This is not an original idea since The New Yorker and CBS Sunday Morning do it, but I thought it would be appropriate to dedicate this entire week of posts to FOOD, in honor of Thanksgiving.  So many women call Thanksgiving their favorite holiday – why?  Well, it is not overly commercialized (except for grabbing some tacky turkey decorations); the focus truly is family and friends; it’s good for the soul to give thanks; and, oh yeah, we get to do something we all love: eat great food!

To kick off the week, Liza and I decided to share with you our favorite cocktails and side dishes. Since I am walking the Boulevard Bolt, my cocktail selection is a Bloody Mary — which will be well deserved after braving the boulevard with an eight-year-old in tow.

Bloody Mary

  • 1(32-ounce) bottle of tomato juice
  • 1 T horseradish
  • 1 T Dijon Mustard
  • 5 dashes of Tabasco
  • 8 dashes of Worcestershire
  • 5 pinches of celery salt
  • 8 twists from black pepper mill
  • juice of 5 lemon wedges
  • 6 lime wedges
  • celery salt
  • 9 ounces of vodka or gin
  • 6 pickled okra, olives, celery for garnish

Combine the first eight ingredients in a large pitcher and mix well.  For each serving moisten the rim of a glass with 1 lime wedge and dip in celery salt.  Fill the glass with 1/6 of the Bloody Mary mix and 1-1/2 ounces of vodka or gin — stir.  Garnish with okra, olive and celery.  Serves 6.

Brussels Sprout Hash

I found this recipe on Epicurious a couple of years ago. With broad shoulders I served this to my most discriminating audience: the family.  I schlepped four bags of chopped brussels sprouts to my sister’s house in Memphis, only to be booed and hissed out the kitchen.  I happily (with the above mentioned Bloody Mary in hand) sauteed and tossed the sprouts — completely ignoring the backlash. The sprouts proved to be delicious and everyone begged for the recipe — touche’!

photo courtesy of Epicurious.com

Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots

  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, divided
  • 1/2 pound shallots, thinly sliced
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1-1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup water

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper. Sauté until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar. Stir until brown and glazed, about 3 minutes.

Halve brussels sprouts lengthwise. Cut lengthwise into thin (1/8-inch) slices. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sprouts; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown at edges, 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and 3 tablespoons butter. Sauté until most of water evaporates and sprouts are tender but still bright green, 3 minutes. Add shallots; season with salt and pepper.

Liza:

OK, I have a confession to make. I am not making all the sides I usually make each Thanksgiving. Why? Well, I am the only one besides my mom who eats my sweet potatoes (and no, adding marshmallows doesn’t help with any of the others…) And, my compulsion to add a fresh fruit salad along with a fresh green salad seems a bit overkill, so I’m adding pears to my cocktails and ditching the fresh fruit.  What I am making is: smashed potatoes, green beans, cornbread dressing and the following salad. This salad, to me, combines the best of the season and adds a fresh, beautiful element to the table. I found this recipe on Epicurious and I only adjust it slightly.

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups 1/2-inch cubes peeled seeded butternut squash (from about one 2-pound squash)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of dried crushed red pepper
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons walnut oil or other nut oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 ounces arugula (about 8 cups lightly packed)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses*

For prep, click http://www.epicurious.com/

*Pomegranate molasses: (per comment on site)

  • 4 cups Pomegranate Juice
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice.

In a large uncovered pan heat all ingredients over medium high heat until the sugar has dissolved and the juice simmers. Reduce heat just enough to maintain simmer. Simmer for about an hour or until the juice has a syrupy consistency. Will reduce to 1 to 1 1/4 cups. Let cool. Store in refrigerator.

What I do a little differently: I add in a few cubes of roasted purple sweet potatoes, some salted pumpkin seeds, and depending on my mood, either goat cheese, blue cheese or shaved Pecorino Romano cheese.

Now, onto my cocktail!

Elizabeth and I were just talking with someone who is known as quite the foodie. Well, she said we really needed to try the Domaine de Canton Liqueur. It’s a ginger liqueur, and it is wonderful. I love this cocktail, and I’m sipping on it as I write this post… but I will admit my husband hates it… which leaves more for me….

Asian Pear Martini

  • 1 1/2 PARTS DOMAINE DE CANTON LIQUEUR
  • 2 PARTS PEAR VODKA
  • 1 PART PEAR JUICE
  • Squeeze of lime
  • Rim martini glass with fresh lime.

For more recipes with Domaine, see the brand website: http://domainedecanton.com/