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Choose a side for a tasty Thanksgiving

It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just next week. It is my favorite holiday and I enjoy all the smells and flavors of Thanksgiving food. Since “green” is in, I am doing some new side dishes this year using some of the usual green vegetables. Some of these are much lighter that the usual broccoli casserole with rice and cheese (but I may do that too). Give these a try and see what your family and friends say!

GREEN BEANS AND WALNUTS WITH LEMON VINAIGRETTE

From November 2009, Bon Appétit.

1 lemon

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/3 cup walnut oil or olive oil

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed

2/3 cups walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped

Remove peel from lemon with vegetable peeler and cut into very fine strips. Cut lemon in half. Squeeze enough juice to measure 2 tablespoons; transfer to small bowl. Whisk in mustard, then oil and shallot. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook green beans in pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, five to six minutes. Drain: pat dry.

Combine beans, walnuts, and lemon peel strands in large bowl. Add dressing; toss to coat. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper and serve. Makes eight servings. This one can be served cold and would not need to be in contention for heating just before serving.

Broccolini is a broccoli “wanna be.” You can find it in many stores nowadays, but it can be easily grown in the garden. Since it has much smaller florets, the second or third cuttings from your broccoli plant could be substituted. I really like just plain old broccoli. It is definitely one of my favorite vegetables. If you use broccoli for this recipe, cut off the florets, peel the stalks, and cut into short, thin sticks.

From Gourmet, November 2009. (The last issue of this iconic 60-year-old magazine I might add.)

SAUTÉED GREEN BEANS AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH CHILE AND MINT

1 lb. green beans, trimmed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

1 1/2 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon dried mint (use fresh is you have it and add about 3 tablespoons)

Cook green beans in a 4-quart pot of salted boiling water, uncovered, until crisp tender, three to four minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat oil with red pepper flakes in a 12-inch heavy skillet, over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sauté Brussels sprouts with 1/2 teaspoon salt until crisp-tender about six minutes.

Add beans and sauté two minutes. Add water and boil until evaporated and vegetables are just tender, about two minutes. Remove from heat and stir in mint. Season with salt. Makes eight servings.

BROCCOLINI WITH SMOKED PAPRIKA, ALMONDS AND GARLIC

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1/2 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (can be found in most supermarkets)

Coarse kosher salt

2 pounds broccolini, rinsed, stalks cut into 2-3 inch lengths

1/3 cup water

1 to 2 teaspoons Sherry wine vinegar

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add almonds. Stir until lightly browned, two to three minutes. Add garlic and paprika. Sprinkle with coarse salt; sauté 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to skillet. Add broccolini; sprinkle with coarse salt. Add 1/3 cup water. Cover and boil until crisp-tender and still bright green, about four minutes. Pour off any water. Stir in almond mixture. Season to taste with coarse salt and pepper. Mix in one to two teaspoons vinegar.

Transfer broccolini to bowl and serve. Makes eight servings.

Green beans and Brussels sprouts might not seem to go together, but like many odd couples they actually do. The secret here is to sauté the vegetables so that they still have a little bite.

I love any sort of braised greens, so this dish appealed to me. Adding some turnips and apples made the dish more delicate. You can use any type of greens, collards, kale, mustard, or a combination. Just be aware of the difference in cooking time with some of the greens.

BRAISED TURNIP GREENS WITH TURNIPS AND APPLES

2 pounds of turnip greens or other greens, tough stem discarded and greens torn into small pieces

1 (3/4-1-lb) ham hock, rinsed

3 1/2 cups water

3 Gala apples

1 1/2 pound turnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 teaspoon cider vinegar

2 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Bring greens, ham hock, water, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a large heavy pot. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until greens are almost tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel apples and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

Add turnips and apples to greens with vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cook at a bare simmer, covered, stirring and turning ham hock occasionally, until turnips and apples are tender but not falling apart, about 20 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in butter and salt to taste.

Remove ham hock and finely chop any tender meat, discarding skin, bones, and tough meat. Add chopped meat to pot. Makes eight servings.

Happy Thanksgiving!