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So What Are You Going to Bring?

November 21, 2001|ABBY MANDEL | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

What to bring to a Thanksgiving dinner? Consider dishes that are easy to serve and transport.

Smoked salmon tartare is a standard at my Thanksgiving dinners; it's special and flavorful but light when served on small slices of pickling cucumber.

I also like mashed root vegetables, a subtle delicious mix that can be reheated in the oven while the turkey rests on the counter. And it's hard to miss with Yankee Cranberry Apple Crisp that should be served warm with a scoop of ice cream.

Each recipe can be made ahead and doubled to serve a crowd.

Mashed Potatoes With Root Vegetables

Active Work Time: 20 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 1 hour

\o7 To make this mix perfectly smooth, cook the parsnip and celery root separately from the turnip and potato. Then it's easy to press the mashed parsnip and celery root through a sieve to remove every last bit of fiber.

\f7 *

3 cloves garlic, divided

1 parsnip (about 6 ounces), peeled, cut in 1 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 celery root (about 11 ounces), peeled, cut in 1 1/2-inch cubes

Salt

2 turnips (about 10 ounces total), peeled, cut in 2-inch cubes

2 large baking potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch cubes

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup (more or less as needed) milk or cream, warmed

Dash ground nutmeg

Freshly ground white pepper

*

Place 1 clove of garlic, the parsnip and celery root in a saucepan of salted water to cover.

In another saucepan, do the same with the remaining garlic, turnips and potatoes. Bring both to boil and cook, covered, until the vegetables are soft, about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain both. Puree the hot parsnip and celery root in a food processor; check for fiber. If there is any, press the puree through a sieve to remove it or pass it through a food mill.

Use a potato masher to mash the garlic, turnip and potatoes while hot; press through a sieve to remove any lumps or pass through a food mill.

Add the butter along with the puree. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the milk (or cream), the nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and white pepper to taste. Add more milk if the mixture is too thick.

Taste; adjust seasonings. (This can be served immediately or transferred to an ovenproof or microwave-proof casserole and refrigerated overnight. Serve hot. Reheat, covered, in a 375-degree oven for 20 minutes or microwave until hot, about 5 minutes, stirring midway.)

*

8 servings. Each serving: 105 calories; 112 mg sodium; 9 mg cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 18 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 2.63 grams fiber.

Yankee Cranberry Apple Crisp

Active Work Time: 45 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 2 hours plus 2 hours cooling

CRISP TOPPING

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut in pieces

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup pecans

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Place the butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and pecans in a food processor and process until the mixture is finely ground and crumbly without seeing any flour, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plastic food bag; place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

FRUIT

2 cups cranberries

1 cup granulated sugar, divided

1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest, divided

1/2 cup water

7 large tart apples (a mix of Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith), peeled, halved, cored, thinly sliced

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

*

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Set aside a 9-inch deep pie plate.

Place the cranberries, 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, orange zest, 1 teaspoon lemon zest and water in a small non-aluminum saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook until the cranberries are soft and the mixture starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the cranberries to the reserved pie plate. Spread them evenly over the bottom. Set aside.

Place the sliced apples in a large bowl. In a small dish, combine the flour, the remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, brown sugar, the remaining 1 teaspoon of lemon zest and the cinnamon. Add to the apples. Use your hands to toss the slices until uniformly coated. Transfer to the pie plate, mounding the apples slightly in the center (it's OK if the apples stand tall in the plate because they cook down).

Scatter the Crisp Topping evenly over the surface of the apples. Gently press into place. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet (to catch any juices).

Bake the crisp until browned with visible juices, about 50 to 60 minutes, tenting it lightly with foil if the surface gets too dark. Transfer to wire rack to cool at least 2 hours before serving for juices to thicken. (The crisp can be stored overnight at cool temperature; do not refrigerate.) To serve, serve warm. Reheat, uncovered, in a 350-degree oven until warmed through, about 15 minutes. Spoon on dessert plates; top with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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