How do you keep food traditionalists and innovators happy at the same
Thanksgiving table? It’s a challenge you can easily meet by
exploring alternatives to the old standby vegetables.
The surprise is how traditional the alternatives taste and look
while contributing a fresh touch to the menu. Most you’ll find in
supermarkets with good produce sections; some you’ll find in
Oriental markets. Consider one or all of the following choices.
As snappy lightly pickled appetizers to munch before dinner, you
can 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 the
base for a smooth, pale green soup.
Dark, orange-fleshed Japanese kabocha squash is creamier is texture
and richer in flavor than the familiar butternut or acorn squash; all
three are options to bake in a spicy syrup–just as you would yams or
Potatoes develop more character, rutabagas become mellower when
mashed together; you can start with white-fleshed russets, or recent
arrived golden-fleshed Finnish yellow or Yukon gold Potatoes.
Bok choy tastes much like Swiss chard. You can serve serve it with
dramatic-looking Chinese long beans, small haricots verts, or regular
Lettuce plus various chicories and other salad leaves can be mixed
in a salad with Japanese or regular cucumbers. The two cucumbers are a
bit different in conformation but unmistakably similar in taste.
Kale or Chinese broadleaf mustard greens give the sausage-and-bread
turkey stuffing a pleasant bite. Pickled Vegetables 4 cups rice vinegar
or distilled white vinegar Cut vegetables (suggestions follow)
In a 2- to 3-quart pan, combine vinegar and sugar, stirring to
dissolve sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Quickly pack cut vegetables loosely into clean, hot jars, and
immediately pour hot vinegar mixture over vegetables to cover. Screw on
lids and refrigerate at least overnight or as long as 2 weeks. Makes
about 2 quarts pickled vegetables.
Cut vegetables. You’ll need 1-1/2 pounds total; choose 3 or 4
of the following:
Jicama or carrots. Peel and cut into 1/4-inch-thick sticks, 2 to 3
Daikon radishes. Trim off root and stem end of vegetables. Scrub
and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Chinese broadleaf mustard (dai choy) or napa cabbage. Wash and cut
stems into about 2-inch squares; reserve leaves to use for soups or
stir-frys. Kohlrabi Bisque About 2-1/4 pounds kohlrabi or broccoli 3
tablespoons butter or margarine 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 clove
garlic, pressed or minced 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 6 cups
regular-strength chicken broth 1 teaspoon dry marjoram 1/4 teaspoon
ground white pepper 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley Salt Parsley
Cut leaves and stems from kohlrabi; peel kohlrabi. Or cut tender
flowerets from broccoli; cut off tough ends of stems and discard. Peel
remaining stems. Cut kohlrabi or broccoli into about 1/2-inch cubes.
In a 5- to 6-quart pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion
and garlic and stir occasionally until limp. Stirring, add flour and
cook 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 for
kohlrabi, 10 to 15 minutes for broccoli.
Add chopped parsley and remaining broth. Puree soup, a portion at
a time, in a blender. If desired, pour through a wire strainer to
remove 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 acorn
squash 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or
margarine 1/4 cup water 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground
cloves Meringue (recipe follows) 1/4 cup sliced almonds
Cut squash in half; scoop out seeds and discard. Set squash, cut
sides 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. Cut
squash meat from peel into 1-inch cubes. Discard peel. (You can cover
and refrigerate cubes for up to 2 days.)
In a 9- by 13-inch pan, combine sugar, butter, water, cinnamon, and
cloves. Put pan in oven, uncovered, until butter melts, about 10
minutes. Stir to blend ingredients, then add squash cubes and stir to
Bake squash, uncovered, in a 325[deg.] oven until hot in center,
about 20 minutes (25 to 30 minutes if chilled). Drop large spoonfuls of
meringue on squash and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake, uncovered,
just until meringue browns in spots, about 10 minutes. Makes 10 to 12
Merinque. In a large bowl, whip 5 egg whites until foamy. Beat in
1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, continuing to beat until meringue
holds stiff glossy peaks. Golden Mashed Potatoes 3 pounds rutabagas 4
pounds Finnish yellow, Yukon gold, or russet potatoes Water 1/4 to 1/2
cup hot milk 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine, melted 1/4 teaspoon
ground 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 20
minutes longer. Drain off liquid.
Place half the vegetables at a time in a large bowl of an electric
mixer and beat until smooth. (Or push vegetables through a ricer.) Add
milk to moisten to desired consistency; mix in butter and nutmeg, and
season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 12 servings. Beans and Bok
Choy with Chive Butter 1-1/2 pounds bok choy hearts, baby bok choy, or
regular bok choy 1-1/2 pounds Chinese long beans (also called asparagus
beans), haricots verts, or regular green beans, ends trimmed and any
strings pulled off 4 quarts boiling water 3/4 cup (3/8 lb.) butter or
margarine 1 cup lightly packed, finely chopped garlic chives or regular
If using bok choy hearts or baby bok choy, leave whole. For
regular 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 water
until 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 warm
serving platter; keep hot.
Add bok choy to boiling water. Cook, uncovered, until barely
tender to bite, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and arrange on platter. Melt
butter with chives and offer to spoon over individual portions. Serves
12. Mixed Greens with Vinaigrette 4 quarts mixed greens, torn into
bite-size pieces, such as butter, green, or red leaf lettuce; radicchio;
Belgian endive; curly endive or chicory; escarole; mache; or arugula 1
small 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 12
salad 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, 1/4
cup wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, and 1 clove garlic, pressed
or minced. Nippy Greens Turkey Stuffing 2 pounds bulk pork sausage 4
large onions, chopped 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced 2 teaspoons dry
oregano leaves 1-1/2 teaspoons crushed fennel seed 1/2 teaspoon crushed
dried hot red chilies 1-1/2 pounds kale or mustard greens, rinsed and
dried Water 2 packages (about 7-1/2 oz. each) herb-seasoned stuffing mix
About 1 cup regular-strength chicken broth 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or
margarine, optional 1 turkey, 18 to 20 pounds, optional (see page 204
for 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, and
chilies; 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 tough
parts 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 2
to 3 tablespoons of water, if needed, to prevent scorching.
As greens are wilted, add to sausage. Add stuffing mix; stir to
blend, adding broth and melted butter to moisten as you like. Use, or
cover 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 1
hour. Serves 20 to 24.