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Fine Dining Made Easy

Festivities/Occasions

Fine Dining Made Easy

November 2013

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Fine Dining Made Easy

Show some gratitude! Yes, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we hit the kitchen to test recipes so you can revel, carefree, in breaking bread with your loved ones.We ditched the keyboard for a day, donned our aprons, and got to cooking a full Thanksgiving feast – some traditional fare and some with a modern twist. Both, we trust, will be to your liking.

Everyone knows that preparing a Thanksgiving dinner is no small feat, which is why we nixed the travel time and headed to FairPrice Finest at Bukit Timah Plaza, nice and close to home.

If you’re afraid of the traditionally heavy dishes at Thanksgiving, take a leaf from our book and lighten up with waistline-friendly sides that still keep in theme with Thanksgiving. Bonus: these dishes only took us three hours to whip up!

Let’s start with the sides. Tip: the oven is not the enemy. Use the bottom tier to roast some cauliflower and cumin, while reserving the top tier for roasted young potatoes seasoned with fresh rosemary and sea salt. Serve your cauliflower with a refreshing yogurt and pomegranate dip. Voila Nigella – two sides down.

Keep dishes you can make ahead on your side. We opted for this broccoli apple salad, which involves a mere 2 minutes of cooking (no, seriously). All that’s left for you to do is chop and toss, then dress right before serving.

Stuffing is a delicate issue at any Thanksgiving table. Our no-fail stuffing is a one-dish, under 60 minutes, vegetarian-friendly recipe. If you can chop up celery, onions, and mushrooms, you can make this stuffing. Of course, nothing can usurp the place of the piece de resistance, one very large and popular bird. Our bird – yes, it was a chicken – was beautifully roasted and seasoned just like a turkey. With homemade cranberry sauce and said stuffing, we weren’t even missing the usual Thanksgiving suspect!

The sweet-tooths among us had a field day once we got to dessert. We made a pecan plus pie, a fresh (and more affordable) take on the traditional pecan pie that incorporates mixed nuts instead of pure pecans. Top with a scoop of ice-cream and you’ll be one happy camper.

All ingredients for these recipes were purchased at FairPrice Finest.

This article was contributed by Honeycombers.

 

Roasted Cauliflower and Cumin

Adapted from Melissa Clark’s Cook This Now

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large head cauliflower
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Plain yogurt
Pomegranate seeds, for serving

  1. Preheat oven to 220 Celsius.
  2. Brush a large baking sheet or roasting pan with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
  3. Cut your cauliflower into bite-size florets.
  4. Toss florets with remaining olive oil, cumin seeds, salt, and pepper and spread out on prepared tray. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until cauliflower is tender and its edges are toasty.
  5. Whisk a pinch of salt into your yogurt. Dollop on cauliflower then sprinkle dish with pomegranate seeds.

 

Roasted Young Potatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
sea salt and pepper to taste

 

  1. Preheat oven to 230 Celsius.
  2. Season potatoes with salt and pepper. Add olive oil, rosemary, and garlic. Toss until potatoes are well coated.
  3. Transfer potatoes to baking tray.
  4. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until potatoes are cooked and browned.

 

Broccoli Apple Salad

1 large head broccoli, divided into small florets

2 large apples (we use Fuji for maximum crunch and sweetness), julienned
1 cup chopped nuts of your choice (walnuts and almonds work best), toasted
1 large red onion, sliced
1 lemon
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon mustard seed
red pepper flakes, sea salt, and pepper to taste

 

  1. Blanch broccoli till just cooked. Let cool.
  2. Toss broccoli with julienned apples and red onion.
  3. Combine honey, lemon, mustard, mustard seed. Whisk in olive oil. Add seasonings to taste.
  4. Before serving, top with dressing and nuts.

 

Mushroom, Celery, and Onion Stuffing

Adapted from Food52

1large loaf of challah or brioche, stale

2cups celery, diced
2cups onion, diced
2cups cremini mushroom, diced
8-10sprigs thyme, chopped
3sprigs rosemary, chopped
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
3cups stock (vegetable if you’re making a vegetarian-friendly version)
85 grams butter
110 grams melted butter
1teaspoon salt
1teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

  1. Cut the challah into 1" cubes.
  2. Melt 85g of butter in a large heavy pan. Saute the onions until wilted, add the herbs, celery, and mushrooms and cook until just slightly cooked through.
  3. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, vegetables, melted butter and vegetable stock, and salt and pepper. Test for seasoning and adjust.
  4. Press stuffing into a large buttered baking dish. Cover with buttered parchment, and then foil. At this point, the stuffing can be held for several hours, but should be at room temperature before baking.
  5. Bake at 175 Celsius for 45-55 minutes, the last 10-15 minutes without the foil and parchment, to crisp the surface

 

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup orange juice (no sugar added or freshly squeezed)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 bag frozen cranberries

 

  1. Combine the sugar, orange juice, 1/2 cup water, the cinnamon, salt and cranberries in a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring up to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 15 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

 

 

Pecan Plus Pie

Adapted from Nigella Lawson

225 grams plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
125 grams vegetable oil
60 ml full fat milk
150 grams golden syrup
100 grams soft butter
200 grams soft light brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
350 grams mixed nuts
3 large eggs

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, oil, and milk to form a rough dough.
  2. Tip out into a 25cm/ 10” diameter flan dish, and press the dough over the base and the sides of the dish, slightly coming up over the top if possible. Put in the freezer.
  3. Melt the syrup, butter ,and brown sugar over a low heat in a saucepan.
  4. Add the vanilla, stir, then take off the heat and let it stand for 10 minutes.
  5. Take the pastry-lined flan dish out of the freezer, and arrange the nuts on it.
  6. Whisk the eggs into the slightly cooled sugary syrup until it looks like a caramel mixture, then pour it over the nuts.
  7. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the filling has set and the pastry is golden.
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