What if the old cranberry jelly appeared on the buffet as ahi tuna?
Let’s add a bit of whimsy to the Thanksgiving buffet this year! You can still serve your fabulous homemade cranberry orange relish. But perhaps you also have some guests who love the cranberry sauce that comes from a can. Not that they don’t have sophisticated taste buds, they just like the tradition, comfort, and memories from the celebrations of yesteryear. So why not make them happy too? The cost is just a few minutes of your time plus one can of Jellied Cranberry Sauce and a couple tablespoons of cream cheese (with a drop of food coloring to stand in for wasabi)…or take the friendly hoax to another level by adding fresh lemon, shiso leaves, and a pickled ginger rosette.
Spiraled Carrots, Black Quinoa Pine Nuts, Currants, Parsley, Mint, Chives Lemon Juice, Olive Oil
Here’s a healthy side dish, perfect for the Autumn Holidays. Black quinoa and orange spiralized carrot make a striking presentation. Toasted pine nuts and plumped currants plus lots of fresh herbs all tossed with lemon juice olive oil simply seasoned with salt and pepper – it’s earthy, nutty, sweet, bright, colorful, fresh, and herbal. Serve it along side the creamy mashed potatoes and buttery stuffing as a vegan, whole grain, gluten-free, high fiber, guilt-free counter-balance to the holiday favorites.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Bacon Shards, 18-Year Balsamic Vinegar of Modena
Thinking about my upcoming Thanksgiving menu, wondering if my nephews would try the Brussels sprouts this time around. Can Aunt GeeGee sell one of America’s most-disliked vegetables to 11 & 13-year-old boys?
Hmmm…maybe bacon would help, but not some puny bacon bits. This would have to be real bacon, the thick smoky meaty kind from my butcher, not the pre-packaged grocery store variety. And it would have to be substantial. Bacon shards. And I will drizzle it with the most heavenly vinegar, a vinegar older than both of them…rich and creamy, sweet and subtly sour, aged 18 years!
Who am I kidding? I know what their plates will look like…turkey, their grandma’s mashed potatoes, gravy, and shards of bacon (no Brussels sprouts in sight). Maybe I can get them to try my pumpkin risotto, it’s full of cheese after all.
Smoky Pumpkin Risotto with Burrata Crumbled Fried Sage
Happy Halloween! The culinary SORCERESS has a real TREAT to share in the SPIRIT of the holiday…a SMOKY creamy pumpkin risotto in which she BURIES a MONSTROUS wedge of burrata. This TRICK she learned from gastronomic WIZARD two-star Michelin chef Julian Serrano. He SUBMERGES burrata under his BLOOD-RED Risotto Al Vino Rosso at restaurant Lago in Las Vegas.
BEWARE, this dish is only for those with a GHOULISH ATTRACTION to fresh mozzarella cheese stuffed with heavy cream, aka burrata. Topped with crumbled fried sage, it is a BEWITCHING seasonal risotto and so FRIGHTFULLY good.
Looking for a salad that just screams Fall? Look no further. Crisp, juicy, sweet Korean pear contrasts the tender roasted acorn squash while farro adds a chewiness and nutty earthy notes. Crumbly, salty bleu-veined gorgonzola and smoky spicy pumpkin seeds add amplitude. It is all harmonized by the dressing, a deep ruby-hued tart vinaigrette. Color, texture, flavor, a feeling of abundance – it’s all right here in this stunning seasonal salad.
Grilled Eggplant Pizza with Cauliflower Crust with Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Garlic, Basil, Mint, Red Chile Flakes, Mozzarella
OK Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegetarian friends – this pizza is for you! Smoky grilled eggplant tops a pizza crust made of cauliflower. Grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, garlic, basil, and mint are tossed with a bit of olive oil, salt and red chile flakes then loaded on top of the eggplant. Sprinkled with shredded mozzarella then popped in the oven until everything is nice and hot – this pizza will delight everyone, but especially those who want to replace the dough. Cauliflower naturally has lower carbohydrates, higher fiber, and more nutrients than traditional flour-based pizza dough. This is a true veggie pizza.
The ancho chile’s complex raisin-like taste complements the pumpkin. Black pepper and cinnamon coax out its deeper flavors. Homemade smoky chile-de-arbol flakes and fiery chile oil add some heat to the relatively mild ancho. Ripe pear and maple syrup bring natural sweetness while orange adds a certain brightness. Tortilla strips add crunch and pumpkin seeds bring an earthy nuttiness. It’s all rounded out by spiced Mexican crema. One just might have a burning desire to try this sultry pumpkin soup with its bold Southwest flavors and adventurous garnishes.
Holiday Spiced Sweet Potatoes are our seasonal favorite side dish, where thinly sliced sweet potatoes are baked with rich cream, brown sugar, warm spices, salt and pepper.
Apple Tarte Tatin, the world famous upside-down apple tart with buttery caramel-y flavors, is super easy to make and results in one impressive dessert time and again.
Here, the recipes are blended together – where the French tart’s apples are replaced with sweet potatoes and seasoned with pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, clove, cardamom) for a unique pie that will definitely make it onto my Thanksgiving menu this year. Caramelized Upside-Down French Sweet Potato Pie makes a fabulous dessert, but could be equally successful served as a sweet-savory vegetable side dish, perhaps along side a Standing Rib Roast or Holiday Turkey.
Caramelized Upside-Down French Sweet Potato Pie Recipe
Classic Apple Tarte Tatin with Cognac and Crème Fraîche
Here we have the irresistible color and flavors of Autumn on a plate. Top slices of just-from-the-oven apple tarte tatin with a dollop of crème fraîche – its slightly sour, nutty flavor and velvety texture make it the perfect accompaniment. Serve alongside a warmed snifter of Cognac and it would be difficult to find a better dessert to entertain as the weather cools and the leaves turn…
Banana Split Pavlova – A “Sick” Dessert For Both Adults and Kids!
I learned this adjective from my nephews. It now means crazy, cool, insane. OK. This dessert is definitely sick. Our beloved sophisticated pavlova, a refined dessert created to honor prima ballerina Ánna Pávlova, at the turn of the last century has been turned on its graceful ear, so to speak.
Here, our marshmallowy meringue is filled with low-fat vanilla yogurt (for the adults) or ice cream and whipped cream (for the kids). Then it is topped with fresh pineapple and banana, chopped peanuts, a wild drizzle of hot fudge, and studded with (natural, no artificial color) maraschino cherries. For an extra kick, the adults’ cherries get soaked in brandy. It is not the finale for your next elegant dinner party. But it is delightful and playful, a sick dessert with wholesome “banana split” ingredients for adults and kids alike.