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Archive for June, 2009

In my family, Thanksgiving dinner is such an important meal, we actually have a “turkey dinner,” as my Dad calls it, for Christmas, too. As a non-turkey eater, Thanksgiving doesn’t exactly set my heart afire, having–for better or worse–had my former obsession with Pilsbury Crescent Rolls, a longstanding holiday staple, wane significantly over the years.

That said, one can still construct a delicious and memorable non-meat plate from the Thanksgiving staples. And, setting aside my commitment to eating out as the less stressful (peace out, dishes), cheaper (have you tried to buy non-Kraft cheese lately?), and more delicious (ok, only sometimes true) approach to feeding myself, I decided to cook up some of my most combinable favorites on Sunday: brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes.

As much as the meal, itself, the key to delicious Thanksgiving-type food is the meal’s projected/imagined later deliciousness, as leftovers. It now being a day later, I have feasted again on the Sunday bounty, so am feeling a light wave of success, which is why I share the recipes, here, with the idea of cooking them together being a good, fairly simple veggie dinner option. Key to liking this somewhat odd and/or incomplete pairing is holding the belief that meals should ideally be comprised of equal parts starch, veggie, and fat, hopefully with some protein part and parcel (say, beans). Without further ado, I present:

Vegetarian Partial Thanksgiving Dinner Meal

Brussel Sprouts

  • I plastic square container Brussel sprouts (1/2 pound?), quartered
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 3 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 2 big shallots, sliced
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • splash of water

Add butter to a medium saucepan that’s got some depth/high sides and sautee your shallots on medium heat until they’re soft. Be sure to salt the bejesus out of them. Then, add in the vinegar and honey and let the shallots melt into themselves and get a little caramel-colored.

Throw these in your medium-large serving bowl once not burning hot.

In the same pan, add the olive oil and quartered brussel sprouts. Cook for 10 mins on medium-high heat, stirring no more than every 2 mins to ensure your mini-cabbages have time to properly brown on the edges (but do keep a nose out for burning smells). Pour on a splash of water (3 TBSP?) and let them cook for another 2-3 minutes, making sure you quit when the sprouts are still bright green.

Toss these into your shallot-filled serving bowl, and voila!

Spinach-Garlic Smashed Potatoes

  • 1 lb. red potatoes, the smaller the better (more delicious, nutritious skins)
  • 3 TBS butter
  • I bunch of baby spinach, stems removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 TBSP olive oil

Bring a big pot of water to a boil and throw in whole (or halved, if they’re bigger) red potatoes after scrubbing them well. Boil until very soft (but before skins start floating scum-like to the water’s surface…), adding in the washed spinach leaves for the final 1 minute of cooking, to wilt them.

Drain potatoes and spinach in a colander, and return them to the pot, smashing them up with a large fork.

Use your brussel sprout pan to heat up the TBSP of olive oil. Add the sliced garlic and sautee for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Pour garlic into the pot full of potatoes and spinach, mashing and salting the mixture.

Now serve the two together, contemplating the intensifying of flavors a little mellow refrigerator time will impart to each dish for later!

NB: Brussels sprouts smell baffilingly and succulently of fresh popcorn when cooked in butter.

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