A Thanksgiving Feast To Remember

By on Sunday, 23rd October 2011

Are you investing the time and effort to prepare Thanksgiving dinner?

You could make it memorable by making each course better than your family and guests are used to getting anywhere!

And you could do that by adopting the easy recipes and following the advice served up on The Early Show Thanksgiving morning by prominent New York chef Elizabeth Karmel, who’s also a cookbook author.

Karmel is executive chef of the Hill Country restaurant.

She cooked and taught and demonstrated throughout the show, so you can prepare a meal sure to please — and then some!

The recipes she shared are designed to be simple, and use easy-to-find ingredients.

Her topics:

  • Easy Appetizers
  • Turkey Trauma
  • Stuffing & Mashed Potatoes 101
  • Sexy Sides

    EASY APPETIZERS

    It’s true that Thanksgiving is all about the turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberries. But hungry guests are going to need some snacks before dinner.

    Deciding which appetizers to serve is always a challenge: You don’t want anything too rich that’s going to fill people up before the main events, and you certainly don’t want time-consuming recipes — you have enough work to do as it is!

    Elizabeth had four appetizer suggestions that meet both of those challenges beautifully.

    They include:
  • Mustard Dip w/ Raw Veggies
  • Cheddar and Cayenne Cheese Straws
  • Sugar & Spice Pecans
  • Tumbled Tomatoes with Herbs

    RECIPES

    Alan’s Mustard Dip for Raw Vegetables


    Makes 1-3/4 cups

    1 cup mayonnaise, preferably Hellmann’s
    1/2 cup strong Dijon mustard, such as Grey Poupon, Maille, or Amora
    1 heaping tablespoon whole-grain French mustard, such as Pommery or Maille
    2-1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
    Freshly ground pepper
    Assortment of cut raw vegetables, such as carrots, celery, white mushrooms, red and yellow bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, blanched asparagus, and sugar snap peas (about two pounds total)

    In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise and mustards until creamy and well combined. Add the garlic and pepper to taste (you will not need to add salt as the mayo and mustards are salty on their own).
    Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. Serve with raw veggies of your choice. The dip can be made up to 1 week in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator.

    Tip: Alan’s original recipe only called for mayo and Grey Poupon mustard (a very exotic ingredient for Greensboro, N.C., in the 1970s). Over the years, I added a whole-gain French Mustard-Moutarde de Meaux from Pommery is my favorite-to add texture and create a slightly more tangy and complex flavor. The dip is delicious either way-smooth or grainy.

    Recipe adapted from “Taming the Flame,” by Elizabeth Karmel
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2005, $24.95)


    Longhorn Cheddar and Cayenne Cheese Straws

    2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
    1/2 pound Cabot extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated by hand
    1/2 pound Vermont Grafton white cheddar, grated by hand
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons paprika
    1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (to taste)
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 cups rice crispies cereal

    Mix first six ingredients with a fork until all the ingredients are well distributed. It will be a stiff dough. Add rice crispies and mix until evenly distributed.
    Cover and chill for 2 hours. Roll into small balls or logs, put on ungreased cookie sheet and mash with a fork in a criss-cross pattern. (Note: we may want to pipe these out.)
    Bake at 325¡ãF for about 15 minutes or until golden on the edges.
    Cool and store in an airtight container.

    Recipe adapted from “Pizza on the Grill: 100 Feisty Fire- Roasted Recipes for Pizza & More,” by Elizabeth Karmel and Bob Blumer (The Taunton Press, 2008, $16)

    Elizabeth’s Soon-to-be-Famous Sugar & Spice Pecans

    Makes 1 pound

    1/3 Cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
    2/3 Cup granulated sugar
    1 Teaspoon kosher salt
    1/4 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 Large egg white, at room temperature
    1 Tablespoon water
    1 Pound pecan halves

    Preheat the oven to 300¡ãF.
    Mix together the sugars, salt, cayenne, and cinnamon; set aside. Beat the egg white until frothy but not stiff in a medium bowl, add the water and stir until combined Add the pecans and stir to coat evenly. Sprinkle with the sugar mixture and stir until evenly coated.
    Spread the sugared nuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet fitted with a silicone liner or parchment paper.
    Bake until the sugar coating is crusty and dry, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally as needed.
    Remove from the oven and separate the nuts as they cool. Let cool for at least an hour before serving. These will keep, tightly covered, at room temperature for up to a month, though we guarantee they will disappear long before then!

    Tumbled Tomatoes with Mediterranean Herbs>
    1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
    1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
    1/2 teaspoon dehydrated garlic
    2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes (This time of year, try the Santa Claus variety)

    Mix herbs, put in a salt grinder or pulverize slightly in a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have either, just skip that step.

    Wash tomatoes in cold water and remove all excess water, but do not dry. Place tomatoes in a bowl that is large enough so the tomatoes have room to be tumbled. Toss tomatoes with herb mixture until they are evenly coated. Refrigerate, tossing and “tumbling” in the bowl occasionally until all water is evaporated. Once the water has dried, the herb and salt mixture will form a crust on the tomatoes. Serve Chilled.

    Note: The tomatoes keep for 2-3 days uncovered in the refrigerator-if they last that long-so make the full recipe and keep them on hand as a healthy snack, the drier and crustier the salt and herb coating, the better they taste.

    Serves 4-6

    For tips to help overcome “Turkey Trauma,” go to Page 2.


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