The Palatable Pantry: A Tasty Thanksgiving
By Sydney Karp Poll, a local holistic health coach, chef and friend of Care for Real
This Thanksgiving will be different than those in our past. With smaller groups getting together and Zoom dinners replacing family gatherings, we have to consider how our menus will change, as well. In the plus column, preparing our Thanksgiving foods might be easier than in the past. Cooking for a smaller group means preparing smaller portions or perhaps even cooking single-size servings to avoid communal scooping.
Below are a few ideas for your holiday dining. They are simple, creative and will have your real or virtual guests wanting more.
My first all-time favorite is a turkey charcuterie board. I prepared it for my family a few years ago and still laugh every time I look at the photo. It is fun to make and allows you to be creative with a dish that normally lacks imagination. The ingredients are simple and versatile.
Turkey Charcuterie Board
- One round wheel of cheese, such as a brie for the turkey’s body.
- Sausages, or other thinly sliced meats, and cheeses of your choice (you’ll want a variety of color and shapes)
- Some dried fruit like dates or apricots for taste
- Either pretzel sticks or pieces of cheese cut into strips for the turkey’s arms and legs
- Two black peppercorns for the eyes
- Start with the round cheese as the body and place it on your plate.
- Make the turkey’s face and legs (be creative here).
- After the turkey body is done you can start to build its feathers alternating with the fruit, cheese, and meats. There are no real directions here as this is the part that allows you to have fun!
- Serve with crackers and jelly.
If you have children, each may want them to each make their own small individual turkey, which can be done together as an activity. If you choose this option, you can have a friendly competition between family members and vote to see who wins!
Mini Hasselback Potatoes
Another great and easy side dish is Mini Hasselback Potatoes. While scrubbing them might take a bit longer, they cook faster which saves you time overall. You can be creative with the seasonings and add in the Thanksgiving flavors of your choice. You might use sage, rosemary, maybe even a little brown sugar. Below are the ingredients I used but again, feel free to let your imagination be your guide.
- 1 or 2 bags (depending on how many people you have), of new or baby potatoes (any kind you use will work). The colored potatoes, such as the purple ones, are filled with antioxidants so if you use those you’ll have the benefit of added nutrients.
- 6 tbs of avocado oil or butter. (You will want to avoid olive oil since the cooking temperature is higher than 375 degrees and olive oil can’t cook that high)
- 2 ½ tbs. dried or fresh herbs of your choice (i.e., sage, basil, rosemary, parsley, chives)
- 2 grated garlic cloves
- A little salt and pepper
- Set the oven to 425 degrees.
- Take a cookie sheet and line it with unbleached parchment paper.
- Using a sharp knife, make several crosswise cuts in each potato, about 1/8-inch apart, stopping about 1/4 inch from the bottom.
- Place the potatoes in a single layer, cut side up on the cookie sheet.
- Drizzle with 2 tbs. of the melted butter or oil.
- Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper.
- Bake for about 45 minutes until they are crispy on the outside.
- While they are baking take a small bowl and mix your herbs with the rest of the butter or oil, garlic, and a little more salt and pepper.
- When the potatoes come out of the oven, place them on a serving dish or on individual plates, and drizzle with your herb mixture.
I hope you enjoy these recipes and have a safe holiday season. Please tag me in all of your creations and find out more on Instagram @Syd.Play.Eat