Saturday, November 12, 2005

Thanksgiving Deserves Better...Recipes You Really Should Try at Least Once

I'm a fan of the live turkey bird. I'm partial to the dead bird, too, but I want her to have lived a fabulous organic lifestyle, full of rambles in the woods and nutritious nuts and berries untainted by the polluting hand of man. I also love turkey leftovers but am not inclined to create leftover turkey tetrazzini, turkey soup or turkey timbales. I like it on the day, hot and not dried out, and lovingly roasted, carefully basted and fussed over in my convection oven (said oven has taken me three years to get used to, but I'm now 100% sold on them). Then I like it for a few more days, cool and in a sandwich with mayo or my favorite cranberry recipe.

This posting is my first of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes. It's taken me years to put together my Thanksgiving Day menu. Some years it includes a couple of these items, other years all of them. Each year my daughter and I try one new recipe. Dearest son is in NY and I'm hoping he and his dearest S.O. will send me a recipe or two because those two can cook...seriously cook. Impressive, really, because they seriously cook in a tiny NY kitchen. My daughter is a seriously good cook, as well. Both of my kids are far more imaginative in the kitchen than I am, due in part I think, to me being a kid in the 50s and 60s when food in the average UK and US kitchen wasn't terribly exciting. They've been exposed to far more exotic foods far earlier than I ever was. And now I've gotten to the stage in my cooking life where I've got to be seriously motivated to cook something new and complicated before I'll haul out long-lost pans that are recipe specific.

Now I'm going to leave you with the first of my must-try recipes. If not for Thanksgiving, then try at Christmas. They all go beautifully with a Christmas goose (my family's personal favorite) or a roast beast and always with the turkey.

Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Sauce
So easy, so delicious, it easily trumps any other cranberry relish in my book. I was given this recipe by dear friends, George & Kathleen Malone, soon to be leaving Apalachicola, FL for Asheville, NC. People either love it or hate it. Dotty's family loves it.

2 cups raw cranberries
1 small onion (not tiny like a pickling onion, but not huge like a vidalia)
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tbsp white horseradish (prepared) I generally use double the amount the recipe calls for

Grind the onion and cranberries together in a food processor or blender.
Add the other ingredients and mix well. Put in a plastic container and freeze.
One hour before servicing, move to the refrigerator to soften. It always takes me longer. I take it out of the freezer at least four hours before dinner.

Interesting fact: Susan Stamberg, former co-host of National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" used to broadcast this recipe every year around Thanksgiving. She claimed it was her mother's, but it turend out that her mother got it from a Craig Claiborne column many years before. Very few people are neutral about this unusual, rather strong relish, they eiether love it or hate it. I'm in the former group. This relish is shocking pink(sort of pepto bismal(ly)) in color which definitely shakes things up at the table.


Blogger Crystal said...

My husband is really imaginative in the kitchen as well, I'm very lucky because he's a great cook. I agree that upbringing has a lot to do with it, he's from Yugoslavia and over there everything is made from scratch pretty much, he doesn't like eating "food that comes in a bag". I like that new "Everyday with Rachel Ray" magazine, her recipes are really accessible.

6:17 PM  
Blogger junebee said...

I'm a sucker for the canned cranberry jelly! Anything else just isn't Thanksgiving to me! (I know, you're wincing just to read that!)

6:59 PM  
Blogger JB said...

Oooohh, I'm going to pass that one along to my guy. He loves to make homemade cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving!

8:44 AM  

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