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The Thanksgiving celebration is traditionally centered around the turkey.  Russ Parsons of the Los Angeles Times says that cooking that giant bird is not as scary as it seems.  He shares his tips for turkey.  Farmer Peter Davies tells the story of eating turkey in Turkey.  Deep end diner Eddie Lin finds barbecue turkey necks for sale at a church in Compton.  If turkey isn't your thing, Akasha Richmond offers up some vegetarian options for the big meal.  Rose Levy Beranbaum shares the wonders of Wondra flour.  And Thomas Keller has some ideas for stuffing. 

Is meat versus no-meat is a source of conflict at your Thanksgiving table?  Helena Echlin can help.  She has advice on how to navigate the minefield of holiday table manners.  What's going on with the honey bee population?  We've got an update on the bees from Spencer and Helene Marshall.  Plus a peak inside The Art of Tea exhibit at the Fowler Museum with guest curator Beatrice Hohenegger.  And Ben Ford gives Laura Avery an idea for a holiday salad.

My Bread

Jim Lahey

Guest Interview Market Report 7 MIN


Ben Ford from Ford's Filling Station makes an easy and delicious salad for the holidays. It's frisee lettuce with goat cheese, sliced Fuyu persimmons and candied pecans which he makes himself. The dressing is a simple vinaigrette with shallots, lemon, white balsamic vinegar and olive oil.


Sweet Potatoes

DJ Olsen of Lou Wine Bar loves to make Sweet Potatoes Anna, a dish of thinly sliced yams, leeks and clarified butter. You can also use brown butter.  (recipe to follow)


Sweet Potatoes Anna

Serves 12

4 lb garnet yams, or sweet potatoes, peeled

1 clove garlic, peeled and split lengthwise

1/2 lb leeks, white part only, washed of any dirt, split lengthwise then cut crosswise into thin half moons

4 oz good quality, unsalted butter, subsequently clarified

1 small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves stripped from stems, stems discarded

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste (I use Tellicherry for its aromatic qualities)

Parchment paper

Aluminum foil

Heavy oven-proof weight, like a small brick wrapped in foil


Preheat oven to 400F.  Using a mandoline or a sharp knife, slice the yams into 1/8” rounds.  Rub the the inside of a 9-12” au gratin baking dish (or fry pan) with garlic.  Paint the inside of the dish with clarified butter; season lightly with salt and pepper

Place yam slices in slightly overlapping rows to cover the bottom of the dish

Paint yam slices with clarified butter; season with salt and pepper.  


Lightly distribute some leeks slices over the yams, reserving enough leeks for subsequent layers.  Sprinkle thyme over leeks and yams, reserving enough thyme for subsequent layers.  Repeat steps 4-7 until all of the yams have been used, 6-8 layers in all, the last layer being without leeks. Cut parchment paper to completely cover the yams; cover parchment paper with aluminum foil.  


Place another like-sized dish or pan atop the aluminum foil; add additional oven-proof weight to fully compact the yams and leeks.  Bake for 30 minutes; remove from oven.  Remove additional weight, dish, foil and paper. Paint top layer of yams with more clarified butter.  Bake, uncovered, another 20 minutes, or until the yams pierce easily with a knife and the top layer of yams have begun to caramelize (if yam edges begin to burn, cover the dish loosely with foil).  


Remove from oven and let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting into servings. 


Clarified Butter

Clarifying butter (a matter of separating it into it’s three components: butter fat, milk solids and water), can be easily accomplished atop the stove (if there is a pilot light for the burners), or in a very slow oven (200° or lower). At the restaurant we put several pounds of butter in a small metal, heatproof container and place that container on the stovetop, directly above where the pilot burns. After about an hour, butter fat will have separated from the milk solids and water, and risen to the top whereupon it can be easily spooned or poured off. You can also use the inside of a warm oven to achieve the same result. 


Clarified butter fires without burning at higher temperatures since the milk solids, which burn more quickly and at lower temperatures, have been removed. We use it to sauté potatoes and onions, when we want high heat caramelization, good color and crisp textures. Sautéing scallops in a little clarified butter turns the tops and edges golden brown and crispy. Delicious!. Clarified butter also freezes well.  




Farmer Maryann Carpenter of Coastal Farms grows lots of greens. Her greens works great in a recipe from the Santa Monica Farmers Market Cookbook by Amelia Saltsman.


Braised Winter Greens with Chipotle Chiles and Market Bacon


2 bunches winter greens, such as kale or spigarello, leaves only, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup water

2 chipotle chiles

6 oz bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 onion, chopped

2 large cloves garlic, sliced

Kosher or sea salt

1 cup homemade stock, any kind, or 1/2 cup canned diluted with 1/2 cup water


Cook the greens in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, 5 to 10 minutes, and drain. Bring the water to a boil in a small pot, drop in the chiles, and simmer for 10 minutes to soften (or combine in a bowl and microwave for 4 minutes). Drain, reserving the water. Remove the stem and seeds from the chiles (keep some seeds for a spicier dish), then use scissors to snip into 1/4-inch pieces. 


In a large sauté pan, fry the bacon over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until moderately crisp, about 5 minutes. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan, and return the pan with the bacon to medium heat. Add the onion, stir to scrape up any browned bits, and cook, stirring often, until the onion is translucent and soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and chiles and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Add the greens, season with salt, and sauté about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, pour in the stock and reserved soaking liquid, cover, and simmer gently until the greens are tender and the flavors are blended, 10 to 20 minutes. 


From The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook: Seasonal Foods, Simple Recipes, and Stories from the Market and Farm by Amelia Saltsman (Blenheim Press, 2007).

Guest Interview The Church that BBQ Built 6 MIN

Turkey Neck Church


Turkey Neck Window


pastor virgil


Associate Pastor Virgil Williams


Turkey Necks


At the corner of El Segundo and Avalon in Compton, is the Prayer Assembly Church of God in Christ where they serve barbecue in the parking lot.  Several years ago, Pastor Corverster Williams Sr. had a vision in which he would sell smoked, barbecue turkey necks.  They followed through with that vision and it was a huge success.  The set up some giant smokers in the parking lot near a catering truck and the rest is history.  They serve pork ribs along with the turkey necks, and numerous side dishes like baked beans, potato salad and corn bread.


Eddie Lin writes the blog Deependdining.com.  When he visited the church, Pastor Virgil Wilson served up ribs and turkey necks cooked by Big Jack.


Prayer Assembly Church of God in Christ

442 E El Segundo Blvd

Los Angeles, CA 90061

(310) 523-2481

Music Break:  It Must Be True by John Buzon Trio

Guest Interview Eating Turkey in Turkey 6 MIN


Photo Courtesy Peter Davies / Rural Intelligence

Peter Davies raises heritage breeds at Tukana Farms in Germantown, New York.


He frequently writes about his turkeys for Rural Intelligence.  He spent three years teaching English in Turkey where he once tried to serve turkey at Thanksgiving.

Guest Interview Thomas Keller's Stuffing 2 MIN

Thomas Keller own The French Laundry, and Ad Hoc in Napa, Per Se in New York and the new Bouchon in Beverly Hills.  Thomas likes to make a traditional Thanksgiving stuffing with celery and sage.


Music Break: Mas Que Nada by Rubin Mitchell

Guest Interview Talking Turkey 7 MIN

brined turkey

Photo: Kirk McCoy / LA Times

Russ Parsons is the editor of the Los Angeles Times Food section.  This year he recommends dry brining the turkey.   

1 (12- to 16-pound) turkey

Kosher salt or any of the seasoned salts


1. Wash the turkey inside and out, pat it dry and weigh it. Measure 1 tablespoon of kosher salt or the appropriate amount of a seasoned salt into a bowl for every 5 pounds the turkey weighs (for a 15-pound turkey, you'd have 3 tablespoons kosher salt).

2. Sprinkle the inside of the turkey lightly with salt. Place the turkey on its back and salt the breasts, concentrating the salt in the center, where the meat is thickest. You'll probably use a little more than a tablespoon. It should look liberally seasoned but not oversalted.

3. Turn the turkey on one side and sprinkle the entire side with salt, concentrating on the thigh. Use a little less than a tablespoon. Flip the turkey over and do the same with the other side.

4. Place the turkey in a 2 1/2 -gallon sealable plastic bag, press out the air and seal tightly. Place the turkey breast-side up in the refrigerator. Chill for 3 days, leaving it in the bag but turning it and massaging the salt into the skin every day.

5. Remove the turkey from the bag. There should be no salt visible on the surface, and the skin should be moist but not wet. Wipe the turkey dry with a paper towel, place it breast-side up on a plate and refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 hours.

6. On the day it is to be cooked, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and leave it at room temperature at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

7. Place the turkey on a roasting rack in a roasting pan; put it in the oven. After 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, and roast until a thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone, reads 165 degrees, about 2 3/4 hours total roasting.

8. Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer it to a warm platter or carving board; tent loosely with foil. Let stand at least 30 minutes to let the juices redistribute through the meat. Carve and serve.

Guest Interview Wonderful Wondra 4 MIN

wondraRose Levy Beranbaum is the author of numerous books on baking.  Her latest is Rose's Heavenly Cakes.

Rose uses Wondra Flour for gravy, biscuits and pie crust.


Music Break: La Vie En Rose by Sam Butera and the Witnesses

Rose's Heavenly Cakes

Rose Levy Beranbaum

Guest Interview Meat-Free Thanksgiving 7 MIN

Akasha Richmond owns Akasha Restaurant in Culver City.  They are serving Thanksgiving dinner this year at the restaurant.  Call 310-845-1700 for details.


Music BreakMañana (Is Soon Enough For Me) by Jackie Davis

Guest Interview Thanksgiving Table Manners 4 MIN

Helena Echlin writes the Table Manners column for Chow.com.  If you're a vegetarian and are hosting the Thanksgiving meal, Helena recommends not serving a turkey, even for your meat-eating guests.

Guest Interview Honey Bee Update 7 MIN

Spencer and Helene Marshall

Spencer and Helene Marshall are beekeepers in Northern California.  Their honey is sold through their website and at local farmers markets.  Read more about colony collapse disorder.


Music Break: Shindig by The Shadowns

Guest Interview The Art of Tea 7 MIN

Japanese Tea Bowl


Chinese tea bowl


The Art of Tea is an exhibit currently running at the Fowler Museum at UCLA.  Beatrice Hohenegger is the guest curator.  


Evan Kleiman

Jennifer Ferro

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