Thanksgiving Recap!

P and I met Kym and Randy last year at the Kokua festival, where Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, and others played to support environmental education in Hawaii’s schools.  Since then, we’ve all become close friends, spending holidays together when we’re not able to fly back to our respective home states.  This year, they came over with everything but their kitchen sink, and we cooked up a storm!  Randy even brought his guitar and played for us while we cooked, and P had a great idea in going down to the beach after dinner to watch the Hawaiian sunset.  We missed our families, but feel humbled to know such awesome people in the world.

I made this Rosemary-White Bean Dip to snack on while we were making our early dinner.

Rosemary-White Bean Dip

makes 1 cup

1 can (15.8 oz) white beans (Great Northern, cannelini), rinsed and drained

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

1/4 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp salt

Freshly cracked black pepper

Few drops tabasco sauce

1 1/2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped medium-fine

1.  Place all ingredients except olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor; process until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy.  While the food processor is running, add the olive oil in a drizzle.  Before serving, fold in the sun-dried tomatoes.  Serve with whole-wheat crackers or raw vegetables.

Kym was so awesome – she whipped up some mashed potatoes made with sour cream, stuffing, and brought pumpkin pie.  I didn’t feel like making turkey, so roasted up some Cornish Game Hens instead.  Coming from a large family, I over-estimated how much I needed so bought 6, when in fact we made do by splitting each hen in half and fed four easily with just two hens.  Oh well, we kept in the spirit of Thanksgiving by making lots for leftovers!

The recipe for the Cornish Game Hens with Garlic and Rosemary was a recipe I found on Epicurious.  Since I roasted six hens, I increased the amount of lemon slices, rosemary, white wine, and low-sodium chicken broth.  When the hens were good and ready, I used the pan juices to make a simple gravy.  Just pour the pan juices into a small saucepan, and heat on medium, whisking in a couple tablespoons of cornstarch to thicken it up a bit.  This turned out great on top of Kym’s mashed potatoes as well!  The table’s not completely set yet in this pic, but you get the idea.

I wanted to do something different with the green beans this year.  Especially since Thanksgiving is a day that many associate with heavy foods, I wanted to lighten it up a bit.  This quick saute turned out to be flavorful and fresh.  Just be sure to use thin green beans like haricots verts or French green beans, which are thinner and less starchy than regular green beans.  I just think they taste better.  Oh, and this recipe was me throwing things in the saute pan as I went along.  Feel free to add more chicken stock if you’d like more sauce, or lemon zest for extra tang.  It’s all improv, my friends!

French Green Beans with Shallot Sauce

serves 4-6

1 1/2 lb French green beans or haricots verts, ends trimmed

1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp shallots, finely chopped

about 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

juice of 1/2 lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

Red pepper flakes, to taste

1.  In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add the butter and olive oil.  When the oil-butter mixture is hot, add the shallots, and saute for about 1 minute.  Add the green beans and stir until all ingredients are incorporated, for about 3 minutes.  Add the chicken broth and lemon juice.  Bring the chicken broth to a boil, and turn down the heat to medium.  Continue to saute the green beans until tender, about another 4-5 minutes or until desired.  Top with red pepper flakes.

And now, it’s time for apple pie!

See how I can peel an apple in one strip!  Such an improvement from embarrassing knife skill days in high school, haha!

I started on my apple pie the day before, using a recipe for Cinnamon Crumble Apple Pie from Epicurious, prepping the crust and letting it rest in the fridge overnight.  On Thanksgiving day, I rolled out my dough, peeled and sliced all my apples, and baked the pie.  Of course, I made a couple changes to the recipe:

- Instead of using all Granny Smith apples, I used 3 Granny Smith apples and 4 Jonagold apples.  I find that if you make a pie with entirely Granny Smith apples, the pie becomes too tart; by using two types of apples, you get a nice sweet/tart flavor, sans puckered face.

- I cut down the sugar in the filling by 2 tablespoons, since the Jonagold apples were already a little sweeter than Granny Smiths.

- I added 1/4 tsp allspice to the apple filling.  It just spices it up a bit, but not too much.

- I cut down the amount of butter in the crumb topping, using 4 tablespoons instead of 6.  The texture was still sandy, and not overly buttery.  The recipe is not low-calorie, but I did what I could to tame down the sugar and fat without causing drastic changes to the recipe.  And I always request smaller slices (at least for me) so that I can still enjoy these types of foods on occasion without going overboard.

And thank you to my blogger friend, Linda from Kitchen Therapy, for my brand new, handmade apron pictured above!  I’m very thankful for it :)

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11 Responses to Thanksgiving Recap!

  1. VeggieGirl says:

    Happy belated Thanksgiving! :)

  2. We totally did the same thing with overestimating the cornish hens the other year with the fam. With only 8 adults, we had a 10lb prime rib and I bought 6 hens because I thought it wouldn’t be enough food. :) Cousins must be conditioned alike :)

  3. nutrition to kitchen says:

    Oh my goodness haha!!! Chi Nam, it really IS in our genes! :)

  4. Phi says:

    I’m an overestimator too but better too much than not enough and leftovers are yum. Looks like a wonderful meal and fun thanksgiving with good friends. Sunset sounds pretty!

  5. This is a lovely meal! And awesome apple pie photo. So nice to know you like your new kitchen attire.

  6. You did it again, Tram. It all looks fabulous!

  7. Julie says:

    This looks beautiful, you take the best photos. I love the bean dip, I do a similar version but I use roasted red peppers and fresh thyme in place of the sundried tomatoes and rosemary.

  8. Minh-Han Phan says:

    Hi Tram! Everything looks sooo delicious and beautiful! It sounds like you had such a fun and festive Thanksgiving! Btw, there are persimmons at the Asian grocery stores here but if I’m too lazy to go, I buy them at Trader Joe’s! Heehee. There harder too find now though since they are no longer in season :(

  9. I love rosemary white bean dips. I love any recipe that you can just whip up in a food processor, like hummus. That apple pie looks great!

  10. nutrition to kitchen says:

    Thanks everyone!

    Food-Fitness-FreshAir: I love anything made in a food processor too, don’t know how I’d live without one!

    Minh-Han: Yes, the persimmon season is waning unfortunately :(

    Julie: That also sounds like a great combo. The possibilities are endless! :)

  11. That looks divine! I love your recipe for the Rosemary White Bean dip. I’ve come to love white beans, and I definitely love fresh rosemary, so I can’t wait to give this one a try!

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