Community Kitchen October
by Alice Bradley and Lea Ault
October is here and Canadian Thanksgiving is upon us. Does everyone have their favourite Thanksgiving recipes ready to go? I hope so, but we are offering a few recipes that make Thanksgiving a little more special and/or easy for the harassed cook. These are Mom’s recipes – she’s Queen of the Big Dinner. I’m still afraid of the turkey.
It’s hard to think which is better – Canadian Thanksgiving which we’re having before it’s even cold (at least here in Vancouver) or American Thanksgiving when the weather seems appropriate. However, in the States you’ve barely finished up one turkey before you have to start cooking the next one for Christmas. I like turkey but maybe not back-to-back like that. Also, I like our Thanksgiving because I love having a festive meal with family and friends once all the dust has settled from Back to School and we’ve dug out our wool sweaters and umbrellas and rubber boots. The leaves have turned beautiful colours, they’re still mostly crunchy and dry and fun to walk in, and the weather still gives us glorious fall days, at least until Halloween when it generally rains on all the little monsters. By November the leaves are a sodden mess that we have to rake up, and the weather is miserable. We’re eating leftover Halloween candy and starting our Christmas shopping, and hoping – or not, depending on how much driving we do – for snow this year.
Cranberry Pear Sauce
If your family insists on the kind of canned cranberry sauce that maintains the shape of the can when you slide it out, skip this recipe. Why mess with tradition? But it really is a lovely cranberry sauce and not much more difficult than the usual cooked kind.
3 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen, about 1 package
2-3 Anjou or Bosc pears, peeled, cored and cubed (not Bartlett pears)
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup port
2 tablespoons lemon juice
5 whole allspice, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 whole cloves, tied in spice bag or tea bag.
Combine all the ingredients, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool, cover and chill overnight. Remove the spice bag, stir and serve.
Make Ahead Potato Casserole
This makes life so much easier. Make those potatoes ahead of time and you will not be looking for someone to do the mashing because you’re busy stirring gravy and carving turkey and steaming vegetables and and and….
6 large or 8 medium sized russet potatoes, peeled, quartered and boiled until tender then drained
8 ounces sour cream
2 Tablespoons milk
1/4 cup butter
salt to taste – about 1/2-3/4 teaspoon
1/4-1/2 teaspoon white pepper or to taste
1 -10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Mash the hot potatoes until smooth, add the sour cream, milk, butter, salt and pepper.
Mix the thawed spinach with the onions and egg, season with salt and pepper.
Spread half the potatoes in a greased casserole such as a 13”x9” baking dish.
Spread the spinach on top, spreading evenly.
Carefully spoon on the rest of the potatoes and smooth top. Cover with aluminum wrap and chill until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (or after the turkey comes out of the oven) Bake for about 40-50 minutes until heated through, remove the foil and sprinkle with the cheese. Return to oven until the cheese is melted. Top with a little finely chopped parsley before serving.
Quick Streusel-Topped Apple Pie
This is easy apple pie that is mostly homemade and you didn’t have to make stress-inducing pastry. It looks pretty and tastes delicious. Scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side please!
1-9 inch frozen deep dish pie shell from the supermarket
2-2.5 pounds of apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly, about 1/4 inch thick
1/2-2/3 cup sugar, depending on how sweet the apples are.
2 Tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soft butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Mix together the apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Place in the pie shell and spread evenly.
Mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, then mix in the soft butter with your fingers until you have a crumbly mix. Sprinkle this over the apples to cover completely.
Bake for 45-60 minutes or until apples are soft.
(You can use only flour instead of the oats/flour mixture if you prefer.)