Heritage Turkey and Giblet Gravy
Dried Fruit Stuffing out of this world!
Fresh Orange - Cranberry Sauce
Baked Yams with Ginger Molasses Butter and Fresh Limes
Swiss Chard Casserole
Too Rich Mashed Potatoes
Farro Salad with Braised Shallots
Insalata Forte with Garlicky Parmesan Dressing
Double Crust Traditional Apple Pie
Espresso Chocolate Pecan Tart
Sweet Potato Pie
Laura Avery asks Amelia Saltsman, local food writer and host of Fresh from the Farmers' Market, (airing on Santa Monica City TV 16 Wednesdays at 1pm), about some Thanksgiving recipes. For something guests can munch on as they arrive, Amelia suggests her 'Local Olives and Almonds with Garlic' or the crisp Fuyu persimmons available at the market right now -- Amelia's 'Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Pecan Salad' makes a colorul, seasonal first course.
Persimmon, Pomegranate, and Pecan Salad
Amelia suggests not using the globe-shaped Hachiya persimmons in this recipe as they must be eaten very soft or the astringency is overwhelming. She suggests the flatter, tomato-shaped Fuyus, which retain their shape well when sliced for this salad.
Makes 8 servings
- 1/2 cup pecan or walnut pieces
- 1 ripe pomegranate
- 4 ribs celery
- 2 small or 1 large fuyu persimmon
- 1/2 lb mixed baby salad greens
- Extra virgin olive oil or nut oil
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled, optional
Using a vegetable peeler, peel celery and slice thinly on the diagonal and place in salad bowl. Cut away stem from persimmon. Cut persimmon vertically in quarters and cut quarters crosswise into thin slices. (This will give you beautiful slices that show the "seed markings.") Add them to the bowl along with the nuts, greens, and as many pomegranate seeds as you'd like. Drizzle about one tablespoon oil over salad, squeeze lemon juice on to taste, add salt and pepper and toss. Sprinkle with crumbled cheese if desired.
-- 2001, Amelia Saltsman.
Local Olives and Almonds with Garlic, Lemon and Herbs
- 12 ozs olives (about 2 cups of green or black olives or a mixture of both)
- 1 cup whole raw almonds
- 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and slivered
- 2 Tablespoons rosemary leaves (1-2 branches)
- 6 branches thyme
- 8 fresh bay laurel leaves
- 1 lemon
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Teaspoon aji molido*
- Coarse sea salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If using olives in brine, soak them in a bowl of water for 20 minutes to remove some of their saltiness. Drain the olives and place on a sheet pan with the almonds, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves. Working over the pan so that the olives receive any of the lemon oils that spray as you work, cut the yellow part of the lemon peel into long thin strips using a "stripper." (A stripper or channel knife is like a zester but has only one larger cutting hole to remove citrus peel in long 1/4-inch-wide strips. You can also use a vegetable peeler or paring knife, which will give you wider strips you can then cut into narrower ones.)
Cut the lemon in half and give one generous squeeze of juice over all. Add the olive oil and toss the mixture to coat. Sprinkle with salt and the aji molido, toss again, and spread the mixture out evenly over the pan.
Roast for 15 minutes in upper third of the oven until nuts are fragrant and toasted and the bay leaves crisped, stirring the mixture once halfway through the cooking time. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately season with additional salt, concentrating on the almonds. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before placing in a serving bowl (this will keep the nuts crisp). May be served warm or room temperature. Makes 3 cups.
-- 2005, Amelia Saltsman
Amelia also recommends we check out Giving Thanks by Kathleen Curtin, food historian for Plimoth Plantation, and Sandra Oliver's Food History News, which she calls "the first definitive magazine on the holiday." (If you pick it up, look for Amelia's interview of Soledad Lopez, owner of Guelaguetza restaurant, about how her Oaxacan family celebrates the holiday.)
Barbara Spencer of Windrose Farms is trying her hand at growing sweet potatoes. She is starting out with an unknown variety that Laura is raving about. Barbara's sweet potatoes are more curved than straight, and while the flavor is great, they'll probably be best mashed.
Sara Moulton talks us down from the Thanksgiving ledge as she suggests ways to save our holiday meal from the anguish of those inevitable errors. One of her handy hints is to put potatoes through a ricer or food mill, and then store them in ziploc bags until dinner time when we can microwave them, and add the hot milk and melted butter right before service. She also urges us to invest in a digital thermometer to keep turkey from becoming overcooked. (You can pick up a good, cheap thermometer at Target.)
Here are Sara's guidlines for making pan gravy
Anytime you cook a roast you are going to end up with delicious bits of concentrated meat juices sticking to the bottom of the roasting pan. They are a great base for a sauce. To take advantage of them, transfer your roast to a platter and cover it loosely with foil. Then calculate how much gravy you want to make. Sara generally plans on 1/4- 1/3 cup of sauce per person (more at Thanksgiving where so many dishes require a gravy topping).
For each cup of medium-consistency sauce you'll need 1 cup of broth and 1 to 2 tablespoons each of fat and Wondra flour. Pour all the fat from the roasting pan into a bowl. Measure the correct amount and put it back into the pan. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring frequently for a few minutes.
Meanwhile heat broth in a separate pan, then add it to the fat/flour mixture in a stream, whisking. Continue whisking until you see no more lumps. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer it for as many minutes as there are tablespoons of flour in the gravy.
Joyce White, author of Brown Sugar: Soul Food Desserts from Family and Friends, whets our appetite for some down-home soul food. She pulls out all the stops with spiced nuts, saut--ed greens, praline sweet potato pie, spoon bread, Savannah red rice, and pickled shrimp. Joyce's newspaper column, "Soul in the Kitchen," appears weekly in the Amsterdam News, and has moved to some 30 other African-American newspapers across country. The column is picked up once a month by the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, a general circulation newspaper. Joyce also frequently writes features on wine, food and travel, which are syndicated by the Tribune Media Services.
Makes 8 servings as an appetizer
- 2 lbs large or jumbo shrimp
- 1 1/2 to 2 quarts water
- 2 Tablespoons pickling spices
- 1 onion
- 1 red or green or yellow pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 to 3 Tablespoons fresh dill
- 1/2 cup cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Crisp, chilled lettuce leaves
- Peel and devein the shrimp. Rinse with cold water. Pour the water into a large pot. Add the pickling spices. Bring to a rolling boil. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, or until they are pink and tender. Watch carefully and don't overcook. Drain the shrimp and set aside.
- Prepare the pickling marinade: Thinly slice the onion, core and cut the fresh pepper into thin strips, mince the garlic and chop the dill. Place the vegetables in a large glass bowl. Add the vinegar, olive oil, hot pepper flakes, salt and pepper and mix well. Stir in the drained shrimp. Let cool completely, cover with plastic wrap and chill several hours or overnight.
- At serving, drain the shrimp. Place the lettuce on a platter, and spoon the shrimp into the center of the platter, making an attractive mound. Provide small plates so that guests can help themselves.
Makes 8 servings
- 3 lbs collard greens, small tender leaves
- 5 Tablespoons olive, grapeseed or peanut oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 or 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 or 2 hot chile peppers, such as Jalape--o or Serrano, finely chopped
- 1 cup turkey stock or chicken or vegetable broth, or as needed
- 1 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pick over the greens and discard any with yellowing or wilted leaves. Remove thick stems and discard. Stack a dozen or so leaves at a time and roll tightly, jelly-roll fashion. Cut each roll crosswise into 1/2-inch strips. (Continue rolling and cutting until all the greens are cut.) Rinse the greens at least 4 or 5 times in a large basin of cold water, swishing to remove any sand or dirt. Drain well and set aside.
- Heat about 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy pot. Add half of the greens and saut--, stirring for 5 or 6 minutes, or until the greens are wilted. Remove from the pot. Add 2 more tablespoons oil and saut-- the remaining greens in the same way and then remove from pan.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan if necessary. Stir in the onion, garlic and chile pepper and saut-- over low heat for 4 or 5 minutes, or until the onions are tender and translucent. Return the greens to the pot. Add the stock or broth, salt and pepper and mix well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to middle low, cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until the greens are tender.
Sweet Potato Praline Pie
If time is pressing, buy a ready-made frozen pie crust and bake according to package direction, but only until the crust is light brown, or partially baked. For a traditional homemade pie crust, see recipe below.
Makes 8 servings
- 1 partially baked single pie crust, bought or homemade
- 2 lbs sweet potatoes (4 to 5 small)
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup granulated sugar, or to taste
- 2 medium eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 2 Tablespoons dark rum or brandy
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk, undiluted, or half-and-half
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar, preferably crystallized sugar, such as turbinado (Sugar in the Raw) or Demerara
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Prepare and partially bake a 9-inch pie crust according to recipe directions. Meanwhile, scrub and rinse the sweet potatoes. Cut away eyes or sprouts and discard. Place the unpeeled sweet potatoes in the top of a steamer and cook over boiling water for about 30 minutes or until tender.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove the cooked potatoes from the pan and drain. Peel while still warm. Using a fine strainer that is at least 6 inches in diameter, force the potatoes through the sieve into a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, pressing hard with a rubber spatula. Using at least 2 cups of the mashed potatoes, beat on low speed until they are light and fluffy. (Use leftover mashed potatoes in pancake or biscuit batter.)
- Add the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, ginger, allspice, and rum or brandy. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 or 3 minutes on until the filling is smooth and creamy and well-blended. Add the milk or half-and-half and beat on low speed until well-blended.
- Pour the filling into the pie shell and spread evenly with a knife or spatula. Set the pie on the bottom shelf of the hot oven and bake for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile prepare the praline topping: Combine in a small saucepan the butter and sugar. Place on medium-low heat and heat stirring until the butter melts and the mixture is well combined. Stir in the pecans and vanilla extract, mix well, and remove from heat right away.
- Carefully remove the pie from the oven and set on a wire rack. Using a tablespoon, spoon a small circle of the nut mixture in the center of the pie. Spoon another larger circle of nuts near the edge of the pie, creating two rows of nuts. Spoon the syrup in the pan over the nuts and over the top of the pie.
- Return the pie to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pie is lightly browned around the edges and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Don't overbake.
- Cool the pie completely on a wire rack before serving. For best flavor and to set the filling, chill the pie 30 to 40 minutes. However, many sweet potato pie lovers prefer the pie served at room temperature.
Single Pie Crust
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled
- 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
- 4 to 5 Tablespoons ice water, or as needed
- Sift the flour and salt into a large, shallow bowl. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch size pieces and place in the bowl and mix well. Chill the flour mixture for 30 to 40 minutes.
- To mix the dough, gather the chilled flour mixture in the palms of both hands and rub handfuls together briskly, letting the mixture drop back into the bowl through your fingers, alternating rubbing the dough with your fingertips. Continue doing this until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. This should take no longer than 5 minutes.
- Stir the cider vinegar into the water and mix well. Sprinkle the water over the dough, 1 tablespoon at a time, lifting with a fork to dampen all over. Squeeze a little of the dampen dough with your fingertips; if it doesn't hold together add the water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough just clings together but is not mushy and wet.
- Quickly stir together the dampen dough with a fork and gather into a disk or ball. Form the dough into a ball, dusting lightly with flour if it sticks. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or wax paper and chill for 20 minutes to 1 hour.
- When ready to bake, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle for a 9-inch pie pan and then transfer to the pie pan. Trim dough to 1/2 to 3/4-inch beyond edge of the pie pan. Fold the overhang inward and press against the side of the pan to form a ridge to reinforce the edge. Using your fingers, pinch or flute the pastry rim, or crimp with a fork. Bake according to directions below.
Partially or Fully Baked Single Pie Crust
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Cover the crust with a sheet of foil--heavy duty works best--or parchment paper, and then fill the pan with about 3 cups of dried beans, peas, rice or macaroni, making a pastry weight. (The dried beans or rice or macaroni can be stored in a container and used over and over again.)
- Set the pie crust on the lower oven shelf, the hottest part of the oven. For a partially baked pie crust, bake 15 to 16 minutes or until the crust is set and dry.
- Carefully remove the weight, including the foil or paper. If there are air bubbles, gently prick with a fork to deflate. Bake the crust 3 to 4 minutes longer of until just lightly brown.
- Remove the crust from the oven, cool the crust for a few minutes, and then brush liberally with egg white.
Dr. Will Clower says the "Not One Ounce" campaign now has 593 members. Although the focus is not to gain any additional weight through the holidays, members have already lost a total of 125 lbs in the second week of the program. You can still sign up by visiting his website and clicking on the "Not One Ounce" campaign banner.
Tricia Ritterbusch of Farm Sanctuary offered a fresh perspective on the holiday. Farm Sanctuary rescues turkeys and organizes a holiday dinner where the turkeys are the guests of honor and not the main course. Rescued turkeys enjoy a holiday dinner, of squash, pumpkin pie, and cranberries. To learn more about Farm Sanctuary, click on the link above or call the Turkey Adoption Hotline at 1-888-Sponsor.
Chef Jet Tila of Bangkok Market introduced us to a great new addition to Thai Town. Red Corner Asia (at Hollywood and Hobart in Hollywood) is owned by the team that owns the nearby Bahn Kanom Thai (House of Thai Dessert). For some yum favorites, Jet recommends Crab Pad Thai (not actually pad thai, more like a crab noodle stir fry), Yum Eggplant, and the Steamed Curry. If you like your food super spicy, ask for it "Thai-style Thai hot," code for the real deal.
Clifford Wright, whose most recent cookbook is Some Like it Hot: Spicy Flavors from the World's Hot Zones, has some lovely soups to help keep us warm this season. (All recipes -- Clifford A. Wright, Some Like it Hot: Spicy Favorites from the World's Hot Zones, 2005).
Cream of Avocado Soup
This sopa de aguacate is from Atlixco, an area of Mexico where many avocados grow. It's creamy smooth, very flavorful, and not too hot; a nice dish to serve before chicken, pork, or salmon. For a spicier soup, you can add a small, finely chopped habanero chile. Some Mexicans eat this soup cold, like a gazpacho, Cliff prefers it hot.
Makes 8 servings
- 3 large ripe avocados, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup dry sherry
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 Tablespoon pureed or grated onion
- 2 garlic cloves, mashed in a mortar with 1 teaspoon salt until mushy
- 1 tsp freshly ground dried ancho chile or 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon salt, divided
- 1 tsp freshly ground white pepper
- 6 cups chicken broth (homemade or canned)
- 3 corn tortillas quartered and fried in oil until crisp
- Fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves for garnish
Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and, once the broth is only simmering, add the avocado pur--e. Whisk the soup until smooth, taste and add the remaining salt if desired. Serve hot, garnished with the corn tortilla pieces and coriander leaves.
Cow Foot Soup
This typically Jamaican soup tastes far better than it sounds. (The cow foot is used to flavor the beans. You can ask for one at a butcher or look in Asian markets.) The soup gets its fantastic flavor from the spicy Scotch bonnet chile that eventually melts away into the unctuous sauce. Cow foot soup is considered an antidote to a hangover; Jamaican men believe it's an aphrodisiac. Some Jamaicans cook dumplings with the soup, adding them about 20 minutes before the dish is finished, but Jet finds the soup rich and satisfying enough without the dumplings.
Makes 4 servings 1 beef foot (about 2 lbs), preferably split
Chickpea Cumin Velout--
When an Algerian friend first prepared this soup for Jet several years ago, he just couldn't associate it with the Algerian food already familiar to him. This was partly because it---s a velout--, a French concept. His friend explained that the French heavily influenced the method and technique used in Algerian cuisine, and that this soup was a good example. That's why this soup can be eaten either with the chickpeas left whole or as in this recipe, the way he prefers it. This simple soup, said to be a favorite of Algerian dock workers, is healthy, filling, and has a nice spicy flavor.
Makes 4 servings
- 3 cups canned chickpeas, drained
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp freshly ground cumin seeds
- 1 tsp hot paprika
- 1 tsp harisa
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 quart water
- In a medium-size saucepan, cover the chickpeas with water by an inch and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 1 hour to make them more tender. Drain, remove as much of their white skins as possible, and set aside.
- Put the garlic, olive oil, cumin, paprika, harisa, tomato paste, salt, and black pepper in a large saucepan or stockpot. Turn the heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the water and bring to a boil. Add the chickpeas and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove the chickpeas with a skimmer and pur--e them in a food processor until smooth. Return the chickpeas to the soup and stir to blend. Heat for a few minutes and then serve immediately.
Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup
This dish known as tom yam gung (also transliterated in several other ways) is a very hot shrimp soup that appears on many restaurant menus both in Thailand and in the West and literally means "boil mix shrimp." It is a simple, light soup from the central and southern regions of Thailand where freshly caught shrimp are plentiful. It tastes very fresh from four main flavors-- hot, sour, sweet, and salty. It can be made with ingredients other than shrimp such as chicken, fish, or mushrooms. Some cooks use a combination of fresh and dried chiles, usually a good amount of prik kee nu (literally mouse-dropping chiles, and also known as scuds or birds' eye chiles) and fresh chiles such as prik kee fa (sky-pointing chile) which are known in the US as Thai chile. Jet urges that you there are several things you need to pay attention to when making this soup: 1) Use fresh shrimp with their heads and cook the shrimp as briefly as possible (if using defrosted shrimp the same rule applies); 2) use fresh ingredients if possible; 3) don't let the lime juice boil.1 lb fresh jumbo shrimp with their heads, heads and shells removed and reserved or 1/2 lb (about 10) headless jumbo shrimp, shells saved.
Makes 4 servings
- 4 cups lightly salted water
- 25 dried birds' eye chiles or 3 dried red de arbol chiles
- 2 Tablespoons Thai fish sauce
- 2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer portion removed, finely chopped or thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh galangal or ginger
- 3 kaffir lime or lemon leaves, thinly sliced, or 1 tsp lime zest
- 3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 4 Tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
- 10 fresh or canned straw mushrooms
- Rinse the heads and/or shells of the shrimp. Place the heads and/or shells in a medium-size saucepan and pour the water over them. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. If using fresh shrimp heads, small rivulets of orange-colored oil from the tomalley will rise to the surface--this is where so much flavor resides. Strain the broth through a strainer, pressing out liquid from the heads and/or shells with the back of a wooden spoon. Return the broth to a clean saucepan. Slightly bruise the bird's eye chiles in a mortar with a pestle. (This is not necessary if using dried red de arbol chiles).
- Bring the shrimp broth to a boil and season with 1 tablespoon fish sauce. Add the bird's eye chiles, lemongrass, galangal, and lime leaves to the broth. Stir, cook 1 minute, and add the shrimp and cook on medium-high for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until they turn pink-orange and are firm, another 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a soup tureen, stir together the remaining 1 tablespoon fish sauce, the bruised chiles, lime juice, and coriander. Pour the soup into the tureen and stir. Add the straw mushrooms and let sit 2 minutes. Serve hot.
Korean Clam Soup
This simple preparation, called jo gae gook in Korean, involves almost nothing to make and yet it is beautiful and tastes hot and straightforward. Jet recommends this recipe to those who have never made Korean food, because it's so easy, tastes so Korean and is as good as anything you could order in a Korean restaurant.
Makes 2 to 4 servings
- 1 quart water
- 10 small littleneck or Manila clams, cleaned
- 2 tsps salt
- 1 1/2 tsps ground Korean red chile or 1 tsp ground red chile
- 3 ozs firm tofu, diced
- 1 scallion, white and green part, cut on the bias in 1/4-inch slices
- 1 fresh red Jalape--o chile, chopped Pour the water into a pot with the clams. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and just after the clams open up take them out with a slotted spoon. Add the salt, ground chile, tofu, and scallion, and cook for another minute. Put the clams back in the pot and heat for 1 minute. Serve, garnished with the fresh chopped chile.