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What is you most unusual / non-traditional Thanksgiving dish?

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I have to admit, I have little on my table that challenges the traditional Thanksgiving sides. So, I'd like to know what fellow hounders have on their table that isn't totally traditional. And how did you come about adding this dish - family tradition? An inspired change? etc.

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  1. Our family Thanksgiving has always included Cole Slaw! My Grandmother alway made it and we have continuted the tradition. The recipe is very basic: freshly grated green cabbage with a dressing of mayo and (dill)pickle juice.

    Otherwise we are very traditional: turkey, dressing, brussel sprouts, mashed potatos, pumpkin pie, etc... with the interesting twist of vegan/gluten free requirements for some guests.

    I look forward to other responses,
    P

    2 Replies
    1. re: PamelaD

      We always have a mix of American food and traditional Syrian food. We keep kosher, so nothing can have dairy involved. Usually we start off with traditional mazze and the main meal is turkey, cracker stuffing, wild rice, brussels sprouts, spinach, roasted potatoes, Syrian string beans, and a Syrian meat dish (kibe cherries- a jelly roll style meat dish cooked with sweet cherries).

      Dessert is my grandma's biscotti, birthday cake (for all the Nov birthdays), and fruit. Sometimes we have a lemon mousse.

      1. re: PamelaD

        We have cole slaw, too! And this year, two of my relatives have been diagnosed with celiac, so we will have gluten free. I bought a loaf of tapioca bread this weeken ( no gluten), and am going to try and see if it will make a bread stuffing for two of my guests.
        For untraditional, we have clam chowder as a starter. One of my SIL's makes an awesome chowder, and after the first time she brought it, it had to get added. Funny, we can add things, but cannot - under any cirmumstances- take any dishes away!

      2. I have a Best of Sunset cookbook from years ago that has a menu for a SW holiday dinner. The "stuffing" is actually Anaheim chilies which are stuffed with chorizo, spinach, mushrooms, jack cheese, etc. I've made it so many times and it's a real crowd pleaser. And not just with turkey.

        1. Grew up in the Santa Clara Valley when it was still covered with orchards, so my family harkened back to their English roots by raiding the nearest orchard for Favas which were grown as a cover crop. (or as the English call them, Horse Beans) And Gram made batter pudding--a sort of steamed Yorkshire, w/o the yummy beef drippings.

          I did grow favas for my mom when she was living with us, and we had them several times. But they were never (ahem) my favorite part of the dinner.

          Nowdays I stick to tradition as hubby likes it that way, but change things up a bit with cayenne in the cranberry sauce, candied ginger in the pie, and odd vegetables in the stuffing. And we always cook our turkey outside on the Weber, slathered with a ground peper and salt paste. Turns out lovely and smokey, but alas, no gravy. These days I can't eat much turkey (inflammatory response) and would love to get a salmon to bbq, because there's just no way to get a turkey small enough for two!

          1 Reply
          1. re: toodie jane

            Thank you for the orchard memory! I was born and raised in San Jose, near Willow Glen, when orchards still existed there. I recall not only picking favas with my grandfather (not my favorite either) as well as lambs ear lettuce, or mache. Our non-traditional dish? Mini Reuben sandwiches for an appetizer, a favorite of my grandfather's. Basically a classic Reuben, just quartered.

          2. Pepperoni Cheese Bread - my nephew absolutely devours it.

            I make a batch of bread dough and roll mozzarella and pepeproni in it jelly roll style then bake it.

            Since I am striving for a total organic Thanksgiving, this one is a challenge.

            1 Reply
            1. re: TrishUntrapped

              That bread sounds awesome.

            2. Grilled Bratwurst with Apple Cream Sauce

              2 Replies
              1. re: todao

                I can't let my DH see this post or this will be mandatory on our table! :-)

                1. re: todao

                  todao, how do you prepare your Apple Cream Sauce?

                2. Don't know if this counts as it is an appetizer - candied salami on rye or pumpernickel toasts. You take a 1 or 2 pound kosher salami (Best or Hebrew National, Sinai) and slice into it 1/4 in slices going about 3/4 of the way down (very important not to slice all the way through or salami will fall apart during baking). Make a sweet sour sauce with ketchup, chili sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar (exact proportions are difficult, we do this to taste). Line a loaf pan with alum foil (you won't want to clean out the pan if you don't!). Pour sauce over sliced salami. Bake/roast the salami for 30-45 min at 375 until the salami looks candied and sauce is all gone. Serve with small sharp knife to fully detach slices and toasted cocktail sized rye or pumpernickel bread. In my house, there is never any leftovers. Doesn't matter if you make small, medium or large one.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Diane in Bexley

                    My grandma does this all the time. She bakes it in a glass pyrex loaf pan (not lined with foil). We don't eat it on bread though. It's just served as another side dish. The family calls it "slug".

                    1. re: Diane in Bexley

                      Is this served hot or is it good at room temp.?

                      1. re: meatn3

                        My mother always made, and we continue to make, cucumbers and red onions sliced and marinated in sour cream and salt. They're best when made at least 5 hours before being served, and preferably overnight.

                        It's so simple, but the flavors all meld together, making a great combo.

                        She also always made rot kohl (red cabbage with caraway seeds, onions and sometimes apples) although none of us is German. I don't know where this dish came from in her history or if she just liked it so much she added it to the Thanksgiving menu at one point.

                    2. My responses might well more fall in the category of "traditional but ancient," but here we go. We have to have spiced peaches. When C&W quit making them about 8 years ago, we started making them outselves. We also have to have watermelon pickles. Thankfully, Reece still makes those. So the prize for the most odd would have to go to my grandmother's rum pudding. It's divine. Mostly a mixture of gelatin, cream and rum. With a topper of raspberries. Delicious and a total throwback.