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Nov 11, 2004 11:46 AM

Please help with your favorite Thanksgiving recipes

  • g

I have always had Thanksgiving with my extended family and it's always been very informal, very potluck and very bad, so this year I'm excited to be spending Thanksgiving with my SO and only my SO. I have a tentative menu planned, and am looking for favorite recipes for sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and green beans that are relatively healthy and as close to vegan as is reasonable (a bit of oil or butter is fine, but the recipe someone posted for sweet potatoes cooked in a quart of cream, while it sounds divine, is right out).

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Sauteed green beans. Take fresh green beans & snip off ends. Place in boiling water 2-3 minutes. Immediately dunk in ice water to stop cooking (can be made ahead). When ready to saute, add 1 tblsp sesame oil to a nonstick pan. Saute the green beans until hot. (This is also good with garlic - saute the garlic 1-2 minutes, then add beans)

    4 Replies
    1. re: MzMaggie

      This sounds great. Do you make it with toasted or untoasted sesame oil?

      1. re: Grace

        Untoasted - right out of the bottle

        1. re: MzMaggie

          What I meant was, do you use cold-pressed (light) sesame oil or the darker oil that's made from toasted sesame seeds and has a much stronger flavor?

          1. re: Grace

            I use the darker oil because I like the strong sesame flavor, but I'm sure you could use the light stuff.

    2. I've posted this before, but I do think it fits in with the vegan theme - nothing in the ingredient list is animal-based. That's not the reason it's a favorite in my family, though.

      Cranberry/Pear Relish

      - 4 ripe Bosc pears
      - 6 cups very strong coffee
      - 3 cups sugar (1½ cups for pears, 1½ cups for the cranberries)
      - 1 teaspoon vanilla
      - 1 lemon, cut in half
      - 1 (8-oz.) bag of cranberries

      1. Poach the pears:
      • Peel and slice the pears lengthwise, rubbing with lemon to keep them from turning brown. Core the halves and remove the stem & bud ends with a paring knife.
      • Pour the coffee into a large sauce pan. Stir in 1½ cups of sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla and bring to a boil. Add the halved pears. When it comes back to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove the pears and set aside to cool a bit. Discard the coffee.

      2. Cook the cranberries:
      • While the pears are cooling, prepare the cranberries according to the directions on the bag, (i.e., cover with water, add about 1½ cups of sugar, bring to a boil, then simmer ‘til they’ve all ‘exploded’ and the mixture is thick). It doesn’t take very long... Remove from heat and put into a large bowl.

      3. Mix cranberries & pears together:
      • When the pears are cool enough to handle, cut them into small chunks and put them into the bowl with the cranberries. Toss to mix well, transfer to a serving dish, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (or at least a couple of hours).

      4 Replies
      1. re: Deenso

        You should know that although "on the page" this recipe sounds completely implausible, it has long been a tried and true favorite of many chowhounds. It consistently gets raves whenever I make it. Deenso, if you were the first to post it on these boards, thanks very much!

        1. re: Marty L.

          I may have been the first to post it, but don't know for sure. But I'm glad you've had as much success with this dish as I have.

          Note: I've also used the coffee-poached pears in the recipe as a dessert, with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate. Mascarpone would probably work really well and maybe some chopped pistachios or hazelnuts.

          1. re: Deenso

            I think I have to try this recipe. One question: is the lemon necessary since the pears are poached in coffee and combined with cranberries?

            Okay, another question: is the flavor very cranberry-y?

            1. re: Grace

              Y'know, Grace, it never occurred to me not to use the lemon - but you're right to point out that the pears are going to turn brown in the coffee anyway, so perhaps it's an unnecessary step.

              And the flavor is not, in fact, very cranberry-y; it's pretty subtle, probably because of the coffee flavor blending in. All I can tell you is that it's damn good. And I have never really liked cranberry relish or sauce before this.

      2. Mollie Katzen, the author of many wonderful vegetarian cookbooks, has a really nice sweet potato casserole recipe on her website. Here's the link:


        1. My favourite sweet potato recipe at the moment is
          lime cilantro sweet potatoes, from epicurious. Healthy, different and delicious.


          1. Not sweet potatoes, but perhaps this Spiced Butternut Whip might work, along with the Green Beans with Garlic & Pine Nuts.

            Spiced Butternut Whip

            2 butternut squash, about 1-1/2 lbs. each
            3 Tbsp unsalted butter
            1-1/2 Tbsp honey
            1/2 tsp ground mace
            salt and pepper -- to taste

            Peel, seed, and cut the squash into large cubes. Place in a large heavy pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well and remove to a bowl.

            Add the remaining ingredients and mash with a fork or potato masher. Serve immediately.

            Green Beans with Garlic & Pine Nuts

            1/2 cup pine nuts
            2 heads garlic
            2 lbs. green beans
            salt -- to taste
            3 Tbsp olive oil
            pepper -- to taste

            Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Put the pine nuts in a shallow baking pan and roast them for 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown. Check often, as they quickly burn. Set them aside.

            Separate the heads of garlic into cloves and drop them, unpeeled, into a pan of cold water. Bring to the boil and boil for 3 minutes. Drain and cool the cloves by running cold water over them. They will now peel easily. Trim off the root end and the skin comes right off. (You can work up to this point the day before. Wrap the garlic in plastic wrap and foil. Store the pine nuts in a tightly sealed box or jar.)

            To proceed, trim the ends from the beans and cut them into equal lengths. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add 1 tsp. of salt, then drop in the beans and let them cook until crisp-tender, about 6 minutes. Meanwhile, in another pan, heat the olive oil over moderate heat and gently cook the garlic cloves, turning them over once or twice, until they are golden and softened but not mushy. (Test for softness by inserting the tip of a knife into a garlic clove.)

            Drain the beans, and add to the garlic. Over low heat, stir and gently toss the beans. Check for seasoning and add pepper and more salt as needed. Transfer the beans and garlic to a shallow serving bowl. Scatter the pine nuts over the top. (You may gently reheat the pine nuts for a couple of minutes in a warm oven if you like.)