thanksgiving, part two

Well, we’re recovering from another day of stuffing our faces and feeling the holiday hangover thinking about going back to work tomorrow. My side of the family celebrated at my parents’ house and I was supposed to contribute an appetizer and two side dishes. Unfortunately, illness beset our house early last week and I forgot to prepare one of my side dishes. I didn’t even realize it until the day after Thanksgiving. Oops.

I found an interesting corn recipe that provided a good starting point, but since it called for canned corn I knew I’d have to make some changes.

Ingredients:
about 8 ears of fresh corn, cut off the cob
15-ounce bag of frozen corn (if, like me, you get tired of cutting off kernels)
one red pepper, cut into small pieces
one green pepper, cut into small pieces

Cheese Sauce:
4 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
3.5 cups half-and-half
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
2 teaspoons onion powder
4 teaspoons hot sauce

Topping:
8 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 and 1/3 cups buttery crackers

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crush crackers with melted butter in a food processor until crumbly. Set aside. Melt the butter for the cheese sauce in a large skillet, then whisk in the flour until smooth. Cook for about a minute, whisking constantly, until thickened. Whisk in half-and-half and heat until thick and bubbly. Add shredded cheese, onion powder, hot sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir until the cheese is melted. Add all the corn and peppers and stir together. Top with cracker mixture and bake until hot and bubbly.

I made mine a day ahead and put it in the freezer, heating it through before serving.

My appetizer was much less involved, though no less tasty. Food 52 came through again with this one.

All you do here is cover an 8-ounce block of feta with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and bake it at 400 degrees until it’s soft and springy, but not melted. It’s easiest if you can do this in an earthenware dish that can go straight from oven to table. Preheat the broiler, and then heat about a tablespoon of honey in the microwave for a few seconds until it’s fluid enough to pour easily. Mix in some fresh thyme sprigs and brush over the feta. Put under the broiler until the cheese is browned and starts to bubble. Serve with pita wedges, or whatever other bready vehicle you prefer.

Is it pretty? No. Is it delicious? Yes.

My little forgotten side dish, Mashed Maple Chipotle Sweet Potatoes, were finally made on Friday and poor things, they really should have had their time in the spotlight because they were awesome. I followed the recipe exactly.

Gluten free vegetarian never tasted so good.

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