Turkish dinner and exciting sides | News, sports, jobs

Turkish dinner and exciting sides |  News, sports, jobs

Turkish dinner (provided photo – Ivona Fast)

November is upon us. We backed down. Leaves fell to cover the ground. Darkness is approaching. The air is cold and humid.

Short, muddy, wet days and long, dark, dreary nights replace the light and happiness of summer with darkness and gloom. That’s why every day we need to focus on our blessings. That’s why we join with friends and family to give thanks. Every day is a time to be thankful. Soon it will be Thanksgiving.

We actually held an Election Day Turkey Dinner sponsored by the First United Methodist Church of Saranac Lake. This annual event kicks off turkey season with all the traditional dishes — turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes, squash, green beans, coleslaw, dinner rolls, and of course, pie. Volunteers prepare the food, which serves as a major fundraiser for the church. After Election Day, the community dinner on Wednesday was another turkey feast, with the same menu as the night before, and free to eat. The best was pie – pumpkin, apple or cherry.

Another turkey dinner, a free community Thanksgiving dinner at Adirondack Presbyterian Church in Lake Clear, is coming up on Nov. 18. Then on November 23 — Thanksgiving Day — the Women’s Civic Center and St. Joseph’s Rehabilitation Center are sponsoring a free community Thanksgiving. Dinner held at Saranac Lake Adult Center. Application begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 2:30 p.m

These community events are a great way to meet people. They provide volunteer opportunities. The food is good but often very ordinary: mashed butternut squash or sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, bagel stuffing, plain fried salad or coleslaw. Pie for dessert. There is little variety, and few options for those with other dietary needs, such as vegetarians, vegans, or those who need a gluten-free meal.

When I brought home a turkey dinner on Election Day, I garnished it with a spinach and radish salad. I added bacon, onions, garlic, and mushrooms to the green beans. I ate some turkey and cranberries on a sandwich the next day.

These dinners lack the variety of meals with family or friends where everyone brings a dish. You probably won’t have seasonal foods like roasted winter vegetables, kale or spinach salad, butternut squash with garbanzo beans, Brussels sprouts with carrots, or braised winter vegetables with sweet potatoes. Cranberry bread, Betty’s famous cheesecake, or avocado salsa may not be on the menu.

But they offer good food and camaraderie. So enjoy!

In addition to food, Thanksgiving-themed events include the Saranac Lake Volunteer Firefighters Thanksgiving Party on Nov. 10 at the Saranac Great Hall Bar and Ballroom – with music, dancing and a variety of drinks, appetizers and desserts. Delicious sweets. On Thanksgiving Day, the Turkey Trot, sponsored by Bitters and Bones, is a good way to burn off those holiday calories! Proceeds from this event support the Saranac Lake Interfaith Food Pantry and Student Needs Fund.

Whatever you do, remember that this is the season of gratitude and a time to celebrate our amazing community.

What are your favorite non-traditional Thanksgiving desserts?

Green beans with bacon and mushrooms

Here’s how I dress up the canned green beans that came in my turkey dinner.


1 slice bacon

1/2 onion

4 mushrooms

1 clove of garlic

1 cup green beans


Chop the bacon and cook to remove the fat. Transfer to a crisp paper towel.

Peel the onion, chop it and add it. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

Cut mushrooms. Peel and chop a clove of garlic. Add the onions to the pan, sprinkle with salt, cover and simmer for 2 minutes.

Add the green beans and heat through or cook a little longer if using fresh beans.

Add the reserved bacon, serve and enjoy.

Squash and kale gratin


6 – 8 cups chopped winter squash (about 1 large walnut)

2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound cabbage

1 teaspoon butter

1 onion

Salt 1/2 teaspoon

4 eggs

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3/4 cup sharp grated cheese


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

To prepare squash: Peel, remove seeds, and cut into 1-inch cubes.

In a large bowl, add the spices (salt, pepper, paprika) until covered, then add the olive oil. Spread on a parchment-lined baking tray, and roast for 20 minutes, or until done.

To prepare the cabbage, stem, wash, chop, and steam until tender, about 10 minutes. Sit aside.

In a skillet, cook onions in butter and sprinkled with salt over low heat until caramelized, 10 or 20 minutes. If you wish, you can add a chopped apple during the last 10 minutes. Drain and stir in 1 cup cooked or canned garbanzo beans. Sit aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs with mayonnaise. Add 1/2 cup cheese and steamed kale.

To assemble:

Large casserole with butter or 9“by 13” Baking plate.

Place the squash on the bottom. Top with onion, apple, and garbanzo mixture.

Layer the egg and kale mixture on top.

Top with breadcrumbs and remaining cheese.

Bake in the oven at 375°F for 30-40 minutes, until the tops are browned and the eggs are set and set.

Serves 6-8 as a vegetarian main course.

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Award-winning cookbook author “Garden Gourmet: Fresh, flavorful meals from your garden, CSA or farmers market” Yvonna Fast lives in Clear Lake and has two passions: writing and cooking. She can be found at www.yvonafast.com and can be reached at yvonawrite@yahoo.com or on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter: @yvonawrites.

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