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Thanksgiving Potluck from the Voice Staff
By Erin O'Briant
When the talk turned to Thanksgiving at a recent Voice meeting, I just couldn't help bragging about the cranberry salad my mother makes every year. It's just so tangy and crunchy and sweet and...well, the next thing I knew, I was volunteering to collect favorite recipes from the Voice staff for our November issue.
I asked several of our editors and writers to pull the pencils out from behind their ears -- and put on their chef's hats instead. The recipes they contributed are truly mouthwatering.
MISEY'S CRANBERRY SALAD
Contributed by Erin O'Briant
My grandmother got this recipe about 40 years ago from her friend Mrs. Robert "Misey" Misenheimer, of Spencer, North Carolina. Since then, it has been a staple in our home every Thanksgiving and Christmas. After my mother made a book of family recipes a few years back for each of her daughters, I began making Misey's Cranberry Salad myself every November and December (and sometimes January, if I hadn't gotten my fill).
1 large package cherry-flavored gelatin
2 cups boiling water
2 cups orange juice
1 lb. cranberries ground coarsely
(I use a blender)
1 orange rind, ground
11/2 cups sugar
1 large apple, chopped
1 cup chopped pecans
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Add sugar and dissolve it; add juice. Let cool. Mix cooled liquid with fruit and nuts and let congeal. It's best to use a 9 x 13 (ovenproof) glass dish, so that the servings can be cut in squares, but individual molds or a ring mold would work well, too.
SPICED PICKLED CUCUMBERS
Contributed by Doug Konecky
"I don't know what these have to do with Thanksgiving," says Doug, "but I make these pickles every year, and I'm not allowed to go anywhere without them."
8 small pickling cucumbers
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp. fresh minced ginger
1/2 tsp. crushed hot red pepper
4 tsp. salt
3 tbs. sugar
4 tbs. vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
Wash and dry the cucumbers, then cut them into small, finger-like rectangular pieces (that will make about 4 cups).
Put the cucumbers, along with the garlic, ginger, red pepper, salt, sugar, and vinegar, into a wide-mouthed jar. Put on the lid and shake the ingredients together. Marinate in the jar for at least 4 hours. Doug says it's better to leave them in for 3 days or so, shaking them up every 24 hours -- they will be mushy and very flavorful.
When you're ready to serve the cucumbers, put them on a plate and sprinkle with sesame oil.
"Then look out, because people will really eat them up," says Doug. "They're good for Thanksgiving when people are having things like corn and potatoes, because they're nice and light."
JIM'S RETRO TURKEY DRESSING
Contributed by Jim Christie
Jim thinks this recipe may be both politically and Dr.-Ornish-ally incorrect because it contains pork. Oh well. It's still a lot more interesting than the recipe on the stuffing box. Enjoy!
1 lb. pork sausage
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped celery
7 8 cups crumbled cornbread
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup dried cranberries
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 tbs. chopped fresh sage
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Crumble the sausage into a 10- to12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir often until sausage is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to large bowl. Discard all but 2 tbs. fat in pan. Add onions to pan and stir often, until limp, about 5 minutes.
Add onions to bowl containing sausage. Add celery, cornbread, apricots, cranberries, eggs, sage, and butter and stir to mix well, adding just enough broth to lightly moisten dressing.
Spoon dressing into a shallow 21/2- to 3-quart casserole dish and cover. Bake in a 325-degree oven until hot, about 25 minutes. Then uncover and bake until top is lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste.
SOUTHERN CHESS PIE
Jane Underwood's favorite version of pecan pie
"Sometimes pecan pie can be really gooey," says Jane, "which I don't like. But this pie isn't gooey -- and it seems like people only make it in the South."
Pastry for one 8-inch pie crust
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbs. flour
1 tbs. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted (in pan)
1 cup pecans
Mix sugars and flour. Beat in eggs, milk, vanilla, and butter thoroughly. Fold in nuts. Pour into pastry-lined pie pan. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.
PUMPKIN PIE CRUNCH
Contributed by Jane Underwood
Jane says this is so decadent, she's never even tried the caramel sauce with it. But it's probably good, too.
30 oz. pumpkin pie filling
5 oz. condensed milk
3 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg. yellow cake mix with pudding
11/2 cups pecans chopped into small bits
Melted butter (1 to 2 sticks depending on your decadence level)
Mix together pumpkin pie filling, condensed milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour mixture into two 9-inch ungreased pie pans with wax paper circles in bottom. Then distribute cake mix over the two pies. Sprinkle pecan bits over the cake mix, and dribble melted butter over all. Bake 1 hour in a 350-degree oven. Then chill. Invert and remove wax paper. Cut slices and cover with whipped cream. Then drizzle caramel sauce over each slice as desired.
1 cup light brown sugar
1 stick (1/4 lb.) melted sweet butter
1/4 cup cream
Whisk together over low heat in sauce pan until blended. Drizzle over chilled slices of pie.
QUICK TURKEY MARENGO
Contributed by Florence Holub
This is a good way to use up your leftover turkey after the big feast, Florence says. She recommends you serve this dish over quick-cooking rice for an extra-easy dinner. By the way, this recipe is rumored to have been a favorite of Napoleon Bonaparte himself. Bon appetit!
1 can tomato soup
1 onion chopped
Pinch garlic powder
1/4 cup (give or take) dry sherry or other wine
11/2 cup cubed cooked turkey
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring all ingredients to a boil over a low flame. Serve over rice.
A Squash Recipe Even Dad Would Love
By Dodie Hamblen
True to my New England roots, squash is my favorite fall vegetable, and certainly, after mashed potatoes, the one I most associate with Thanksgiving. I grew up eating acorn, butternut, and occasionally Hubbard squash. Boiled and mashed. Good, but not very exciting.
On Thanksgiving it was my father's job to peel and cut up the squash -- one of the few things I recall him ever doing in the kitchen. As he worked, he opined on whether the squash was wet or dry -- dry being the most desirable. "Um, a nice dry squash," he'd say.
As a kid, I thought this was just too bizarre -- my otherwise nondemonstrative father fussing over squash -- but now I realize that low water content is an indicator of better flavor, and I find it endearing that my father had such strong feelings about something so simple and cozy as squash.
I have been cooking squash on my own for more than 20 years. And I've tried many recipes for squash -- boiled, mashed, but mostly baked, often with brown sugar or maple syrup. But a few years ago, I came across this recipe for roasted squash. It's a winner. Roasting keeps the squash as dry as Daddy ever could have wanted. But with the orange zest and red pepper flakes, the squash definitely has flavor. Don't wait for Thanksgiving to try it. It's great with roast pork or chicken, any time of year.
Contributed by Dodie Hamblen
2 butternut squash, seeded, peeled, and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tsp. kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. (or more) chopped orange zest (orange peel)
2 tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
1/8 tsp. (more or less) red pepper flakes
1 tbs. butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease two large baking pans with olive oil. (I use spray olive oil for a lighter touch.) Spread the squash in one layer in the baking pans, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 20 to 25 minutes, until nearly soft.
In a serving bowl, toss cooked squash with butter, orange zest, rosemary, and red pepper flakes. Serve immediately.