When the leaves shimmer against a slightly overcast autumn sky, a kaleidoscope of red, orange, and gold beckons the entry of Thanksgiving Day. Many of us are getting ready for the feast ahead preparing an extensive menu that disappears all too quickly as it is consumed. Of course, some believe the star of the holiday is that big fat turkey gracing the dining table. Turkey does not sit on a pedestal in our house pretending to be the center of it all. The main attraction in our home is those faithful side dishes that we look forward to every Thanksgiving.
It is all about the sides that give homage to the turkey waiting to be carved. Even the colors of the season are reflected in this Thanksgiving meal, enticing our senses through our eyes as well as taste. The rich orange gold hue of the creamy squash soup and brown sugar roasted sweet potatoes are kept warm as our eyes are seduced by the regal pumpkin pie with a crown of streusel pecan topping…oh my! Not needing any attention, the sunshine colored cornbread casserole lights up the table with bold flavors of extra sharp cheddar cheese and green jalapenos to give that spicy kick. The sausage stuffing serves as a backdrop to specks of red pepper, deep green celery, white onions, and melted mozzarella cheese. It is the most requested family favorite so I make extra in my large wok so my kids can bring some back to their homes. It’s one of those dishes that taste better the following days. Sometimes we stuff this rich sage flavored dressing in acorn squash and bake it until it is golden brown. And who can overlook the cranberry orange conserve in glistening red accented by the orange zest, waiting patiently to be served with tender slices of turkey.
The turkey, however, is not totally forgotten. It becomes a star many times over when used as leftovers to make a bounty of wonderful dishes such as turkey potpie, turkey salad, fried rice, soups, hot open-faced sandwiches, casseroles, tacos and enchiladas. Just not on Thanksgiving Day. It’s all about the sides that make us stand up and cheer!
Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Betty Crocker Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook
The Best Recipe: American Classics edited by the Cook's illustrated
Best American Side Dishes edited by the Cook's illustrated.
Best Loved Desserts: More than 250 Scrumptious Recipes edited by Good Housekeeping
Holiday Entertaining edited by Williams-Sonoma
Holiday Pumpkins by Georgeanne Brennan
The 150 Best American Recipes edited by Fran McCullough and Molly Stevens
Pie: 300 Tried-and-True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pies by Ken Haedrich
Thanksgiving edited by Williams-Sonoma
Thanksgiving Entertaining edited by Williams-Sonoma
Thanksgiving 101: Celebrate America's Favorite Holiday with America's Thanksgiving Expert by Rick Rodgers