Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving "Sides"

I had issues trying to find a vegetable casserole to bring our host for Thanksgiving. All the recipes seemed to be rife with cream, cheese, and a can of mushroom soup. I love cream and cheese as much as the next person, but with mashed potatoes, gravy AND stuffing, you can go a little overboard. I want to try one of the lower-cal broccoli recipes at home first. Wasn't sure if it was take-worthy. I have a a Brussels sprouts recipe with craisins and mustard, but need to try out that one too. Many people are not fond of Brussels sprouts. My children, for example.

What I decided to cook is a made-from-scratch green bean casserole. Fresh beans, fresh mushooms, a home-made white sauce and then, well-not-quite-from scratch, the Durkee Onions. Very little cream. Hard to beat the onions. Roche Brothers had nice-looking green beans for 99 cents a pound.

For a dessert I'm taking something called a pear/cranberry butter crunch. Sounds like a winner.
At least it's got fruit.

Tonight we're experimenting with two different varieties of squash and a new recipe. Also making chicken that calls for fresh sage. I have a SAGE bush, in spite of the fact that I divided it in the spring.

I have some great holiday recipes and more to try. Used to make orange shells stuffed with sweet potatoes, but that would get a little pricey with oranges a buck apiece. The supermarket no longer carried Mrs. Paul's frozen sweet potatoes. No frozen sweet potatoes, in fact. WTF?

Well, this is New England where everyone likes center entrance colonials, flour tortillas and squash. Whatchagonna do? On Saturday, I'll pick up some squash at the prepped food counter. They do a good job on it. Butter, anyone?

I found a recipe for stuffed escarole. Sound rather intriguing. We finished up the goulash soup last night. After sitting for two days, it was perfecto-garcia. My "secret" is 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika, one of hot and one of smoked. We're a paprika friendly household. And always a teaspoon of caraway seed.

The people at the banquet last Saturday who thought the carrot soup too spicey would have howled in pain when they tasted my goulash soup. Again, spicey seems to be a condition a lot of New Englanders can't tolerate. The home of the bean and the cod, both somewhat bland. Clam chowder anyone? I love a meal where you keep the Kleenex on the table and a pitcher of water at hand. Ole!

Regional differences still abound. Someone referred to the airy spaces of a local hotel as a "fishbowl." Aha! Thought I. Another New Englander who likes small windows, chopped up dark rooms and Cape Cod style houses. We are the only house in our neighborhood who popped out the faux window dividers. Now instead of 6 panes, we have one. I love modern architecture. Living in the wrong area. Even living in the wrong century.

Enough New England bashing. After all, I have the slough, the Scottish Highland Cattle, a lot of neighborhood "burying grounds," and Old Ironsides. Whale watches. Newport. There's a lot to like. Happy Thanksgiving.

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