Friday, November 14, 2008

Easy Vegetable Sides for Thanksgiving ala Mike Colameco

One program we run that I eagerly volunteer to staff is the cooking series held at the Delia/Viking Showroom in on 58th & 3rd Ave. in Manhattan. It’s hosted by the lovely Marilyn Scher, who runs the showroom, and Mike Colameco, whose series “Colameco’s Food Show” is on PBS, and who hosts the “Food Talk” show on WOR Radio. You can hear him every day there! Last night’s subject was “Thanksgiving Side Dishes”. It’s not unusual to have vegetables as sides for Thanksgiving dinner, but what was unusual was the simple ways that Mike prepared them - no recipes were used. Here’s what we made:

Pearl Onions
The hardest part of this dish is peeling the onions. Ours were on the larger side. They were put in a pan with water and salt. Pat of butter added at the end. Nothing else. Though you could add in parsely or another herb at the end for flavor and garnish, ours were outstanding as their plain old selves.

Carrots with Orange Glaze
These started out as “horse carrots” – the big, flavorless kind found at most grocery stores. They were simply sliced and put in a pan, barely covered with FRESH (important detail) orange juice and salt. Nothing else. They cooked at a low simmer for about a half hour, and were pretty much ignored the whole time. The orange juice reduced to make a beautiful glaze.

Possible add-ins include grated or sliced ginger, or fresh pomegranate seeds (at the end to keep them crisp).

Mashed Potato with Celery Root
The potatoes and celery root have similar consistency and cooking time. Both were peeled, chopped in 1-inch cubes and put in a pan with a cup or two of milk (not quite covered) and salt. Nothing else. When they were soft, they were put in a standing mixer (this could even be done with a hand masher, but when you’re at Viking, you try out the deluxe equipment!) They are delicious (and healthier) just like this, but you can stir in some olive oil or butter if you need more richness.

Brussel Sprouts
These were cleaned and quartered, tossed in extra virgin olive oil and treated to a grind or two of black pepper. Nothing else. They were roasted in the oven for about 20 minutes (around 400 degrees?) on cookie sheet lined with a piece of parchment paper. They’re done when the tips are turning brown. Salt added at the end. Outstanding.

Cauliflower with Parmesan Cheese
The cauliflower was tossed with olive oil and pan roasted with a little bit of water until the tips began to brown. Salt, pepper, and a generous handful of shaved Parmesan was added to the top while still hot.

Mike also gave us a recipe for winter squash: Peel squash and cut in half, scrape out seeds, then put face down on parchment paper to cook. When tender (poke ‘em!) take out of the oven and cut into 1-inch dice. Toss with a mixture of maple syrup and butter. Salt and pepper. A splash of fresh lime juice.

And, as long as they’re around and you have the oven on, here’s my recipe for roasted squash seeds: Separate seeds from flesh. Do not rinse. Spray a cookie sheet well with cooking spray. Add salt and pepper to taste (or a seasoning blend like a steak rub works nice for this) and toss a bit. Roast until they turn brown.

Hope you can join us for Mike’s upcoming cooking programs at the Delia Viking Showroom.

Thu, Dec. 18 – Delicious, Homemade Healthy Winter Soups

Thu, Jan. 15 – Pasta and Homemade Tomato Sauce

Register at the 92nd Street Y website -click here.


tut-tut said...

Hey, these are all my favorites!

BTW, you can more easily peel pearl onions if you cut an X in the root end and put them in a pan of hot tap water for an hour (Bon Appetit Nov. 2008). I've spent years fiddling with them, and this makes it so much easier.

tina said...

Ah, you are showing me delicious home cooked food and it is dinnertime, and I so do not cook. I wish I could eat the pictures:)

Joanne said...

omg, Thanksgiving is just around the corner!

Squirrel said...

I like Mike.

They all sound good to me, going to be making the pearl onions and brussels sprouts for sure.

I think I was watching Lydia's cooking show (Italian Kitchen) --she took the sprouts apart leaf by leaf and threw away the hard core, then sauteed the leaves. very good! --I'm not 100% sure i got it from her, but that's how I've been preparing them. I'll try this roasting method next.

Lauren said...

Aww this post makes me miss the Y! :)

JGH said...

Tut, that's so funny because on one of the onions Mike made, the peel was left on and it floated to the top of the water! I'll have to pass this on to him.

Tina, judging from your garden, I would have figured you for a gourmet chef.

Joanne, I know. It's scary. and then just a few days til DECEMBER

Squirrel, if Lidia made it, it's gotta be great. Last year I made brussel sprouts with cranberries in bacon grease and they ended up overcooked which is a big no-no for brussel sprouts. Love the idea of cooking just the leaves without the core.

Lauren, the Y misses you too!

Anna said...

Thank you for that cooking lesson. I have a ton of cookbooks and love to just read them sometimes like some people read a good novel.

JGH said...

Me too, Anna. I love cookbooks with stories and anecdotes about how the recipes came to be.

Frances said...

Yes, yes, yes, this brussel's sprout recipe is exactly what I was looking for, hooray! And many thanks to you.


JGH said...

Frances - thanks for visiting! Let me know how the brussels sprouts turn out :-)