Just Bring a Side…
By Glenn Morel
When you ask if you can “bring anything” to a Thanksgiving dinner, know that…they already have a pie, a bottle of Merlot and an orchid and that recipes last longer than all three of those things. (Especially the wine!)
Here are a few unique sides that you can bring that won’t require much energy once you’re in your host’s kitchen.
Greek cabbage salad. This one is super easy and should be done the night before. It doesn’t take any cooking. Simply cut up cabbage into small strands. Cut up a cabbage and half because one cabbage is not enough and two cabbages is too many. Drench that in Italian dressing and add some Cavendars Greek seasoning. If you can get a low salt version, I recommend it. It’s sort of like Lawry’s seasoning only different. Let that marinate overnight. Bring that to the party and nobody will have ever had it and it will be a hit. I promise.
Acorn squash wreaths are beautiful and easy to make. However, they do require some time in the oven. (But, easy to warm without getting mushy). Carefully slice the acorn squash and clean them like perfect little wreathe rounds using a round cookie/biscuit cutter or a glass as pictured. Lay them out on an oiled cookie sheet and sprinkle brown sugar and just a smidgen of corn starch on them. Add some chunks of butter to the pan and cook them at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until fork tender. Prior to reheating add some pomegranate seeds. Voila! It makes for a very nice holiday presentation.
Jalapeño layered cornbread is different than cornbread with diced jalapeños in it. You want to create a distinctive layer like the picture otherwise the pepper flavor gets lost. Cut and get the seeds out of the peppers. Don’t even THINK about touching your eyes after doing this deseeding! Dice the jalapeños and add a few diced red pepper pieces for color.
Bake a shallow layer of cornbread for only a few minutes. Jiffy works for me. You want a teeny tiny amount of firmness to this bottom layer so the peppers don’t just sink into the wet cornmeal. After just a few minutes of baking the first cake like cornbread layer, gently layer your peppers with just enough spiciness in them because you removed the seeds. Then, add a second layer of Jiffy cornbread and bake per the Jiffy directions. It’ll be warmed back up in a jiffy. Bring some butter.
Happy cooking and enjoy the holiday festivities!
About the Author: Glenn Morel is a producer turned chef. His website is www.ifihadachef.com. With experience in restaurants from Florida to Manhattan, he specializes in bringing his clients their very own personal chef for any special event. In addition to private parties of 12 (or more-or-less), he also offers catering for small and large groups. Chef Glenn works with you to create a customized menu and first-class event. He brings culinary professionals with him that dress appropriately and are experienced in handling food. They are also often trained mixologists and fine dining servers.