Monday, November 19, 2012

Memorable Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Side dishes made and served by Carol Boutard at Ayers Creek Farm in Gaston, Oregon

Thanksgiving is all about vegetarian side dishes for us. It's not uncommon in other parts of the world to create meals composed of appetizers and side dishes and even if you aren't a vegetarian, check out this excellent list of ideas for side dishes I wrote last Thanksgiving.

We're lucky to have two hungry hounds who love vegetables as much as we do.

Finn my Cooking Assistant, dog picker, checking out  produce from the Hillsdale farmers' market
If a side dish only menu isn't your cup of tea, you aren't a turkey fan, and want a whole menu of  recipes, check out Nancy Ging's Northwest locavore holiday menus.    Nancy offers three selections, two animal main dishes and one vegetarian.

Also, this week from 101 Cookbooks, Heidi Swanson listed her favorite Thanksgiving recipe ideas.  As I perused her list, I spotted a great green bean recipe.  It's simple and though green beans aren't in season now, I wanted some as soon as I saw it.  I have to admit, I'm a vegaholic and I think sometimes people try too hard with recipes that are too fussy or too rich, which detracts from wonderful vegetable flavors.  I saw a few recipes like this one for creamed kale like this one from Guy Fieri, the spiky white-haired guy from the Food Network.  This recipe came from an episode called Steak Night with Dad, which included bacon-wrapped beef and portobello fries.

Give Guy the Paula Dean super-rich food award for this one.  Guy--seriously, I'm not surprised you got hammered by critics recently.  Go home and learn how to cook a few vegetables!  And maybe loose a few pounds while you're at it!!

If you're into soup, I found this very cool soup from Tom at Tall Clover Farm.  I liked it because it uses coconut soup instead of same old boring cream and he adds a Thai curry for a unique flavor.  I can't wait to try this one.   You may decide to give your whole meal a Thai twist, this year.

If you're still into scoping out ideas, check out some of your favorite cookbooks.  Warning--here's a bit of shameless promotion coming because I use my own cookbooks for inspiration all the time.

Check out this cool review of my recent book in the Bellingham Herald.

I do want to add--why not make this Thanksgiving a GMO-free meal. Check out my article in Marlene's Sound Consumer this month with 5 reasons for a GMO-free Thanksgiving.

And don't forget salads.  They're often the featured dish at our house.

Why not go beyond your usual green salad.   I got some fennel at the market this past weekend and plan to make this fennel-orange salad with avocado.  You can add gorgonzola or walnuts.  Though it tastes good either way, I like a dairy-free salad and I'm using walnuts since they're in season now.  Thanks to Grouse Mountain Farm, I've stocked walnuts in our pantry for the winter.

Tom voted for potato salad, so I got three different types and colors of potatoes to make this cool potato salad. 

Here's the recipe:

Perfect Potato Salad
(Serves 4 to 6)

2 pounds potatoes (waxy yellow, red, or purple)
1/4 to 1/2 cup garlic aioli spread or mayonnaise 
2 tablespoons white miso
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
2 tabelespoons raspberry vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup chopped pickles
1 1/2 cups pepper (green, yellow, or red)
1/4 cup sliced green onions (optional)
2 stalks celery, diced
Smoked paprika
Handful of parsley (curly or flat)

1. Wash and cut potatoes into bite size pieces.  Place in a saucepan with a little water and steam on medium until tender, about 5 minutes.  Do not overcook.  Drain, rise with cold water and set aside.

2. In a small bowl blend aioli spread, miso, celery seed, raspberry vinegar, mustard, garlic and cayenne.  Whisk until well blended. Stir in pickles. 

3. Place potatoes, pepper, green onion and celery in a salad bowl.  Pour dressing and pickles over vegetables and gently mix until dressing coats all the potatoes.  Sprinkle with smoked paprika and garnish with a handful of fresh parsley.

Stuffed pumpkin could be another side dish or your might label it a main dish.  This vegan version of stuffed pumpkin looks pretty cool to me.

For dessert a berry crisp.  I'm dipping into my freezer for Chester blackberries from Ayers Creek Farm.  Here's the recipe I use year-round.  I've tried other recipes but always go back to this one that I've been making for over 30 years.

Whatever you do, save a few leftovers for your canine friends:)  

Happy Thanksgiving!

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