Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

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roasted-root-vegetables-from-slim-palateHere’s another great way to highlight your fancy salt!  It’s a nice variation on your typical Turkey-Day fare. (I get sick of the same ol’ same ol’.)  This dish is typically though of as a side dish, but I like to call it a salad, because I can easily eat just this for lunch–or breakfast for that matter.   I really like it at room temperature, slightly al dente, with a tangy dressing and a bit of a crunch. Of course, you can use it as a side dish if you want. It’s your kitchen.


1 butternut squash

1 sweet potato

1 red or yellow beet

1 parsnip

1 yellow onion

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon unrefined salt – try Bavarian rock salt, Portuguese sel gris, Peruvian pink, smoked salt, or a salt infused with rosemary or red wine

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 cup apple juice

½ cup toasted pecans, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.   Dice squash, potato, beet, parsnip, and onion into 1-2 inch chunks.   Quarter the onion, leaving the root in tact. Toss them all in olive oil and spread onto a baking sheet. Roast until tender and crisp on the outside. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt, then set aside at room temperature.
  1. Meanwhile heat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until translucent, about 30-60 seconds. Stir in honey, vinegar, and apple juice. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until the liquid is reduced to syrup consistency, about 3-5 minutes. Keep your eye on this. It will happen fast!
  1. Combine the glaze, roasted roots, and pecans in a large bowl and toss to coat. Season with more salt as needed and serve.


Bacon – If you’re a bacon fan, use two slices of raw diced bacon instead of butter here. Render the fat and crisp it up in the pan, then add the garlic, and continue with the recipe as written.   It’s great with pancetta too!

Cheesy – Garnish this dish with a crumble of feta, goat, or sharp blue cheese. The salty tang is a great contrast to the sweetness of these roots and the apple juice.

Cranberry Sauce

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Everyone has a favorite dish at Thanksgiving. (Mine is the turkey sandwich on Friday.) My oldest daughter’s is cranberry sauce. I never liked it myself—probably because I grew up eating jellied cranberry sauce that was store-bought and canned-shaped. But I make it for everyone else, and it quickly became her favorite. In fact, she annually indulges in an entire bowlful for breakfast the following day. (I always make at least a double batch.) But this year she’s on the other side of the country, and so, she’s on her own.   This is for her.   One bit of motherly—not cheffy—advice: Don’t wear white, or anything you care about, when you make this. The berries sometimes pop (aka explode) if they get going too hot.


1 12-ounce bag fresh or frozen cranberries

1 cup sugar

Grated zest of 1 orange (use a microplane, the fine holes of a box grater, or a zester)

½ teaspoon cardamom

1 piece star anise

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 cup orange juice


Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. At the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until the berries have popped and the mixture thickens, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, then refrigerate until well chilled. Serve chilled—with turkey or with just a spoon.


Leftover cranberry sauce makes great sorbet. Puree it in a blender, pour in a freezable container, and freeze. Stir it every 10 minutes or so until thick and scoop-able. Voila! Instant no-churn sorbet!

Chess Pie

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chess pie
The history of this pie is a bit mysterious and silly. Some say that the pie itself is so simple that when asked what kind of pie is baking, the bakers response was, “It’s just pie.” This, when sped up and slurred by lazy-tongued bakers, starts to sound like “jess pie” or “chess pie.” Whatever.

Another tale points out that the pie’s curdy texture is similar to cheese, and lazy-spelling bakers left out some “e’s”, forever labeling the pie as “chess.”

Neither explanation shines a very favorable light on the bakers in question.

I told you it was silly.

Silly but delicious. This pie is a perfect for beginners, because it is very hard to screw up, and easy to embellish. Add fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, or spices to add your personal touch. Or, just keep it as is … au naturelle.

So … once you have mastered pie dough, try this pie on for size.


1/2 recipe Pie Dough, or Pâte Sucreé
3 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
2 TB. cornmeal
1/2 cup cream
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 TB. vanilla extract
4 oz. (1 stick) butter, melted


  1. Pre-heat oven to 325˚F. Line pie pan with a circle of pie or sucreé dough, crimp edges and blind bake for 20-30 minutes, until edges just begin to set. Cool completely, and remove pie weights.
  2. In a large bowl combine eggs, sugar, cornmeal, cream, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla. Mix well, then stir in butter. Pour into pre-baked pie shell and bake at 325˚F for 30-45 minutes, until lightly golden and just set. Chill completely before serving.