Thanksgiving side dishes

In 2002, I went to Maryland to spend Thanksgiving with my mother, sister and grandmother.  It was the first Thanksgiving we spent together since I graduated from High School.  We knew that this would probably be my grandmother’s last Thanksgiving, and I wanted to spend it with family.  We had a huge international Thanksgiving dinner with many friends.  It was also the year I had secretly forwarded one of my mother’s recipes to Sunset magazine, which it accepted and published in that year’s Thanksgiving issue. At the end of the dinner, I presented my mother with a 3- paneled wall frame with the magazine cover, the page with her recipe, and the “Good Cook” certificate awarded by the magazine.  Incidentally, although I sent them recipes for years, Sunset  never published any of mine.  Hence resorting to my own blog to “publish” my recipes.  These were four of the side dishes I made at that dinner.  The sweet potato, green bean and dressing recipes are adapted from Sunset Magazine.  They all serve about eight as part of a Thanksgiving pig out.

Field Greens with Cranberries, Apples, Candied Walnuts and Feta Cheese

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One pound prewashed organic mixed greens salad
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 large tart apples, cored and diced
  • 1 6-oz bag candied walnuts
  • ½ cup crumbled Feta cheese

Whisk together vinegar, olive oil, mustard salt and pepper.  Toss with salad greens and top with remaining ingredients.

Sweet Potato and Ginger Salad

  • 3/4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
  • 1 15 oz can diced pineapple
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded jicama
  • 3 tbsp salad oil
  • 2  tsp each minced fresh ginger and grated lemon peel
  • finely chopped parsley
  • red leaf lettuce

Parboil shredded sweet potatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds, drain well.  Drain pineapple, reserve ¼ cup juice. Save remaining juice for other purposes.  Add half the reserved juice to the sweet potatoes.  No more than four hours before serving, mix all ingredients except lettuce and let stand at room temperature.   Before serving, line plate with lettuce leaves and top with mixture and serve.

Green beans with shitake mushrooms

  • 1 oz dried shitake mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 pound green beans.

Soak mushrooms in hot water to cover until soft.  Slice mushrooms, discarding tough stems.  Combine mushrooms, ½ cup soaking water, soy sauce. 1 tbsp sherry, sugar, ginger and boil them in a small saucepan until the mushrooms have absorbed all the liquid.  Add remaining sherry and half the sesame oil.  Steam beans for three minutes.  Drain them and soak them in ice water to stop further cooking.  Toss them with remaining sesame oil.  Store mushrooms and beans separately overnight in fridge.  Up to four hours before serving take out to warm to room temperature.  Spoon mushrooms and juices over beans before serving.  Serve at room temperature.

Italian sausage and chard dressing

  • 3/4 lb. French bread, cut into 1 inch cubes.
  • 2  cups  nonfat milk
  • 2  pound  Italian sausages
  • 1  cup  chopped parsley
  • 1  garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 1  onion (about 6 oz.), peeled and chopped
  • 1/2  cup  finely chopped celery
  • 1 1/2  cups  grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  dried basil
  • 1/4  teaspoon  dried rubbed sage
  • 1/4  teaspoon  dried rosemary
  • 1 large bunch chard, washed, leaves and stems chopped and separated.

Mix cubed bread with milk and let stand about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.  Meanwhile, place a large frying pan over high heat. Squeeze sausages from casings into pan. Discard casings. Stir meat often to crumble and lightly brown, 10 to 15 minutes.  Add parsley, garlic, onion, celery and stir often.  After about five minutes, add the chard stems..  Cook about 3 more minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the chard leaves.  Add the cooked meat/vegetable  mixture, cheese, basil, sage, and rosemary to the bread cubes and mix well.Spoon into a shallow 3-quart (9- by 13-in.) casserole. For moist dressing, cover with foil; for crusty dressing, do not cover. Bake in a 325° to 350° oven (use temperature turkey requires) until hot (at least 150° in center) or lightly browned, about 50 minutes (1 hour if dressing is chilled).

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