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May 2024

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Many families have their traditions for the main course of the Thanksgiving meal, ones they look forward to revisiting year after year, whether it is turkey and dressing, or another dish reflecting regional and ethnic sources. Side dishes are another matter and vary considerably. I am always on the lookout for a new idea, a surprise something my family or guests might like, but my choices are often based on traditional dishes I have enjoyed since my childhood in the regions where I grew up, updated and with a new twist of one kind or another.

I like the following ones especially as they all marry well with a variety of other main course dishes, including fish, roast beef or lamb, or other vegetable entries.

Corn Pudding

3 T melted butter, plus more for the dish, or plant substitute
2 C corn, 3 ears if fresh
1/3 C sugar, to taste, organic cane sugar preferred
1 t salt
2 large brown organic eggs
2 C whole organic milk
1 t freshly grated nutmeg

Heat oven 350ºF. Butter 1-1/2 qt baking dish. Cut corn from cob into a mixing bowl, slicing from the top downward.

Cut only half the kernel, scraping remainder with the back of a knife.

Stir sugar and salt into corn. Mix beaten eggs and milk together, stir into corn mixture.

Add melted butter and mix well.

Spoon mixture into prepared dish and sprinkle with nutmeg.

Place dish in a larger baking dish or roasting pan.

Place in oven and pour hot water about halfway up the sides of the larger one.

Bake 40 to 50 minutes, until a knife inserted into center comes out clean.

Pudding will still jiggle.

Selected and adapted from a recipe by Edna Lewis in the New York Times.

Sweet Potato Pecan Casserole

3 lbs sweet potatoes, 3 large or 5 medium
2-1/2 T maple syrup
1/2 C unsweetened almond milk, or other milk choice
1 T vanilla extract
1 egg, or leave out if vegan
1 t freshly grated cinnamon
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch Allspice
1/4 t salt

1/4 C flour, choice of whole wheat pastry flour, unbleached organic white flour, or gluten-free oat flour
1/3 C rolled oats
1/3 C organic red or coconut sugar
1/2 C chopped pecans, coarse
3 T melted butter, plant substitute or coconut oil

Preheat oven, 400ºF. Wash, poke holes, five or six each in potatoes with a sharp fork. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil and roast 45 min to 1 hr until tender when pierced with the fork.

Remove from oven. Lower heat to 350ºF

Grease choice of 8×8 pan, 9-inch pie pan, or 1 1/2 qt baking dish, or cost with non-stick cooking spray.

Cut potatoes and discard skin. Place in large bowl, add syrup, milk, vanilla, egg, spices, and salt.

Beat until smooth.

Pour into baking dish, smooth top.

Whisk flour, oats, sugar and pecans. Stir in melted butter until crumbs form. Sprinkle over top of the potato mixture.

Bake 25-30 minutes until top is slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and cool 5-10 min.
Selected and adapted from a recipe on the online site Ambitiouskitchen.com

Warm Fruit Compotes *

1 lb fruit, berries or stone fruit, to taste, fresh or frozen. Recommend combinations of berries, blackberries or raspberries with peaches or nectarines.
1 T organic cane sugar, honey or maple syrup to taste
1 t vanilla
1/8 t nutmeg
1/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t fresh lemon juice

If using fresh fruit, rinse and remove pits from stone fruit, and chop into chunks. Add sugar or sweetener and cook over medium heat about 6 minutes, 2 more if using frozen fruit.
Stir often. Fruit will soften and release lots of juice.

Bring to a boil and cook 2 more minutes. Stir, keeping shape of fruit.

Remove from heat, cool.

Serve warm.

Other berries can be added, such as cherries, cranberries or currants, according to taste and season, depending on choice for texture and sweetness. Best-quality canned fruits can be substituted as well. Compotes can be served as a side dish and accompaniment to poultry, meat or fish dishes, or as a light, healthy dessert over yogurt or vanilla ice cream.

Selected and Adapted from a recipe on the online site Everyday Healthy Recipes.

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