3 Ways to Reinvent Traditional Thanksgiving Dishes
By Mussy Raitman, Lubicom Staff
Does anyone else roll their eyes, when Thanksgiving rolls around and everyone’s ‘gramming the typical pumpkin pie on a fall themed tablescape? Let’s be honest, more often than not, it probably looks way better than it tastes. I mean come on; store-bought pumpkin puree with a frozen pie crust is not the kind of pie I crave. Those leaves made out of pastry just don’t cut it. (Sorry if you thought you were original to plant those on top of your pie.)
It’s time to outdo those perfect instagramable pictures and concentrate on the actual flavor off-screen. Don’t get me wrong! I love a good fall-themed Instagram shot, but I love a mouthful of flavorful homemade heaven even MORE.
Thanksgiving at its root is all about tradition. Granny’s homemade Giblet Gravy, Auntie Janet’s perfect mashed potatoes and of course who could forget the ubiquitous corn pudding. For us Millennials, besides for not even knowing what those dishes taste like, we’re all about "out with the old and in with the new."
Here are some ideas to help you veer away from the ‘traditional’ dish mindset and spice things up at your upcoming ‘friendsgiving’.
- Speaking of mashed potatoes, whoever knew that there would be so many ways to alter this staple "old-fashioned" dish? Whether you fry ‘em, half-bake them, blend in your Vita-mix for that velvety texture, potatoes are a true lifesaver. So this year, instead of the typical boring mash, try some fried mashed potato balls. We’re not trying to create more work for you, it’s as simple as combining your potatoes with herbs, garlic and the usual spices you like. Scoop into mini balls, dip in egg and then roll in panko crumbs and fry. If you’re looking for a slightly less indulgent form, pop them in the oven. I know I’ll be deep frying them until they get more golden than the piece of jewelry I’ve been eyeing all month.
- If you’re like me, you’ve probably caught on to the sous vide trend. I mean who could refuse THE solution to all problems that relate to the word ‘dinner’ or ‘meal prep’. Although your mind probably associates Thanksgiving prep with a bird in the oven for hours and hours, this hands-free approach will not only free up your precious oven space but you just might have created a new family tradition. There is seriously nothing more reliable or effortless than sealing your well-seasoned turkey into a ziplock, dropping it into water and walking away. (By away we mean to the other side of your kitchen where you can now spend time making homemade shortcakes.)
Do it! Take one of the hardest dishes to master and turn it into a stress-free delight. (Get the recipe for Michal Frischman's Sous-Vide Lemon-Herb Turkey)
- Now, let’s talk about pumpkin pie. It's so convenient to use store-bought ingredients, but a homemade fresh, hot, healthy pie is really not difficult to make, we promise. Nowadays with 3-ingredient pie crust recipes, there is really no excuse. Rachel Kor's crust in her Oats and Honey Granola Pie is perfect (water and salt don't count!), and if you want to add a health element to your pie crust you can try this one by From My Bowl. Not only do you get to choose which gluten-free flour you want to use, but you get the luxury of adding a health element to the crust alone: chia and flax seeds add the nutritional value that will ensure you’re not so guilty when you go in for a second slice. Rachel Goodman's date-oat crust in her Flourless Pumpkin Pie is simplicity personified.)
As for the filling, go on, just do it. Buy that fresh pumpkin (they sell already-cut pieces, LIFECHANGER!), cook it, mash it, spice it and use that as your filling. You’ll be forever thankful.