Published on November 19th, 2011 | by thevyne0
Thanksgiving Menu with a Twist
Oh, Thanksgiving. A time filled with traditions and nostalgia….likely involving gathering with your family, eating until you’re in a food coma, and likely some family drama from uncle so-and-so. In my household there were always dishes we would look forward to every year: turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potato soufflé, sweet potato pie, and cranberry sauce carefully pushed out of a can. All other dishes may change from year to year, but those would always be there. In talking to some girlfriends last night, we were discussing how even though we’re getting older, our generation hasn’t quite taken the reins in the kitchen. We’re still letting our mothers and aunties bear the burden of this holiday feast. We may think, “but I’m too busy to cook all of that,” or “I can’t cook like mom can,” but ladies, I think it’s time for us to step it up and put a new twist on the Thanksgiving classics! So whether you need to make a dish to take to a family members house, you’re cooking at home, or you just want to start some new traditions of your own in your family, here are some ways to put a new touch on your Thanksgiving:
Turkey: Making a turkey can be daunting, but you want the turkey to be moist, have flavor, and a nice skin to it. Try Nigella Lawson’s Spiced and Super-Juicy Roast Turkey or Anne’s Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy.
Macaroni and Cheese: My favorite is truffled mac and cheese. It’s a decadent, delicious take on the classic and I am a sucker for anything with truffles. The recipe is below.
Sweet potatoes: I love sweet potato soufflé, but if it’s too sweet for you, these Baked Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar and Black Pepper may do the trick.
Desserts: Instead of the traditional apple pie, why not do this Sublime Apple Crumb Pie? Instead of vanilla ice cream, why not some Maple Ginger Snap gelato? This Salted Caramel Pie is also one that I can’t wait to make.
Truffled Macaroni & Cheese
1 lb ounces dry elbow macaroni or penne
1 tablespoon white truffle oil
4 ounces pancetta or slab bacon, finely diced
3 ounce button mushrooms, sliced
2 3/4 cups whole milk
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon each ground nutmeg, ground red pepper
2 1/2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
3/4 cup gruyere, shredded
1 cup white smoked extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
4 tablespoons snipped fresh chives, divided
6 tablespoons Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs or fresh breadcrumbs)
Long chive strips for garnish (optional)
Cook macaroni in large saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite, stir occasionally; drain well. Transfer to a large bowl; toss with truffle oil.
In medium nonstick skillet over medium heat add pancetta; sauté and stir until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms; sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and place on paper towels. Set aside and keep warm.
Bring milk to simmer in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; stir until pale golden, about 1 minute. Whisk in hot milk. Cook over medium heat until thickened; stir frequently, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt, white pepper, nutmeg and red pepper. Add extra sharp cheddar cheese, gruyere, 1/2 cup white smoked extra sharp cheddar cheese and 3 tablespoons chives; stir until melted. Add elbow macaroni and pancetta mixture to cheese sauce; toss to coat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put mac and cheese mixture into a baking dish. Sprinkle top of mixture with remaining white smoked extra sharp cheddar cheese and panko. Garnish top with remaining chives. Bake about 25-35 minutes until crumbs are golden brown. Garnish with chive strips or as desired.