At a recent dinner party my wonderfully Italian friend Maria announced that she wanted to host Thanksgiving this year. I started running through the dishes I had planned on in my head, goose was out with her small convection oven, bread was out, roasted root vegetables were a no go...
I hesitantly expressed some reservations and got the immediate response.... "What matters is everybody be together, no? To be thankful, to be together is enough, besides I can make a pasta."
She is of course correct. So maybe I have a pasta this year. I will still play in my test kitchen and share the recipes with you folks. There will be wine, and everyone will be together and that is quite enough.
I have been getting e mail about family fights breaking out over Turkey. Hosts wanting to establish a tradition away from the marketing of Butterball and their ilk with the heavy breasted, antibiotic and hormone pumped birds, but finding family resistant, and even anger at the suggestions they veer away from turkey. I have had pleas to share the 'best' way to make a Turkey. Use Alton Brown's recipe, really, he explains it better than I can. You will have the traditional tastes and do the best possible turkey for the home cook.
I will still post the alternatives for those joining the turkey boycott, but today we attack the classic green bean casserole. I tried several variations before coming up with this green bean casserole recipe. Throw away those cans of mushroom soup and move into a version that will have fans of previous versions applauding.
1 lb mushrooms diced
I recommend shitake, saute in butter until they just begin to crisp and set aside.
4 large Spanish onions peeled and thinly sliced
Saute in a mixture of butter and olive oil until light brown and set aside.
2 lbs of green beans, stemmed and cut into thirds.
1 cup ground hazelnuts
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
salt to taste
Cook over medium heat until it thickens but does not boil, mix in mushrooms and stir in green beans. Place mass in buttered casserole top with onion and bake 350 for 20 to 30 for slightly crisp up to an hour for soft beans.
You will never go back to Campbell's Soup and Durkee Onion Rings again. It's that good.
...and remember, the important thing is for everyone to be together, no?