2015-11-06 / Columns

Cooking on Purpose

Now is the time to plan for Thanksgiving
By Connie Wendell Special to the Post

Wow. November is upon on us. It seems to have come quickly this year, perhaps because of the nice weather we’ve been having. Before we know it, Thanksgiving will be here, too, and now is the time to plan.

Every year I love having all the traditional dishes that only Thanksgiving has to offer. I also like to try at least one new recipe. I’ve included a few that you might want to try this year.

Roasted green beans with beets, feta and walnuts

2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed; 1 pound fresh beets, trimmed, peeled and cut into thin wedges; ½ cup sliced shallots (4 medium); ¼ cup olive oil; ½ teaspoon salt; ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; ½ cup walnut pieces; and ½ cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large roasting pan combine green beans, beets and shallots. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss to coat.

Roast, uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes or until beans and beets are tender, stirring once or twice and adding walnuts during the last 10 to 15 minutes of roasting.

To serve, transfer roasted vegetables to a serving platter. Sprinkle with cheese.

Serves eight.

Lemon garlic mashed potatoes

3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks; 4 cloves garlic, halved; 2 tablespoon capers, (optional) drained and chopped; 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley; 2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel; 3 tablespoons olive oil; 2 tablespoons butter; 1½ teaspoons salt ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper; and 1 lemon half.

In a large saucepan cook potatoes and garlic in lightly salted boiling water, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.

Drain potatoes, reserving 1 cup water. Using a potato masher, mash potatoes to desired consistency. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, butter, salt, pepper and enough of the reserved liquid to reach the desired consistency. Stir to combine.

Transfer to serving dish. Top with capers, (if desired) parsley and lemon peel. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Squeeze lemon juice over before serving.

Serves 16.

Garlic rosemary dressing

1 (18 ounce) loaf rustic white bread, cut into 1-inch cubes, about 10 cups; 1 (18 ounce) loaf rustic whole wheat bread, cut into 1-inch cubes, about 10 cups; ½ cup salted butter; 2 pounds yellow onions, chopped (6½ cups); 6 stalks celery, chopped (3 cups); 2 teaspoons celery seed; 10 cloves garlic, minced; 4 large eggs, beaten; 3 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary leaves; 2 tablespoons finely chopped sage leaves; 3 cups turkey or chicken stock; 2½ teaspoons of salt; 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; ¼ cup olive oil; and 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread bread cubes in 2 shallow baking pans and toast for 15 minutes or until lightly golden, stirring frequently. Cool.

In a large skillet, heat butter over medium high heat. Add onions, celery and celery seeds and cook and stir until soft, about 10 minutes.

In a very large bowl combine garlic, eggs, rosemary and sage. Add 3 cups of the stock, salt and pepper. Working in batches, add toasted bread cubes and cooked onion mixture; gently toss to combine.

Divide dressing between2 lightly greased 3-quart baking dishes. Drizzle each dish with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cover dishes with foil; refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake stuffing, covered for 25 minutes. Remove cover and increase temperature to 375 degrees. Bake about 20 minutes more or until the tops are lightly browned and dressing is heated through. Stir 1 cup cranberries into mixture in each dish. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 12.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving and until next time keep Cooking on Purpose.

Connie Wendell can be reached at conniewendell27@gmail.com.

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