Feast dishes of nontraditional sort

  • Wed Nov 14th, 2012 9:10pm
  • Life

By Judyrae Kruse Herald Columnist

Thanksgiving … That’s when the people we love best and dinner, too, seem to separate into two stark differences.

Hard-core traditionalists (we have some of those at my house, including me), and those who can not only roll with changes, but welcome them (that, too, includes me).

Well, uh, then, what to do? (If you have an answer to that age-old question, get in touch with the Forum right away, because lots of us would love, love, love to solve the problem. Judyrae Kruse at the Forum, c/o The Herald, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206, or kruse@heraldnet.com.)

Right now, though, we have a couple of potentially walk-the-line recipes. If, for instance, a starter soup is something that always signals the start to the upcoming feast, we have a funky-punky possibility, courtesy of Thunder Burger back there in the other Washington. This spooner-upper has, of course, pumpkin — but it’s also zooped up with onion, cloves, hot chile flakes, allspice and coconut milk. Yes.

This particular soup only makes four servings though, so you might need to double or triple it, as necessary.

Then, instead of the as-always pumpkin pie finish to our dinners, the makers of Maker’s Mark give us the how-to for a hootch-enhanced walnut, not pecan, pie.

So we’re off and running, first with soup, then the pie:

Pumpkin and coconut soup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium white onions, peeled and diced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 small pumpkin (about 3 pounds), seeded, rind removed and chopped into large dice

1 teaspoon red chili flakes

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Water to cover pumpkin

1 can (12 ounces) coconut milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Toasted coconut for garnish

In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat; add onions and garlic and saute until translucent. Add the pumpkin, chili flakes and allspice and cover with enough water to completely cover the pumpkin. Add the coconut milk, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the pumpkin is tender.

Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until the mixture is smooth. OR, turn mixture into food processor or blender container and process until mixture is smooth. Return to pan and reheat briefly until hot. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper, ladle into bowls and garnish with toasted coconut.

Makes 4 servings.

Maker’s Mark walnut pie

1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup dark corn syrup

1/4 cup bourbon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1 package (16 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup walnut halves or pieces

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set aside pie shell. In a mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the sugar, butter, corn syrup, bourbon, vanilla, salt and eggs until blended well. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts and pour into the pie shell. Cover the edges of the pie plate with foil to prevent excessing browning, then remove the foil at the last 10 minutes of baking time. Bake until filling is set, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool and serve or cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Pie is best when gently heated before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Makes one 9-inch pie.