Saturday, November 22, 2008

Restaurant Secrets to the Side Dishes

Get the following and stock your pantry.

Drinkable deep red wine (inexpensive Cabs are good)
Butter (a lot of butter)
Heavy Cream
Sea Salt
Black peppercorns and a good grinder

The number one mistake home cooks make is too little butter and salt. Thanksgiving is not a low fat day.

4 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup red wine
1 teaspoon salt

Heat to medium and cook just until the cranberries pop, serve warm or cold. You can stir in some nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon or orange zest, but this basic savory cranberry sauce will make everyone happy. The wine gives it a depth of flavor that pairs beautifully with the berries.

Baked mashed potatoes.

3 lbs Yukon Gold, Idaho or red potatoes scrubbed well
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup butter

BAKE those potatoes until they are fork tender. (boiling is how you get the watery glue ones, don't do it. Also, keep the peel on.)

Lightly mash with a potato masher, keeping them lumpy. Stir in the butter and cream with a lot of salt and pepper. (if you want to add baked garlic, truffle oil, sour cream, etc. do it at this step.)

Pack into a casserole and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, salt and dot with 1/2 cup of butter. Throw them back into the oven for up to an hour while everything else finishes. They will be piping hot and brown on top.

Baking gives you a drier potato capable of soaking up more butter and cream which is really what these potatoes are all about.

So what's the turmeric for?

Your gravy, or any other dish that needs it. Sometimes you get a grey gravy, it is good, but not too appealing to look at. A few dashed of turmeric will warm up the color and give you a golden hue. A little wine in your stock can give your sauces and gravies depth of flavor. Don't neglect the salt either.

Remember Alton Brown's recipe if you are determined to make the bird. Please feel free to put questions in the comments section and I will do my best to post the solution.

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