She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Thanksgiving Side-stravaganza

Posted: November 15th, 2009 | Author: bakezilla | Filed under: Bakezilla | No Comments »

A couple days ago, I decided to do a balls-out attempt at Thanksgiving Side Practice for dinner.  On the menu was creamy broccoli soup, butternut squash in brown butter, green beans with shallots and breadcrumbs, roasted fingerling potatoes and pecan pie with cream cheese crust for dessert.  Luckily, all of the recipes were successful.  Today, I’m going to write about the squash, beans and potatoes, but expect upcoming posts regarding the soup and the pie.

DSC00265All three of these recipes are from Martha Stewart.  I need to branch out more, I guess, but I scoured Food & Wine (which IS were the soup is from), Real Simple, Body & Soul and Epicurius as well, and what’s nice is that Martha Stewart makes very simple recipes, which work better for my picky family, who will not eat a number of ingredients, including but not limited to nuts (all varieties), sweet potatoes, spinach, brussel’s sprouts, anything remotely spicy, ginger and nutmeg.  So, I saw lots of great looking recipes, but they’d throw in one of those things and I’d nix it from the list of potential dishes.  For example, this recipe: looks incredible, but there’s no chance anyone in my family except me would touch a parsnip, and my mom’s not supposed to eat spinach.  So for very simple dishes with few ingredients, I recommend Martha.

DSC00266This is the squash.  The recipe can be found here.

I followed it exactly, and fear copyright issues, so I’m not going to re-print it, but I want to make some notes:

1: The cooking times are off, it took longer than 6 minutes for the squash to caramelize, more like 15.

2.  For a veg version, I used Imagen brand “No-Chicken Broth” instead of regular chicken broth, and it came out really well.  I found it at Whole Foods, and it smelled exactly like regular chicken broth to me when I was cooking with it.  Seriously.  You won’t miss the chicken, and you can entertain vegetarians or, if you’re kosher, make it part of a dairy meal.

3.  You can buy pre-cut, peeled and seeded squash at the grocery store.  It saves a lot of time, and cutting, peeling and seeding squash is DIFFICULT.  My mom had to go to the ER for stitches due to a squash incident once.  It’s a short-cut that is totally worth it.

DSC00267Next the beans.  This is an ammeneded version of a recipe in this month’s Martha Stewart Living.  First, boil water in a large pot, and prepare an ice water bath at the same time.  Then, add a pound of green beans per every 2-3 people who are serving to the boiling water, blanch for a few minutes (4 or 5, when the beans get very green).  Drain and pat dry.  You can leave these beans out for a while, for timing purposes.  When you’re ready for the next step, heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil per pound of green beans you made in a large skillet. Add one thinly sliced shallot (which are basically the same as a small onion) per lb of beans, and cook over medium heat until it is golden.  Add beans, and cook them until they’re hot, a minute or two.  Lastly, stir in 2 tbs of seasoned breadcrumbs per lb of beans.  Serve immediately (before the beans get all floppy and cool).  The breadcrumbs add a different dimension to regular beans.  They’re pretty good.  Try to get some very fresh and firm beans.  Trimming is optional, depending on personal taste.

DSC00268Lastly, I made fingerling potatoes.  The recipe is

I only have some minor adjustments.  Firstly, strangely enough, did you know there are many varieties of fingerling potatoes?  Yeah, excessive.  I had Russian Banana fingerlings.  I’m not sure it matters.  I also used more thyme than Martha recommends.  It really infuses them with flavor.  That’s important.  Also, feel free to cook them a little longer than she says.  Just check and make them as brown or not brown as you want them.

At the end, I think all of these are making it to my Thanksgiving table!  Hurray!

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