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November 2000 Issue
Unusual for Thanksgiving
by Victoria Smith
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Well, this month we had to do a lot of searching and researching, and thinking and conniving, in order to prepare this column for you. Thanksgiving is tough, because the dishes are so traditional. I know that each American family has its own special way of preparing traditional side dishes for Thanksgiving, and no holiday would be right in that house without these long-time favorites.

We have done Thanksgiving for two (for some newlywed friends of mine) and we have substituted and modified many of the traditional meat dishes, but this year we are going to give you a table full of delicious side dishes prepared from traditional ingredients, but oh, how different the results! You non-vegetarian folks, please add these to your board, beside the turkey. You vegetarian friends, please check the Seasoned Cooking archives for meatless artificially-turkey-flavored entrees. If you need more of these, please let us know.

Enjoy these recipes. Some are a little more exotic than I usually offer you, but all of the ingredients are usually available in health food store, if you cannot locate them in your supermarket.


Spicy Baked Potatoes

  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger root, grated
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • garlic salt
  • plain yogurt and sprigs of cilantro, to serve
Preheat the oven to 375F. Prick the potatoes with a fork. Bake for 1 hour or until soft. You can save time by pre-cooking them in the microwave. I always do. Cut the potatoes in half, scoop out the flesh, and set aside. Heat the oil in a nonstick frying pan and fry the onion for a few minutes to soften. Stir in the ginger, cumin, cilantro and turmeric. Stir over low heat for about 2 minutes then add the potato flesh and garlic salt to taste. Cook the potato mixture for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon the mixture back into the potato shells, and top each with a spoonful of fresh yogurt. and a sprig or two of cilantro Serve hot.
  • Yields: Serves 2 to 4 (2 in my house!)
  • Preparation Time: about an hour and a little more


Stuffed Baked Potatoes

  • 4 medium-sized baking potatoes for each kind of stuffing
  • olive oil for greasing
  • sea salt for serving
Preheat the oven to 400F. Score the potatoes with a cross and rub all over with oil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 45-60 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centers indicates that they are cooked. Cut the potatoes open along the score lines and push up the flesh from the base with your fingers. Season with sea salt and fill with your chosen stuffing.

Red Bean Stuffing

  • 1 x 15 oz can of red kidney beans
  • 7 oz. low fat cottage or cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp mild chili sauce
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
Drain the beans, heat in a pan or microwave and stir in the cream cheese, chili and cumin.
  • Yields: Enough to fill 4 potatoes
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Soy Vegetable Stuffing

  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, cut in sticks
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz baby corn, halved
  • 3 tbsp. groundnut or sunflower oil
  • 4 oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry or vermouth
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • sesame seeds, to sprinkle
Stir fry the leeks, carrots, zucchini and baby corn in the oil for about 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook for another minute. Mix together the soy sauce, sherry and sesame oil and pour over the vegetables. Heat through until just bubbling and then scatter over the sesame seeds.
  • Yields: Enough to fill 4 potatoes
  • Preparation Time: About 30 minutes

Cheese and Creamed Corn Stuffing

  • 1 x 15 oz can creamed corn
  • 4 oz cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
Heat the corn, add the cheese and mixed herbs.
  • Yields: Enough to fill 4 potatoes
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes or less

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