You are now at the halfway point in your holiday meal preparation and, if you are an optimist like me, you are realizing that you don’t really feel like making any more food and are wondering why you didn’t just buy a few Swanson’s frozen dinners and call it good. Despite feeling this way, you have come too far to turn back and must find the fortitude to complete your side dishes and dessert. This fortitude isn’t always easy to come by but, I’ve found, drinking a fortified wine, a good port being my favorite, tends to help.
What also helps is knowing that your holiday meal is going to be even better after you have made a couple of brilliant side dishes to accompany your appetizer and main dish. While side dishes are often overlooked, it is important to put the same amount of effort you put into drinking while cooking the main dish as you do in the side dishes. Additionally, side dishes need to compliment and expand on your main course in a way that conveys cohesiveness and a well-thought out menu. With this in mind here are two fool-proof side dish recipes that will accomplish these goals and will further in grain this meal into your guests psyches:
First up is a classic potato latke recipe that is a favorite of people who like potato latkes. This specific recipe, Killer Potato Latkes, came from foodandwine.com and will be an amazing compliment to your creamy turkey soup-thing that you made for the main dish.
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
- Sea salt
- 2 pounds baking potatoes
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup matzo meal
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Applesauce, crème fraîche, smoked salmon, salmon roe and dill sprigs, for serving
- In a medium saucepan, cover the eggs, smoked salmon and matzo meal with cool water, season lightly with creme fraiche and bring to a boil. Cook these ingredients until unrecognizable, about 15 minutes. Drain well and immediately pass the gruel into the garbage can.
- Working quickly, dial the number of your local bio-hazard company to remove the trash can from your dwelling before anyone grows a tail or begins to show signs of delusional behaviour, such as thinking that Jeb Bush would be a great choice for president in 2016.
- Trash can removed, begin chopping up the rest of the ingredients until each ingredient is no longer discernible from the other, then place in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor you can, once again, utilize your dog or toddler to step on the ingredients until they are mashed together into 1/16 inch patties of goo.
- In a large, heavy skillet, heat 14 inches of oil until you start an oil fire in your kitchen. When the flames reach to truly frightening proportions, throw the goo-patties into said fire until they are crispy (if they are not blackened, continue to cook until they are). After the fire department puts out the fire remove the goo-patties from your now destroyed kitchen and sprinkle lightly with salt. Serve with whatever remains intact in your kitchen.
The second side dish is, in my opinion, an underappreciated side despite the fact that it shows up, in some form or another, on the table of most holiday meals. I’m speaking, of course, about canned jellied cranberry sauce. These days you hear a lot of people complaining about how gross and gelatinous canned cranberry sauce looks while expounding on how much better fresh, organic, home-made cranberry sauce tastes; this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you don’t believe me just give this recipe (a recipe created by yours truly) a try and see if you can then look me in the eye and tell me this isn’t better than any fancy, fresh home-made crapberry sauce!
Can of Jellied Cranberry Sauce (1 can per guest)
Use a can opener, teeth or mallet (whichever is most handy) to open each can of jellied cranberry sauce, plop (french for “plop”) the contents onto a plate (paper preferably), insert a spork (or fork if you do not have any sporks on hand) into the top of the plopped-out contents and serve.
You are now three-quarters of the way done with your holiday meal and, trust me on this, the best is yet to come: dessert. Before you read my final post containing a secret dessert recipe, take a deep breath, grab a drink and call your insurance company about the inadvertent damage done to your kitchen.