Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving recipes’

Thanksgiving Harvest Salad

Monday, November 17th, 2014


I love the idea of Thanksgiving: setting aside a day for giving thanks, sharing with those in need, and getting together with loved ones—and of course cooking and talking and eating and laughing together.

I’m not always absolutely thrilled by Thanksgiving dinner in practice, however. By the time one consumes a portion of each menu item at most harvest tables, one starts to feel awfully full.

My solution to this quandary is to try to include a green salad in the day’s offerings. One can eat a lot of salad and eat only a little of everything else.

I made the salad below with pecan oil graciously sent to me by La Tourangelle. If you have guests at your table with nut allergies, you may of course use extra-virgin olive oil, but otherwise I think the nut flavor suits this quintessential American holiday.

Feel free to add your own favorite ingredients. When my sister-in-law Leigh and I made this salad last year to take to Thanksgiving dinner at our cousins’ home, we served sweet-potato chips on the side. People threw them into their salad at the last minute to add crunch.

If you’d like to see me make the salad, watch the clip at the bottom of the recipe in which Ashley Kohl and I assemble the salad—after we pop some cranberry-apple crisp into the oven.

Happy Turkey Day (or as I like to call it, Salad Day!) to all……


The Salad


for the dressing:

4 tablespoons cider vinegar
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon salt
ground pepper to taste
10 tablespoons walnut or pecan oil

for the salad:

1/2 pound uncooked spinach leaves (more if you like)
1/2 cup walnut or pecan halves (more if you like)
1 apple (your choice, cored and sliced but not peeled)
1/2 small red onion, chopped into rings or pieces
1/2 cup crumbled feta or blue cheese (more if you like; omit for a lighter salad)
3 strips cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)
1/4 cup dried cranberries (more if you like)


First, make the dressing. In a 2-cup mason jar combine the vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, garlic, water, salt and pepper. Shake well. Slowly whisk in the oil.

Wash the spinach thoroughly and dry it.

Place the nuts in a small frying pan, and toast them over low heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly, to release their oils. Take the pan off the heat.

Just before you are ready to eat, slice the apple. In a salad bowl combine the salad ingredients.

Shake the dressing, and pour about a quarter of it onto the salad. Toss the salad well but carefully. Serves 6.

(You will have enough dressing for several salads. Refrigerate the dressing between uses, and make sure to bring it to room temperature and shake it well before you re-use it.)

Here’s the video. (You’ll note that the recipe for cranberry apple crisp appears first!)

Cranberry-Apple Crisp

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Some days it’s hard for a chanteuse not to quote  musical comedies. I was reminded recently of a line from The Sound of Music to the effect that when God closes a door he opens a window.

Here’s what happened: I became annoyed with myself a couple of weeks ago. I had been eyeing my neighbor Dennis’s patch of rhubarb with an eye to making rhubarb-apple crisp. (Dennis is always very nice about my incursions into his rhubarb.)

Unfortunately, I waited a little too long to harvest the rhubarb. When I lifted up the rhubarb leaves, I found that the stalks had finally given up the ghost and become soggy. The rhubarb door was closed for this year.

And then … I went to the grocery store and saw my window: the first cranberries of the season! So I decided to pair them with the apples instead of rhubarb. Personally, I think this is an even better combination than the rhubarb-apple one. The color is deep and appealing, thanks to the cranberries. And the apples tone down the cranberries ever so slightly; the crisp is tart but not too tart. The cranberries still dominate since three cups of them are denser than three cups of apples.

Of course, I imagine God has better things to do than entertain me with fruit. But I’m thanking him/her/it anyway, just in case. Come to think of it, this would make a lovely dessert for Thanksgiving Day……

Ruby had never encountered cranberries before.

The Crisp


3 cups (12 ounces) cranberries
3 cups sliced apples (core but don’t bother to peel unless you’re fussy—use a fairly sturdy apple; I used Baldwins)
3/4 cup white sugar plus 1/2 cup later
2 pinches salt
the juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup oats (regular, not steel cut or quick)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl toss together the cranberries, the apples, 3/4 cup sugar, the first pinch of salt, and the lemon juice. Spread them in the bottom of a 1-1/2- or 2-quart baking dish.

In a small bowl combine the flour, the remaining white sugar, the brown sugar, the oats, the cinnamon, and the second pinch of salt. Cut or rub in the butter until you have coarse crumbs. My preference is rubbing it in since I’m a tactile cook. Gently spread this combination over the fruit mixture. (It will be a little messy!)

Bake the crisp until it is brown and bubbly, about 30 to 40 minutes. Serve with the topping of your choice—cream, whipped cream, ice cream, or frozen yogurt. Serves 6.

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Upside Down at Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Expert baker Nancy Baggett recently wrote on her blog that the U.S. cranberry yield offers a challenging message to cranberry lovers:
EAT CRANBERRIES OR THEY WILL DIE! (The cranberries, that is, not the lovers.)
Apparently, growers have gotten so good at cultivating cranberries that they produce more and more of the things every year. If they can’t sell these tiny red pearls, the growers are told by the U.S.D.A. to let them rot in their bogs.
I was taught by mother that wasting food is a crime so naturally I have to help any crimson beauties doomed to end their lives in the bog like some pathetic monster in a horror movie.
I hope readers will do their part as well. Make cranberry sauce to accompany your turkey for Thanksgiving tomorrow, of course. Also please consider serving it with hamburgers, garden burgers, ham, fish, and eggs. Its flavor is as perky as its color.
See how many baked goods you can create with cranberries or dried cranberries this holiday season—muffins, cookies, scones, pies, cakes, breads.
Finally, think about cranberry-based main dishes and appetizers. I am working on a cranberry pot roast for Christmas Eve. If it tastes as good as I think it will, I’ll share that recipe here.
In the meantime, here is a simple cranberry recipe suited to Thanksgiving or any other day in the next month or so.
Regular readers may have noticed that I have a positive passion for upside-down cakes—pineapple, rhubarb, peach. The other day I got to wondering how cranberries would work upside down.
Of course, they were fabulous. The berries provided a tart contrast to the brown-sugar topping. 

Enjoy … and happy Thanksgiving to all………

My mother Jan and nephew Michael toast the holiday with a nonalcoholic cranberry cocktail.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
for the upside-down topping:
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup) plus a little more if needed
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups fresh cranberries
for the cake:
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
First make the topping (which goes on the bottom).
Melt the butter in a skillet—a 9- or 10-inch cast-iron skillet, if possible. Stir in the brown sugar and cook, stirring, until it melts and bubbles—3 to 4 minutes.
If your brown sugar is old, it may have trouble melting properly, in which case you’ll need to add a little more melted butter to it. Try to avoid this if you can; the cake is rich enough without it! I was recently stuck with old sugar, however, and had to punt.
If you’re using the cast-iron skillet you may continue with the recipe at this stage and cook the cake in the skillet. If not, transfer the brown-sugar mixture into a 9- or 10-inch round cake pan. Spread it through the bottom of the pan. Arrange the cranberries on top as artistically as you can.
In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the baking powder and salt.
Add the flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in the vanilla.
Spoon the batter over the cranberries in the cake pan or skillet, and place the pan in the oven. Bake until the cake tests done (in about 40 minutes).
Let the cake stand for 10 minutes; then invert it onto a serving plate. You may need help with this if you use the cast-iron skillet as it feels a bit heavy during the inverting process.
This cake is best served slightly warm with or without a little whipped cream. 

Serves 6 to 8.

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I’ll Think About That Tomorrow (or Maybe Next Week)

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Regular readers may have been wondering, “When the heck is Tinky going to get around to Thanksgiving?”
I’m a last-minute girl in a last-minute family, I’m afraid. So we’re only now starting—and I do mean starting—to talk about the menu for next Thursday.
In case you can’t wait until Wednesday night at midnight for suggestions, here are a few posts from the past to enhance your Thanksgiving plans (many more can be found on this blog!):
Cyndie’s Cheesy Corn Pudding
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Harvest Salad
Cranberry Waldorf Salad
Parker House Rolls
Hush Puppy Pudding AND Cranberry Chiffon Pie
Cranberry Apple Crumb Pie
Pumpkin Gingerbread Pudding
and my personal favorite, Cranberry Cream Puffs
As we contemplate contemplating Thanksgiving my family members are enjoying a combination of two of our favorite foods, cranberries and salsa.
The salsa below is quite mild. At one time, I thought all salsas had to be ultra hot. Lately, however, my palate is craving subtlety.
You may of course add more jalapeño—even more lime and cilantro if you wish.
We’re enjoying this version right now on chips and on crackers with cream cheese. We may even throw it on the Thanksgiving table next to the turkey and see what happens.
By the way, dear readers, I’d love it if you’d take just a moment to support this blog. It’s a finalist in something called the “Blog of the Year” competition. Just go to the voting station at the Blog Revue and click on “In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens.” 

This is a simple vote; you don’t have to register or anything weird like that. I’ll let you know if I win. Thank you—and now here’s the salsa recipe.

Cranberry Salsa
2 to 3 scallions, chopped (white part and some green)
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced (more if you like spice)
1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
the juice of 1 lime
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups homemade whole-berry cranberry sauce (I could give you the recipe, but honestly it’s on the side of most bags of cranberries; just add a pinch of salt to the basic formula)
In a medium bowl combine the scallions, pepper, cilantro, and lime juice. Stir in the salt, then the cranberries.
Mix thoroughly. Chill, covered, for at least 1 hour before serving. 
Makes about 2-1/2 cups.

Miss Mogli is not sure what to make of cranberry salsa. The human members of the Weisblat family love it.

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Cranberry Heaven

Sunday, November 29th, 2009


My family and I celebrated Thanksgiving this year at my mother’s home in New Jersey. We hosted a small party on Friday that concentrated on appetizers and desserts.
We served a very small main course (stuffed shells and salad), surrounded by delectable non-“serious” foods. We began the evening with shrimp, bruschetta, lots and lots of cheeses, hummus, my chipotle cranberry sauce, and nibbly nutty snacks.
Later I unveiled my favorite new creation: tiny cranberry cream puffs.
I was inspired to make them by reading about the annual Cranberry Festival in Warrens, Wisconsin.
Warrens doesn’t havea large population. About as many people live there, in fact, as in my tiny hometown of Hawley, Massachusetts (just under 400).
Each September, however, more than 100,000 people visit Warrens for a weekend-long tribute to the town’s signature crop, cranberries.
The festival features marsh tours, sales, a parade, a variety of contests, and of course lots and lots of foods made with cranberries.
Festival manager Kim Billiard sent me The Best of Cranfest. This cookbook offers recipes for cakes, salads, sauces, muffins, and meat dishes (to name a few) using fresh or processed cranberries. I plan to make and post one of these in the near future.
Kim admitted, however, that she didn’t have the recipe for the special cranberry confection I had read about online—the cranberry cream puffs sold each year by the local Sweet Adelines. She put me in touch with Mary Castner of the Sweet Adelines. I asked Mary how she made these treats.
“There really isn’t a recipe,” Mary told me. “All we do is we whip a quart of cream. And after it’s whipped we take jellied cranberries, and we mush them up. And we just swirl about a half a cup of them into the cream.”
She added that the group adds sugar and vanilla to the cream as well and explained that the Adelines put the filling into commercial frozen puffs to ensure uniformity.
“We sell a lot of them,” she asserted.
I decided to make my own cream puffs instead of buying frozen ones (I scoff at uniformity!) and found a simple recipe at the King Arthur Flour web site.
My nine-year-old nephew Michael helped me put them together. He worried a little about his ability to shape the puffs. “I’m not good with spoons,” he declared.
Michael really loved the idea of eating cranberry cream puffs, however, so he conquered his spoon phobia.
Michael stirs the puffs.

Michael stirs the puffs.

I was pretty sure I wanted a higher cranberry/cream ratio than 1/2 cup to 1 quart. So I upped the cranberry ante in our cream puffs.
The resulting puffs were, in Michael’s words, “just about perfect.”
The filling isn’t super stable so guests were encouraged to assemble their own puffs. Some chose a classic cream puff and hid a small amount of filling inside their puffs. Some slathered on the filling so you could see it a mile away.
My friend Wendy told me they were the highlight of her Thanksgiving weekend.
I urge you all to try them this holiday season. They’re easy. They’re festive (SO PINK!). And they’re sheer heaven to eat.


I also urge you to vote for them  in the Bon Appétit Holiday Dessert Bake-Off. Bon Appétit magazine is collecting holiday recipes from bloggers all over the United States and asking readers to vote for them.
I know my chances of winning are slight; the contest began on November 1, and I’ve only just discovered it. It never hurts to try, however!
Here’s the link for voting (you have to register in order to vote, but you DO NOT have to subscribe to the magazine). I’m listed in the final category, “miscellaneous desserts.”
Voting ends December 13.
Thank you! Now, here’s the recipe, It looks long, but it’s really a cinch……..
Cranberry Cream Puffs
for the jellied cranberries:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
12 ounces cranberries
for the cream puffs:
1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter
1-1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs at room temperature (place them in warm water for a few minutes to achieve the right temperature)
for the filling:
2 cups heavy cream
confectioner’s sugar and vanilla to taste (we used about 1/4 cup sugar—maybe a little more–and 2 teaspoons vanilla)
1 recipe jellied cranberries
for assembly:
a small amount of confectioner’s sugar (optional)
for the jellied cranberries:
Make the jellied cranberries early—ideally the day before—so they will have plenty of time to cool and jell.
Yes, of course, you MAY use canned jellied cranberry sauce. It won’t taste as good as the fresh version, however; the canning process and the high-fructose corn syrup in most cans diminish the flavor. Making the stuff is pretty darned easy so I would keep the can opener in a drawer while preparing this recipe.
In a medium saucepan combine the water and sugar and bring them to a boil. Add the cranberries, and return the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, and boil the sauce for 10 more minutes. (If it gets too fuzzy, add a tiny bit of butter.)
Remove the sauce from the heat, and push it through a stainless-steel strainer. You’ll end up with about 1-1/2 cups of sauce and a small amount of solid matter; you may discard the latter.
Cool the sauce, covered, at room temperature; then refrigerate it until you are ready to assemble your cream puffs.
for the puffs:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease two cookie sheets or line them with silicone. (King Arthur Flour suggests using parchment sheets, but mine singed a bit in the hot oven.)
In a medium saucepan bring the water, butter, and salt to a rolling boil. Throw in the flour all at once. Using a wooden spoon stir it in quickly until it becomes smooth and follows the spoon around the pan. Remove the pan from the heat.
Let it rest until it is cool enough so that you can stick your finger in and hold it there for a few seconds (this takes about 5 minutes).
Place the dough in a mixer bowl, and beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating vigorously after each egg. Make sure you continue beating for 1 minute after the last egg goes in. The dough will be stiff.
Drop teaspoonsful of dough onto the cookie sheets, leaving enough space between them so the puffs can expand to golf-ball size in the oven.
Bake the puffs until they puff and begin to turn a light golden brown. (King Arthur Flour estimated this at 20 minutes; my oven is a little hot so it took only 15 for me.)
Remove them from the oven and quickly use a sharp knife to cut a small slit in the side of each puff. (This keeps the puffs from getting soggy.) Return them to the oven for 5 more minutes.
Remove the puffs from the oven and cool them on wire racks. If your oven is hot like mine and you have burned the bottoms slightly, use a sharp knife to remove the blackened portions.
for the filling:
Just before you are ready to assemble your puffs, whip the cream until it is thick and forms nice peaks, adding the sugar and vanilla toward the end of this process.
Use a mixer or whisk to break up the jellied cranberry sauce into a thick liquid (instead of a solid). Gently fold it into the whipped cream.
for assembly:
Carefully cut open each puff in the middle; you will find that the puffs have what King Arthur Flour calls a “natural fault line.”
Decorate the bottom of each puff with the cranberry-cream mixture and replace the top. Sprinkle a little confectioner’s sugar on top if desired.
Makes about 40 cream puffs.
Mother Jan was queen of the cream-puff party.

Mother Jan was queen of the cream-puff party.


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Cream Puffs on Foodista