The other sides

Henri shares some different Thanksgiving dishes

Colette’s quite taken with fall in Chico, particularly with the stunning yellow gingko trees lining The Esplanade and the red Chinese pistache scattered in Upper Park. We’ve coated and scarved up against the late afternoon chill and—sometimes with Miss Marilyn and Mr. Theo en laisse and, of course, properly sweatered themselveswalked up to One Mile, downtown, across the Chico State campus, and over into the avenues, leaves raining from the sky and swirling at our feet. We’ve stopped in for wine and appetizers at Monk’s, and one Friday afternoon even ventured into Duffy’s Tavern where we braced ourselves against the cold with Irish whiskey—Jameson pour moi, Tullamore Dew for Colette—and some delightful live music by a charming and earnest, if rather ragtag, little group of Irish musicians.

And suddenly now, the holidays are almost upon us, and it’s time to start thinking about the kitchen and the table. No doubt you’ve got your Thanksgiving main dish all planned out— ideally, a plump bird brining in the refrigerator at this very moment. You also probably have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to serve with it—stuffing, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, glazed carrots—and a decent pinot noir or a crisp Reisling.

If you’re looking for something a little different this year, though, or perhaps to serve alongside your traditional fare, the following goes wonderfully with turkey, as well as with the other classic Thanksgiving sides and other holiday meals. The chutney—which Colette got from one of her mothers-in-law; she can’t remember which one—is delicious on the turkey, especially on the white meat, moistening it considerably. The key lime pie is simple and quick, a refreshingly light alternative—or complement—to some traditional Thanksgiving desserts such as pecan and pumpkin pie.

Cranberry chutney
2 lbs. fresh cranberries
1 cup cider vinegar
2-1/2 cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup seedless raisins
2 tart green apples, thinly sliced
2 pears, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sliced celery
1 small onion
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon lemon rind, grated
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated

Wash cranberries. Bring to boil in water with sugar, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Cook about 10 minutes, or until cranberries begin to pop. Add all other ingredients except walnuts and lemon rind. Cook another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in walnuts and lemon rind. Take out the cinnamon sticks. Refrigerate until chilled. Makes about two quarts. Note: This chutney will keep for several weeks in jars in the refrigerator and even freezes well.

Broccoli salad (serves six)
1 large head broccoli, chopped fine
5 strips bacon
1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup cranberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup red onion, chopped

Chop and fry bacon until crispy, and drain on paper towel. In medium bowl, blend mayonnaise, vinegar and sugar. Add all other ingredients, including the bacon, cover, and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours. Serve chilled. Note: Like most salads, this one is nicely suited to improvisation. Try tossing in some shredded cabbage, thinly sliced almonds, roasted red peppers, a bit of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Mushrooms Henri (serves six)
1-1/2 lbs. fresh white button or Crimini mushrooms, washed, drained and sliced
3 cups soft French bread crumbs
3/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine

Layer the mushrooms, all but a half cup of the bread crumbs, and 1/2 cup melted butter in a greased casserole pan. Drizzle the wine over mixture. Cover and bake at 325 for 30 minutes. Spoon over remaining butter and bread crumbs, and bake uncovered for 10 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Key lime pie
2 large eggs
2 egg whites
1/2 cup key lime juice
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 pre-made graham-cracker crust

Beat the eggs and the egg whites. Add key lime juice, lime zest and condensed milk. Pour into pie crust and bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Cool on rack 20-30 minutes, and then in refrigerator until chilled. Serve topped, generously, with whipped cream.