How do you keep food traditionalists and innovators happy at the sameThanksgiving table? It’s a challenge you can easily meet byexploring alternatives to the old standby vegetables. The surprise is how traditional the alternatives taste and lookwhile contributing a fresh touch to the menu. Most you’ll find insupermarkets with good produce sections; some you’ll find inOriental markets. Consider one or all of the following choices. As snappy lightly pickled appetizers to munch before dinner, youcan use crisp, white jicama or carrots, peppery diakon radishes,slightly hot Chinese mustard greens, or mild napa cabbage. Kohlrabi–with its mixed flavor of broccoli and turnips–is thebase for a smooth, pale green soup.
Dark, orange-fleshed Japanese kabocha squash is creamier is textureand richer in flavor than the familiar butternut or acorn squash; allthree are options to bake in a spicy syrup–just as you would yams orsweets potatoes. Potatoes develop more character, rutabagas become mellower whenmashed together; you can start with white-fleshed russets, or recentarrived golden-fleshed Finnish yellow or Yukon gold Potatoes. Bok choy tastes much like Swiss chard. You can serve serve it withdramatic-looking Chinese long beans, small haricots verts, or regulargreen beans. Lettuce plus various chicories and other salad leaves can be mixedin a salad with Japanese or regular cucumbers. The two cucumbers are abit different in conformation but unmistakably similar in taste.
Kale or Chinese broadleaf mustard greens give the sausage-and-breadturkey stuffing a pleasant bite. Pickled Vegetables 4 cups rice vinegaror distilled white vinegar Cut vegetables (suggestions follow) In a 2- to 3-quart pan, combine vinegar and sugar, stirring todissolve sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Quickly pack cut vegetables loosely into clean, hot jars, andimmediately pour hot vinegar mixture over vegetables to cover. Screw onlids and refrigerate at least overnight or as long as 2 weeks.
Makesabout 2 quarts pickled vegetables. Cut vegetables. You’ll need 1-1/2 pounds total; choose 3 or 4of the following: Jicama or carrots.
Peel and cut into 1/4-inch-thick sticks, 2 to 3inches long. Daikon radishes. Trim off root and stem end of vegetables.
Scruband cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Chinese broadleaf mustard (dai choy) or napa cabbage. Wash and cutstems into about 2-inch squares; reserve leaves to use for soups orstir-frys.
Kohlrabi Bisque About 2-1/4 pounds kohlrabi or broccoli 3tablespoons butter or margarine 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 clovegarlic, pressed or minced 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 6 cupsregular-strength chicken broth 1 teaspoon dry marjoram 1/4 teaspoonground white pepper 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley Salt Parsley Cut leaves and stems from kohlrabi; peel kohlrabi. Or cut tenderflowerets from broccoli; cut off tough ends of stems and discard. Peelremaining stems. Cut kohlrabi or broccoli into about 1/2-inch cubes. In a 5- to 6-quart pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onionand garlic and stir occasionally until limp. Stirring, add flour andcook until bubbly; do not brown.
Blend in 3 cups of the broth,marjoram, and white pepper. Bring to boiling. Add cubed vegetable;cover and simmer until tender when pierced, 25 to 35 minutes forkohlrabi, 10 to 15 minutes for broccoli. Add chopped parsley and remaining broth.
Puree soup, a portion ata time, in a blender. If desired, pour through a wire strainer toremove coarse fibers. Return soup to pan.
(If made ahead, cool, cover,and chill.) Heat, stirring, until simmering. Add salt to taste;garnish with parsley sprigs.
Makes 2 quarts, 10 to 12 servings.Candied Kabocha Squash 4 to 4-1/2 pounds kabocha, butternut, or acornsquash 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter ormargarine 1/4 cup water 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon groundcloves Meringue (recipe follows) 1/4 cup sliced almonds Cut squash in half; scoop out seeds and discard. Set squash, cutsides down, in a greased baking pan (at least 9 by 13 in.). Bake,uncovered, in a 325[deg.] oven until squash mashes easily in center,about 1-1/2 hours. Let stand on pan until cool enough to handle.
Cutsquash meat from peel into 1-inch cubes. Discard peel. (You can coverand refrigerate cubes for up to 2 days.
) In a 9- by 13-inch pan, combine sugar, butter, water, cinnamon, andcloves. Put pan in oven, uncovered, until butter melts, about 10minutes. Stir to blend ingredients, then add squash cubes and stir tocoat them. Bake squash, uncovered, in a 325[deg.] oven until hot in center,about 20 minutes (25 to 30 minutes if chilled). Drop large spoonfuls ofmeringue on squash and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake, uncovered,just until meringue browns in spots, about 10 minutes.
Makes 10 to 12servings. Merinque. In a large bowl, whip 5 egg whites until foamy.
Beat in1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, continuing to beat until meringueholds stiff glossy peaks. Golden Mashed Potatoes 3 pounds rutabagas 4pounds Finnish yellow, Yukon gold, or russet potatoes Water 1/4 to 1/2cup hot milk 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine, melted 1/4 teaspoonground nutmeg Salt and white pepper Peel rutabagas and potatoes, then cut into 2-inch chunks.
In a 6-to 8-quart pan, bring about 2 inches water to boiling; add rutabagas.Cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender when pierced, about 20minutes longer. Drain off liquid. Place half the vegetables at a time in a large bowl of an electricmixer and beat until smooth. (Or push vegetables through a ricer.
) Addmilk to moisten to desired consistency; mix in butter and nutmeg, andseason with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 12 servings. Beans and BokChoy with Chive Butter 1-1/2 pounds bok choy hearts, baby bok choy, orregular bok choy 1-1/2 pounds Chinese long beans (also called asparagusbeans), haricots verts, or regular green beans, ends trimmed and anystrings pulled off 4 quarts boiling water 3/4 cup (3/8 lb.) butter ormargarine 1 cup lightly packed, finely chopped garlic chives or regularchives If using bok choy hearts or baby bok choy, leave whole. Forregular bok choy, trim 2 inches off stem end; leave small stalks whole,cut large ones crosswise in half. In an 8- to 10-quart pan, cook beans, uncovered, in boiling wateruntil barely tender to bite, 4 to 5 minutes.
Lift beans out and drain.Twisting long beans into a rope, arrange them along rim of a warmserving platter; keep hot. Add bok choy to boiling water.
Cook, uncovered, until barelytender to bite, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and arrange on platter. Meltbutter with chives and offer to spoon over individual portions. Serves12. Mixed Greens with Vinaigrette 4 quarts mixed greens, torn intobite-size pieces, such as butter, green, or red leaf lettuce; radicchio;Belgian endive; curly endive or chicory; escarole; mache; or arugula 1small Japanese or regular cucumber, thinly sliced Garlic vinaigrette(recipe follows) Salt and pepper Mix greens and cucumber in a large salad bowl or arrange on 12salad plates.
Just before serving, add garlic vinaigrette and mix;season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 12 servings. Garlic vinaigrette. Stir together 1/2 cup olive or salad oil, 1/4cup wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and 1 clove garlic, pressedor minced.
Nippy Greens Turkey Stuffing 2 pounds bulk pork sausage 4large onions, chopped 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced 2 teaspoons dryoregano leaves 1-1/2 teaspoons crushed fennel seed 1/2 teaspoon crusheddried hot red chilies 1-1/2 pounds kale or mustard greens, rinsed anddried Water 2 packages (about 7-1/2 oz. each) herb-seasoned stuffing mixAbout 1 cup regular-strength chicken broth 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter ormargarine, optional 1 turkey, 18 to 20 pounds, optional (see page 204for roasting directions) In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan on high heat, crumble sausage. Cook,stirring often, until browned. Add onion, garlic, oregano, fennel, andchilies; stir until onion is limp. Pour into a large bowl.
Cut leaves of greens into 1/2-inch-wide strips 3 to 4 inches long.Cut tender part of stems into 1/2-inch-wide slices, discarding toughparts of stems. Add greens to the frying pan, about 1 quart at a time,and stir over medium-high heat just until limp, 1 to 3 minutes. Add 2to 3 tablespoons of water, if needed, to prevent scorching. As greens are wilted, add to sausage. Add stuffing mix; stir toblend, adding broth and melted butter to moisten as you like. Use, orcover and chill up to overnight. Makes 20 cups, enough to stuff an 18-to 20-pound turkey.
Or spoon into a 6- to 8-quart baking dish and bake,uncovered, in a 325[deg.] oven until hot and lightly browned, about 1hour. Serves 20 to 24.