In light of Thanksgiving – my favorite holiday (not just because I’m a foodie, although that is a major part) – I’ve been making a lot of side dishes lately that involve squash, cranberries, and other fall produce. These tend to be my favorite foods of the holiday, and I never understood why so much emphasis is placed on the turkey. Without the gravy, cranberry, stuffing, and all that other stuff to dress it up, it would be just plain boring and tasteless! Pass me the sweet potato casserole and green beans please! Here are two interesting takes on traditional veggie dishes – squash and brussel sprouts – that I’ve come up with recently and will perhaps incorporate into my own Thanksgiving dinner someday, if I ever stop going to my aunt’s house for it because I’ll have my own family. Haha, fat chance that will ever happen.
Moroccan-Spiced Spaghetti Squash
(adapted from smitten kitchen)
• one large spaghetti squash
• 3-4 tablespoons of butter, cut into pieces
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tsp. ground cumin
• 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
• 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp. sea salt
(1) Poke squash all over with a knife, making cuts that are about an inch deep. This will prevent the squash from bursting in the microwave, which is the easiest way to cook it. Nuke it on high for 6 to 7 minutes, then turn it over and cook until slightly soft when pressed, about 8 to 9 minutes longer. Allow it to cool while making the spice mixture.
(2) In a pan, heat the butter on medium heat until it melts. Add the minced garlic and cook until it gets soft and just barely golden (the smell will permeate your nostrils, which also lets you know that’s enough). Stir in the salt and spices and remove from the heat.
(3) Carefully halve the squash lengthwise with a large knife and scoop out the seeds. Working over a bowl, scrape out the flesh with a fork, loosening and separating the strands as you go (true to its name, it will actually look like spaghetti!) Toss it with the spiced butter mixture and EAT!
Maple-Infused Brussel Sprouts with Apple and Bacon
• 1 container of fresh brussel sprouts, halved and shredded along the stem side with a knife
• 1 granny smith apple, sliced thinly and chopped into small pieces
• a few slices of turkey bacon (I used 5)
• 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
• salt and pepper, to taste
(1) Chop the bacon into small pieces, and fry them in a heated pan until crisp. Remove the bacon and deglaze the pan with either some water or a little bit of butter, if it’s not greasy enough from the bacon (this will definitely happen if you’re using turkey bacon, which is a lot leaner).
(2) Add the apples and cook until they are a little softened. Add the brussel sprouts, cooking until soft, and season with salt and pepper. Deglaze the pan with more water if necessary, and add maple syrup, mixing everything in together. Add the bacon back into the pan or just sprinkle it on top to retain the crispiness.
Happy Thanksgiving! Off to gorge until I hit a food coma