FAIRYTALE FEASTS

BECAUSE ONCE UPON A TIME, I HAD THE MOST AMAZING [INSERT FOOD HERE] …

November 23, 2010

Fairytale Thanksgiving Feasts: Side Dishes

Roasted Parsnips and Carrots.
 A turkey isn't the only symbolic dish of Thanksgiving. The sides are stars as well, with the stuffing or potatoes sometimes stealing the show! I am sure the recipe for the Cranberry Fig stuffing will more than satisfy you but these other side dish treats are equally as elegant and delicious. I used seasonal ingredients to create a fall menu that will be fresh and flavorful. I hope you enjoy :-)


One of my favorite components of a traditional Thanksgiving meal is the cranberry sauce.  I also love oranges so I combined the two flavors in my unique cranberry sauce recipe, which I hope you enjoy! (I didn't have enough fresh oranges so I used some orange juice as well. So that is how I wrote the recipe.)

Fairytale Orange Cranberry Sauce 
Ingredients: 
1 1/2 bags of fresh Ocean Spray cranberries
3 large oranges
1/2 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of white wine
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup sugar

Directions:
Place the cranberries in a large saucepan. Add the juice from 2 oranges, the orange juice, and water and cook on medium high heat. When almost to a boil, add the white wine and cinnamon stick.  The cranberries will burst open and mixture boils, summer for about 5 minutes.

Serve with orange slices as garnish.


I didn't bother to make traditional mashed potatoes for this Thanksgiving because I wanted to make something different and something special. My answer: a potato gratin! I love making gratins! There is something to comforting and whimsical about them. They bring me back to my college days in NYC when me and my best friends used to frequent places like French Roast to get our fill of comfort food. When had the best times together and these types of dishes make me nostalgic for those days.  This potato gratin has a slightly different taste because I incorporated turnips, white root vegetables commonly found this time of year. Turnips are usually white and have a green or purple-ish color wherever the sunlight has fallen upon them.  Turnip roots are high in Vitamin C.  I also cut down on the fat content of traditional gratins by using 2% Swiss Cheese instead of Gruyere and reduced fat milk. I also baked my gratin for a little bit longer than I should have because I really like a nice brown crusty top for my gratin.

Fairytale Potato and Turnip Gratin
Ingredients:
2 lbs of Russet Potatoes, peeled and sliced in 1/8 inch pieces
2 large turnips
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 large blog of 2% Swiss cheese (or 2 cups of Gruyere cheese)
1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese
1 cup of Half and Half
1-2 cups of 2% milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel potatoes and turnips. Place in a large pot of water with lemon to prevent browning.  Slice all potatoes and turnips into small uniform pieces, measuring about 1/8 inch for each slice. (Using a mandolin would be great for this. But I don't have one so I cut them by hand.)

Rub a large gratin dish with the butter. In a large skillet, combine milk, salt pepper, nutmeg, potatoes and turnips on medium heat.  Simmer until the potatoes and turnips are tender. (Be careful not to use high heat, you don't want the milk to curdle!)

Add the potatoes and turnips to the gratin dish.  Shred in the Swiss cheese and sprinkle with parmesean.  Bake for 40 minutes in oven. Broil if necessary to brown the top.

Let this dish sit for about a half hour so it will settle before serving.




Potato and turnip gratin - ready to bake!




There's nothing like a roasted seasonal vegetable to compliment any meal, including Thanksgiving. Parsnips, like turnips, are a white root vegetable.  They are related to carrots but have a slightly sweeter flavor.  There is evidence that the parnsips were commonly used by ancient Greeks and Romans.  Parsnips are commonly used today in soups and stews. I adopted this Ina Garten recipe for Roasted Parsnips and Carrots. Ina recommends using smaller sized parsnips because the root core of the larger ones are often too tough.

Fairytale Roast Parsnips and Carrots
(Serves 6)
Ingredients:
2 large or 3-4 small Parnsips
1 bag of carrots, peeled
Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of dill weed
Ground black pepper
Salt

Options: fresh thyme or dill weed for garnish.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel parsnips and carrots.  Cut parsnips and carrots in half and slice diagnoally.  Place the vegetables on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle dill weed, salt and pepper over the vegetables. Toss well so that each vegetable is coated with oil and seasoning.  Roast for 20 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Garnish with fresh dill or thyme sprigs.



Enjoy!

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