As tradition has it, turkeys are often the main event at any Thanksgiving table. But what accompanies your meat matters just as much – if not more. From a perfectly spiked cranberry sauce to a zesty dressed salad, side dishes add color and flavor to your holiday table. For inspiration, we turned to chefs Renee Erickson and Zoe Nathan, both of whom launched cookbooks earlier this fall.
A Boat, A Whale & A Walrus brings together dishes from the various Seattle-based restaurants of chef Renee Erickson, including Boat Street Café and the Walrus and the Carpenter. Rather than simply list recipes, the book proposes whole meals inspired by the different seasons and occasions – house-smoked salmon and molasses spice cake for a winter holiday feast; chilled melon soup and grilled crab with harissa butter for a summer beach picnic. What will Renee be serving this Thanksgiving? “This year we’re going to Hawaii, which is a bit non-traditional for us. Where typically our table consists of cut-up turkey pieces, this Thanksgiving may center around simple papaya salads.”
A collection of 115 recipes, Huckleberry is the first cookbook from the eponymous Santa Monica-based bakery, where Zoe Nathan’s motto “everything in generosity” creates a laid-back approach to rustic-style baking. Savory galette and brioche, muffins and pancakes, cakes and crumbles – not to mention an entire chapter dedicated to dishes topped with the humble yet decadent egg – are all prepared with healthy whole grains (quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice) and fresh, seasonal ingredients (quince, leek, pear). This Thanksgiving will be all about carrying on traditions: “My father has made the same meal for at least 33 years, and I’ll be recreating all my dad’s favorites for the first time at our house, while integrating my own recipes here and there. I get a kick out of seeing my kids eat the same foods I grew up eating.”
Zoe and Renee share some of their favorite Thanksgiving side dishes below.
(Bring Huckleberry home – just in time for the holidays. Find out how to win this cookbook here)
LACINTO KALE GRATIN
“We’ve made this gratin at the Boat Street Café for many years, served with pickled raisins, which add a rich vinegary flavor. It’s perfect winter food, if you ask me.” – Renee Erickson
If you’d like to make this a bit ahead of time, bake it as directed and let it cool to room temperature a few hours before dinner. Before serving, top the gratin with about ½ cup additional grated sharp cheddar cheese and reheat the gratin in a 350 °F oven for about 10 minutes, until it is bubbling again.
Note: It’s important to get the tough center ribs out of each kale leaf. Hold the fat end of the stem in one hand, and pull down toward the tip of each leaf with the other hand, stripping the greens off as you go.
3 bunches lacinato kale (about 1½ pounds total before trimming), tough ribs removed, chopped into 3-inch sections
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups (720 ml) heavy cream
225 g sharp white cheddar cheese, cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
FRESH CORN CORNBREAD
“I was dedicated to creating a great cornbread since I love it so much. By experimenting with a few different ingredients, I found the secret is to use fresh corn. It’s a bit hard to get your hands on really good corn during this time of year, but it’s one of those extremely versatile recipes. Add more spice to kick up the heat.” – Zoe Nathan
Makes sixteen 2-inch squares
6 tbsp (85 g) unsalted butter
½ cup + 1 tbsp (110 g) sugar
1¾ tsp kosher salt
1 cup (160 g) cornmeal
¾ cup + 2 tbsp (100 g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (30 g) whole-wheat flour
1 tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
½ cup (120 ml) whole milk
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
¾ cup (180 ml) canola oil
2 tbsp honey, plus ¼ cup (85 g) for glazing (optional)
1½ cups (365 g) fresh corn kernels (about 2 cobs; optional)
This is best served the day it’s made but keeps, wrapped well, at room temperature, for up to two days.
APPLE BUCKWHEAT CAKE
“This cake is derived from a whole wheat butter cake that we bake at our restaurant. I focused on blending the grains in a delicious way, where people can actually enjoy what they’re eating, while staying healthy. It’s a really rich cake… that just happens to be buckwheat.” – Zoe Nathan
If buckwheat isn’t your thing, remove it from this recipe and substitute different kinds of flours, like whole-wheat, rye, spelt, quinoa, oat, etc. In terms of swapping out the fruit, apples work best with this cake – other fruits just don’t quite cut the buckwheat the same way.
1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
1 ⅔ cups (340 g) sugar, plus 2 tbsp
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 or 4 apples; 1 peeled and grated, and 2 or 3 peeled and sliced ⅛ inch thick, cores reserved
1 ½ cups (150 g) almond flour
¾ cup (100 g) buckwheat flour
⅔ cup (75 g) all-purpose flour
⅓ cup (55 g) cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
½ cup (100 g) sugar
½ cup (120 ml) water
Pinch of kosher salt
1 vanilla bean, scraped (optional)
Apple cores (reserved from making the cake)
This cake is best served the day it’s made but keeps well, tightly wrapped, at room temperature, for up to two days.
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