thanksgiving roundup 2013! our favorite posts on the best meal of the year

Did you look the calendar today? Thanksgiving is next week! If you’re schedule is like ours this baby is creeping up on you fast. Here are some of our favorite Thanksgiving posts from years past that may be of use this holiday season.

Above, the most yummy Brussels sprouts, ever.

More Thansgsiving help from Shelterrific:

What we learned hosting Thanksgiving last year.

How do you cook your bird?

How do you take your cranberry sauce?

Leftover ideas: sweet potato pancakes

What to do with leftover pumpkin

Brendon’s pecan pie

Leftover love

Prize-winning pumpkin pie

Domino’s One Hour Thanksgiving

Bourbon sweet potato Bundt cake

Cider glazed sunchokes and carrots

Chilewich’s lovely chargers

Super smart apron

From our partners

real life test kitchen: siracha mac and cheese

On Halloween we hosted a small handful of sugar-loaded kids and their exhausted parents. I wanted to serve something simple, that we could dish out in bowls and eat on the porch while doling out candy to trick-or-treaters. This recipe from Shutterbean fit the bill nicely. After all, mac and cheese is kinda like candy for grown ups. Despite its recent legal troubles in California, Siracha is a hot, of-the-moment, ingredient (pun intended). This Thai hot sauces makes just about everything taste better, from scrambled eggs to roasted sweet potatoes. After trying this recipe I can add one more thing to its plate — spicing up mac and cheese. Plus the bright red drizzle on top seemed to fit the theme of the night — creepy! Below is my take on the recipe from Shutterbean, which was originally adapted from the Mac + Cheese cookbook.

Siracha Mac and Cheese

What You Need:

For the sauce
3 cups milk — I used 1%
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the pasta:

3/4 pound dried elbow pasta
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups grated Havarti
2-3 tablespoons Sriracha sauce, plus more for drizzling
1 bunch chopped green onions (both green and white parts)
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

How To Make:
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Butter a large caserole dish. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until a little less than al dente.

2. Heat the milk in a pot over medium heat until it just starts to bubble, but is not boiling, 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

3. . Heat the butter over medium heat in a separate, heavy bottomed pot. When the butter has just melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. . Slowly pour the warm milk, about 1 cup at a time, into the butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly until it gets thick.

5. Once all the milk has been added, set the pot back over medium-high heat, and continue to whisk constantly. Once the sauce is thick enough to stick to the spoon it’s done. Add the salt and stir. Shut off heat.

6. Mash together the ginger and butter in a small bowl until fully combined.

7. Add the cheese and ginger butter to the sauce and cook over medium heat. Stir until the cheese is barely melted, about 3 minutes. Add the siracha and pasta and cook another 5 minutes. Add the green onions and stir to fully combine.

8. Pour the mac into a 14-inch casserole pan and sprinkle with panko. Bake until hot and bubbly and the topping is golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with more sriracha. Spoon into bowls and serve.

From our partners

real life test kitchen: marcella hazan’s tomato sauce with onion and butter

I pinned this recipe, for Macella Hazan’s most famous and insanely easy tomato sauce recipe, years ago but somehow never got around to making it until this past weekend. The time was ripe, in more ways the one, to pay tribute to this grand dame of Italian-American cooking. Hazan passed away a couple of weeks ago, and like many greats who fade from our memory, it took her death to remind us how influential she was. The New York Times obituary put it beautifully and simply — like many of her best recipes — saying she changed the way Americans cook. She didn’t believe in complicated things, only the purest, freshest ingredients cooked to bring out their unique flavors. Her tomato sauce with onion and butter recipe is Hazan at her best. The rest bout of unseasonably warm temperatures has yielded a bumper crop of plum tomatoes in our garden beds. I could think of no better use for them to put them in this simple sauce. Mine took a little bit longer, because I started with fresh tomatoes. But the who endeavor was done in about an hour and half, and it required so little effort, I can’t imagine why I didn’t do it sooner. This sauce is wonderfully familiar — which makes me realize that it must be used in countless restaurants all over NYC. It tastes even better the next day.

Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

What You Need:

2 cups of canned or stewed plum tomatoes in their juices — see note below on what to do if you’re using fresh tomatoes like I did
5 tbls butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
Salt to taste

How to Make
1. Put the tomatoes in a large sauce pan, and add the butter, onion, and salt, and cook uncovered at a very low flame.

2. Stir from time to time, mashing up any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon.
3. Simmer for about 45 minutes. Taste and aalt. Discard the onion before tossing with pasta.

4. Serve with freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese for the table.

If you’re using fresh tomatoes:

1. You’ll need about 2 lbs of tomatoes.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
3. Drop tomatoes in and boil for one minute.
4. Drain and cool down with cold water.
5. Peel off the skins and discard them.
6. Quarter the tomatoes and add them to a pan.
7. Add a dash of salt, and cook on a meduim-low flame for about 30 minutes. Add a splash of water or olive oil if things dry to quickly.
8. Once the tomatoes have broken down nicely, you can continue the recipe as above.

From our partners

real life test kitchen: moosewood’s ‘our best chili’

Suddenly there’s a chill in the air — and the farmer’s markets are still brimming with late summer veggies. Seems like a good excuse to make a chili, even though that’s usually wintertime feast in our house. I recently received the new Moosewood Restaurant Favorites cookbook, and if there’s one thing I know about Moosewood, the veggie mecca in upstate New York, it’s that they do amazing chili. So last weekend I picked up some gorgeous end-of-season peppers and set off to make this 30-minute chili. I served it with Greek yogurt, scallions and shredded cheddar. I will most definitely make again, though next time I’m gonna add one more hot pepper for a bit more heat.

Here’s my take on: Moosewood’s “Our Best Chili’

What You Need:
2 tbls vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onions
3 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp salt
1 cup diced carrots
2 cups seeded and chopped bell peppers
1 fresh hot pepper, seeded and minced
1 1/2 tbls cumin
1 tbls coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
1 cup corn kernals
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can of kidney beans, rinsed
1 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed

How to Make
1. Heat the oil in a soup pot on low flame. Add the onion, garlic and salt, and cook until soft — about ten minutes.
2. Add the carrots and bell peppers, turning up the heat to medium-high. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
3. Add in minced hot peppers and spices and cook for 5 minutes more, still stirring.
4. Add corn, tomatoes and both beans. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low.
5. Simmer for 30 minutes.
6. Serve hot with Greek yogurt or sour cream, cheese and scallions. Corn bread won’t be unappreciated either!

From our partners

real life test kitchen: deconstructed eggplant parmesan

On Saturday a trip to a local farmer’s market yielded a beautiful assortment of eggplant: pink, striped and deep, deep purple. Eggplant can be versatile but nothing tastes so good as when it’s fried with a little mozzarella and tomato sauce on top. If you’ve ever made Eggplant Parmesan, you know it is a labor of love. Not only do you have to bread and then fry up all the eggplant, but you also need to heat up your kitchen baking it in the oven for an hour or so. This New York Times recipe for Eggplant Deconstructed is my favorite late summer alternative to that Italian American classic. You still need to spend some time preparing, but assembled just before serving at room temperature, it has a casualness worthy of an outdoor meal. Be sure to allow time to let the eggplant drain in colander before cooking. Removing its excess water is crucial to keeping the dish on the light side. Here’s my take…

Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan

What You Need
1 large eggplant sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rounds — I actually used three small ones with the intention of creating leftovers
3/4 tsp salt
Black pepper
3/4 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3 to 4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
4 sprigs fresh oregano
3 sprigs fresh basil, plus torn leaves for serving
5 tbs Parmesan
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup ricotta
2 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into small slices

How To Make
1. Place the eggplant slices in a colander over a bowl. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let stand about 20 minutes. Drain and pat slices dry with a paper towel. Season with pepper.

2. Working in batches, heat some of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add as much eggplant as you can fit in a single layer in the skillet. Cook about 4 minutes until bottom is dark golden, then lip and cook 3 to 4 minutes more. Move to paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining oil and eggplant. You’ll need to keep adding oil with each batch of eggplant. It took me four batches.

3. Let the skillet cool a bit. Heat 3 tbs oil. Add 4 garlic cloves. Cook about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and oregano. Cook, smashing the tomatoes with a spoon as you can, until tomatoes start to form a sauce, about 15 minutes. Add the basil sprigs and 4 tbs Parmesan; simmer 5 more minutes.

4. While the sauce simmers, warm 1 tbs olive oil in a small skillet to medium heat. Mince 1 remaining garlic clove and add to the skillet with the bread crumbs. Toast until bread crumbs are just turning golden. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon Parmesan.

5. Arrange eggplant on a serving platter. Spoon drops of ricotta over the eggplant and top with sauce. Scatter bread crumbs over sauce. Top with mozzarella and sprinkle on torn basil leaves. Drizzle with oil and serve.

From our partners