I’m not even going to try to tackle a Thanksgiving recipe in today’s post. I know I’m far too late anyway. What I can offer are some ideas that will hopefully give you a little burst of inspiration as you prep for the big day. Any of these ideas could be adapted to any entertaining you have planned for the coming weeks–seeing how we’re neck deep in the season now.
Here are three decidedly brown appetizers I made for Thanksgiving last year that were popular with my salt-loving family. Or there are great ideas for party food from Lottie + Doof. I’d also recommend starting things off with a little spiced apple cider, courtesy of A Beautiful Mess.
For the turkey: if you’re into brining, Food & Wine does a wonderful herb roasted turkey. I also was pleasantly surprised to find this foolproof turkey roasting technique from who else but Trisha Yearwood.
As for easy side dishes, my cheddar fresno biscuits would nicely complement turkey with cornbread dressing. Or if you’re looking for something lighter, my raw shaved brussels sprouts slaw is a fresh take on a wintry vegetable (and super easy). Punch it up with some candied pecans and bacon bits. Or, try one or two sides from Martha Stewart. She is the queen of entertaining, after all. If you need cranberry sauce, you could be like my family and just coax it out of the Ocean Spray cranberry jelly can. Or, if you’re feeling industrious, Smitten Kitchen did much of the work for us, with three lovely cranberry dishes that would brighten any Thanksgiving table.
For dessert, I found this absolutely decadent spiced pumpkin cheesecake with caramel bourbon sauce. I also think something light like this simple lemon granita from Pinch My Salt would be lovely with a few lavender shortbread cookies for a lighter end to the day of overindulgence.
Now all that’s left to give you is a detox salad worthy of the day after. This salad combines lots of textures, which keeps things interesting so you forget that it’s so healthy. I also like that it contains feta and pistachios, because even though it’s supposed to be a detox salad, there’s no point to eating salad as a meal unless there’s something substantial in there like nuts or cheese. Add a thick slice of country bread or whole wheat toast and you’ve got a lovely lunch to counter all that Thanksgiving gluttony.
A very green salad
adapted from 101 Cookbooks
1 small head broccoli
Salt, as needed
4 cups baby romaine
1/3 cup salted roasted pistachios
3-4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Tarragon balsamic dressing
1/2 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1-2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Prep the salad:
Trim the bottom of the broccoli, and cut the stem and florets into small bite-size pieces. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice cubes and cold water.
Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling, and add the broccoli. Boil for 1 minute, then immediately plunge the cooked broccoli into the ice water bath. Remove after about 1 minute, and set on paper towels to drain.
Slice the lettuce into ribbons. Scoop out the avocado half and cut it into 1/2-inch dice. Roughly chop the pistachios. Add the drained broccoli, lettuce, avocado, pistachios and feta to a large bowl.
Make the dressing:
In a small bowl, combine the shallot, tarragon, Dijon and balsamic. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until blended. Season with salt and pepper and taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
Pour the dressing over the ingredients, and toss gently with a large spoon so you don’t break up the avocado. Serve immediately. Serves 2.