We know that Thanksgiving 2020 is probably going to look a little different for most of us this year. If you are used to having a large gathering, downsizing your menu and vision can seem a little sad. Our tip for enjoying the holiday to the fullest is to prepare your menu as you would any other year. If Thanksgiving doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving without 10 side dishes, go ahead and make your traditional full menu! We suggest that this year you downsize the quantity but not the scale of your traditional Thanksgiving menu. We all need a little holiday cheer after the strangest year of history, plus, who doesn’t love Thanksgiving leftovers?
Even with a small gathering, we love to have an appetizer out and ready for our guests to arrive. Because a traditional Thanksgiving menu is loaded with carby side dishes, we like to keep appetizers light. Save the baked brie for other winter gatherings. We love this roasted vegetable platter because all of the components can be made the day before. We love the addition of the romesco sauce and the lemon aioli to provide a zesty punch, but you can serve the vegetables with any dipping sauce you enjoy. All it takes is some quick assembly on Thanksgiving Day and you will have a gorgeous appetizer to set the tone for a festive holiday dinner. We have gone ahead and listed out every vegetable and dip on the platter that we used in the recipe below, but we encourage you to plan out your platter so that you do not have any repeating vegetables in your main dinner menu.
A healthy and robust appetizer platter to have waiting for your Thanksgiving guests!
1 head of cauliflower, stem removed and cut into florets
1 acorn squash, seeds removed and sliced into wedges
1 package petite rainbow carrots
3 beets, rinsed, peeled, and sliced into wedges
1 can of artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
romesco sauce, or dip of your choice
lemon & garlic aioli, or dip of your choice
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Prep the vegetables that need roasting (cauliflower, squash, carrots and beets) so that all of them are peeled, have their seeds removed, and are chopped into large bite sized pieces. Lay the vegetables on a cookie sheet or two so that they are in a single layer. Drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast the vegetables until they are fork tender, anywhere from 30 – 40 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the oven and let cool so that they are warm or room temperature. If you are making the vegetables the day before, refrigerate and bring out to room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.
Serve the vegetables on a platter with romesco sauce and lemon aioli, or any dips of your choice. Serve with small forks and/or toothpicks to allow your guests to help themselves.
We have implemented a “Steak Saturday” tradition during quarantine. We like to fancy it up a bit on the weekends and celebrate our Tuck & Tate “move in” quarantine anniversary each Saturday – we are approaching week 8 together! We try to mix up our side dishes and this week experimented with Miso Green Beans. We love the unctuousness of this side dish. The miso and soy sauce give the green beans a rich, salty delicious flavor and when cooked down, make the green beans sticky and finger licking good. We have perfected the reverse sear method for cooking our steak. For details, see our Instagram highlight here!
Sticky Miso Green Beans Makes: 4 large side servings Prep Time: 5 minutes Total: 20 minutes
24 oz fresh green beans (about 1.5 pounds)
1 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs miso paste
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp red chili flakes
Trim the ends of the green beans so the stems are removed.
In a pan set to medium heat, add the butter and olive oil.
Stir until the butter is melted. Add the miso paste and green beans. Saute the green beans until the miso paste is melted and fully incorporated. Around 7 minutes.
Add the soy sauce and chili flakes (if you like spice!) and saute for another 5 minutes. Serve hot.
We wanted to expand our content among the outbreaks of the coronavirus to help you for future trips to the grocery store. It is shocking and even overwhelming to go to the grocery store and see aisles completely empty. After doing some research at a few grocery stores, we have found that people are buying more freezer items than fresh which makes sense when one is considering foods to have on hand for weeks. Below we have a list of items that you can buy fresh and freeze successfully anytime of year, particularly if the peak of a vegetable’s produce season is coming to an end. The key to freezing any fresh fruit or vegetable is to place the item on a cookie sheet in an even layer in your freezer. Freezing the produce this way helps alleviate giants clumps of veggies being stuck together.
1. Berries Berries are a great item to buy fresh and freeze, in fact we often do this during normal grocery weeks to have make ahead smoothies. Tips for Freezing: wash the berries and pat them down dry with a kitchen towel. Remove any stems with a knife (strawberries in particular) and halve or quarter the berries if necessary. Line a cookie sheet with saran wrap and place the berries in an even layer. After they are frozen solid (about 2 hours) they can be moved to a freezer bag or tupperware container. Frozen berries are great in smoothies, pies and desserts, or can be heated with oatmeal for breakfasts. 2. Fresh BananasFrozen bananas are another great option for smoothies and milkshakes. You can even make healthy ice cream with them! Tips for Freezing: remove the peels from the bananas and slice into large bite sized pieces. Place on a cookie sheet or in an even layer in a freezer bag and freeze for at least 2 hours before transferring to a container.
Vegetables Freezing fresh vegetables involves an extra step, but if you’re strapped for good vegetable options in the next few weeks it will be more than worth a few extra minutes in the kitchen. Vegetables need to be trimmed, blanched in boiling water, shocked in ice water, and patted dry with a kitchen towel before freezing. Here are the steps:
Heat a large pot of water and bring to a boil.
Have a second large bowl of ice water sitting in your kitchen sink for after boiling.
Trim and dice the vegetables according to the directions below.
Put the vegetables in the boiling water. The easiest way to transfer the veggies is to have them in a basket or strainer in the boiling water. Boil the veggies for 3-5 minutes depending on how large you have cut the pieces (tips below). For every minute you have them in the boiling water, keep them in the ice water for the same amount of time. Strain the veggies very well and pat dry on a towel.
Place the vegetables on a cookie sheet in a single layer and into the freezer for 2 hours before putting in a freezer safe bag or container. This helps keep the vegetables separate from one another for portioning so that you don’t have clumps of vegetables stuck to one another.
Store the frozen fruits and vegetables in an airtight container for freezer bag. The veggies can last for many months if prepared correctly.
3 & 4: Broccoli and CauliflowerCut the broccoli or cauliflower into bite sized florets, discarding any leaves. The stems can also be cut into similar sizes and frozen if you wish to keep them. Boil for 3-4 minutes and then move to an ice bath.
5: CarrotsFresh carrots are great frozen. Peel the carrots and remove the stems. Slice into your desired size pieces and repeat the same boil and ice bath steps above. Boil and ice the carrots for 3 minutes if you are cutting them into bite-sized pieces, closer to 7 minutes if you plan to keep the carrots whole. If you want to save even more time with this, buy baby carrots and boil as they are!
6: Corn On the CobYou can buy fresh corn on the cob and freeze it both on the cob or freeze the kernels removed from the cob. Corn kernels can be used for stir fry, folding into cornbread mix, and mixed into casseroles. Regardless of the final product, you will need to blanch the corn in boiling water and put it in an ice bath. Follow the same steps above but with the following modifications:
If you plan to boil the corn and remove the kernels, boil corn for 3 minutes and ice bath for 3 minutes. Pat the corn dry and remove the kernels with a knife.Place in an even layer on a cookie sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour before transferring to a freezer bag or container.
If you plan to freeze the corn on the cob and keep the corn on the cob, boil the corn for 7 minutes, ice bath for 7 minutes. Dry the corn well and place in a freezer bag in an even layer. Freeze for at least 2 hours before transferring, if you plan to do that.
7: AsparagusRemove the thick, chalky stems from the asparagus with a knife. You can then chop the remaining asparagus into bite-sized pieces or leave the stalks whole, depending on how you prefer to eat them later. Boil and ice the asparagus for 2-4 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus. 8: Brussels SproutsRemove the stems from the brussels sprouts and any wilted leaves on the outside of each sprout. If you want to freeze the brussels sprouts whole, boil and ice them for 3-5 minutes depending on how large they are. If you want to cut them in halves or quarters, boil and ice them for 2-4 minutes. If you want to shave them, boil and ice for 1-2 minutes. Make sure they are dried very well before freezing! 9: Sweet PotatoesWash the sweet potatoes and scrub them to remove any dirt. Sweet potatoes will freeze better with the skin on, so you want them to be clean. Slice the potatoes as you would prefer to eat them: fries, wedges, large chopped pieces. Boil and ice the potatoes for 8-12 minutes depending on the size you cut them into. The potatoes are ready for the ice when they are just fork tender. You do not want them to be mushy, so err on under cooking them before over cooking them!
We know that this point in the holiday season can feel like a revolving door of guests and family coming over. There is a constant struggle of wanting to be the hostess with the mostest and also relaxing during the holidays. To help our cause we stock up on lots of snacks so that we can throw together an appetizer board in just a few minutes. We love this whipped feta platter because it turns something ordinary into something much more extraordinary that really impresses your guests. Instead of a quick trip to the grocery to purchase the standard box of veggies and ranch, a trip through the produce section will give you the ingredients for this Martha Stewart-on-steroids Whipped Feta & Vegetable Platter.
Making a Martha-esque veggie platter means expanding your horizons in the produce section of your grocery store. Instead of celery, opt for endive and asparagus. Instead of baby carrots, choose the longer rainbow variety to give your veggie platter some color. When making any type of appetizer board or platter, we always try to choose a variety of colors, textures, and tastes. This way there is something on the board for everyone. To compliment this array of veggies, we have made a Whipped Feta Dip with lots of fresh herbs. The feta gives the dip a nice punch of salt, Greek yogurt adds a nice tang, and the fresh herbs make it feel like summer even in the coolest of winter days.
Whipped Feta Dip and Vegetable Platter Serving Size: 8-10 appetizer servings Prep Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients for the Feta Dip :
8 oz feta cheese
1/2 cup water
1/2 – 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup packed fresh herbs, finely chopped (we used dill, rosemary & chives)
salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for the Vegetable Platter :
1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
1 bunch of radishes, rinsed and quartered
1 zucchini, cut into spears
1 package rainbow carrots, stems trimmed and peeled
2 bunches endive, leaves removed
1 package cherry tomatoes
1 large cucumber, sliced on the diagonal to make spears
1 small bunch of cauliflower
1 package green onions, ends trimmed and outer layer removed
To make the dip, put the feta in a medium bowl. Use a hand mixer to whip the feta until it starts to become fluffy- three to four minutes. Add the Greek yogurt and continue to mix. If the mixture is still dry (this will depend on the type of feta you buy) add the water 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is smooth and has a thick, dip-like consistency. Add the fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper to taste. Be aware the feta is very salty, so add the salt sparingly until you get the taste you want to achieve. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
The reason this recipe has a 30 minute prep time, even though the dip takes 5 minutes or less to make, is so that you take the time to prep the vegetables. Wash everything thoroughly and pat dry before assembling on a platter. You can mix and match the veggies we have used in this platter or use up whatever you have in your refrigerator! Just be sure to choose a variety of colors and textures.