22 November 2016

Pre-Thanksgiving bonus: holiday flavors remix

I have posted many times over the years with my favorite traditional and slightly alternative recipes for Thanksgiving (here's last year's if you're into that sort of thing). But to be honest, I don't usually make this stuff anymore.  It's a short holiday and our families live far away, so we usually choose to spend it quietly at home eating a normal amount of food and catching up on grading and practicing.  That being said, I can't shake the annual nostalgia I feel around this time for certain flavors: wild rice, ginger bread, sage, pumpkin... So here are some ways to sprinkle some Thanksgiving dinner into your regular meals this week, or add a little variety to your big feast.

Curried Squash Galette
adapted from Food & Wine
Serves 6

1 refrigerated roll-out pie dough
1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 pound Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch-thick slices
1 red onion, cut through the core into 1/2-inch wedges
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons curry powder
salt and pepper
1/2 cup sour cream or thick plain yogurt
1/2 cup shredded Manchego, plus more for serving

Allow the pie crust to warm up slightly on the kitchen counter while you do this step:
Preheat the oven to 425°. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the butternut squash and the onion with the olive oil and curry powder. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the squash is tender but not falling apart. Let cool.

Increase the oven temperature to 450°. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 14-inch round. Carefully transfer to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Spread the sour cream over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese on top. Arrange the squash and onion, as well as the apple slices, over the sour cream and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese on top. Fold the pastry edge up and over the vegetables to create a 1 1/2-inch border.

Bake the squash galette for 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is browned; let cool slightly. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, cut into wedges and serve warm.

Wild Rice and Veggie Gratin
Serves 4-6

1 bunch black kale, stemmed and washed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
8 oz. button mushrooms, washed and sliced
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
3 eggs
½ cup unflavored milk
1 cup cooked wild rice mixture
3 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (3/4 cup)
¼ cup breadcrumbs

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add a generous amount of salt and add kale. Blanch for 2 to 3 minutes, remove from the water with a deep fry skimmer or a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl of cold water. Drain and, taking the greens up by the handful, squeeze hard to expel excess water. Chop medium-fine or cut in thin ribbons.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes, and add mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms begin to soften. Add salt to taste and continue to cook, stirring often, until the fennel is very tender and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and kale, stir together for another minute, then stir in dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 2-quart gratin or baking dish. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in milk and salt to taste (I use about 1/2 teaspoon). Stir in kale mixture, rice and Gruyère, and combine well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Scrape into baking dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top if using, and drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of oil. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until set and the top and sides are beginning to color. Remove from oven and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. This is good hot, warm, or room temperature.

Melissa Clark's Sticky Cranberry Gingerbread
Serves 8-10

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1 stick/4 ounces unsalted butter
⅔ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup milk
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup molasses
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together cranberries, granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Stir the cranberries over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and cranberries form a sauce that is syrupy and bubbling thickly, about 10 minutes. Aim to have about half the cranberries broken down, with the remainder more or less whole.

In a separate saucepan, stir together the butter, brown sugar, milk, maple syrup and molasses over medium heat. Bring it to just barely a simmer and then remove it from the heat. Do not let it come to a boil, or the mixture may curdle.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, baking soda and black pepper. Beat in the butter-maple syrup mixture and then beat in the eggs. Stir in the ginger.

Scrape the batter into the pan. Drop fat dollops of cranberry sauce onto the surface of the cake batter. Drag a long, slender knife through the batter in a swirly design, as if you are marbling a cake. Transfer the cake to the oven and bake it until the top is firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire baking rack and let the cake cool completely before eating it.

I just realized these are all carb-heavy dishes.  Oh well. It's winter.

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