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Thanksgiving Harvest Salad & Menu Must Haves

Thanksgiving Harvest Salad & Menu Must Haves

Thanksgiving Harvest Salad

Before you hit delete thinking “Who needs a Thanksgiving Harvest Salad when I can have fat, fat, and more fat on Thanksgiving?” I am here to tell you – YOU DO!! I talked my friend Cozy into this a couple years ago and I know it was a hit because she called me brilliant. I don’t often forget those who think I am brilliant. 🙂  As she quickly found out, this is all about the herbs. If I didn’t have to measure them for a printed recipe, I might just call for a crap-ton. You’ll want just that much. 

The Thanksgiving Harvest Salad is everything you want in a salad, lots of green goodness with just enough rewards to make it not quite a salad and a bit more of an indulgence: fall fruit, tangy cheese, and sweet and spicy nuts. Think of it as your cheese board dumped on some greens. Genius, right? 

Just as I was last making this salad, I found a new produce vendor on its maiden voyage to Michigan’s organic Sweetwater Market. I was squealingly happy! I thrived all summer on Summer Blend Gardens’ lettuce mix which included colorful nasturtium flowers and more. Highlight of the summer. But ba-bye, Marty. It’s fall now. Meet my new besties Caleb and Cindy-Beth at A Garden in the Woods. They bring the most gorgeous array of produce to this indoor winter market after spending their summer outdoors in Pentwater. How lucky am I? Even if you don’t live in the area, treat yourself by checking out their Instagram. Gorgeous. Stunningly beautiful!

Picking the Greens

For this salad, pick any assortment of greens you want, but I like a mix of colors and textures. Some salad blends at the grocery, like baby romaine, are heavy on young greens that don’t have much texture. So if that is your base, be sure to throw in some arugula or watercress. These add both pepper and bounce.

More Salad Greens

Even though I had no intention of adding radishes to the harvest salad, once Caleb told me these were not baby beets, but purple radishes, I had to. I just had to. Check out the cut radish in the salad photos – a gentle sponging of lavender fading across the cut surface. 

Purple Radishes

Thanksgiving Harvest Salad

I see this wave of comprehension starting to wash over you, yet I still feel your skepticism – salad with lots and lots of herbs for Thanksgiving? I wasn’t kidding about the crap-ton of herbs. For 8 ounces of greens, I would add up to a cup of chopped, mixed herbs. I know I am still in sales mode on this herby addition, so I am ratcheting the herbiage down to a mere 1/2 cup in the recipe below. But be bold. Go for it. Add additional herbs if you are so called. Cozy reported that she ended up with arugula and spring mix with lots of fresh herbs. “You were right! The herbs made the complexity of the greens jump.” So trust us on this. 

Lots of Herbs

Now that you have a base in place, my go-to accoutrements are fall fruit, bits of cheese and sweet & spicy nuts. I used apples here, but if you have ripe juicy pears, they would be wonderful, as well as figs or persimmons. And while I used Barber’s Vintage Cheddar 1833 (it’s white) in small cubes (more interesting texture than grated), a perfect pearing (get it??) might include a blue like Roquefort or Stilton. Persimmons and fresh goat cheese anyone? I made that once at the request of Florence Fabricant of the New York Times, using Indiana’s Wabash Canonball, so if it’s good enough for her…………

Like most things in food and in life, winning combos are based either on similarities or contrast. Remember my celery root slaw? It was both! I made all the ingredients look the same (similarity), so you didn’t know til you tasted that there were three very different textures and tastes (contrast). Celery root, white cheddar and apple – all white, all grated. Surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrprise! Similarity and contrast all rolled into one humble slaw.

For the vinaigrette, I chose a lemon olive oil and a maple Balsamic. Gobble! Gobble! I have also used a pear Balsamic when using fresh pears. When using flavored Balsamics, I tend toward a one to one ratio with the olive oil because they are so much sweeter than a traditional vinegar and don’t require a lighter hand. In this case, the maple Balsamic is quite dense, so I scaled it back. If you are choosing your own flavors, start testing with a two to one oil to vinegar ratio and add more vinegar, as you need. Because this dressing is special to this menu, I am only making a small batch, and I short-cut the prep by putting it all in a bottle and shaking before serving. A proper vinaigrette, as you know, has the oil added last in a drizzle so that it can incorporate and emulsify. We are streamlining today because we are busy!! Of course you can prep all your ingredients and the dressing a day or so ahead, except any fruit that would oxidize like the apple. Just keep the ingredients wrapped separately in paper towels and zip bags, and assemble toward serving time. 

Harvest Salad with Apples & Cheddar

Now that we have settled on this glorious, fresh and palate-cleansing salad, there are a few other things that you might need to get on that table. Perfect roast turkey and gimme-more gravy? Check. Goat cheese and thyme mashed potatoes. Done. Brussels sprouts and prosciutto. You bet. And some delish cranberry ginger kumquat chutney. Done,done, done. All that is left is a winning Tennessee whiskey pumpkin ginger cheesecake. I have got you covered. All these recipes, complete with tips and must have equipment – looking at you potato ricer – are linked below. 

I will be back in a few days with another dessert idea – a Bourbon-laced Apple Crisp – so check back in. Above all, remember we are giving thanks in an extra special way right now – so take a deep breath, be grateful that you have food to cook with and people to cook for, and leave that stress at the grocery check out lane. And if Dear Abby were around, she’d probably ask you to put a basket at the door for cell phones and ask your friends and family for the gift of presence. Enjoy this week with a heart full of gratitude. Be back soon. 

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Harvest Salad overhead shot On a white plate with candied pecans, mixed greens, apple chunks and cheddar chunks, with purple radish slices

Thanksgiving Harvest Salad & Menu Must Haves


  • Author: Katy Keck
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8

Description

The Thanksgiving Harvest Salad is everything you want in a salad, lots of green goodness with just enough rewards to make it not quite a salad and a bit more of an indulgence: fall fruit, tangy cheese, and sweet and spicy nuts. Think of it as your cheese board dumped on some greens. Genius, right? 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 pound mixed greens, 8 cups
  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed herbs, including parsley, cilantro, dill and mint
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 apple, chopped, or other fall fruit such as pears, figs, persimmons, or dates
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 pound white cheddar, cut into small cubes (I use Barber’s cheddar)
  • 4 radishes, sliced
  • 1/3 cup lemon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5-ounce package of sweet & spicy pecans

Instructions

Combine greens, herbs, scallions, apple, avocado, cheddar and radishes in a large salad bowl. Toss to combine. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Make the vinaigrette, by combining the lemon olive oil, maple Balsamic, salt and pepper in a bottle and shaking to emulsify.

At serving time, drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat. Top with the sweet & spicy pecans.

Notes

The herbs really define this as a special green mix, so don’t skimp here.

I always like to use a fruit for sweetness, the cheese for richness and a tang, and the nuts for crunch. All other ingredients rotate in and out depending on what I have around. The purple radishes were calling out to me and that avocado wasn’t getting any younger. Both were fresh new twists at Thanksgiving.

Trader Joe’s is a good source of several sweet & spicy nut mixes.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Thanksgiving Salad

Menu Must Haves

Thanksgiving Essentials: Roast Turkey Perfection and Gimme-More Gravy

Roast Turkey Perfection

Goat Cheese & Thyme Mashed Potatoes with a Thanksgiving Must-Have: The Potato Ricer!

Pot o Spuds

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Shallots & Prosciutto

Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto

Spiced Cranberry Ginger Kumquat Chutney

Spiced Cranberry Chutney

Tennessee Whiskey Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake

Gentleman Jack Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake

© Copyright: KatyKeck.com 2018. All rights reserved.

 

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Spring has Sprung: Edamame and Chickpea Fritters

Spring has Sprung: Edamame and Chickpea Fritters

Edamame & Chickpea Fritters

You say fritters? I say falafel? Whatever you do….do NOT call the whole thing off. Something about these little beauties just screams …”summer, she’s a-coming”. For me it’s the serious dose of herbs and lemon juice, my besties for brightening flavor. In this batch of chickpea fritters, you will find an easy-to-prep side dish that is the perfect date for all kinds of “grilled stuff”, as the sign at my favorite beach café in Anguilla advertises. (Uncle Ernie’s in Shoal Bay, if you are in the area! They also advertise fluffy towels and buoyant rafts. Clearly somebody has a thesaurus and knows how to use it.)

Edamame & Chickpea Fritters with chili dipping sauce

Long before the world had Meatless Mondays and Taco Tuesdays, my family had a bit of a weekly ritual that I think was aimed at giving Mom a light night. Normally the preparer of a real square with veggies AND salad AND meat AND potatoes, this night was more of a toaster oven extravaganza…straight from the freezer. Jimmy Dean sausage patties and apple fritters (which were pancake-shaped). She sometimes rustled up a batch of sausage gravy to go with.  Not remotely our normal dining fare, but kind of a treat. That was my first experience with fritters. These bear little resemblance, unless you count shape, and in that case, they are exactly the same.

As I debate whether to call these fritters or pancakes, I lean toward fritter despite the absence of a vat of 375o oil (definitely not my style). But, they simply don’t have the flour/milk/egg batter that qualifies them as a pancake. But fear not! While ingredients-wise they are close cousins to the falafel, they are a clear fan-favorite over that deep-fried golf ball. A quick pan-sauté crisps up the tops and bottoms, leaving them moist and flavorful and begging for a serious dollop of Chili Dipping Sauce.

Chickpea Fritters with Chili Dipping Sauce

In the next post, I will share a grilled spicy shrimp that appears in some of these photos. But in the meantime, these chickpea fritters also make a great base for breakfast, topped with a couple sunny-side up eggs.  And don’t forget the arugula and squash salad.  It pairs well with all of the above.  

Summer squash with spice blend

Pulsing the chickpea fritter ingredients

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Fritters

Edamame and Chickpea Fritters


  • Author: Katy Keck
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 18 patties, serves 6 1x

Description

These veggie fritters are chock-full of chickpeas, edamame and a serious handful of herbs. Serve with something right off the grill or top with eggs sunny-side up!


Ingredients

Scale

Edamame and Chickpea Fritters

  • 1 16-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup edamame, thawed
  • 4 scallions, cut in 1” pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons panko
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Vegetable oil for sautéing

Chili Dipping Sauce

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Make the fritters:

Place the chickpeas, edamame, scallions and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor. Process, pulsing 10-12 times until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

In a small bowl, combine the panko, flour, cumin, salt, baking soda, and pepper flakes.

Add the lemon juice, egg white, parsley and cilantro to the chickpea mixture. Stir in the dry mixture until well combined.  

Form patties, using 1 Tablespoon measure.

Add enough vegetable oil to a sauté pan to cover the bottom and heat. Cook the patties over medium heat, in batches, turning after 3 1/2 to 4 minutes per side. Do not overcrowd pan. Drain on paper towels. Transfer patties to a sheet pan and hold in a warm oven.

Make the chili dipping sauce:

Whisk together all ingredients. Refrigerate, covered, until serving time.

Dollop atop warm edamame and chickpea fritters.

Notes

The chili dipping sauce makes 1 cup and will keep, refrigerated and covered, for several weeks (not that you will have any left over!)

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Middle Eastern

Fritters with S&P shrimp

© Copyright: KatyKeck.com 2017. All rights reserved.

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So Long. Farewell. Auf Wiedersehen. Goodbye.

So Long. Farewell. Auf Wiedersehen. Goodbye.

Oh for crying out loud. I’m a grown-ass woman. You would think I could get over the end of the farmer’s market and the demise of my herb bed without this drama. But…….have you met me?

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. In. Out. Focus! You know what to do.  Pretty much any time between now and Thanksgiving (a bit earlier if you are in the northern reaches and will have extended hard freezes before), you can cut back all your perennial herbs and hang them upside down to dry. I tend to focus on Thanksgiving because it’s one last chance to harvest the herbs you will need for stuffing et al. Besides, cutting back your herb beds and throwing down some mulch has the added benefit of getting them ready for spring – which really can’t be that far away when you think of it.

The main reasons to hang and to hang upside down are to stiffen the stems and provide enough airflow to keep from molding. Once dry, you can pick them off the stems, crumble and keep in an airtight tin. If you have hangups about the whole hanging scene, you can also pack the stemless leaves between layers of a good quality coarse salt and make, for example, your own rosemary salt. A little herb goes a long way. And then of course you could always gently heat olive oil and infuse it with some sprigs of herb. Discard the herbs in a few days or a week when you get the desired flavor.

Hanging the Herbs out to Dry

But what to do with the annual herbs? Basil, Parsley, Arugula, Cilantro?? These are definitely a goner after the first frost. I favor pastes for these which I keep in the freezer for a quick addition to other dishes, a theme you may be picking up on from You’ll Thank Me in the Winter Oven-Dried Tomatoes.   Pureed with some oil and whatever else you want, these pastes make great flavor boosts for those bleak winter months.  Some people like to leave the cheese (Romano or Parmesan, or other hard grating cheese) out, if freezing the pesto. I think if there is enough oil to coat the cheese, there is no reason why it can’t be incorporated up front. Play around with the combos and see what tastes good to you.   When making a basil pesto, I often add some spinach or arugula or even parsley – all depends how much basil taste I want to show up later. And if the basil has already started to go to seed, it can be a bit bitter, so adding some other herbs can round out the flavor and boost the color.

Fresh Basil

Basil Pesto is something that really does have to be made to taste. (I’m not making this up because I’m too lazy to give you a proper recipe). Am I sensing a little anxiety that there will be no real recipe again?? Come one folks, you can do it! The key components for traditional pesto are basil, garlic, olive oil/EVOO, pine nuts and cheese, generally Parmesan. I’m probably going out on a limb here, but I don’t get pine nuts, pretty much at all but definitely in this dish. They are super expensive, very delicate both in flavor and handling (sold rancid way too often), and provide no texture contrast to the paste. But what DO you like, you ask? Good question! Many use walnuts, but I love toasted pistachios. You can almost always find them shelled at a health food store. I spread them on a sheet pan and roast all naked (uh……….the pistachios, not me) for about 10 minutes at 400°F. You can definitely smell them getting to the right point. After cooling completely, I pulse in a food processor, keeping them a bit chunky. From there, I set them aside and stir in at the end by hand.

Lemons and Pistachios

I also like to add lemon zest – which works best if you are freezing. If you are trying to keep it fresh in the fridge for more than a few days, the acid will start to kill the green in the basil. Something about the roasted nuts and fresh lemon zest though that really elevate the flavor profile.

So here you go – make it your way.

Pistachio Pesto

Pistachio Lemon Pesto

4 cloves (or more if you love it) garlic, pulsed in the food processor til minced

4 packed cups fresh basil (mixed with spinach, arugula, parsley or whatever you want/have), pulsed til coarsely chopped

¾ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (you got it – your choice), pulsed a couple times

About 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, drizzled in while motor is running. Don’t let it get too runny if you are planning to freeze without an ice cube tray, but you do want the ingredients well coated.

Then, transfer to a bowl, and stir in:

¾ cup roasted, chopped pistachios

Zest of one lemon

Taste, and adjust seasonings (salt and pepper).

Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the pesto and refrigerate until it firms up a bit. Some like to use ice cube trays to freeze this. (I don’t have any). I usually just spoon out a 2 Tablespoon dollop onto a sheet pan, then once frozen place the pesto blobs into a Ziplock. You could use an ice cream scoop I’m guessing if you want to get fancy.   If it seems a bit thin for scooping, you can thicken with a bit more cheese. More cheese is always good, I’m pretty sure.

There are so many ways to use this – add to a soup or stew, jazz up your mashed potatoes, spread on pizza dough before adding the toppings, slather it on bruschetta or toss into a pasta dish. What would you do if you had a freezer-full (again, you’ll thank me) come January? Sharing is caring, so let us know.

Pistachio Pesto Mashed Potatoes

 Winner winner chicken dinner – with pistachio lemon pesto mashed potatoes.

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