can often be made 1 to 2 days ahead such as sauces, crusts, pie filings or toppings.

 

 

Fruit Essentials

August 8, 2013

Fruit mosaicFruit Essentials

Have you ever come home from the market after purchasing fruit to find that you spent money for nothing?  I have plenty of times and it ticks me off every time.  Here are some Fruit Essentials that may help you have more fruit shopping success.

Did you know that many plants that are botanically fruits are not sweet?  We think of them as vegetables or non-fruits.  Avocados, beans, coconuts, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, green peppers, okra, peas, pumpkins, sugar peas, string beans and tomatoes all fall in the fruit category.  Some cookbooks make a distinction between fruit, vegetables and fruit vegetables.  Fruit vegetables are foods that are botanically fruits, but are most often prepared and served like vegetables.  These fruits are considered fruit vegetables: Aubergine, autumn squash, avocado, bitter melon, cantaloupe, chayote, chile, courgette, cucumber, eggplant, gherkin, green bean, green sweet pepper, hot pepper, marrow, muskmelon, okra, olive, pumpkin, red sweet pepper, seedless cucumber, squash, sweet pepper, tomatillo, tomato, watermelon, wax gourd, yellow sweet pepper and zucchini.

Pectin is a substance contained in some fruit which is used for making jams and jellies thicker.  High pectin fruits are apples, cranberries, currants, lemons, oranges, plums and quinces.  Low pectin fruits are bananas, cherries, grapes, mangos, peaches, pineapples and strawberries.

Low pectin fruits seem to discolor quicker than high pectin fruits ( bananas and eggplants).  Lemon juice or vinegar slows the discoloring process.  Other fruits and vegetables that discolor quickly are avocados, cauliflower, celery, cherries, figs, Jerusalem artichokes, mushrooms, nectarines, parsnips, peaches, pears, potatoes, rutabaga and yams.

Bruising:  When a fruit is bruised the cell walls break down and discoloration begins.  The process can be slowed down by refrigeration.

Cleaning:  It is important to clean our fruit and vegetables.  Rinse fruit in cold running water and scrub as needed before cooking or eating.  Soaking fruit in water for more than a few minutes can leach out water soluble vitamins.

Peeling:  The fruit skin usually contains a lot of important nutrients, but if you need to peel a thick-skinned fruit cut a small amount of the peel from the top and bottom.  Then on a cutting board cut off the peel in strips from top to bottom.  A good way to peel thin skinned fruit is to place the fruit in a bowl with boiling water and let stand for about 1 minute.  Remove and cool in an ice water bath.  You could also spear the fruit with a fork and hold over a gas flame until the skin cracks OR quarter the fruit and peel with a sharp paring knife or potato peeler.

Wax:  Oh those beautiful waxed apples that wink at us at the market.  They are beautiful because they are waxed.  I don’t know about you, but I would rather not eat wax.  Wax can be removed from the surface of fruits by washing them with a mild dishwashing soap and then thoroughly rinsing them.  This will remove most of the wax, but probably not all of it.

Purchasing Ripe:  Purchase these fruits fully ripe:  Berries, cherries, citrus, grapes and watermelon.  All of the fruits in this list, except berries, can be refrigerated without losing flavor.

Purchasing Not-So-Ripe:  Apricots, figs, melons, nectarines, peaches and plums develop more complex flavors after picking.  Store these fruits at room temperature until they are as ripe as you would like them.

Refrigeration:  You can refrigerate apples,ripe mangos and ripe pears as soon as you get them.  Do not refrigerat bananas.

Seasonal Fruit:  Winter is the season for citrus.  Fall is the season for apples and pears.  Late spring is the season for strawberries and pineapples.  Summer is perfect for blueberries, melons, peaches and plums.

Washing:  Dry fruit with paper towels or kitchen towels and then use a blow dryer on the cool setting to completely dry fruit.

Squeezing:  A microwave can be used to get more juice from citrus fruits.  Microwave citrus fruits for about 20 seconds before squeezing the fruit for juice.

 

 

Passover Menu Ideas

March 24, 2013

Passover Menu Ideas

March 25 to April 2

There can be something wonderfully reassuring about sitting down to a dinner so traditional that you will know exactly what to expect.  Each family has their own traditions and favorites.  They’ve stood the test of time and families look forward to them year after year.

Seder Plate:

Hard Boiled Egg

Shank Bone

Horseradish

Haroset

Parsley Bouquet

 

Matzoh

Apple & Walnut Haroset

Persian Haroset

Gefilte Fish With Horseradish

Traditional Gefilte Fish With Carrots & Aspic Served With Matzoh

Traditional Chopped Liver

Pickled Herring In Onion & Sour Cream Sauce

Smoked Whitefish Salad

Herring Salad

Crudité of Fresh Raw Vegetables With Dip

Imported Cheese Board Garnished With Fresh Fruit

Chicken Soup With Matzoh Balls

Roasted Salmon

Traditional Brisket With Gravy

Filet of Beef

Roasted Whole Capon With Rosemary & Shallots

Roast Chicken

Free Range Turkey

Whole Boneless Fresh Turkey Breast

Rolled Spit Roasted Turkey Breast

Smoked Fish Platters With Olives, Capers & Lemons

Smoked Salmon Platter

Whole Boneless Large Whitefish

Matzoh Stuffing With Mushrooms & Caramelized Onions

Tzimmes of Sweet Potatoes, Carrots & Butternut Squash

Potato Pancakes With Applesauce

Potato Kugel

Spinach Kugel

Steamed Spring Vegetables With Dill

Herb Roasted Beets

Sautéed Root Vegetables (Turnips, Parsnips, Carrots, Haricots Vert & Wild Mushrooms)

Steamed Asparagus

Glazed Brussels Sprouts & Pearl Onions

Green Beans With Roasted Garlic

Lemon Meringue Cake

Chocolate Torte

Chocolate Almond Cake

Chocolate Glazed Orange Cake

Walnut Date Torte

Cheesecake

Raspberry Filled Yellow Cake

Orange & Lemon Sponge Cake

Sliced Fruit Platter

Fruit Salad

French Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons

Almond Macaroons

Meringue Clouds

Brownies

NOTE:  For Baking Desserts Use Almond Flour, Kosher Potato Starch, Matzo Cake Meal or Matzo Meal As Substitutions.  Check Recipes To Determine Which Are The Best Substitutions.

 

 

 

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