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Thursday, November 19,2009

Thanksgiving meal ideas

Keep the turkey traditional, but experiment with side dishes

By Susan M. Selasky

With Thanksgiving only days away, beautiful, golden-brown roasted turkeys are the eye candy on the covers of many magazines.

Some have put different spins on traditional holiday foods, but most are not reinventing the turkey-roasting wheel this year. They’re sticking to the basics — herb-seasoned and salt-and-pepper-seasoned birds.

Some magazines offer side dish and dessert ideas, which many folks use to add a new twist to the holiday meal. Here is a glimpse inside a few magazines this month:

Bon Appetit: Thanksgiving is made easy with 10 sample menus and recipes keyed with four strategies: Make ahead, show off, quick and easy, and take along. It offers three flavor spins on turkey, as well as stuffing, sides, breads, potatoes, relishes and desserts. There are healthy holiday foods, entertainment ideas and 68 recipes to mix and match. Worth trying is the Brussels Sprout Slaw with Mustard Dressing and Maple-Glazed Pecans (recipe below). You can make most of it in advance.

Martha Stewart Living: As the cover says: “Thanksgiving, simple and sensational.” The magazine has it all — from table settings to that quick-roast turkey to a traditional whole roasted turkey. And there are plenty of side dishes — from Marinated Cauliflower Salad to Roasted Parsnip Bread Pudding, along with mashed potato and stuffing recipes. Pie 1-2-3 is a highlight that gives the goods on making several flavors of pie dough. The magazine’s take on pumpkin pie this year is to use a press-in shortbread crust.

Fine Cooking: The editors suggest a simple, basic Thanksgiving done just right. The magazine highlights turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. If you can master these, it says, “the rest will be easy.” It features a dry-rubbed roasted turkey with a simple pan gravy that is seasoned overnight in the refrigerator so the skin dries and it crisps up nicely. Worth trying is Pomegranate-Balsamic-Glazed Carrots (recipe below).

Brussels Sprout Slaw with Mustard Dressing and Maple-Glazed Pecans

Serves: 8 / Preparation time: 20 minutes / Total time: 40 minutes (plus marinating time) All the components of this slaw can be made in advance and assembled before serving.

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup large pecan halves
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon coarse
kosher salt plus additional for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black
pepper
1/4 cup regular Dijon or whole-grain
Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Spray large sheet of foil with nonstick spray. Set aside. Place pecans on small rimmed baking sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk the maple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour over the pecans and toss to coat; spread in single layer.

Bake nuts 5 minutes. Stir. Continue to bake nuts until toasted and glaze is bubbling thickly, about 6 minutes. Immediately transfer nuts to prepared foil and separate. Cool completely. You can make these two days ahead and store in an airtight container.

In another small bowl or glass measure, whisk mustard, vinegar, lemon juice and sugar; whisk in oil. Season with coarse salt and pepper as desired.

Bring large pot of water to boil. Add 1 tablespoon coarse salt. Add the Brussels sprouts. Cook until crisp-tender and still bright green, about 3-5 minutes, depending on size.

Drain and immediately rinse with cold water. Cool on paper towels. Using processor fitted with 1/8- to 1/4-inch slicing disk, slice the Brussels sprouts. Transfer to large bowl.

Dressing and Brussels sprouts can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately; chill.

Toss Brussels sprouts with enough dressing to coat. Let marinate 30 to 60 minutes. Mix in some pecans. Place slaw in serving bowl. Top with remaining pecans.

Adapted from Bon Appetit, November 2009 issue. Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. 223 calories (68 percent from fat), 17 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat), 17 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams prohtein, 180 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 grams fiber.

Pomegranate-Balsamic- Glazed Carrots

Serves: 8 / Preparation time: 15 minutes / Total time: 50 minutes Cut the carrots and prepare the rest of your ingredients up to six hours ahead. Cook the dish just before serving.

1/4 cup pure pomegranate juice (or use
a cherry-pomegranate blend)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds carrots, trimmed, peeled and
cut into sticks about 2 inches long and
3/8-inch wide
Kosher salt
1/3 cup lower-salt chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons lightly packed fresh
chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, tarragon
or mint

In a glass measure whisk the juice, vinegar and honey. Cut 1 tablespoon of the butter into 4 pieces and refrigerate.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted, add the carrots and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt and toss well to coat.

Cook without stirring until the bottom layer of carrots is lightly browned in spots, 4 to 5 minutes. Using tongs, stir and flip the carrots and then leave undisturbed for 1 to 2 minutes to brown.

Continue cooking, occasionally stirring and flipping, until most of the carrots are a bit browned in places and are starting to feel tender, an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium if the bottom of the pan begins to brown too much.

Carefully add the chicken broth, cover quickly, and cook until all but about 1 tablespoon of the broth has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Uncover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the pomegranate mixture (rewhisk, if necessary) and the cayenne.

Cook, stirring gently, until the mixture reduces and becomes slightly glazy, about 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat, add the chilled butter and gently toss with a heatproof spatula until the butter has melted, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and stir in about two-thirds of the herbs. Serve in a warm shallow bowl or on a platter, garnished with the remaining herbs.

From Fine Cooking, October/November 2009. Tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen. 110 calories (57 percent from fat), 7 grams fat (2.5 grams sat. fat), 13 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 280 mg sodium, 10 mg cholesterol, 3 grams fiber.

Walnut Rice

Serves: 2 / Preparation time: 20 minutes / Total time: 20 minutes 1/2 cup long grain white rice 1 teaspoon olive oil 1 garlic clove, crushed 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts Salt and freshly ground black pepper Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add rice and cook 10 minutes. Remove about 3 tablespoons water from the rice and mix with olive oil and garlic. Drain the rice. Toss with olive oil mixture and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

From and tested by Linda Gassenheimer.

243 calories (27 percent from fat), 7 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat), 39 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 7 mg sodium, 0 mg cholesterol, 1 gram fiber.

(c) 2009, Detroit Free Press. Visit the Freep, the World Wide Web site of the Detroit Free Press, at http://www.freep.com —MCT

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