it’s tricky to address cranberry sauce from a local perspective, because while cranberries are native to north america, they tend to be grown in northern states above the sunbelt. you won’t find them in farmer’s markets around los angeles, and most other fall berries have just wrapped up their seasons. so what’s a person to do about a tart berry sauce for thanksgiving?
while you might not be able to use fresh berries on a seasonal diet, lots of local producers of cherries, raspberries, blackberries, and some blueberries also make dried berries, which are perfect to simmer with seasoning and spices for a comparable compote to cranberry sauce. adding the fact that pomegranates are currently in season, there are some great, deeply red antioxidant flavors to use here.
cherry and citrus relish
1 vidalia onion or red onion, chopped
1 tb canola oil
juice & minced zest of 2 medium oranges
1⁄2 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup water
1 cup red wine
1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
1⁄2 tsp cardamom
1⁄2 tsp allspice
1 tb sugar or honey
2 cups dried cherries
1⁄2 cup pine nuts
sauté onion over medium heat in 1 tb canola oil until translucent, 5 minutes. add orange & pomegranate juices, water and wine, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and sugar. bring to a boil, add cherries, reduce to medium heat and simmer covered 20 minutes. check liquid levels periodically and add water as needed.
remove from heat and toss with orange zest and pine nuts. serve hot or chilled.
– substitute a mix of dried berries to your liking
– substitute dried blueberries, or add in chopped dried apricots & plums
– process or chop dried berries before cooking for a more uniform consistency
– use a mix of dried, toasted & chopped nuts instead of just pine nuts
i’ve made a lot of variations of savory pumpkin and mixed vegetable pies. when considering the recipes for the thanksgiving guide, i wanted to incorporate sweet potatoes, and i thought i’d work with a version that uses a simple breadcrumb crust rather than a full pie crust. you can pick your favorite type of bread, but i’ve tried to keep the carbs lower by using sprouted rye [i love both trader joe’s and alvarado bakery’s sprouted rye breads]. i think a whole-grain sourdough would also be really tasty.
start by roasting the pumpkin and sweet potato. i like to use cinderella pumpkins, because they have deep red-orange, juicy flesh. i also like to cut them lengthwise along the grooves for roasting in slices. cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise for roasting as well. roast 45 minutes at 300º on an oiled baking sheet, turning the slices halfway through, but leaving sweet potatoes cut-side down. when finished and cooled enough to handle, cut the pumpkin away from the peel and scoop the sweet potato away from the skin into a bowl. cut into large chunks and mash coarsely with a fork to break up and incorporate. this should not be in any way uniform, just break up the pieces so they can be mixed with other fillings and baked.
while the pumpkin and sweet potato are roasting, prepare your onion, garlic & spice sauté. i chose a cumin-coriander-chili spice mix, but this is the time to pick your favorite flavor profile and saute them once the onions are translucent.
preheat oven to 325º. when all the fillings have been prepared, add onion sauté to the mixing bowl along with 2 eggs and parmesan cheese, and stir in with a form to incorporate. toast the 2 slices of bread and blend them into bread crumbs in the blender. use butter or oil to grease a 9″ baking dish, spread the breadcrumbs along the bottom and shake them up along the sides to coat [it’s not critical to get a thick layer on the sides of the dish, just do what you can]. add the pumpkin filling and spread with a spoon into a level pie. bake at 325º for 1 hour.
savory pumpkin pie
1⁄4 cinderella pumpkin, cut into 1” sliced sections
2 sweet potatoes, halved
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tb butter
4 cloves minced garlic
2 tb white wine vinegar
spice mix: 1 tsp each of cumin, coriander and chili powders
1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese
bread crumbs made from 2 slices whole grain bread
roast pumpkin and sweet potato on an oiled baking sheet at 300º for 45 minutes. cut pumpkin flesh from peel, scoop flesh from sweet potato skins, and roughly chop each into a mixing bowl. mash with a fork to mix potato and pumpkin. turn oven up to 325º.
sauté the onions with butter, 3 minutes. add garlic and vinegar and simmer on low heat, covered, 20 minutes. uncover and add the spice mix, sauté 1 minute more, remove from heat. add sautéd onions, eggs and parmesan to the bowl. stir with a fork to mix through. grease a 9” baking dish and spread bread crumbs over the bottom. add the filling and level the top. bake 1 hour at 325º.
– add mushrooms to your onion sauté
– substitute feta cheese or any hard cheese for parmesan
make it vegan
– substitute olive oil for butter
– substitute vegan parmesan [make your own!]
– substitute ener-g egg substitute for eggs
– add additional bread crumbs to pumpkin filling
– add mushrooms to your onion sauté
i’ll just come out and say it: i’ve never been a fan of preparing a whole turkey. as much as i am a fan of using the whole animal, and the benefits of getting to make turkey stock once the meat is eaten off the bone, i don’t like wrestling with a carcass the size of a small child or tying up the oven for hours, wondering if it will come out just right. what i do like is this manageable alternative of braising, which takes only 2 hours, can be done in the oven or on the stove, and allows the chance to flavor the meat with the braising liquid, turning out a really tender and delicious turkey breast.
start by sourcing a naturally-raised, free-range turkey breast [whole foods or your local, independent butcher is a good place to start]. the one i’m using is 3.5 pounds.
unlike chicken breasts, turkey breasts are sold together. cut away the netting and unfold it, and you’ll see you have a symmetrical set.
place the turkey skin-side down on a work surface and rub the insides down with olive oil. now is a good time to stuff the center with fruit, aromatic herbs, or flavorful items [like prosciutto or salami slices]. i have chosen orange slices and some of the cherry relish i’ve prepared. the idea here is that you’ll fold the breasts back up, tie them up to keep them in place [and to create the final shape for the breasts, since they will firm up when cooked], and infuse some of the meat with flavor. what you’ll end up doing is folding the right side over the left to tie it up, so if you have items that will move a lot [like oranges] put them on the left side. you can put everything on one side if you’re afraid it will move too much.
tying up your turkey breast is a little challenging. i find starting with it on one side is easiest, tie butcher’s twine around the top and start tying it up. the video above is a very straightforward way to do it. if you prefer written instructions, these work well too. you may find this gets a little messy. mine was messy too, but it won’t affect the final result. say the serenity prayer and accept your messy stuffed turkey breast.
add some oil to a dutch oven and place the tied turkey breast on its side to brown for a minute or two. flip to the top-side down, and finish up with the other side so your last browning side is the back. once the turkey breast is back-side down, add the mirepoix, cover and sweat a few minutes.
once all the browning and sweating is done, add the white wine, vegetable or chicken stock and orange juice. the liquids should not entirely cover the meat, but rather come up somewhere more than halfway up the sides. i decided to top mine with orange zest so the orange oil could steam out and into the meat. turn up the heat to get the liquids to boil, and then turn down to medium-low and cover to braise about 2 hours. alternately, you can finish in the oven at 350º for about 2 hours. make sure to check liquid levels periodically and add water if they’re boiling away.
braised turkey breast
1 3.5-lb turkey breast
mirepoix: 1 onion, 3 med. carrots, 1 heart celery, all chopped to medium dice
2 cups white wine
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
juice and zest of 2 oranges
optional stuffing: 2 oranges, sliced & 3 tbsp cherry relish
cut netting from turkey breast and place the open breasts on a work surface, skin-side down. rub the inside of each with olive oil and line each with any fruit or herbs you’d like to infuse into the turkey [i chose orange slices and cherry relish]. fold one side over the other and tie up as a roast with kitchen string.
in a dutch oven, brown the sides and top of the turkey breast. finally, place the back side down and add the mirepoix, cover and sweat the vegetables 3 minutes. add the wine, stock, orange juice & zest,
and bring to a boil. turn down to low, cover and simmer 2 hours, or place a 350º oven for 2 hours.
don’t bother with trying to replicate turkey on a vegan diet. ditch tradition [you’re probably not into it anyway] and take the opportunity to make your all-time favorite entrée to celebrate with your friends & family.
place 2 cups of the turkey braising liquid in a saucepan, or simmer to reduce the turkey braising liquid down to 2 cups. add the butter and whisk to incorporate. while whisking, add flour in 1 tbsp increments and whisk to incorporate. continue whisking as gravy thickens to desired consistency.
this recipe makes about 2 cups of gravy. if you plan to double it, use the desired amount of turkey braising liquid to start [you may add stock, water or wine to increase], and add 1 tablespoon butter for every 2 cups liquid. when whisking in flour, take more time between additions, as the gravy will thicken more slowly, and likely won’t need double the amount of flour.
i love stuffing, but when i thought about making my own recipe, i thought about how i could make it more tasty with interesting bread, and not entirely and all-out carb-fest by adding some nuts and seeds. i chose whole grain sourdough, and worked in mushrooms and a mix of pepitas, pine nuts and sliced almonds. make it with some of your turkey braising liquid, or keep it vegan with vegetable stock.
2 tb olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large stalks celery, sliced
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
2 cups turkey braising liquid or vegetable stock
1⁄2 cup white wine
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sage
1⁄2 lb sourdough loaf, cubed & toasted
1⁄3 cup each of toasted pepitas, pine nuts & sliced almonds
preheat oven to 350º. sauté onion on medium-high heat in 2 tbs olive oil, 3 minutes, add celery and mushrooms, saute 2 minutes. add wine, simmer and reduce, 5 min. turn off heat, add the turkey braising liquid or stock, thyme, sage, salt and pepper to taste.
add toasted sourdough cubes to a 9 x 12” baking dish and pour vegetable mix over. toss to coat and soak sourdough through. sprinkle nuts over the top. bake 40 minutes at 350º until heated through.
i was a bit torn about which root vegetables to work with for the seasonal eats guide. i love sweet potatoes and white potatoes, but i also love all the late-harvest squash, and having that plethora of carbs on the table seemed like overkill. what it came down to was, i wanted to incorporate as much as i could, but maybe not all in their own dishes. i sent the sweet potatoes to hang out with the pumpkin in a savory pie, which will be up next week, and then settled in to figure out an alternative to mashed potatoes that used some variation of cauliflower purée. when i realized i could use white yams, i thought this dish would be a vitamin and fiber rich cruciferous alternative to mashed white potatoes.
cauliflower yam purée
1 head cauliflower, cut into medium florets
1 white yam, cut in half lengthwise
4 oz feta cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1⁄3 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
roast yam cut-side-down on an oiled baking sheet at 300º for 30 minutes. scrape the flesh from the skin and set aside. using a steamer pot, steam cauliflower 15 minutes. reserve steaming liquid when finished.
place the cauliflower florets and yam in a food processor or blender with .5 cup cooking liquid, feta, olive oil and white wine vinegar. process until smooth, adding cooking liquid as needed (this will take a some scraping and mixing between blends). transfer to a mixing bowl.
whisk in the dijon, parmesan cheese, and salt & pepper to taste. transfer to a serving bowl and dust with finishing salt and ground pepper.
make it vegan
substitute the feta for 1/4 cup vegenaise and 1/2 cup soy milk
omit the parmesan, adjust salt to taste
substitute some of the yam or cauliflower, or simply add to them [cube and steam until soft]:
– celeriac / celery root
– white potatoes
substitute feta cheese for goat cheese
substitute parmesan for any hard, salty cheese
– hard jack cheese [an early american homestead version of parmesan]
1. go to the contact form.
2. enter your contact information, mailing address and write “i’d like a free seasonal eats guide!”
3. watch your mailbox for its arrival.
the parlato design studio seasonal eats recipe guide has 9 delicious, seasonal, local, healthy recipes for thanksgiving, all with online breakdowns, suggested alternates and vegan options. so far we’ve covered the apple cherry galette and the apple, celery, lemony yogurt slaw. more to come as we countdown to thanksgiving.
i decided to include a fresh, crunchy salad in my thanksgiving menu, because so much of thanksgiving food is carb-laden comfort food, i thought it would be nice to contrast that with some raw greens and fruit. this salad is really easy to prepare if you have an adjustable mandoline with a julienne attachment [it’s not necessary, but it cuts the prep time down a lot]. replacing any mayonnaise with yogurt, we’re getting a leaner fat and protein, and natural probiotics. beyond being tangy and refreshing, a little of this salad goes a long way!
apple, celery & lemony yogurt slaw
half a head of napa cabbage
4 medium apples, mixed
2 large stalks celery
1 cup plain greek yogurt
juice and minced zest of 2 lemons
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp crushed
1 tb apple cider vinegar
slice cabbage crosswise thinly [about 1⁄8” thick] and place in a large mixing bowl. julienne the apples into matchsticks with a knife or a julienne mandoline and place in the bowl. slice celery stalks thinly crosswise with a knife or mandoline and place in the bowl.
in a small mixing bowl, add the yogurt, minced lemon zest, mustard and mustard seeds, mix to incorporate. whisk in the vinegar and lemon juice to incorporate quickly to prevent curdling. salt and pepper to taste.
pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat. transfer to a serving bowl to serve.
– increase the color contrast with some red cabbage
– increase the tangy factor with some radicchio
– spice it up with some julienned radishes
– increase the probiotics with some saurkraut
– go all out on color and fiber with vitamin-rich root veggies like julienned carrots and beets
i really wanted this to work out as a 3-flour galette, but as it happens, there just isn’t enough gluten to hold everything together without driving a person mad when it’s a third almond flour. that doesn’t mean it drove me mad, perse, but i couldn’t put it in my recipe guide this way in good faith. hence, the photo above shows 1/2-cup each of white flour, wheat flour and almond meal flour, but unless you like a super-challenge, i’m recommending 3/4-cup each of white flour and wheat flour instead. we’ll be cutting that up with 1 stick of butter and 1 tablespoon sugar.
a really wise master pie baker who did an entire demonstration at machine project explained that the best way to create the perfect pie crust is to cut the butter into little squares, and then cut it into the flour on a work surface. this is also a really good way to get zen, because it takes awhile. if you never had a heyday cutting up particulates in your cocaine before doing lines, now is your much larger, g-rated chance, because it’s a lot like that. cut from one side to the other, through the clumps of butter, scrape it all back up and cut it back the other way. this will integrate some of the butter into the flour while retaining the smaller clumps that will eventually melt into a flaky crust while baking. as the clumps get smaller, sprinkle small amounts of ice water over the top and cut it in, until you have moist, small clumps that come together in your hands. but hey—if you have a food processor and want to cut the butter in that way, by all means go ahead!
this is pretty much what you’re going for, no matter what flour you’re using. slightly moist but not too wet. if you were to gather this up into a ball in your hands, it should push together and retain its shape. once you get to this point, ball up your dough without handling it too much and melting the butter, and put it in a bowl to chill in the fridge, at least 1.5 hours.
this same wise pie baker suggested using a selection of apples, to vary the flavor and texture, and i’ve really liked this idea. i chose a granny smith, a fuji, and a red delicious, which are popular at the farmer’s market and self-pick orchards alike. core out your apples, trim away any rough parts, and then slice them to 1/8-inch thick slices. place the slices in a mixing bowl with the dried cherries, the lemon juice and zest, honey or sugar, and cinnamon, and toss to coat. set it aside to marinate.
preheat the oven to 350º. when the dough is sufficiently chilled, and flour a work surface and roll it out to about 1/4-inch thick and a 12-inch circle. this is where my experimental dough had trouble holding together, so if you want to ease some of your pain, put down a piece of parchment, flour that, and roll your dough out over it. if necessary, you can flip it on to a plate and peel off the parchment without breaking the dough. once you have it to the right size and thickness, transfer it to a baking sheet and spoon the apple mixture into a mound in the center, leaving about 3-inches of empty dough all around. work from one side around to the other, folding the extra dough over the center mound, crimping edges as you go. if the dough breaks anywhere, just pinch it shut, or pull off a piece and patch it if necessary. once you’ve finished this part, it’s time to bake: 45 minutes at 350º or until golden brown.
apple cherry galette
1 stick butter
3⁄4 cup white flour
3⁄4 cup wheat flour
1 tb raw sugar
3 apples, mixed variety, sliced to 1⁄8” thick
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 tb honey or raw sugar
1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
1⁄3 cup dried cherries
place sliced apples in a mixing bowl. sprinkle with lemon juice & zest, honey, cinnamon, and cherries, and toss to coat. set aside to marinate. process butter, flour and sugar in a food processor or cut butter into flour with a dough scraper, until it reaches a crumbly consistency. sprinkle ice water over mixture 1 tsp at a time and process in pulses until the dough resembles moist chunks that just come together in your hands. push into a ball and chill 1.5 hours.
preheat oven to 350º. roll dough out to a 12” circle on a floured work surface. transfer to a baking sheet and spoon the apple mixture into a mound in the center, leaving about 3” around on all sides. fold the sides up and around the apples, crimping and pinching the corners as you go. bake at 350º for 45 min.
make it vegan:
substitute 1/2 cup of any of the following for the butter:
– earth balance vegan spread
– non-dairy margarine
– vegetable shortening
use only raw sugar rather than honey.
use a mix of apples with these, or substitute the apples for:
it’s a bird! it’s a plate! it’s green beans & gravy! its … the parlato design seasonal eats recipe guide, to infuse local, seasonal & healthy flavor into your thanksgiving meal this year!
some of you know, and some of you don’t, but i love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. i also love writing, and decided to combine these two activities into something called seasonal eats for LAist for the past year.
as a way of saying thanks for reading, thanks for being awesome clients, or just thanks for being you, my way of giving back this year is to give you 9 local, seasonal, healthy recipes that are easy, fun and don’t require a million ingredients in a quickie accordion-folio format you can reference in the kitchen, hang on the refrigerator, or tuck into your recipe box. and if you’re looking for pictures, more complete instructions, vegan adaptations or flavor alternatives, i’ll be blogging about each of these recipes in the weeks leading up to thanksgiving under the tag thanksgiving2011.
i’ll be offering a FREE copy to anyone who sends me a personal request through my contact page through november 7, 2011 [that’s a note from the contact form that i recieve by 11:59pm, monday, november 7, 2011]. you’ll get yours hot off the press & in the mail as soon as i get them. aside from anything else you might want to write, make sure to say you’re requesting the recipe guide, and send your mailing address! after november 7, 2011, they’ll be available for purchase for $5/each in the store.