City Pulse

By Ashley Goldsmith

After several failed attempts to uncover family recipes of mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and stuffing, I’ve decided to go ahead and test out other recipes to create a Thanksgiving menu that’s easy for any level of kitchen skill and comes pretty darn close to grandma’s stuff.

Pre-Dinner Munchies

I’m a big fan of a good old cheese plate with crackers or a fresh baguette. Hummus and veggies are also always a crowd pleaser.
Check out Murray’s Cheese Shop, 254 Bleeker St., 212.243.3289

Turkey
I’ve never cooked an entire turkey before, so if you’re like me head to www.butterball.com for tips on choosing the right size bird and cooking a moist and flavorful turkey.

Stuffing
Keep it classic with a mushroom stuffing. Be sure to bake the stuffing on it’s own for vegetarian guests.
http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/mushroom-stuffing?backto=true

Potatoes & Gravy
To add a little garlic over your sides opt for roasted garlic gravy. I also add a little heavy cream to my mashed potatoes to give them a nice, well…creamy flavor. For mashed sweet potatoes follow the same procedure but add a dash of vanilla and cinnamon.
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Smashed-Potatoes-with-Roasted-Garlic-Gravy-350612

Vegetables
My go to cold weather veggies are always cauliflower and brussel sprouts. First trim the ends from both and halve the sprouts or separate the florets to desired size. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. You can simply roast either in a 400° oven for 30 to 45 minutes, shake in baking pan occasionally to even color until golden brown.

Cranberry Sauce
Buy a bag of Ocean Spray cranberries. Follow the cranberry sauce instructions on the back. Seriously.

Desserts
Try a twist on a traditional pumpkin pie with baklava-inspired bite sized pumpkin pies.
http://www.yumsugar.com/2523756

All recipes are vegetarian friendly so that the veg crowd can enjoy everything on the table minus the bird. (Tip: If you do have vegetarian guests, speak with them ahead of time and ask if there’s anything in particular you could make for them as a main dish, a mini vegetable pot pie, veggie lasagna, or stuffed cabbage like my family does. Otherwise, recommend they bring along a suitable main course replacement for themselves. As a former vegetarian, I can tell you that a life of side dishes isn’t always exciting.)

P.S. You should head to the market 2-3 days before the big day to ensure you’ve picked up all of your seasonal ingredients, since they will be the first to be snatched up by last minute shoppers.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving dishes?

Originally published November 2008
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