Sunday, 7 October 2012

Birds of a Feather

One of the things that's important to me when I am preparing my menu for Thanksgiving is for everything to look beautiful on my plates. 

I'm never going to be a person that spends 20 minutes fiddling with how everything is arranged on each plate and letting the food get cold. The taste and temperature is always more important to me than the look. But I do keep in mind the colours of the food I am going to be serving. 

Since the turkey I served has a gorgeous deep green sauce, I thought that my side dishes should offset the green by being orange. 

Carrots were an obvious choice, but I made mine special by making them into a middle eastern Carrot and Orange Salad. But making potatoes orange was slightly more challenging. And potatoes and Thanksgiving are as important to me as turkey and Thanksgiving, so I needed to make potatoes orange. What I came up with was a delicious Potato Cheddar Mash. 

Both my side dishes were orange, but more importantly, both were delicious!

Carrot and Orange Salad - serves four

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 star anise, crushed
2 cardamom pods, crushed
1 all spice, crushed
1 large orange, segmented with juice and zest reserved
1 sprig of thyme
1 pinch of salt

1. Cook carrots in boiling water until softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Combine vinegar, star anise, cardamom, all spice, orange zest, thyme, and salt in a bowl. Warm in the microwave to allow flavours to seep into the vinegar, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

3. Toss carrots with orange segments in a medium bowl.

4. Squeeze juice from segmented orange into the vinegar mixture and strain out bits of star anise, cardamom, and all spice. Stir and drizzle over the carrots and orange mixture.

5. Enjoy!

Potato Cheddar Mash - serves four

4 medium potatoes, peeled if desired and cut into even chunks
1/4 cup of MacLaren's Imperial Old Age Cheddar
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Boil potatoes until fork tender in well salted water, about 10-15 minutes depending on size of potatoes.

2. Add butter and milk and mash until potatoes reach your desired consistency.

3. Crumbled in cheese and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Enjoy!

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