2014-11-20 / From The Garden

The Art of Thanksgiving Sides

There is nothing more tedious than trying to come up with new ideas for side dishes to enhance your Thanksgiving luncheon or dinner. The annual “brown” meal should be perked up with color and taste!

A glorious favorite is Harvard beets. They add color to your table and plate and happen to be a hot trending vegetable.

Small or miniature steamed artichokes are beautiful when drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and served piping hot. Vegetables will come to your rescue with new colors and textures.

Wild rice mixed with julienned sautéed leeks go well with turkey, and could replace mashed potatoes (as if anything could do that).

Butternut squash is a refreshing alternative to yams or sweet potatoes and is so easy to prepare. Peel, boil until tender, add butter, maple syrup and voilà!

Carrots are another “forgotten” vegetable at Thanksgiving. Shaved, boiled carrots tossed with orzo pasta, butter, salt and pepper are divine. Sprinkle the top of the dish with chopped fresh parsley. Again, the dish is so easy to prepare and adds not only color, but also a new taste to the table.

We rarely use the term “terrine”, as it is not in the everyday American culinary lexicon. A spinach terrine with ricotta cheese and mint leaves is good looking and delicious. It is served cold with chutney. Terrine pans are oblong and have lids. If you cannot find one, use a bread or loaf pan.

Artichokes, carrots, spinach in any recipe, corn, beets, leeks, and butternut squash will add tempting new dishes to your Thanksgiving table. They are all delectable and some are a bit different. Do not forget to use herbs or spices in your mashed potatoes. Making side dishes tasty takes a bit of daring, but you will be surprised by these simple additions to traditional fare that will make your Thanksgiving special and memorable.

Spinach Ricotta Terrine

Serves 8-10

1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups spinach with stems
2 tbsp. fresh mint leaves chopped
2 cups whole Ricotta cheese
6 eggs
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the terrine pan with the 2 tbsp. unsalted butter and put aside.

In a large saucepan melt the 1/4 cup of butter and sauté the mint leaves and spinach until they have wilted; do not overcook them. Take the pan off the heat to cool.

In a separate large bowl mix the eggs with the ricotta cheese, add the flour, Parmesan cheese, and nutmeg, until well blended. Fold in the mint leaves, spinach. Salt and pepper the mixture to taste.

Place the mixture in the terrine pan and cover. If using a simple loaf pan, cover with foil and place in the oven. Bake the terrine covered for 30 minutes. Remove the lid or foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until a knife is inserted into the center of the terrine and comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature. Then place it in the refrigerator to “set up” for one to two hours. Turn the terrine out onto a cutting board and slice it. Place the cooled slices on a platter, garnish with your favorite green herb, and serve with chutney. It is a flavorful and attractive new side dish for Thanksgiving.

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