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Thanksgiving Menus 2002–2011: The Topic


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Because a standard pumpkin doesn't actually taste all that good, whereas kabocha is very pumpkin-like but has better flavor.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Mu wife has informed me that we will be hosting this year. The last several years we have gone to her sisters house. I would always smoke a turkey and take it along to go with the oven roasted one my BIL did. This worked fine as I love the smoked but my wife does not. She also likes the stuffing done in the turkey and I do not. My problem is that this year I can't do two turkeys. So guess which kind we will be having?

I'm debating the family style or the buffet style. The buffet would be a lot easier to do at our house. But the family style is tradition. I guess we will see how it works out.

Why can't you do two turkeys? Let her do it in the oven the way she likes, and smoke an additional one outside. My parents have done that for years.

"Nothing you could cook will ever be as good as the $2.99 all-you-can-eat pizza buffet." - my EX (wonder why he's an ex?)

My eGfoodblog: My corner of the Midwest

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According to Wikipedia, the kabocha is commonly called the "Japanese pumpkin... similar in texture and flavor to a pumpkin and a sweet potato combined." Sounds good! I'll have to look for them. Thanks for the tip!

I'm also making mincemeat pies, probably using Alton Brown's recipe. I think I can get beef suet at our Bill the Butcher's here.

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I've never tried using kabocha squash, but I've found that hokkaido squash compares favourably to pumpkin in any recipe that calls for the latter. This works out well, under the circumstances, since most of the time it is nearly impossible for me to find any sort of pumpkin, here (i.e. Denmark).

Since Thanksgiving is not a Danish holiday, I often overlook it, but this year I'm planning on using the opportunity to do a test run on a couple of things I will be cooking for Christmas: CI's Sacher torte reboot, crêpes Suzette, and what I have been told is 'back of deer', and which may turn out to be anything (I haven't seen it, yet; my boyfriend's father hunts, and now has a couple in the freezer). I'm fairly confident about the desserts (reliable recipe source), but the venison really worries me (could it really be an entire back?!).

I'll also be making a hokkaido-chestnut soup, and I'm toying with the idea of introducing my boyfriend to latkes (I know, it's early for them, but I've been looking for an excuse to make them--I don't normally eat potatoes--and a major food orgy seems like the perfect opportunity).

I won't be making a pumpkin pie; I'd be the only one eating it, and the last thing my waistline needs is an entire pumpkin pie.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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How do people organize their planning? I've been using a google doc the last few years, and then print everything up for the last two or three days.

Yeah the big trick is that you actually have to remember to check your list at the very end, otherwise three hours later the fire department finds the last vegetable dish in your oven.

One other organizational question for those with big (8 or more?) groups. Do you do family style in bowls that are passed, or do you have a sideboard loaded up with stuff? I'm trying to figure that part out too....

A strategy that has worked well in my family is to do two bowls/platters/whatever of everything. It cuts pass-around service time in half. We use the sideboard for beverages and whatever won't fit on the table, but we don't use it as a buffet.

Another thing, a few years ago we started phasing out the pre-meal noshes. People just fill up on that stuff, and then they get to the meal and they have no appetites.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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What with chestnut bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, baked yams, wild rice, veg sides and salad, a veg main dish that's typically high carb, the absurd consumption of crackers or chips that get eaten with olives and hummus and cheese before dinner, and with a turkey big enough to feed six times the number of people at the table who eat it, we don't bother with bread or rolls at dinner.

My nephews bake a sweet pumpkin bread that gets eaten after Thursday. My husband bakes four pan loaves of white/corn bread. Two get used for stuffing, and two get saved for breakfasts and sandwiches for the days after. On Wednesday night I serve as my sister-in-law's sous chef for pies. She preps/is responsible for five pies: apple, pecan, berry and two pumpkin. I make one filling for sweet potato pie, and she makes enough dough for that crust. Mostly its the kids who devour the pumpkin pies. Personally I don't like pumpkin anything, except seeds. No pie, no bread, no muffins, no mousse. Perhaps I would like kabocha? Sweet potato pie--not too sweet and with that vegetal edge--is the bomb.

One year I made a mixed sweet potato parsnip pie, based on David Tannis' parsnip pie recipe. My non-baking SIL loved it, my pie-baking SIL found it interesting, my MIL said she liked it but clearly she was being polite, and the kids mostly ignored it once they were told what was in it. I found it sort of good, but not nearly as satisfying as straight sweet potato.

Edited by Katie Meadow (log)
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Another thing, a few years ago we started phasing out the pre-meal noshes. People just fill up on that stuff, and then they get to the meal and they have no appetites.

I have done the same thing. I keep them active and engaged wandering the garden etc. Even the baby carrots and low cal dip type stuff was filling hungry folks up before the big spread. This tends to be worsened by people who "starve for the big day" and arrive faint from hunger.

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Well, I guess I'm going to support both the Pilgrims and the British this Thanksgiving. (A sort of oxymoron when you think about it).

A pumpkin mousse pie slathered in whipped cream and then my delicious Sticky Toffee Pudding served with pumpkin ice cream.

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I have quite a massive amount of sweet potatoes from the winter CSA [and may be getting more this weekend]. So I think it's time to properly make sweet potato pie. I have never done so nor have I eaten it a whole lot. But no time like today. :) Anyone have any solid recipes? Classics or more interesting interpretations welcome.

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I am charged by my DIL with making a dessert my son likes. This means it contains apple and/or caramel and/or pecans. Since my poor old hands don't peel apples so well, I am making pecan pie bars. And because these are too sweet for me, I am making an old-fashioned "icebox cake" with raspberries, which my son also likes. DIL and her mother will probably contribute a couple more choices and one is sure to be chocolate. No one in this group likes pumpkin or cranberries

Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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steve - how about a cheese pumpkin instead of a kabocha?

my baking is savory, not necessarily sweet - i do the turkey, green beans, brussel sprouts, sweet poatoes - sister in law is going to try mashed potatoes. brother-in-law is bringing the frozen shrimp and i will restrain his hand with the horserasish sauce so others can actually taste anything else. will do stuffed mushrooms then i do bake the breads - portugese sweet, oatmeal and this year a johnnybird's famous, outrageous toast dope portugese sweet raisin bread for breakfast.

will try to learn my mil's recipe for sausage dressing - taking the celery out!!!!

the sister-in-law is buying two pies. let's say not everyone - or anyone - is really into cooking. i am considered a freak among many folks since i enjoy cooking and actually send lunches in with my husband - most people i worked with kept saying "don't let my husband know you actually make your husband's lunch/dinner".

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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I have quite a massive amount of sweet potatoes from the winter CSA [and may be getting more this weekend]. So I think it's time to properly make sweet potato pie. I have never done so nor have I eaten it a whole lot. But no time like today. :) Anyone have any solid recipes? Classics or more interesting interpretations welcome.

Not generally a huge Martha Stewart fan, but the sweet potato pie recipe from her original Pies and Tarts book is very forgiving, not overly sweet and tastes like, well, sweet potatoes. The recipe can handle slightly less sugar than called for, and works with more potato to same amt of cream and eggs, if you have a deep dish. The converse is true: you can cut back the eggs by one and the cream by 1/4 c and still use the 2 c packed potato. The recipe below reflects some adjustments I have made, and not the original. I tend to underspice this pie, since I really prefer to taste the sweet potato, and not anything that reminds me of pumpkin pie, but you may want to up the spices to your taste. The potatoes can be prepped ahead--I've never noticed any lack of quality.

One unbaked pie shell, 9 inch (we use a simple pate brisee)

Bake 4 big or 6-7 smallish sweet potatoes until very soft. Scoop out, mash and pack to approx 2 c.

3 large eggs lightly beaten

1/3 c granulated sugar

1/8-1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp grated lemon rind

1.5 c or slightly less light cream or half and half (You could use some heavy cream, and it would be richer)

4 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put mashed potatoes in a large mixing bowl, set aside. Combine, eggs, sugar, spices, salt lemon rind and cream in a smaller bowl and whisk til combined. Pour this into the potatoes and stir til thoroughly combined. Add the butter, mix well. Pour into the pie crust and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until filling is set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool before slicing. You may need to protect the edges of the crust from getting too dark, since this is a long cooking time.

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Here's my heart-healthy Thanksgiving menu so far. It's taking a bit of negotiation with my father, who thinks my ideas are "daft"!

Beet and blood orange salad

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Pomegranate-Beet-and-Blood-Orange-Salad-108809

Brussels sprouts maple-mustard vinaigrette

http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010/11/healthy-thanksgiving-series-vegetables/

Sweet potato puree with apples

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/19/health/nutrition/19recipehealth.html?_r=1&ref=sweet_potatoes

Cranberry, ginger and pear sauce

http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010/11/healthy-thanksgiving-series-cranberry-sauce/

Madeira gravy (vegetarian) - in addition to regular turkey gravy

http://www.vegan.com/recipes/vegan-thanksgiving-recipes-2009-a-feast-by-robin-robertson/madeira-sauce/

Roast Turkey (of course - but I use olive oil instead of butter

Bread stuffing with Field Roast vegetarian smoked apple sausage, onions apples and sage

Pumpkin pie (I don't have this on my blog yet but here is the basic recipe and a photo. I have to say, it is the best pumpkin pie I have ever had - super fluffy!)

Crust:

3/4 cup pecan pieces, lightly toasted

3/4 cup oat flour (or grind up ¾ cup rolled oats in the food processor)

3/4 cup pastry flour

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 pinch salt

1/4 cup organic canola oil

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons skim milk

Filling:

1 can organic pumpkin

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon tapioca flour or cornstarch

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon salt

pinch ground cloves

1 egg yolk

1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk

2 egg whites

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine the pecans, flours, cinnamon and salt in a food processor and process until ground. In a medium bowl, whisk the oil and maple syrup. Add the skim milk but do not stir. Mix in the dry ingredients with a fork until well combined. Press into a 9-inch pie pan, making sure the crust extends all the way to the top, then crimp the edges with your fingers. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove to cool.

For the filling, combine the remaining ingredients except egg whites and whisk until smooth. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Fold into the filling mixture, breaking up any chunks of egg white. Pour filling (or as much of it as will fit) into the partially-baked crust. Return to the oven and bake another 45 minutes, or until the center is just set (the middle should still jiggle like jello but should not slosh around like liquid.)

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I'm thinking raisin bread,making it the day before,and toasting it on the morning,for a quick,easy breakfast.

I made pizza bread today,a simple white yeast bread with the addition of tomato paste, parm.cheese,grated,and finely chopped onion. when sliced and toasted,it really does taste a lot like pizza. I suppose you could add some sort of pizza topping meat, I don't due to having a vegetation in the house.,anyway,I'm thinking about cutting that into squares and toasting as kind of early afternoon snack,maybe with some olives.

Pumpkin pie, for sure, especially for the kids.

---------------------------------------

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I've been asked to contribute rugelach to Thanksgiving dinner at my sister-in-law's house. I'll bake several dozen each of apricot-walnut and raspberry-chocolate.

As I've recently been forced to remove gluten from my diet, I will also bake some sort of portable gluten-free treat to sustain me through a grueling three day tour of Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. Oatmeal raisin cookies, in all likelihood.

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Mincemeat pie is on the menu - shaken up a bit with dried pineapple and mango mixed in.

And kobacha squash pie, with oatmeal crust.

All gluten-free for me and my son (Celiac)

Sheryl Davies

www.breakingbreadblog.com

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I'm thinking raisin bread,making it the day before,and toasting it on the morning,for a quick,easy breakfast.

I made pizza bread today,a simple white yeast bread with the addition of tomato paste, parm.cheese,grated,and finely chopped onion. when sliced and toasted,it really does taste a lot like pizza. I suppose you could add some sort of pizza topping meat, I don't due to having a vegetation in the house.,anyway,I'm thinking about cutting that into squares and toasting as kind of early afternoon snack,maybe with some olives.

Pumpkin pie, for sure, especially for the kids.

Your description instantly made me think of the sausage roll/bread from the Silver Palate book. It's an herbed bread dough that's rolled around an Italian sausage filling and smoked mozzarella (like a jelly roll) and then you bake it in a spring form pan (so it's round). My mother and husband adore it and I haven't made it in years. It will be a nice surprize for both of them on Thanksgiving day - though they'll probably save it for the next day!

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Maybe mincemeat pie - my kids haven't had it and I think they would really love it. We really don't need two pies, but I may not be able to help myself. Of course if I make mincemeat pie, I think I will need to make a great ice cream to go with it. This could be a slippery slope!

Mincemeat pies are a Christmas tradition in my family. They were always made individual size (in muffin tins). This is also common in London, when they are always served with fresh brandy whipped cream (unsweetened) and a glass of mulled wine.

Maybe this give you some ideas.

Corinna Heinz, aka Corinna

Check out my adventures, culinary and otherwise at http://corinnawith2ns.blogspot.com/

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Mincemeat pie is on the menu - shaken up a bit with dried pineapple and mango mixed in.

And kobacha squash pie, with oatmeal crust.

All gluten-free for me and my son (Celiac)

How do you make a GF oatmeal crust? I also have to make GF desserts. I was thinking of an almond meal crust for a pumpkin chiffon pie, but I'm intrigued by the oatmeal idea.

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Here is the recipe for oat crust based on Christine Tosi's.

It would be lovely with pumpkin chiffon. Make sure and use GF rolled oats. I recommend Lara's oats. Bob's Red Mill are are a bit too thick for cookies and crusts.

Sheryl Davies

www.breakingbreadblog.com

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