Shaking Up Thanksgiving Menus
Our Thanksgiving menu has been in the doldrums for the past few years: turkey, mashed potatoes, squash, peas...comfort foods for sure, but a bit dull. Anyone have any new menu ideas to shake up a boring thanksgiving menu?
I tried to do this one year and have one suggestion > make the dish a few times before serving it in place at Thanksgiving dinner. So, good you're asking here on chowhound.
I loved the long bean (long green beans) at a hotel In Irvine, CA, so went to the market to get these. They for sure have them in the Chinese grocery, but at that time, they were in the supermarket. So, I thought I'd use some to tie up julliened carrots. To top that, I decided to cook the long green beans and carrots in the liquid I used to brine the turkey. Well, let's just say when I asked my nephews if I could eat their green beans, they said yes.
How about some banana ice cream?
This recipe is so easy. It doesn't even require an ice cream maker. And, when made with browning bananas, it is simply delicious. You can even use frozen bananas.
The Cooks Exchange
Seemi Iqbal; Karachi, Pakistan
Basic ground rule of changing T-Day menus: add, don't subtract anything time-honored and loved by anyone important. T-Day is a ritual day, and rituals by definition involve repetition. This is a lot more boring for the cook than it is for the guest (just like choirs get sick of certain hymns way before congregations do). Lots of hounds have stories of coming to rue shaking up T-Day menus the wrong way.
re: Karl S
As usual I agree 100% with Karl S. For years I hosted an "orphans" Thanksgiving and told people to bring whatever meant "Thanksgiving" to them. Not only did we all get to try some great things but I can't tell you how many times people said it "made" the day for them to bring their family's green bean casserole or mashed butternut squash with applesauce or whatever. I am all in favor of innovation but generally it's not a crowd pleaser for Thanksgiving.
Having said all that, the last few Thanksgivings I have celebrated with a bunch of ritual-disdaining curmudgeons and we have had leg of lamb on the grill (we all hate turkey), some variation of wild rice pilaf (cranberries and pecans 1 year I think, mushrooms, leeks and carrots another), some combination of high-heat oven-roasted veggies and some sort of elegant plated salad to start, usually with fruit. But we all signed up to it wholeheartedly ahead of time. And now, of course, these things are somewhat ritualistic themselves -- I guess you really can't escape it!
We usually do "orphan" thanksgivings every year with our circle of friends because most of us are too far from (or have lost) the majority of our family to go home for the holidays.
I always do a turkey and stuffing like my mother's because it brings her closer to me, but otherwise everything else is up for grabs for anyone who wants to bring something different. :)
re: Karl S
word. don't subtract, add.
we do a planked salmon with a maple-citrus glaze in addition to turkey.
also our nibbles tend to include stuff like hummus and crudite, marcona almonds, cheese straws and other fun things that are not thanksgiving-related. gives you a nice break from all the traditional stuff and goes great with fun cocktails.
Okay, my dull may be your fresh! Cauliflower in cream sauce. I brought it to friends' years ago, now they won't let me stop. The kids ate it. Hence, it became my annual contribution. Caution to the wind, I mixed half-and-half broccoli and caulifower one year. I usually make a butter roux and use skim milk, thinking one equalizes out the other.
I did a wonderful carrot puree once. It should be on Paula Deen's web site. Just cooked carrots in chicken stock and pureed in blender with butter, S&P. Pureed, orange (looks lovely on a plate, just a little plop of color next to all the Thanksgiving brown and beige), smooth, cheap. Good but bad, so very bad. Don't make this. I have no recipe. Do not try to contact me.
Finnegan: see what you've started!