Austin Post Holiday Potluck: Our Favorite Turkey-day Recipes

For Thanksgiving, those of us at the Austin Post thought we'd share some of our favorite potluck dishes.

These days, everyone has some kind of dietary restriction. I’m lactose intolerant and Jewish, so pork, shellfish and dairy are right out. I have some friends who are vegan and others who are hardcore paleo dieters, plus a few with celiac disease just to make things really interesting. It’s tempting to just hand them all a bowl of spinach and call it a day.

After a bit of experimentation, this became my go-to dish for pretty much every holiday potluck. Paleo dieters will eat the sweet potatoes, celiacs are happy to have something gluten free, and it’s totally parve so the Jews can eat it with anything. You will need to check with your hardcore vegan friends to make sure they eat honey. Other than that, this is in line with nearly every dietary restriction you’re likely to run into.

Chris-Rachael’s Honey Lime Yams

  • 2 large yams or sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Preheat your oven to 400F. Peel the yams and slice them into roughly 1/2-inch circles. The thinner you slice the yams, the faster they'll cook, but you don't want to slice them so thin you end up with slightly mushy yam fries.

Pour your olive oil onto a paper towel and spread it generously all over the interior of a glass cake pan. This is mostly for the sake of cleanup. Honey and metal pans are not friends.

Mix the honey, lime juice, salt and cayenne in a bowl.

Dip each slice of yam into the honey/lime mix. Spread the yam slices in a single layer on the glass pan. Repeat in a second pan if you have more yam slices. Drizzle any remaining honey mix over the top of the yams.

You don't want to take the easy route by layering the slices then drowning them in the mix because the honey will just pool between the slices and burn. Give each slice a nice coating.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until each slice is tender.

These reheat easily in the microwave, so feel free to make them the night before your event then warm them up just before they go on the table. They’re a nice alternative to the heavy, dairy filled sweet potatoes seen on a lot of Thanksgiving tables. It’s nice to have something other than salad that most people at the table can share. - Chris-Rachael Oseland


Rob's Cajun Carrots Almondine

I'll admit it. I cook my orphan holiday meal sides to impress. And among those I seek to wow is my own damn self. That's one of the, ahem, joys of cooking – taking a basic recipe and enhancing it. And enjoying how it gets better the more adept you become at making it.

I did this one for the first time last year for the orphan gathering I've attended on the holidays for the last few years. It comes from the “Cajun Revelations” cookbook of award-winning recipes, this one by Henry Gillett. My changes and additions to the original recipe are in italics. What I love about this dish is how the sweetness and garlic conveys a yin/yang flavor.

  • 2/3 cups almonds, sliced
  • 4 cups carrots, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter (I substitute Brummel & Brown Yogurt Spread)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar

Start by blanching the almonds in oven at 300 degrees as you slice the carrots. (I first use a peeler on the carrots until I get down to the core to get a mix of feathery shavings and thicker slices.) Sauté carrots and almonds in a large skillet in butter, honey and lemon juice. Add seasonings and cook until the carrots are nicely glazed. I add raisins towards the end for a nice accent, only heating them gently. Sprinkle on some brown sugar as you finish and stir it in to add further sweetness. Serves 8-10 at these proportions. – Rob Patterson


Chili-glazed roasted asparagus

This is an easy way to add some zip to a pretty great basic dish. The sauce adds a tangy kick without overpowering the asparagus.

  • 2 lbs asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce (I use the stuff from Huy Fong Foods)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

After rinsing the asparagus and cutting a bit of the stems off you can use a peeler to thin down larger stalks. Place them in a shallow baking dish or roasting pan. Mix the sauce, olive oil and salt together and then pour over the asparagus. Use tongs (or your hands) to coat the stalks entirely and then loosely lay them out. These are great on the grill but if you're cooking indoors use the broiler at 400 and get them about 3 inches from the flame. Cook for about 7 minutes, pull them out and toss them around (with tongs). Cook for another 7 minutes or so until they begin to brown.  Serves 8 - Cisco Gilliland


Crab Rangoon Spice up your Thanksgiving menu this year with a dish that wasn't seen at the Pilgrims' table but is seen at the table of everyone spending the holidays in a Chinese restaurant this year. Here's the recipe for the classic appetizer seen in Chinese restaurants across the Western world, Crab Rangoon. 
  • 6 oz real meat (Go to Quality Seafood and spring a few extra bucks on the real stuff.)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, minced
  • 1 package of rice wrappers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Enough vegetable oil to cover your pan about 1/2-inch deep
 In a small pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and green onion and fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes. In the meantime, mix together the cream cheese, soy sauce and crab meat in a large bowl, using a fork or your hands to ensure that the cream cheese gets broken up. Once fragrant, remove garlic and onion from pan using a slotted spoon and mix these ingredients into the cream cheese mixture. Pour enough vegetable oil into a large pan to cover the bottm about 1/2-inch deep. Bring to medium-high heat. In the meantime, spread rice wrappers out on the counter and put about 1 tablespoon of the crab and cream cheese mixture into the center of each wrapper. Close the wrapper by pulling the corners together in the middle, dip your fingers in water and then run them along the edges to seal the bundle. Fry the Crab Rangoon in batches that give enough space so that they aren't touching each other. Fry about 2 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown. Serve warm or cold with whatever dipping sauces you prefer, like soy sauce, duck sauce or siracha. - Stephanie Myers


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