We’ve turned the clocks back, put away the jack-o-lanterns and are trying to rid our homes of that extra candy…which means it is time for turkey. Thanksgiving is a time when everyone goes off their diets with a smile and a sigh, partaking in heaping plates and voicing gratitude. On the other hand, it can be a source of stress for the cook who gets to host. So here are a few new tweaks for this year’s menu that might help to ease the planning.
Before you get to the main course you’ll need to keep the hungry crowd at bay with some appetizers. Pumpkin hummus is both seasonally appropriate and delicious, not to mention, you can also get creative with presentation. To make the hummus, you’ll need to take a drained and rinsed can of garbanzo beans/chick peas, a can of pumpkin puree, 1/3 cup olive oil, ½ cup tahini paste, 2-3 cloves of minced garlic, a pinch of salt, juice from one lemon and then the trifecta of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice – say ½ tsp of each.
Put all of these ingredients into a food processor and blend until they are smooth. Once the hummus is done, you can also add pumpkin seeds (toasted or raw) to the top for decoration and a little crunch.
Every Thanksgiving spread requires cranberries, but rather than reach for the can opener, why not try your hand at making some from scratch? These tequila cranberries are sure to leave an impression on your guests but not leave any leftovers.
First, take a bag of fresh cranberries that have been quickly rinsed in cold water and place them in a large saucepan over low heat. Add in ¼ cup brown sugar (Splenda brown sugar works just as well) and ¼ cup balsamic vinegar. Stir periodically while these simmer together, for about 10 minutes. Make sure to taste and adjust for sweetness (more sugar) or tartness (more vinegar) – depending on your preference.
Once the berries have burst and the mixture is thoroughly warmed, add in a shot of tequila and then grate the zest on an entire orange over the top. Stir over a low heat for another few minutes and then you can either serve it or move it to the fridge with a cover until you are ready for dinner.
Assuming your guests have any room left after the big meal, its time to wow them with something like these sweet broiled apples that have a traditional taste but are a little unpredictable, not to mention, easy to prepare. Take about six apples (Empires are great, but any varietal is tasty) and then cut them into wedges, removing the cores and any seeds. Toss the apple wedges in a bowl along with some lemon juice, melted butter and brown sugar.
Once they are coated, arrange them on a baking sheet and place them into your broiler, set to low, for about eight to 10 minutes. Once the apples are tender, remove them from the heat and douse with a little warmed rum (non-alcoholic option is maple syrup, also warmed) and sprinkle with cinnamon. You can serve these with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or whatever flavor ‘ala mode’ you prefer.