November 19th, 2012 — 9:12am
We’re hosting Thanksgiving this year for the first time. It was decided just a few days ago and I’m so excited! (Here’s why Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays, even as a Brit.) I thought I’d share what we’re thinking of serving. Please share in the comments what you’re making – or looking forward to eating – so we can all be inspired and share ideas!
Cranberry sauce with orange zest and fresh nutmeg
Classic stuffing (though this cornbread sausage stuffing looks delicious)
Perfect roast potatoes
Mashed maple sweet potatoes
Green beans with almonds and thyme
Warm bread rolls
Chocolate pecan pie
P.S. My First Thanksgiving and other thanksgiving side dish ideas.
Top image by Katie Quinn Davies / What Katie Ate
Bottom image by Erin Jang / The Indigo Bunting
9 comments » | culture, food and culture, food experience, homemade, links, recipe
November 8th, 2012 — 10:06am
Seasons are funny things food-wise. Every time summer rolls around I am beside myself with the opportunity and abundance and yet it’s the season during which I create the least in my kitchen. I just end up eating simply, trying to keep cool, and not wanting the bother of turning on the oven, or even a burner.
Then along comes autumn and seems to pull me out of any heat-induced funk, just like that. The spices of autumn are one thing: cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice, and ginger all beg to be baked into something warm and comforting.
And then there is what I think of as the back bone of autumnal fare: the mighty squash in all its forms. Even though squash is a stubborn, heavy, awkward vegetable to prepare; even though peeling and slicing it feels much like trying to violently kill something with a blunt instrument; even though my hands turn yellow and dry after handling one: I find it wholly worth it.
In making this dish I discovered something heretofore unknown to me: you don’t have to peel butternut squash. (!) No, in fact leaving the skin on and simply scooping out the seeds and dicing it before roasting yields caramelised, chewy edges that add a welcome dimension to the texture of sometimes too-soft squash. It’s a revelation, friends.
I think we can all agree that this dish has Thanksgiving written all over it. It would be great as a side dish there, sure, but it’s also a very filling and satisfying dinner unto itself. I enjoyed it cold from the fridge, standing in my kitchen, fork and tupperware in hand, thick socks in full force. I recommend you do the same.
Butternut Squash with Pecans and Blue Cheese
from Nigella Lawson
- One butternut squash (about 2 kilograms)
- 1.5oz/ 45 ml olive oil
- ½ tsp dried thyme (or 6 stalks fresh thyme)
- 3.5oz/ 100 g pecans
- 4.4oz 125g blue cheese
- Preheat the oven to 425F/220C.
- Halve the squash, leaving the skin on, and scoop out the seeds, then cut into small cubes; you don’t need to be precise, just keep the pieces uniformly small.
- Put the squash into a roasting tin with the oil. Strip the leaves from 4 stalks of thyme, and sprinkle over the butternut squash. (If you can’t get fresh thyme, use dried.) Roast in the oven for about 30-45 minutes or until tender.
- Once out of the oven, remove the squash to a bowl and scatter the pecans and crumble the cheese over it, then toss everything together gently.
- Check seasoning and add the last of the thyme, torn into small sprigs to garnish. Serves 6-8 as a side dish.
2 comments » | recipe
April 18th, 2012 — 7:05am
This dipping sauce is incredible. Thank you Ottolenghi for yet another stellar recipe. The man knows no bounds. It’s a simple combination of crème fraîche with diced lemongrass, fresh ginger, lime zest and juice, and salt, resulting in a cool, zingy, tart, creamy delight to dunk crispy-tender spears of sweet potato into.
One of my friends commented that she loved how long the sweet potato wedges are and I agree – they’re almost comically long and so satisfying to dunk in that lemongrass crème fraîche. You want them to bake long enough to become tender but I left them 15 minutes longer still, to make sure they had crispy-brown edges. Perfect.
Have you ever tried crème fraîche? If you live in the U.K., likely yes, but if you’re from the U.S. then maybe not – it doesn’t seem to be as popular here by a long shot. That said, I found it easily at my local co-op and rumour has it Trader Joe’s sells it so it’s not that rare. Seek it out and if you can’t find it you could actually make your own by adding a small amount of cultured buttermilk or sour cream to heavy cream, and allowing it to stand for several hours at room temperature until the bacterial cultures act on the cream.
Sweet Potato Wedges with Lemongrass Crème Fraîche
from Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi
- 3 medium sweet potatoes (weighing about 2lbs total)
- 4 tbsp olive oil1.5 tsp ground coriander
- 3.4 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1 fresh red chile, diced
- 1 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 lemongrass stalk, very finely diced
- 3/4 cup crème fraîche
- grated zest and juice of 2 limes
- 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 1/2 tsp fine salt
- Preheat oven to 400F and line a roasting pan with parchment paper. Brush lightly with some of the olive oil. Wash the sweet potatoes but don’t peel them. Cut each in half lengthways. Cut in half again lengthways and then again so that you end up with eight long wedges.
- Place wedges in the roasting pan and brush with the rest of the olive oil. Sprinkle with a mixture of the coarse salt and coriander. Roast for about 25 minutes, or until the wedges are tender and crispy at the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit. You can enjoy them warm or at room temperature which is what we did.
- To make the dipping sauce, whisk all the ingredients together, taste and adjust, then set aside.
- When ready to serve, place the wedges on a large, flat plate or serving dish. Sprinkle with diced chile and fresh cilantro. Serve with the sauce on the side, for dipping. Serves about four.
8 comments » | recipe