The family’s gathered around the table. There’s a turkey – golden brown and set for carving. But this perfect holiday meal just isn’t complete without the Thanksgiving side dishes. After all, this festival of food is all about filling up the table to overflowing.
But in a lot of homes, exactly what side dishes must be eaten for Thanksgiving becomes a bit of a debate. Some want ultra-traditional fare, some want to try exotic new recipes, and others want a little bit of everything!
Fortunately, there’s room in any holiday celebration for a little innovation… and without losing any of your history or cherished customs. In fact, a marriage of tradition and creativity will often help with the menu-making process. And if you plan it well, this approach can also help you keep the price of your holiday meal within budget.
Fusion Fashion for your Thanksgiving Table
One of the easiest ways to dress up your Thanksgiving side dishes is Fusion cooking. Fusion cooking isn’t just mixing West with East – its West meets the whole world in wonderful ways. Fusion can also mean blending old with the new. In effect, Fusion techniques celebrate how food has changed our life, and how our life has changed the way we eat. Thanksgiving side dishes afford a great opportunity to try out your ideas.
It’s always best to start with what you know then figure out a way to present that food differently. Here are some traditional holiday side dishes –ones seen on every Thanksgiving table– that may inspire novel recipe designs and adaptations:
o Traditional Green Bean Casserole: Children aren’t always fond of the onion topping on this dish. So how about making Asian style green beans with pork & Hoisin sauce? The Eastern flare is a nice flavor variance (and a little fresh ginger in the sauce helps clear the palate for your next serving).
o Cranberry Sauce: Rather than opening a can, try making fresh cranberry relish with orange and strawberries (one orange and one cup minced strawberries to one bag of fresh cranberries). You’ll need a food processor or grinder to get everything to the right consistency but its delicious, nutritious, and different from the norm. (And if you have leftovers you can make it into wine!)
o Mashed Potatoes: With a bazillion different kinds of potatoes out there and a ton of add-in ingredients, mashed potatoes are one of the easiest Thanksgiving side dishes to change up. One nice adaptation is adding butter, freshly roasted cloves of garlic, and shredded Asiago cheese. If you’re feeling really decadent – add some sour cream too!
o Bread n’ Butter pickles: Instead of just cucumbers and onions, add some fresh corn, white beans, and peas to the brine. If you like things spicy, add a dash of red pepper flakes, or even try soy.
o Sweet Potatoes: Don’t just mash or bake these wonderful tubers – do something special! Fry them up in thin slices with a dusting of honey powder, salt and chipotle (this is a great pre-dinner snack too). Or sauté in garlic and red pepper and toss with sesame oil, sesame seeds, and ginger for an Asian flair.
o Salad: If you want to keep your Thanksgiving side dishes interesting, don’t go for nutrition-empty, tasteless iceberg lettuce. There are so many different salads you can create – mixed green, endive, Greek, garbanzo, rice, lentil, barley. You get the picture. To make a delicous grain salad, cook up your favorite rice, grain, bean, etc., chill, and add green onions with a soy vinaigrette. Fast, tasty, and very simple.
o Another salad that’s a refreshing accompaniment to your Thanksgiving side dishes is a tomato-mozzarella salad. Slice large tomatoes to 1/4″ thick. Also slice fresh mozzarella into the same thickness. Place together on a platter with fresh basil leaves and drizzle with balsamic and extra virgin olive oil.
The Bottom Line:
It’s easy to see where all your family Traditions have the potential to become all kinds of gourmet Thanksgiving side dishes that may even turn into annual favorites.
Sure, ideas are great, but you need recipes! For great recipes for side dishes, visit Thanksgiving Side Dishes for your classic favorites and some new recipe ideas.
Karen Talavera is the Thanksgiving-obsessed editor of Divine Dinner Party’s Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes .
Article Source: EzineArticles.com