Thanksgiving meant the combined scents of roasting turkey, sizzling turkey liver and sautéed onions (which provided the start for the best stuffing in the world ever), Polish sausage, sauerkraut (I married into the name Hyzy which is blessedly short. My maiden name was a whopper!) and Lemon-Pledge as we prepared for the relatives to arrive.
Side dishes usually included buttered/salted green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (my brother and I avoided those) and an amazing lemon Jell-O I’ll have to share here some day.
My birthday is mid-November, so my family party was always held at our Thanksgiving celebration. There I am, acting all dramatic... "For me??"
Check out those tablecloths...
We were really stylin' weren't we? ;-)
When our dad passed away, I was married with all my kids and I’d taken over Christmas and Easter when other relatives aged out of hosting responsibilities. When our mom died three years later, I inherited Thanksgiving too, and kept it for several years. But my brother and his partner have now taken over the November holiday—and they do a more amazing job than I could have ever imagined. They prepare printed menus, provide place cards, and make everyone who visits their home feel pampered. It’s much fancier than the five different-patterned tablecloths covering our Dad’s home-made tables and the drinks served from atop the washing machine, but no less warm and welcoming. They invite us, my husband’s mom and sister, our closest cousins, and cousins, aunts, and parents from my brother’s partner’s side. It’s a great collection of fun people who really just enjoy being together. I can’t wait to see everyone again this year.
I’m usually in charge of the fresh Polish sausage, and a vegetarian dish for our youngest. This year I may also add something from my second White House Chef book, Hail to the Chef. I made these for Christmas dinner last year and they were such a hit that I keep making them at home whenever I can. They are so fabulous and so easy—an incredibly tasty side dish that is put together quickly. Not to mention these bundles look gorgeous on a platter.
Garlic Green Bean Bundles
(This recipe serves about 6-8 people, give or take.)
Two pounds fresh green beans, washed, and with ends and strings (if applicable) removed.
1 pound good smoked bacon, raw.
1/2 cup olive oil.
3 cloves garlic, cleaned and minced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
On a sheet pan, cookie sheet, or jelly roll pan (e.g. a large flat pan with an edge sufficient to prevent the grease you’re about to make from running all over your nice clean oven), lay out the green beans in bundles of roughly 10-12 beans, with all the beans laid out in parallel formation.
Wrap each bundle loosely with a slice of bacon, tying it on top with a simple knot and arranging the loose ends artistically.
In a bowl, whisk the olive oil and the garlic. Brush this oil liberally over the green bean bundles.
Bake until the bacon is cooked to taste and the green beans are warmed through.
Remove bundles to a serving platter with a spatula. Serve warm.
Hope you enjoy…
My White House Chef Mystery series includes State of the Onion, Hail to the Chef, and, coming in January -- Eggsecutive Orders!
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