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Chef Mark Peel prepares Thanksgiving dinner at Campanile, while the Brass Sisters share their favorite memories of the holiday. Patrick Kwan celebrates a meatless Thanksgiving, Carol Meerschaert lets her kids decide what to be thankful for and pastry chef David Lebovitz dishes up warm spiced chocolate cake.  Plus, Gayle Keck takes up a unique challenge to fight hunger, Amanda Hesser invites well-known writers to share their food-inspired memories and Laura Avery has a fresh Market Report.

Simply Organic

Jesse Ziff Cool

Guest Interview The Market Report 6 MIN, 43 SEC


Laura Avery chats with Greg Nauta, who explains the difference between yams and sweet potatoes. He says there's no difference, and technically, they are all sweet potatoes. We just call one variety a yam. A true yam grows in the tropics but doesn't grow here.





Vicki Fan, of Beacon restaurant and The Point in Culver City, is making a persimmon salad for Thanksgiving.  She is using the hard Fuyu variety of persimmon in a salad.  She slices up the persimmon, adds a blue cheese, candied pecans, lettuce blend and duck confit.  She does a simple dressing of rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and olive oil.   If you don't have duck confit, you can add bacon, pancetta or speck instead or you can leave it out.


Guest Interview Mark Peel's Thanksgiving 8 MIN, 15 SEC

Mark Peel
, chef-owner of Campanile restaurant, talks about his Thanksgiving menu. First, he brines the breast and legs separately. He then roasts the breast and braises the legs.

624 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Braised Turkey
Time: About 3 hours
Makes at least 10 servings


2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 lb Italian sausage, cut into 2" pieces
1/4 lb pancetta, guanciale or not-too-smoky bacon, cut into 1/2" dice
4 turkey thighs
Salt and black pepper
1 turkey breast, boned to yield 2 halves
1 oz  (more or less) dried porcini or other mushrooms
1/2 lb carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 lb celery, trimmed and diced
1 large onion, sliced
Several sage leaves or sprigs of thyme or rosemary
1/2 lb shiitake or other mushrooms, sliced
Stock or water as needed
Chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add sausage, pancetta and as many thighs as will fit comfortably, skin side down; sprinkle thighs with salt and pepper. Brown all well, removing pancetta first (it will brown first), then sausage; set aside. Turn thighs when they are well browned and cook a minute or so on skinless side. Remove them, too, and repeat with remaining thighs if necessary. Add breast to pan and brown it well, skin side down, then flip and cook for just a minute or so and remove. Set pan aside.

2. Preheat oven to 300°F. Soak porcinis in hot water to cover. In pan used for turkey, cook carrots, celery, onions, sage and shiitakes in leftover fat. When all vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, add drained porcini, reserving liquid. Return pancetta and sausage to pan. Cook another minute and turn off heat.

3. In a large roasting pan, put thighs in corners, browned side up; there should be room for breasts all in one layer. Fill space between thighs with vegetables; leave breasts out for now. Add mushroom soaking liquid, leaving any sand and grit behind. Add stock or water as needed to come about halfway up sides of thighs.

4. Put in oven and roast, uncovered, for 2 hours, checking occasionally to make sure liquid level remains sufficiently high and stirring vegetables if they threaten to brown too much. When thigh meat is tender, lay breasts on vegetables and cook until they are done, about a half hour longer.

5. To serve, put vegetables on a platter; slice breasts and lay them on top; shred thigh meat and pile that on the rest.

Recipe courtesy of the New York Times

Music break: Gente Humilde by Baden Powell

Guest Interview Thanksgiving with the Brass Sisters 7 MIN, 8 SEC



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

Guest Interview A Vegan Thanksgiving 5 MIN, 36 SEC


Patrick Kwan goes turkey-free when celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends. He talks about his annual vegan Thanksgiving leftovers party, in which he uses a Tofurkey disguise kit to dress up his faux turkey. He also mentions Isa Chandra Moskowitz's book, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule, for tasty recipes.  He recommends making wild mushroom wrapped in phyllo dough with rice on the side.

Patrick is a contributor to a blog called, SuperVegan, and is the State Director for the Humane Society of the United States in New York. Take Patrick's Thanksgiving Survival Poll.

Creamy Chestnut Soup with Porcini Mushrooms and Sauteed Root Vegetables

Serves 4 cups
Recipe courtesy Food Network

1/3 cup dried porcinis
2 cups hot water
1 medium carrot, diced
1 celery, diced
1 small parsnip, diced
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1 bouquet garni (1 sprig each of bay leaf, thyme and parsley)
2 Tablespoons butter
3 cups chicken stock or canned broth
1 1/4 lbs coarsely chopped peeled roasted chestnuts or 12 ozs bottled chestnuts
2 Tablespoons dry Sherry
Frizzled leeks, for garnish (deep fry julienned strips of leek in 365°F oil)
Creme fraiche, for garnish

Combine porcini mushrooms and 2 cups hot water in medium bowl. Let stand until porcini mushrooms, soften, about 15 minutes.
In a saucepan melt butter and add carrots, celery, parsnips and shallots. Saute until tender. Add bouquet garni and chicken stock.

Using slotted spoon, transfer porcini mushrooms into saucepan with chicken broth. Add porcini-soaking liquid to saucepan, leaving sediment behind in bowl. Add chestnuts and salt and pepper. Bring to boil, reduce heat cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth, return soup to saucepan. Add Sherry. Bring soup to simmer, correct seasonings adding salt and pepper, to taste. Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool slightly and refrigerate. Re-warm over medium heat before continuing.

Ladle soup into bowls. Top with vegetables, and garnish with leeks.

Music break: Get The Pieces by Al Good Fink Alliance

Guest Interview Grateful for Doritos 6 MIN, 33 SEC


Dietician Carol Meerschaert creates new Thanksgiving traditions by letting her kids design the holiday menu. The children choose foods they are thankful for.

Music break: Girl From Uganda by Les Baxter

Guest Interview Spiced Chocolate Cake 7 MIN, 9 SEC


Paris-based pastry chef David Lebovitz serves up warm spiced chocolate cake. He was the former pastry chef at Chez Panisse and is the author of Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments and The Great Book of Chocolate. His latest book, Living the Sweet Life in Paris: Adventures of an American Pastry Chef, will be published in May 2009. To read about David's sweet life in Paris, visit his blog.

Warm Individual Spiced Chocolate Cakes
Makes 6 cakes

10 ozs (285g) Xocopili, or another bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 Tablespoons (60g) salted butter
4 Tablespoons (50g) sugar, divided
4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp brandy or rum
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp chili powder
Big pinch of ground cloves
Few turns freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

2. Butter six heatproof coffee or custard cups. Dust the insides with sugar and tap out any excess.

3. In a medium-sized bowl, melt the chocolate and butter over a pan of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in half of the sugar, then the yolks. Then mix in the vanilla, brandy, and spices.

4. In a clean, dry bowl, whip the egg whites until fairly stiff. Beat in the sugar, and whisk until the whites form soft, droopy peaks.

5. Fold one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remainder, just until incorporated. Don't overfold.

6. Divide the batter into the prepared cups.

7. Bake the cakes for 10 to 12 minutes, just until the tops feel firm. Once done, remove the cakes from oven and cool for a minute before serving.

Serving: If you wish, unmold the cakes onto plates for serving, or serve as is. Top with a scoop of ice cream, sorbet, or a dollop of whipped cream.

Music break: Girls and Boys in Love by the Rumble Strips

Guest Interview Hunger Challenge 7 MIN, 25 SEC


Gayle Keck fights hunger by taking the Hunger Challenge. The idea is to eat on a very limited food budget by spending only $1 per meal, per person. Gayle works for the San Francisco Food Bank, and it created the Hunger Challenge to bring awareness of people living with hunger.

Food Banks in the Los Angeles area:

Los Angeles Regional Foodbank

Westside Food Bank

Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County

Foodbank of Southern California in Long Beach

Music break: Global Village by Laika & the Cosmonauts

Guest Interview Eat, Memory 7 MIN, 21 SEC


New Times food writer Amanda Hesser talks about memory and food associated with important moments in her book, Eat, Memory: Great Writers at the Table: A Collection of Essays from the New York Times. She also talks about chef Julia Child and the recipe that caused her to fail her Cordon Bleu final examinations.

Oeuf Mollets, Sauce Béarnaise
Soft-Cooked Eggs, Béarnaise Sauce
Serves 6

6 very fresh eggs

For the Béarnaise sauce

4 peppercorns, crushed
1 large shallot, chopped
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
¼ cup white wine
2 egg yolks
2 Tablespoons water
8 ozs  unsalted butter, melted
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chervil
Cayenne pepper

1.    Prepare the oeufs mollets: Cook very fresh eggs in boiling, salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, according to the size.  Transfer to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking.  Peel the cooled eggs under warm running water and set aside in a bowl of hot, not boiling, salted water until ready to serve.  “Mollet eggs” can be kept warm for some time without the yolks hardening.

2.    Prepare the Béarnaise sauce: Combine the crushed peppercorns, shallot, 2 tablespoons of the tarragon, the vinegar and the wine in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Bring to a boil and cook over low heat until all the liquid has evaporated.  Remove from the heat, cool and strain.

3.    Put the egg yolks, the water and the cooled reduction in a medium saucepan.  Whisk over very low heat until the mixture becomes foamy and thickens and the whisk leaves a clear trail on the bottom of the pan.  Do not let the mixture boil.  Remove from the heat.

4.    Whisking constantly, add the melted butter, drop by drop, until the mixture starts to emulsify.  Then whisk in the remaining butter in a slow steady stream until the sauce is thick and creamy.  Whisk in the chopped chervil and the remaining tablespoon of tarragon.  Season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper.  Serve spooned over the eggs.

Eat, Memory

Amanda Hesser

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