Written by CAPA-JRC reporters Vicky Shan and Chaiwey Chen
Thanksgiving is an American holiday when people celebrate the harvest and other blessings of the past year. It’s a festive holiday, all the family members gather around for a big dinner. If you are hosting this year, you are in luck! We have provided two simple, unique and most importantly, absolutely delicious dishes to up your Thanksgiving dinner.
If you are interested, continue reading!
A Unique Spin on Mashed Potatoes:
At every Thanksgiving dinner, you can find a plate of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes. The origins of this well liked and favored dish all began in the 1700’s of France. In France, potatoes were considered a lowly food for livestock and even poisonous, causing Leprosy (disease causing disfiguring skin sores and nerve damage in the arms and legs) in the human body. The French went so far as to ban potatoes from the country. Even so, one man realized that potatoes were not actually deadly, but also pretty tasty! Eventually, the potato ban was lifted and the vegetable became a widely eaten food.
Back in the 1800s, mashed potatoes were considered a cheap and convenient source of food. However, it has not only grown to be more popular than ever, but it has become a staple in American Thanksgiving Culture. This potato recipe is a delicious twist on the classic mashed potatoes that so many people enjoy during the holidays. (Credits to Recipetineats, the full recipe can be found on their site!)
1 1/2 cups cream , full fat
2 garlic cloves , minced
30g / 2 tbsp unsalted butter , melted
1.25 kg / 2.5 lb starchy potatoes , Russet, Sebago, Maris Piper
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 1/2 cups gruyere cheese (or mozzarella) , freshly grated yourself
2 tsp thyme leaves , fresh (optional – but highly recommended)
Place butter, cream and garlic in a jug.
Mix until combined.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/8"/3 mm thick. Or use a slicer!
Spread 1/3 of the potatoes in a baking dish, then pour over 1/3 of the Cream Mixture, scatter with 1/3 of the salt, pepper and thyme. Sprinkle with 3/4 cups cheese.
Layers 2 & 3:
Repeat for the 2nd and third layer, but do not finish with cheese on the top layer (will add later).
Cover & bake:
Cover with lid or foil, and bake for 1 hr 15 min or until the potatoes in the middle are soft (use knife to test).
Top with cheese, bake again: Remove foil, top with cheese. Bake for a further 10 to 15 minutes until golden and bubbly. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
The cranberry was a staple in the diet of Native Americans who called it the "bitter berry." They introduced this food to the early settlers and taught them how to make "pemmican" by pounding the cranberries together with dried meat and fat. Due to the importance of cranberries in the 1500s and their abundance, it is believed that the pilgrims and the American Indians would have eaten them at the first Thanksgiving.
Cranberry tarts are hands down one of the most delicious appetizers you can serve up. They still have a nice classic holiday flavor combo. But they’re made into cute tarts that are the best little three bite appetizers. They’re perfect for Thanksgiving, or any other party this holiday season.
1 tablespoon salted butter, melted
2 cups fresh cranberries
2-4 tablespoons brown sugar, use more or less to your taste (I use 2 tablespoons)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 (8 ounce) wheels of Brie, each cut into 12 slices (leave the rind on)
1/3 cup fig preserves
1 egg, beaten
coarse sugar, for sprinkling
fresh thyme, for serving
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine the butter, cranberries, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Cut each sheet of puff pastry into 6 rectangles. Spread each rectangle with about 1 teaspoon fig preserves, leaving a 1/4 inch border. Top with 2 slices of brie and then mound the cranberries over the brie, pressing them into the brie to adhere slightly (see above photo).
Fold the edges of the pastry inward to enclose the brie. Brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Transfer to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the brie melted. Top with fresh thyme. Serve and enjoy!
Finish each tart off with some fresh thyme leaves for a pop of festive green color, and a hint of savory flavor. It’s hard to describe just how good these are, but if you love cranberries, and you love brie, you must make these mini tarts.
This article was provided by Chinese American Parents Association Junior Reporter Club (CAPA JRC) with members who interviewed, audio recorded, wrote, translated, and video recorded. CAPA JRC has 26 Montgomery County middle to high school students. They have created a bilingual platform delivering news and serving the community.