Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving... Plans, Recipes and a Memory

We're getting ready for our trip to western Massachusetts to share Thanksgiving with 25 friends and family members. It should be a wild time. Our hosts are taking care of the turkey, stuffing and gravy, and everyone else is bringing something. We are bringing our two specialties: Garlicky Cranberry Chutney and Green Beans with Roasted Onions. I'll share them with you. I wish I could have photographed them, but onions won't be beaned until the day and the flash made the chutney look like red jello.

Garlicky Cranberry Chutney

This recipe was featured on Vermont Public Radio several years ago. It is zippy and fantastic on turkey sandwiches. Can be made a few days ahead.

1 inch cube fresh ginger, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
4 T sugar
1/8 t cayenne pepper (start with half this amount and gradually add to taste; we only use about half but we have very potent spices)
1 pound can jellied cranberry sauce
1/2 t salt
freshly ground black pepper

Cut ginger into paper thin slices, stack slices together and cut into very thin slivers. Combine ginger slivers, garlic, vinegar, sugar and cayenne in a small pot. Bring to simmer. Simmer on low to med flame about 15 minutes or until 4 T of liquid remains, excluding solids. Add cranberry sauce, salt and pepper. Mix and bring to simmer, simmer 10 minutes (will be lumpy). Cool. Put in jar and refrigerate overnight, at least. Lasts several days. Makes two cups.

Green Beans with Roasted Onions

This is elegant, so tasty, and much healthier than grandma's green bean casserole. The green beans are enhanced with buttery, slow-roasted onions that have been stirred into a sweetened vinegar sauce. We make the onions a couple of days ahead and refrigerate until needed.

Nonstick vegetables oil spray
6 medium onions (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, each cut vertically through root end into 12 to 14 wedges
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
2 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 pounds slender green beans, ends trimmed

Preheat oven to 450°F. Spray 2 heavy large baking sheets with vegetable oil spray. Arrange onions in single layer on prepared sheets.
Dot onions with 4 tablespoons butter, dividing equally. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until onions are dark brown on bottom, about 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil broth in heavy large skillet over high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 6 minutes. Add sugar and vinegar and whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to boil.
Add onions to sauce; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until liquid is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over low heat before continuing.)
Cook green beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well. Return beans to same pot. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and toss to coat. Mound beans in large shallow bowl. Top with onion mixture and serve.
Serves 12.

I was nearly despondent at the prospect of no turkey leftovers (I usually host Thanksgiving), so Saturday I'm cooking a dinner here for the three of us and my mom. It just won't seem like Thanksgiving if I don't eat leftovers for a minimum of three days and make a soup. Since I've been brining my turkey though, everyone has been going back for seconds on turkey and leftovers have been scarce.

Finally, a Thanksgiving memory...

During my first marriage in the early 90s, I was setting the table for Thanksgiving and dinner was nearly ready. I leaned over the table not realizing I was so close to a lit candle. I noticed I had caught the back of my sweater sleeve on fire. I thought, "If I pat it, it will go out," but what I succeeded in doing was fanning the fire across my back and to the other sleeve. Now, our house was a small log home with an open concept living, dining and kitchen area. I barely had room to drop to say nothing of rolling, but I was calmly working out a strategy. By now, my mother, who was sitting in the living room noticed something amiss and asked nonchalantly, "Are you on fire?" She's a native Vermonter... a true Yankee, and they don't get excited about much, including inflamed kinfolk. I grabbed a blanket off the back of the couch and wrapped it around me, smothering the flames. Surprisingly, the sweater wasn't damaged. It only burned the fuzz and pills off, however, I don't recommend this rather foolhardy approach to pill removal. I also don't recommend lighting your candles until the table is ready.

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving, everyone! I'll be back starting Monday (unless I get inspired before then) with lots of Christmas preparations, recipes and frugality. Nothing says festive like Christmas in Vermont.


Betty said...

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Kitt said...

Great story! I just read that out loud to Mom. She laughed out loud.

Have fun with the kinfolk!

Anonymous said...

AAAAHHH!! Scary!!

Reminds me of one T-giving when we left the candles burning on the dinner table at my brother's house after dinner and they burned down and lit the table on fire. Lee came down to where we were all watching TV and said, "Uh, Dave? We're having a little fire problem?" You've never seen such stuffed people move so fast!

I'm glad you and your sweater were okay... Have a better Thanksgiving!

Betty said...

I hope you had a good day yesterday and I have something for at my place!

Real Live Lesbian said...

I love that story!

The recipes sound fabulous!

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