Thanksgiving with the Brass Sisters

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Marilynn and Sheila Brass, known as the Brass Sisters, share Thanksgiving memories and some recipes from their book, Heirloom Cooking With the Brass Sisters: Recipes You Remember and Love. Their PBS show, The Brass Sisters: Queens of Comfort Food, airs on WGBH in Boston.

Barbara’s Rice Salad with Cumin and Walnuts
Yields 6 cups

For Salad
21/2 cups cooked wild rice, cooled (cook according to package directions)
3 cups cooked long grain white rice, cooled (cook according to package directions)
1 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

For Vinaigrette
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp salt (omit if rice is salty)
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon honey
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 tsps ground cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon

1. To make the salad: Combine wild rice, white rice, and walnuts in a large bowl. Stir together with a wooden spoon.

2. To make the vinaigrette: Whisk together olive oil, vegetable oil, salt, if using, pepper, honey, lemon juice, cumin, and cinnamon in small bowl. Pour vinaigrette over salad and toss with two serving spoons. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to mellow flavors. Serve at room temperature. Store leftover salad in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Sweet Potato Salad
Makes 8 Servings

For Salad
3 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" chunks
¼ cup orange marmalade
¼ cup apricot jam
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

For Vinaigrette
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup orange juice
1 Tablespoon prepared mustard
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced, or ¾ tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp hot pepper flakes
Grated zest of 1 orange

1. To make the salad: Place sweet potatoes in a steamer basket set over simmering water.  Cover and steam about 20 minutes (see Tips & Touches).  Remove to a large bowl and allow to cool.

2. When cool enough to handle, cut potatoes into ¾-inch dice and return to bowl.  Add orange marmalade, apricot jam, and red pepper and toss to coat.

3. To make the vinaigrette: Place oil, vinegar, orange juice, and mustard into a container with a cover.  Cover and shake to combine.  Remove cover; add salt, black pepper, garlic or garlic powder, hot pepper flakes, and orange zest.  Replace cover and shake to combine.

4. Pour vinaigrette over salad and stir gently with a wooden spoon.  Mound salad on a platter or place in a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to allow flavors to marry.

5. Remove salad from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.  Serve sprinkled with pecans.  Store leftover salad in a covered container in refrigerator.

Tips & Touches

Steaming sweet potatoes for 20 minutes is an arbitrary amount of time.  The best way to know when they’re cooked is to test them: They should still be a bit firm.  If you overcook them, they will fall apart.  Do not use baked sweet potatoes for this salad.  Do not mix pecans into salad or they will become soggy.

Music break: Get Carter by Laika and the Cosmonauts