Three sides and a dessert

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - LIVING + FOOD - By Emily Ryan For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia RECIPE COURTESY OF LISA THOMAS-LAURY

This hol­i­day, add some star power to your meal with celebrity recipes that will have guests giv­ing thanks.

“When I think about Thanks­giv­ing, I re­mem­ber the tur­key and my fa­ther’s chicken giblet gravy,” de­scribed Iron Chef and restau­ra­teur Jose Garces, whose par­ents em­i­grated from Ecuador and served “Ecuadorean sta­ples as well.”

“Now, ev­ery Thanks­giv­ing with my kids in­cludes a lit­tle bit of Latin flair,” he con­tin­ued, “with dishes like meat-filled em­panadas, sweet corn tamales and my Cata­lan-in­spired sweet-and-sour spinach.”

Fea­tur­ing cur­rants, pine nuts, honey and sherry vine­gar, the spinach is “rel­a­tively light, which makes it a great ad­di­tion to a hearty Thanks­giv­ing menu.”

Can’t get enough sides? Try singer, ac­tor and Philadel­phia na­tive Frankie Avalon’s green beans with red pota­toes, a chart-top­ping al­ter­na­tive to green bean casse­role. Or hit one out of the park with ex­tra-creamy mashed pota­toes from Phillies broad­caster and for­mer ma­jor lea­guer Ben Davis. The se­cret: cream cheese, sour cream and milk for “a bet­ter con­sis­tency.”

“Be­ing 100-per­cent Irish, we tend to have some sort of potato with just about ev­ery din­ner, and Thanks­giv­ing is no dif­fer­ent,” he ex­plained. “Mashed pota­toes go the best with tur­key!”

And for dessert, Ac­tion News icon Lisa Thomas-Laury of­fered peach/ap­ple cob­bler, a fam­ily fa­vorite.

“My cousin, Linda, shared it with me in my early years af­ter I moved to Philadel­phia,” re­called the re­tired an­chor and au­thor of a new mem­oir: “On Cam­era and Off: When the News Is Good and When It’s Not.”

“I find that cob­bler’s a lit­tle eas­ier be­cause you usu­ally make it in a square dish,” she said. “The crust doesn’t have to be as per­fect.” But the taste sure is. “My hus­band loves it with ice cream.”

Sweet-and-Sour Cata­lan Spinach IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

1 ta­ble­spoon canola oil 1 shal­lot, minced ½ cup sherry vine­gar 1 thyme sprig 1 ta­ble­spoon honey ¼ cup pine nuts 2½ pounds baby spinach 3 ta­ble­spoons ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil Salt and freshly ground pep­per ¼ cup cur­rants


In a small saucepan, heat 2 tea­spoons of the canola oil. Add the shal­lot and cook over low heat un­til soft­ened, about 3 min­utes. Add the vine­gar and thyme sprig and bring to a boil. Sim­mer over low heat un­til the vine­gar is re­duced to 2 ta­ble­spoons, about 20 min­utes. Dis­card the thyme sprig and stir the honey into the vine­gar. In a small skil­let, toast the pine nuts in the re­main­ing 1 tea­spoon of canola oil over mod­er­ate heat, stir­ring con­stantly, un­til golden, about 5 min­utes. Trans­fer the pine nuts to a plate and let cool. Fill a soup pot with ½ inch of wa­ter and bring to a boil. Add the spinach in hand­fuls, stir­ring un­til wilted. When the spinach is wilted, trans­fer to a colan­der and squeeze out the ex­cess wa­ter. Wipe out the pot. Heat the olive oil in the pot and add the spinach. Sea­son with salt and pep­per and cook, stir­ring, un­til heated through, about 5 min­utes. Trans­fer the spinach to a plat­ter and gar­nish with cur­rants and toasted pine nuts. Driz­zle the sherry vine­gar syrup and serve right away.

To­tal time: 45 min­utes. RECIPE COURTESY OF CHEF JOSE GARCESGreen Beans with Red Pota­toes

Crisp veg­eta­bles can be good, but so can veg­eta­bles that have been cooked un­til they are very ten­der, just like these green beans paired with pota­toes in a tomato sauce. All of the fla­vors mix to­gether to be­come a fan­tas­tic side dish for sim­ply pre­pared meats and seafood.


3 ta­ble­spoons olive oil 1 pound red-skinned pota­toes, scrubbed but un­peeled, cut into ½-inch wedges

1 medium yel­low onion, finely chopped 2 gar­lic cloves, minced 1 cup wa­ter ½ cup dry sherry 2 ta­ble­spoons tomato paste 1 tea­spoon dried oregano 8 ounces green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces

½ tea­spoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

¼ tea­spoon freshly ground black pep­per, plus more as needed

3 ta­ble­spoons freshly grated Parme­san cheese


Heat the oil in a large skil­let over medium-high heat un­til it is very hot but not smok­ing. Add the pota­toes, cut sides down, and cook, turn­ing once, un­til golden brown on both sides but not ten­der, about 6 min­utes. Us­ing a slot­ted spoon, trans­fer the pota­toes to a serv­ing bowl, leav­ing the oil in the skil­let. Add the onion and gar­lic to the skil­let and re­duce the heat to medium. Cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til the onion has soft­ened, about 3 min­utes. Add the wa­ter, sherry, tomato paste and oregano and stir to dis­solve the tomato paste. Re­turn the pota­toes to the skil­let and scat­ter the green beans on top. Sea­son with the ½ tea­spoon salt and ¼ tea­spoon pep­per. Bring to a boil. Re­duce the heat to medium-low and cover the skil­let tightly. Sim­mer, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til the pota­toes are ten­der and the liq­uid has thick­ened, about 20 min­utes. Sea­son with ad­di­tional salt and pep­per as needed. Trans­fer the potato mix­ture to a serv­ing bowl. Sprin­kle with the Parme­san cheese and serve hot. Makes 6 serv­ings. RECIPE FROM FRANKIE AVALON’S ITAL­IAN FAM­ILY COOK­BOOK, COPY­RIGHT 2016 BY FRANKIE AVALON WITH RICK RODGERS, REPRINTED WITH PER­MIS­SION OF ST. MARTIN’S GRIFFIN

Ben Davis’ Mashed Pota­toes IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

5 pounds rus­set pota­toes, skinned, sliced and boiled

2 sticks of but­ter, sweet-cream and salted

½ stick Philadel­phia cream cheese 2 ta­ble­spoons sour cream Salt and pep­per, to taste ½ cup whole milk


Drain pota­toes. Whip with a mixer or ricer. I feel the best way to make sure there are no lumps is to slightly over­boil the pota­toes. I put the cream cheese, but­ter and sour cream in the bot­tom of the mix­ing bowl be­fore adding the pota­toes and milk. The hot boiled pota­toes help melt ev­ery­thing un­der­neath. RECIPE COURTESY OF BEN DAVIS

Lisa Thomas-Laury’s Peach/Ap­ple Cob­bler

I must give credit to my cousin, Linda Hamil­ton, for this de­li­cious recipe.


3 Granny Smith ap­ples 2 large (32-ounce) cans of sliced peaches 1 cup sugar 5 ta­ble­spoons sifted flour ½ tea­spoon cin­na­mon ½ stick but­ter

1 box re­frig­er­ated ready-made pie crusts

1 ta­ble­spoon milk


Pre­heat oven to 350 de­grees. Lightly grease bot­tom and corners of square bak­ing dish; lay out pie crusts to soften; peel ap­ples and cut into small pieces. Drain and cut peaches, sav­ing small por­tion of the juice (set aside); mix cin­na­mon, flour and sugar (set aside). Flour one side of one pie crust. Place in bot­tom of bak­ing dish and pour in fruit; spoon sugar mix­ture evenly over top; slice and add pats of but­ter. Put re­main­ing pie crust over top, pinch­ing corners to side of dish; put sev­eral slits in top. Spread 1 ta­ble­spoon of milk on top of crust; sprin­kle sugar; bake for 45 min­utes to 1 hour.

Ad­di­tions and changes: Choose peaches in heavy syrup. Put the bak­ing dish with the bot­tom pie crust in the oven (350 de­grees) for 5 to 10 min­utes be­fore adding fruit. I now use 1 ta­ble­spoon all­spice in­stead of ½ tea­spoon cin­na­mon. I also cook the peaches and peeled ap­ples in the peach syrup on stove­top for 15 min­utes be­fore adding them to the bak­ing dish.

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