Talking SCHOP! Sides of thanks

Kysha Harris | 11/20/2014, 2:51 p.m.
I have returned from an awesome respite in the Caribbean.
Ready to get down Photo by Kysha Harris

I have returned from an awesome respite in the Caribbean. There is too much to tell you about grocery shopping, cooking, rum tasting and the fine dining experiences had. However, Thanksgiving is upon us, so I must stave off my excitement and refocus my attention to the side … the side of your main dish.

Last week I handed over my turkey recipe to you again, slightly updated for 2014. So I trolled the internet for some fun and festive recipes that whet my appetite to accompany your main dishes. Diets beware!

First up, nothing says “comfort” and “special” more than mashed potatoes perfumed with nutty brown butter.

MASHED POTATOES

Salt

3 1/2 pounds white or all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks

1 stick plus two tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup milk

1/4 cup creme fraiche

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the potatoes over moderate heat until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain well. Return the potatoes to the pot and cook over high heat for one minute to dry them out slightly. Pass the potatoes through a ricer (or mash them well) and return them to the pot.

In a small saucepan, cook the butter over moderate heat until the milk solids turn dark golden, about four minutes. Add all but two tablespoons of the brown butter to the potatoes along with the milk and creme fraiche and stir well. Season with salt and stir over moderate heat until hot. Drizzle the remaining brown butter over the potatoes and serve.

Some corn pudding with white cheddar and thyme sounds like no shades of wrong. Using frozen corn makes it that much easier too!

CORN PUDDING

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing

1 onion, finely chopped

2 teaspoons minced thyme

4 cups frozen corn kernels (about 20 ounces), thawed

1/2 cup stone-ground cornmeal

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

5 large eggs

3 cups half-and-half

1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9inch-by 13-inch shallow ceramic baking dish. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion and thyme and cook over moderate heat until the onion is softened, about eight minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the corn and cornmeal and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the half-and-half. In a blender or food processor, combine 1 cup of the custard with 1 cup of the corn mixture and puree until smooth. Whisk the puree into the custard. Then stir in the corn mixture, cheese, 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper until well blended.

Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish and bake for approximately 40 minutes, until the pudding is slightly puffed and just starting to brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Why not dress up your roasted root vegetables with some maple syrup, ginger and toasted pecans? I would!

ROOT VEGETABLES

1 1/2 cups pecans

4 medium carrots (3/4 pound), peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick on the bias

2 large parsnips (1 pound), peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick on the bias

1 medium head cauliflower (2 1/2 pounds), cut into 1-inch florets

1 small butternut squash (2 pounds, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 pound brussels sprouts, halved

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spread the pecans in a pie plate and toast until fragrant, about six minutes. Let cool.

In a large bowl, toss the carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, squash and brussels sprouts with the olive oil and nutmeg. Season generously with salt and black pepper. Spread the vegetables on two large rimmed baking sheets and roast for 30 minutes until the vegetables begin to brown. Scatter the pecans and ginger over the vegetables and drizzle with the maple syrup. Toss well. Continue to roast the vegetables for 25 minutes longer until they are tender and golden. Scrape the vegetables into a bowl and serve hot or at room temperature.

OK, so these are all carbohydrates. It’s Thanksgiving! I am sure there will be string beans, greens, salads and more adorning your table.

Happy menu planning and thanks for reading!

Kysha Harris is a food writer, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service offering weekly and in-home entertaining packages. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations? Email her at kysha@iSCHOP.com, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @SCHOPgirl and on Facebook www.facebook.com/SCHOPnyc. For even more recipes, tips and food musings, subscribe to her blog at www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com.