Making the Best of Thanksgiving Dinner Overseas in the USAF Barracks in Japan Circa 1978

Created Monday, 22 November 2010 03:12

Thanksgiving Sides

By Julia Hayden aka Sgt Mom at The Daily Brief

Yea on many (well, not actually that many) years ago when I was living in the female enlisted dorm at an Air Force base in Japan, another resident and friend had been gifted by a relative with a years’ subscription to Gourmet Magazine. Possibly this relative hoped that my friend would come to appreciate fine up-scale dining, complicated recipes for exotic cuts of meat and rare vintages . . . or possibly even learn to cook. I can’t with confidence say that this ever happened – we were twenty-somethings, living in a military dorm with a small basic kitchen overrun with cockroaches; nuking a Stouffers’ frozen dinner of lobster Newburg and opening a bottle of Riunite was about as upscale as most of us were inclined to get.

Anyway, my friend, upon departing at the end of her tour, gifted me with all of the back issues of Gourmet, and I took up a subscription myself . . . and never threw away an issue. From one of the holiday issues came three recipes which I served as a side dish at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I can’t find the original issue, or even recall what it looked like – probably had a roast turkey on the cover – but I had copied them out into my own little collection of favorite recipes. The cranberry chutney is complex and tasty, and the corn relish is a wonderful counterpoint to all the heavy baked or boiled root vegetables. The honey-pear conserve is just plain wonderful.

#1: Cranberry Chutney:

Combine in a large saucepan: ½ cup cider vinegar, 2 ¼ cup brown sugar, ¾ tsp curry powder, ½ tsp ginger, ¼ tsp cloves, ¼ tsp allspice, ¼ tsp ginger, ¼ tsp cinnamon, and 1 ½ cups water.

Bring to a boil, then while stirring simmering mixture, add: 2 lemons, rind grated finely, pith discarded and lemon sectioned and chopped, 2 oranges, (ditto), 1 apple finely chopped, 3 cups cranberries, ½ cup golden raisins, and ½ cup chopped dried apricots. Simmer gently for 40 minutes, until mixture is thickened.

Add: 2 additional cups cranberries and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add: 1 cup cranberries and ½ cup chopped walnuts, stirring until the last cup of cranberries are just cooked. The variously cooked cranberries give it a lot of cranberry texture, and a very fresh flavor.

#2: Honey Pear Conserve:

Combine in a large saucepan: 4 lbs Anjou pears, peeled, cored and cut unto chunks, ¾ cup lemon juice, 1 cup honey, ½ tsp cloves, 2 tsp cinnamon and ½ cup dried currents.
Simmer until thickened and pears are cooked through.

#3: Pepper-Corn Relish

Combine and simmer in a large saucepan until vegetables are tender-crisp: 5 ½ cups fresh or frozen corn kernels, 1 finely chopped green pepper, 1 finely chopped red pepper, 1 medium-sized finely chopped onion, 2 whole carrots, finely chopped, 1 ½ cups sugar, 1 tsp dry mustard, ½ tsp celery seeds, ¼ tsp turmeric and 1 ½ cup cider vinegar.

Enjoy! And don’t eat too much – next week I will have a lovely recipe for turkey-pot pie made with leftovers.

 

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