Monday, November 14, 2011

Make Your Cranberry Sauce Now--And Other Thanksgiving Suggestions

It pays to keep holiday meals simple but delicious. Prepare as much as you can ahead of time. Plan one to two WOW dishes, not the entire meal. Don't go overboard with "decorations." Remember, what you put up you have to take down. Leave all the complications for family relationships. Take a deep breath. You still have Christmas and New Year's to go . . . Keep the liquor cabinet well stocked.

Everyone has an opinion about cranberry sauce. A lot of people hate it. And for good reason. It's often overly tart if not just disappointingly sour.

My "sauce" is not cooked. And, trust me on this, people will eat it. And want more. But it has to be made in advance so the berries marinate in the sugar. The longer it marinates, the better it becomes. I will have a bowl in the fridge from now until fresh cranberries disappear in the markets.

I think Thanksgiving is just as much about apples as it turkey and sweet potatoes. Try my casserole for sweet potatoes layered with apples. It's a bit more grown up than yams with marshmallows. 

If you've never had apples with onions, you're in for a treat. And don't turn up your nose a the combination. It's actually Kitchen Bounty's top recipe. 

For some reason, sweet potatoes and pumpkin are the only "orange" allowed at Thanksgiving. Try carrots. 

Mashed potatoes don't have to be boring. A bit of dried onion and fresh garlic bring them to a new level. Use real butter and cream. And don't use an electric egg beater.

If your main dessert is the traditional pumpkin pie, a scoop of apple crisp alongside is a nice treat. And it's easier to make than an apple pie. 

Appetizers are a great start to any holiday meal. Try shelled fish, such as clams, oysters or shrimp for a stellar beginning to the holiday season. Serve with cold Champagne. Cheers!

If you have a hunter in the family who insists on venison, I've got the perfect recipe for you!

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