Something about Thanksgiving…

Music: Spoon – I Summon You

A few years ago, while I was in graduate school in San Francisco, I couldn’t make it home for Thanksgiving.  I decided to have a small gathering of friends and my cousin Tom (who made a terrific turkey) over my apartment to celebrate the holiday. Orphan Thanksgiving included Tom, my friend Casey, his brother Evan, their friends and a celebrity animal whisperer.  It was my first attempt at hosting Thanksgiving and I really enjoyed it. There won’t be pictures yet because I haven’t made the food this year, but once I do I will post. I have no idea where these recipes came from and I wish I could pay homage to their origins.  What you’ll find here are a bunch of suggestions for great sides to serve 8-10 people. Enjoy!

James’s Infamous Cornbread – 8 oz. container of Sour Cream, 1 cup Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, 1 stick of butter, 15 oz can Creamed Corn, 15 oz can Kernal Corn.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place stick of butter on 9-inch square cake pan. Let melt while oven pre-heats. Remove when butter is fully melted.
  • In a mixing bowl beat sour cream, cans of corn, muffin mix and melted butter.
  • Place in cake pan and cook for 30 minutes. Raise oven to 400 degrees and cook for remaining 10 minutes until top is golden brown.

Butternut Squash Mash – 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut in pieces, 1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley, 1 large onion, 1/2 cup butter, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar, 2 cloves of garlic, salt & pepper, breadcrumbs, gruyere shredded.

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Half butternut squash and put on baking pan. Remove seeds and season with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Put one clove of garlic in the belly of each squash. Bake until soft (at least and hour). Lower oven to 350 degrees.
  • When finished, let cool – you’ll need to be able to handle the squash in order to scoop out the squash pulp.  Take out 2 cloves of roasted garlic and put aside.
  • Chop onions.
  • In a skillet, melt butter and saute onions.  Add parsley at the end of the saute.
  • In a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon of butter.  When butter melts, add breadcrumbs and grated cheese.  Stir until the cheese is slightly melted.
  • Mash the butternut squash and roasted garlic with a potato masher.  Add two tablespoons of butter. Salt and pepper to taste.  Add the onions and parsley.  Add the brown sugar.  Mash together, gently.
  • Spoon mixture into a baking dish.  Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture over the top.
  • Bake in a for 30 minutes.

Serena’s Cauliflower Casserole – 1 cauliflower, 1 cup milk, 4 tbsp. butter, 3 tbsp. flour, 1/3 c. Gruyere cheese, grated — You’ll use some for the topping, salt and pepper, 1/2 c. bread crumbs

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Butter a casserole dish.
  • Clean cauliflower by cutting off the green leaves.  Cut off the stem and break cauliflower into flowerettes.   Submerge cauliflower pieces into a large bowl of water.  Swish and rinse, and drain water off the cauliflower.  Do this a couple of times to be sure that the cauliflower is clean.
  • Steam cauliflower in a pot of water w/a steamer tray (if you have
    one).  Bring to a boil.  Turn it off and leave it on the burner while you
    prepare the white sauce.
  • Make a roux by melting the butter, adding the flour.  Add the milk and stir until the whisk is coated.  Add 3 tbsp. grated cheese.  Stir.
  • Mix the cauliflower with the white sauce.  Pour into the buttered casserole dish.
  • Make the topping by melting the butter and adding bread crumbs.  Once the breadcrumbs are in, stir in the 1 tbsp. grated cheese.
  • Top the cauliflower mixture with the breadcrumbs.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until bubbling.

Mushroom Stuffing – 2 loaves of sandwich bread (crusts cut off and but into 1 inch cubes – I’ve also used baguettes with crust and it comes out nice and crunchy), 2 boxes of button mushrooms sliced, 2 chopped shallot, 2 beaten egg, 1-2 cups of chicken stock, 1 stick of butter, 2 tbsp of finely chopped thyme and rosemary each, salt and pepper, (1/3 cup of roasted chestnuts – optional).

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • With a paring knife, cut an “X” in top of chestnut. Soak chestnuts in water for 15 minutes.
  • Arrange on baking sheet and roast until shell begins to fall away (around 15 minutes).
  • Remove chestnuts from shells (careful they will be hot) and coarsely chop.
  • Arrange breadcrumbs on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toast bread crumbs on baking sheet until golden brown (think crouton) for about 4 minutes and put aside in large mixing bowl.
  • In a skillet heat 2 tablespoons of butter. Add shallots and cook until translucent.
  • Add 4 more tablespoons of butter and wait until melted before adding mushrooms. Cook for 7-8 minutes. Add mushrooms and shallots to mixing bowl with breadcrumbs.
  • Add thyme, rosemary and chestnuts and mix all together.
  • Heat chicken stock in small saucepan and pour over breadcrumb mixture and mix together until bread absorbs liquids.
  • Gently beat 2 eggs and salt and pepper.  Pour over breadcrumb mixture and stir together.
  • Butter casserole dish.
  • Put mixture in casserole dish. Cook in oven and bake until brown (30-45 minutes).

Cranberry Sauce – 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, I bag of cranberries, 1 teaspoon of orange zest, ½ tsp. of ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp. of ground allspice, ¼ tsp. ground cloves, ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg, ½ tsp. of fresh grated ginger.

  • In a medium saucepan bring water and sugar to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  • Add cranberries and simmer until berries pop for about 12 minutes.
  • Stir in zest, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg.
  • Cool in pot and add ginger. Refrigerate.
  • Can be made a day before.

Garlic and Leek Mashed Potatoes – 2 chopped leeks (white and light green parts) cleaned and chopped, 8 Russet potatoes peeled and cubes, half a head of garlic, 2 medium sized shallots chopped, 5 cups of chicken broth, 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of heavy cream, ¼ tsp. of nutmeg, salt & pepper.

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Wrap garlic in tin foil and roast in oven for 15 minutes until garlic is soft and lightly brown.
  • In small sauce pan add all the chicken stock. Simmer stock over low heat (no need to boil).
  • In a large pot over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp. of butter.
  • Add shallots and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add leeks and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup of chicken stock and cover. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Remove garlic from oven and add to shallots and leeks.
  • Add mixture to food processor and process until it forms a paste. Add another cup of chicken stock if necessary.
  • In same pot add cubed potatoes with 3 cups of chicken broth.  Cook for 15 minutes until potatoes are tender. Drain and place potatoes back in large pot.
  • In small sauce pan, melt remaining butter (6 tbsp.). Add heavy cream, nutmeg, salt & pepper.
  • Pour milk mixture over potatoes.  Add leek/garlic/shallot mixture over potatoes as well.
  • Mash well.
  • Add to baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.



Filed under Breads, Butternut Squash, Cauliflower, Potatoes, Recipes, Sides, Travel Spot

6 responses to “Something about Thanksgiving…

  1. Casey Ryan

    Jess –

    I remember that Thanksgiving so well. What an awesome place that was – good times all around

    Evan and I are attending a similar gathering at Mr. and Mrs. Okasha’s place tomorrow. We’ll be leveraging your squash and mashers recipes. Thanks!

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  5. Rosanne Tancredi

    Hi Jess, Going through your receipts and came upon your Butternut Squash receipt. which I loved because I make this every year for Thanksgiving. This is your Grandma Rose’s receipt. The only ingredient left out, was a touch of nutmeg. Love Aunt RoRo

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