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November 16, 2014

Warm Brussels sprouts, almond and goat cheese salad with maple mustard dressing {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Warm Brussels sprouts salad with almonds and goat cheese. #Thanksgiving #vegetarian #glutenfree

I'd forgotten how much my husband Ted loves Brussels sprouts until I watched him devour a bowl of this salad for lunch the other day. I don't love them quite as much, but I could bathe in the warm maple syrup and mustard dressing that gives these particular Brussels sprouts their sweet, tangy character. Country-style grainy Dijon, speckled with whole mustard seeds, adds texture to the dressing, which is made right in the pan with the vegetables. For a holiday meal, do your prep ahead of time, and cook the sprouts at the last minute. The heat of the sprouts will melt the cheese just a little bit. If you don't like goat cheese, use feta, or omit cheese for a vegan salad. Substitute cashews or pecans for the almonds. You'll want to serve this salad warm -- not hot, and definitely not cold. It's perfect for the holiday table, yet quick and easy enough for an everyday side dish with chicken, fish, or steak.

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November 12, 2014

Creamy mushroom gravy {vegetarian, gluten-free}

Creamy mushroom gravy, #vegetarian and #glutenfree.

Uh-oh. You just found out a couple of vegetarians are coming for Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving, the most turkey-centric holiday of the year. Do not be afraid; you really can provide your non-meat-eating guests with the same great holiday experience as the carnivores. After all, Thanksgiving is about the side dishes: mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce. And all of those are basically meatless, except the gravy. Here's a great vegetarian alternative, one I always serve in addition to traditional turkey gravy. A mix of wild mushrooms gives this gravy the "meaty" richness of turkey drippings; cream and a cornstarch slurry add the requisite viscosity to slither over mounds of mashed potatoes and stuffing. Make this a few days ahead, and store in the refrigerator in a tightly-closed container. Reheat before serving, and season as needed with salt and pepper. (For more vegetarian-friendly holiday recipes, including main dishes that everyone will enjoy, check out my e-cookbook, Meatless Holidays.)

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November 9, 2014

40 fabulous recipes for Thanksgiving side dishes

40 fabulous Thanksgiving side dishes: some classic, some new.

Turkey. I can take it or leave it. For me, Thanksgiving is all about the side dishes, the must-haves (mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, stuffing) and the new recipes we grant an audition each year. Some will make the cut, and become permanent fixtures on the holiday table. Others will pass into family lore (remember the year she made that weird whatever-it-was?). The story of the jellied cranberry sauce I unmolded over the sink, only to watch the entire thing slide off the platter and down the drain, continues to amuse my family; that was my one and only experiment with molded cranberry sauce. Still, those of us who prepare the meal keep exploring new possibilities to bring diversity to the menu. If you are one of those explorers, this list of classic and not-yet-classic Thanksgiving side dishes is for you. I'd love to try all of them. There are so many possibilities, and I haven't even tackled cranberry sauce, salads or soups. For many more ideas, check out The Perfect Pantry's Thanksgiving recipes, an eclectic and fun recipe collection.

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October 29, 2014

Apple raisin walnut spice muffins

Apple raisin walnut spice muffins, for Thanksgiving or for afternoon tea.

First, I have to tell you that these muffins freeze well. I know that because the only way my husband Ted and I could stop eating them was to hide them way in the back of the freezer, out of sight and buried too deeply for an easy grab. I have a soft spot for baked apples and the aroma that permeates the house when I have anything apple in the oven. Even more, I love muffins that can be baked ahead and frozen. We first served these spice muffins for Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, as a perfect bite of sweetness on the dinner buffet table, and again for breakfast the following morning. They would be lovely for afternoon tea, or on the brunch menu, too. If you keep powdered buttermilk in your refrigerator, you can substitute that for fresh buttermilk; buy an apple or two, and pull all of the remaining ingredients from your pantry shelves. The batter comes together quickly, and in less than an hour from start to finish, you can fill your house with the perfume of baking apples. If you have more willpower than we do, the muffins will last for two days in an airtight container on your kitchen counter.

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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