How do you elevate sweet potatoes from a homely supporting role to a empyrean star-making turn? Yotam Ottolenghi. He is one of the world’s most beloved culinary talents with a wholly original approach to vegetarian cooking. With his Jerusalem cookbook to guide me during my last dinner party, I attempted his recipe of Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Fresh Figs. This is a simple dish (sweet potatoes, green onions, figs and balsamic reduction) yet it duped my taste buds. The figs were sweet, moist and ripe. The balsamic reduction was very effective, both for the look and for rounding up the flavours. The unusual combination of fresh fruit and roasted vegetables was delicious and left me wanting more. And it was by far the best thing I ate this month.
Who knew I could bake? For this early Thanksgiving dinner I attempted a Salted Caramel Apple-Pear Tart from Fine Cooking Magazine. It looked great (if I do say so myself) and was not too arduous. This lattice-topped tart combined fall fruit with cardamom. Salted caramel tied the flavours together and large-crystal sanding sugar on the lattice added crunch. The Classic Pumpkin Pie, also from Fine Cooking Magazine, had a flaky, buttery crust and a creamy, spiced pumpkin filling.
The other standout dish was the Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Caramelized Onions (again from Fine Cooking Magazine) which was flavoured with thyme and a little cider vinegar. The soft and sweet onions nestled into the tender, roasted sprouts, so you got a taste of them with every bite.
I swear I’m not sponsored by Fine Cooking Magazine but I have to say that it was a nice having them by my side whilst cooking this whole feast.
Every year I vow to throw a Thanksgiving feast that will outdo all feast. I act as the chief executive gourmand presiding over a meal that I hope friends and family alike will love. For me, Thanksgiving is more than a culinary tradition. It is a day a day to pause, reflect and humbly offer thanks for our health and well-being. And the football and the food don’t hurt. Check-out this year’s recipes.
Food & Wine’s Apricot-Glazed Turkey
Bon Appétit’s Classic Dressing
Food & Drink Magazine’s Warm Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad with Roquefort & Hazelnuts
Cook’s Illustrated Best Turkey Gravy
Bon Appétit’s Cranberry Sauce with Vanilla Bean and Cardamom
Thanking is important. Giving is essential. That’s why Thanksgiving is just simply the perfect holiday. Not overly commercial, no need to buy gifts, the drama is at a minimum and it’s mostly about the food. And that’s the way I like it.
I love Thanksgiving so much that I celebrate it twice. Canadian Thanksgiving in October with my family and American Thanksgiving in November with my friends. The double holiday gives me an opportunity to cook some of my favourite food and watch some football. So without further ado, check out my Canadian thanksgiving family feast below!
If there is a dish that I couldn’t care less about it’s mashed potatoes. Never been my favourite. But my mom and sister covet them with such intensity that I make sure that the spuds I serve are first-class. I try and keep it simple. This recipe is for Rosemary Mashed Potatoes from Bon Appétit magazine. And there’s usually a healthy portion left over for take away (cause I certainly won’t be eating them).
Maple- and Tangerine Glazed Carrots from (where else?) Bon Appétit magazine are easy to make. A pinch of cayenne pepper adds a little bit of a kick to them.
I quite liked these green beans and will probably make them again. Cook the green beans and then toss them with a vinaigrette. Pretty simple. Check out the recipe for Green Beans and Walnuts with Lemon Vinaigrette.
The stuffing was not the best in the world but my family enjoyed it. I usually make the stuffing from scratch using country bread but I ran out of time. I used Marcy’s Gourmet Stuffing Mix from Costco.
I dont eat cranberry sauce other than this one. Check out the recipe for Cranberry Sauce with Vanilla Bean and Cardamom.
And for the finale, my mom made pies. Sugar and pumpkin. They were both delicious (as usual).
That marked the end of Canadian Thanksgiving 2012 and we were all officially stuffed. One Thanksgiving down, one more to go. And for that (and may other things), I am thankful.