New Castle News

October 27, 2012

Culinary Conversation: Try some Thanksgiving alternatives

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — At most Thanksgiving tables, the turkey is the star of the show.

But what about the poor, neglected side dish?

Last week, we talked about Halloween but as soon as that is over, it’s time to focus on the one day where food is the highlight.

It’s almost a mandate at some gatherings that the traditional green bean casserole made with mushroom soup and crunchy fried onions be present or there could be a minor war among family members. Squash and, of course, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes also seem to top the list.

Let’s not ignore all the possibilities of adding variety to the vegetables, side dishes and casseroles, though.

I’ll remedy that situation today in Culinary Conversation and even go a step further by adding desserts other than pumpkin pie. I’m a fan of any type of custard pies, so those were included.

Sometimes, it’s not the time to be overly adventurous, though. For Thanksgiving, tradition plays as big a role as does the Macy’s parade and the afternoon-into-evening football games.

For some families, that tradition may be lasagna. For others, it could be cabbage and pierogies. I also refer back to the cream of peanut butter soup that was a enormous epic failure at a dinner my family held on Thanksgiving years ago.

So I know from experience that throwing in a surprise element doesn’t always work.

You are cordially invited to send favorite Thanksgiving Day recipes to Culinary Conversation — whether they’re ones you have had for years or a newer selection.

And remember, it’s not what is served at the table that’s important. It’s who is seated there.

Cabbage Au Gratin

 In medium sauce pot in 1-inch of boiling water, steam cabbage for 8 minutes. Drain. Arrange cabbage wedges in a shallow baking dish. In medium skillet, melt butter; sauté onion until tender. Stir in flour; cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Return to heat and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Add cheese; stir until melted. Spoon sauce over cabbage. Combine bread crumbs and nuts. Sprinkle over sauce. Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes until sauce is bubbly and crumbs are toasted.

Baked Corn Casserole

Combine all ingredients; mix well. Pour into buttered 2-qt. casserole. Bake at 350 for one hour.

Sour Cream Raisin Pie

Preheat oven to 450. Pour boiling water over raisins to cover and allow raisins to soak for 15 minutes. Add dry ingredients to eggs and mix together well. Add sour cream and mix thoroughly. Drain raisins and add to mixture. Pour mixture into pie shell and bake 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 and bake for 30 to 35 minutes longer.

Rhubarb-Custard Pie

Beat eggs lightly; beat in milk, sugar, flour and nutmeg. Stir in rhubarb. Pour filling into pie shell; dot with butter. Bake at 425 for one hour or until custard is set.