Though I'm always interested in new things to make with holiday leftovers, I love the classics, and this turkey salad with grapes and walnuts is a classic-in-the-making. Nothing complicated here. Just a basic, really good salad of turkey cut into big chunks, with a sharp vinaigrette, a kind of Waldorf salad send-up. In case, like me, you're too tired to do any more fancy cooking after preparing the holiday meal, marshalling the kitchen helpers and table setters, and overseeing the clean-up contingent, know that you can count on this salad on the day after, or any day.
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Fun with sweet potatoes, all week.
Some families hold mashed sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows sacrosanct. My family, thank the food gods, is not one of them. We're more savory than sweet, at least when it comes to what we eat, which makes these mashed garlic sweet potatoes scented with ginger and coriander a much better fit for us. The sage plants in my garden survive well past the first snow, and I love having leaves to fry for an edible garnish. If you don't have sage, substitute fresh parsley, rosemary or thyme. (Simon and Garfunkel will be delighted.) Leftover mashed sweet potatoes make a great filling for potstickers, or a topping for shepherd's pie.
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Not all that long ago, I had room in my brain for all the details I wanted to store there: birthdays, phone numbers, shopping lists, passwords, my car's license plate number, and the high-point three-letter Scrabble words. I also remembered who among my family and friends didn't eat strawberries, black olives, fish, dairy, stinky cheese, or green vegetables (bet you can guess that last one). Someone doesn't love mushrooms. I can't remember who, but I feel sorry for that person, because he (I'm certain it's a he) will miss out on this irresistible whole wheat mushroom mac and cheese when it appears on my Thanksgiving buffet this year. Whole wheat pasta isn't my favorite, but paired with woodsy cremini mushrooms and thyme from my garden, along with Gruyere or Danish fontina cheese, the more dense pasta seems so right. Serve this mac and cheese as a hearty vegetarian main course, or a side dish for any holiday meal.
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What happens when a good recipe goes kerplooie? You end up with two good recipes. Kathy and I were aiming for these beautiful slow cooker baked apples when, the first time around, we left them in a bit too long. The apples burst in the cooker, and with some gentle encouragement from a wooden spoon, the large remaining chunks became spoon-sized chunks and the whole thing morphed into the most indulgently rich applesauce. I decided to share both recipes with you -- the one we intended to make, which worked perfectly the second time around, and the one we made by accident, so good that we made it again on purpose. If you don't have a 7-quart slow cooker (CrockPot), buy smaller apples that will fit into a 6-quart cooker. Baked apples or applesauce, laced with dried cranberries and crunchy granola and brown sugar -- only one thing could make them better -- a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting slowly on top.
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