If it's November, that means I can start planning my Thanksgiving menu. I picked up the November issue of Gourmet magazine because it is the final issue that Conde Nast is publishing. I bought it for old time's sake rather than any particular recipes that caught my eye. That's not the case with the November issue of Food & Wine magazine.
F&W — not a usual purchase of mine — is filled with so many intriguing recipes that I couldn't resist it at the newsstand. Among the dishes that caught my attention were Bacon, Onion and Rye Bread Stuffing (pictured above), Maple-and-Ginger-Roasted Veggies, and two gorgeous as well as innovative desserts by Chi-town chef, Shawn McClain: Pear Tart Tatin with Red Wine Caramel and Vanilla and Cider Panna Cotta with Spiced Ginger Cookies. The Panna Cottas are creamy white with a translucent cider layer on top for a very elegant presentation.
If I was having dinner with all my sisters and their families, then I would want a meal similar to the ones we shared growing up. But since we all live in snowbelt states we gave up winter time get-togethers years ago. Too many holidays spent in airports and on icy roads. So I'll be here in Wisconsin preparing a meal for mostly grown-ups. I'm thinking traditional but not boring.
Every family has their favorite way of preparing sweet potatoes and other iconic holiday dishes. But vegetables and salads are two areas where I think experimentation is not only OK but preferable. I'm always searching for the dish that is easy, can be made ahead and sparks the whole meal. Which is why I'm particularly drawn to condiments. They're a combination of veggie and salad and can be a crunchy contrast to what is so often a rich, heavy, overly sweet meal.
I've been making these quick pickles since the recipe appeared in the Nov. 2007 issue of Gourmet and have not tired of them. In fact, I can pretty much stand at the open fridge door and eat them any time of the day or night!
PICKLED DAIKON AND RED RADISHES WITH GINGER
1 1/2 lb. daikon radish, peeled
1 bunch red radishes (about 10), trimmed and each cut lengthwise into 6 wedges
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup rice vinegar (not-seasoned)
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon very thin matchsticks of peeled ginger
Halve the daikon lengthwise and then cut it crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Put the daikon pieces in a large bowl and toss with the radishes and kosher salt. Let them stand at room temp for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
Drain them in a colander but do not rinse them. Return them to the bowl.
Add vinegar, ginger and sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Transfer to an airtight container and chill, covered, shaking periodically, at least 12 hours or more to let flavors fully develop. The pickled radishes can be kept chilled up to three weeks. The recipe makes about three cups.
MY OBSERVATIONS: The longer the pickles sit, the more the color leaches out of the radishes.So I usually don't make them more than a couple of days in advance of when I want to serve them. I also add chopped, pickled ginger which is hot pink and adds another little dash of color and flavor. And since I typically only have seasoned rice vinegar on hand, that's what I use.