Cranberry Compote – Thanksgiving Sides

Cranberry Compote – Your New Cranberry Sauce

This year, like last year, I’m going to my friend’s for Thanksgiving, and like last year, I’m bringing something. It’s also my son, Spane’s birthday today, November 21, 2012, and he has requested Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting I made for his 7th birthday party. Since his birthday this year is the day before Thanksgiving, he is going to have his birthday party in December – so watch for recipes!

I have talked about going to my Grandmother’s house and the wonderful turkey that came out of her Nesco Roaster. My Grandmother always had the best dressing on her table, that my Aunt Flora made every year. It was Oyster Cornbread Dressing, and it is my favorite dressing to prepare.

But, we always had canned cranberry sauce, that I really never liked. I have been making cranberry sauce for years, but today I found a new recipe that I’m going to make this year. It’s from Chef Bryan Voltaggio.

Update: This cranberry compote is my new cranberry side dish. It’s tasty and sophisticated but not so much that kids won’t like it. It’s not too overly sweet like the stuff in the can.

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Mediterranean Lentil Salad with Olive Toast

Recipes in this PostLentil Salad with grilled peppers, tomatos, onions and celery with a light olive oil, white wine vinegar dressing

It had been so hot lately in Los Angeles, and even though the day promised to be only in the high 70’s, I still did not want to heat up the house. It was also Friday, which in our house, means no meat. We had some leftover grilled sweet peppers that I wanted to use, and some remnants of other vegetables. My friend, Amber, had planted a basil plant I had brought home into two larger containers, and they had plenty of leaves to go with my vegetables. So, what kind of good, cool salad could I make and still have the protein that our bodies require? Lentils were the perfect answer!

As I was checking out at my favorite store, the Adams Supper Market in Glendale, I mentioned my plan to the cashier and said I would be back later to get some nice crusty bread to go with it if I didn’t have any at home. As it turned out, I did have bread at home, but by the time I discovered I didn’t have any butter, Adams Supper Market was already closed. No problem, Olive Toast to the rescue!

It’s a recipe for a cool, protein-rich salad on a hot day.

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Artichoke, Avocado and Shaved Parmesan Composed Salad

Artichoke, Avocado and Shaved Parmesan Composed Salad

Artichoke, Avocado and Shaved Parmesan Composed Salad

A very long time ago, a friend took me to a wonderful restaurant where Santa Monica Blvd meets Beverly Blvd. in West Hollywood, California. The restaurant was called Figaro, and my friend said I should order his favorite salad. I don’t remember what it was called, but I have always remembered how good it was.

Years later, when this same friend came back into my life, I told him I had a surprise and presented this salad. He was so happy he almost wept, saying he never thought he would have that salad at Figaro’s again – as the restaurant had closed quite some time before.

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Cream of Mushroom Soup with Sherry

I love it when the supermarket puts a large box of whole mushrooms on Manager’s Special. I take them home and make something out of them, this time Manicotti Stuffed with Cream Cheese, Spinach and Pine-nuts. When I opened my refrigerator this afternoon, I realized I had a lot of mushrooms left over, and what could I do with an almost whole box of mushrooms? Mushroom soup seemed like the perfect thing on a cold, winter day.

Some of you are probably saying “Ew! That’s the stuff you make casseroles out of, you don’t actually EAT that!” Well, that’s true. I would never have a bowl of that canned stuff, it’s only good for a few casserole dishes, and then that’s doubtful, too – now that I made this glorious mushroom soup.

This is probably one of the easiest soups you will ever make. When mushrooms go on sale at your grocery store, get a whole bunch of them, and share this wonderful soup.

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Manicotti Stuffed with Cottage Cheese, Spinach and Pine Nuts

Manicotti Stuffed with Cottage Cheese, Spinach and Pine Nuts
Manicotti Served

Manicotti is a child-friendly food. Most kids love spaghetti and pasta. What could be more fun than stuffing tubes and then eating them? Kids can get a little messy, but that’s their job, right?

My friend, Chef John Farion, came over and brought me a large container of cottage cheese. I did not think that Spane and I could eat if fast enough for it not to go bad, so I decided to stuff something with it. Quite frequently, cottage cheese is used for lasagna, but I don’t like meatless lasagna, and I wanted it for Friday. Oddly enough, I had everything I needed already at home, so I bought some manicotti and brought it home.

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Stuffed Mushrooms in Wine Sauce

Stuffed Mushrooms in Wine Sauce

Love Mushrooms

I love mushrooms, and lately, I have been finding nice big ones at the local corner store. I picked up six of them and decided to wait and have them stuffed for our meatless Friday meal.

The Nesco is the perfect appliance to cook them, as they do not dry out, and can steam in wine. Clean up is a snap, and your kitchen does not heat up.

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Yogurt Salad

Yogurt Salad with Cucumbers and Aleppo Pepper
Yogurt Salad with Cucumbers and Aleppo Pepper

Yogurt Salad is easy to make with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and mint. It’s perfect for the summer and goes so well with Mediterranean burgers.

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