Thanksgiving

One for the Table's Stuffing Extravaganza

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by The Editors

Stuffing

by  Katherine Reback

nyc_1900.jpg My grandfather and several of my great uncles had a fur store in N.Y.  It was called Windsor Furs (to indicate, one can only guess, a regal presence previously unknown to 14th Street and 7th Avenue). Uncle Simon and Uncle Harry kept Windsor Furs well into their 90’s. And I would like to tell you all the funny, memorable stories I know about them and the shop.  But the thing that springs to mind at this moment is their business card. 

“Windsor Furs - Shop Here! Soon you will know the reason why.”

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Apple and Walnut Cornbread Stuffing

Aunt Lovey’s Turkey Stuffing Recipe

Bob Willett's Stuffing

Bruce Aidells' Cornbread Stuffing

Felicity's Oyster Stuffing

Lori's Thanksgiving Stuffing

Mama Montgomery's Rice Stuffing

Mom's French Meat Stuffing

Sausage, Dried Cranberry and Apple Stuffing

Leftovers

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by Nora Ephron

trader-vics.jpgIf by some chance you are looking for something really easy to do with your turkey leftovers, this is it.  It's a variation of the chicken chow mein you used to be able to get at the Trader Vic's at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, which is now more or less out of business.  Trader Vic's flameout was sad, because except for the mysteriously inept service, there were still wild and exciting things to eat there, starting with the classic Pupu Platter and including a curry served in a dish with room for about nine tiny little garnishes.  But oh well. So it goes.  Restaurants tend to break your heart.  The chicken chow mein was divine, especially if you ate it with a double order of toasted almonds and lots of chow mein noodles, and it's even better with turkey.

This recipe takes less than 15 minutes to make beginning to end.

A Spicy Leftover Turkey Soup

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by Cathy Pollak

ImageMany of my childhood Turkey Day recollections remain centered on gravy. I know it sounds strange but I loved gravy as a kid. I remember pouring it, in somewhat epic proportions, making a gravy soup of everything on my plate. There never seemed to be enough to go around as the gravy boat made its way around the table; all my family members taking their equal share. Undoubtedly the gravy was also scarce for the upcoming endless week of heated up turkey and stuffing as well.

Now, as an adult, there is only one thing I love more than Thanksgiving dinner…ironically, it’s the leftovers. I welcome the challenge of creating something completely different from what was served the night before, especially because the gravy is still always lacking. Besides making a hearty turkey pot pie, there are a lot more possibilities to Thanksgiving reruns than tired turkey sandwiches and reheated potatoes.

Turning the usual excess of turkey meat into a soup is a great idea, helping to warm all those who ventured to the mall on the day-after. I believe of all the squash out there, butternut is definitely one of my favorites. I love its color and sweet taste. Putting this together with fresh corn kernels and tortillas and then pureeing those, makes for a nicely textured, sweet tasting soup. Your family will not believe this combination came from the turkey served only a day or two before.

FAQ About the "Judy Bird"

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by Russ Parsons

From the LA Times

ImageWe've been writing about dry-brining turkeys for four Thanksgivings now and the response from readers has been overwhelming. Most say it's the best turkey they've ever made. But there are always some lingering questions. Here are answers to some of those most frequently asked. If you've got one that's not covered here, drop me a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we'll add it to this list:

How did the turkey get its name? The "Judy Bird" is named for famed chef Judy Rodgers of Zuni Café in San Francisco. It was inspired by her method for preparing roast chicken, which is legendary among food lovers.

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Heirloom Turkey Tale

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by Jeanne Kelley

ImageA couple of years ago I raised a pair of heirloom turkey chicks – a Bourbon Red and a Spanish Black. The Spanish Black Tom was roasted, the Red still struts and preens in my chicken yard. I’ve taken to calling him MOLE.

Along the way we gave shelter to a Narragansett turkey hen from Ilse and Meeno’s Sky Farm. (The hen, hatching from an egg that was shipped overnight from Amherst, MA, and slipped under a brooding Silkie.) The hen began laying eggs last year – none fertile.

This year in March, old Mole garbled and squawked all night long, and come summer, there were fertile turkey eggs in our coop. (I know this as I cracked open an egg with a partly formed chick inside-ugh.) Aside from laying eggs, the turkey hen had no mothering instincts. She was not interested in nesting.

Ten Americans and Six Foreigners Sit in a Circle

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by Libby Segal

Image“It feels like we are in a movie,” said Alessandro across the living room as he stabbed his fork into a giant piece of turkey. “We see this in the movies, but we never experience it. This is my first Thanksgiving.”

Alessandro is an Italian man that one of our classmates, in Italy, took time to make friends with over the last three weeks. He is sitting across the room from me. To my left, a woman from Israel is laughing. Next to her is an Englishman, and another Italian. Just past a light shade, that obstructs my view, is a German. If you take another look around our room, you might not only notice the foreign differences but also the age differences as well. A retired woman, born in America, who grew up in Canada, is sitting three spaces to my left while others in the room have just nearly hit 23. You might think we are sitting in a support group for diversity, but this is far from what is happening. This is our Thanksgiving—ten Americans, and five, eventually six people who have never celebrated the giant turkey in the middle of the table, the green bean casserole, or cranberry sauce (which go for 3.90 Euro each at the International Ingredient store) before.

Cranberry Heaven

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by Amy Ephron

cranberryI love cranberries. I do. I love Ocean Spray whole cranberry cranberry sauce. It has to be whole berry and I’m addicted to it. I can’t even serve a roast chicken without cranberry sauce. We were once out of cranberry sauce (which I didn’t realize) as I put the chicken on the table and I started crying. Literally.

Alan was so annoyed at me he stormed out and bought ten cans of whole berry cranberry sauce and we had a very pleasant dinner. The roast chicken was very good by the way. But it just feels naked to me without the “sauce” and gravy might do the trick but it’s fattening and bad for you and over-indulgent on a Wednesday night.

On Thanksgiving, I like to take two to three cans of Ocean Spray, put them in a decorative mold (like you make a bundt cake in) but I have one that’s in the shape of a rose, put it in the fridge for three hours and then carefully place a plate over it, hit the bottom of the pan and serve it on the plate and pretend I made it myself.

My friend Carol Caldwell once made a spiced up cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving that we thought was pretty great. She has no recollection of this. But I do. What I remember is that it had jalapenos in it, a kind of zingy (or California) addition and some kind of alcohol (which may be why she doesn’t remember it). I think it was bourbon. She thinks it was Vodka. I’m pretty sure I’m right. And for sure, a little bit of grated orange rind for flavor.

Squash and Honey Pie

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by Joseph Erdos

ImageMy favorite part about Thanksgiving is always the desserts. Pumpkin pie and pecan pie are my favorites, but squash pie is my personal specialty. But all the Thanksgiving pies are very much American specialties. You can't really find pie as popular anywhere else in the world. The first Americans, the pilgrims, who celebrated the holiday did not automatically think to make pies out of the land's native squashes and pumpkins. They were more apt to eat meat pies for a main dish and custards for dessert as was the tradition in Europe, but because of scarcity, they had to use the plentiful crops for something. Some bright individual combined pumpkins, pie, and custard and came up with the basics for the recipes we follow today. I sincerely thank that individual.

There's just something special about fall and winter squashes, their unique shapes and earthy flavors, that makes me want to cook and bake with them. Since I prefer the more mellow flavor of squash to pumpkin, I use acorn or butternut squash. Sometimes I steam or roast them for this recipe, but canned squash or pumpkin works perfectly well. Since it's synonymous with the holiday, it's the only time I use a can all year. This recipe is very quick and easy. The squash custard is whipped in one bowl. A machine isn't even required. So, do not buy a pumpkin pie from the bakery or frozen section of the grocery store. And whatever you do, don't buy frozen pie crust either. This pie with its cornmeal crust is much more unique than anything available in stores. Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and your guests will be delightedly pleased with Thanksgiving dessert.

A Different Sort of Pecan Pie

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by Matt Armendariz

ImageIt started simply enough: the other half felt the need to bake. For me, well, I’m no baker and the urge to do so is akin to washing my car or preparing receipts for tax purposes. I’ll do it but only begrudgingly. But like many things I’m fully prepared to participate in the end result, and in this case it was a pie of monstrous proportions.

I’m not quite sure of his thought process as I wasn’t in the kitchen when he found the recipe, but I know it involved tons of pecans, a spring form pan and the new oven. I was a bit relieved that I wasn’t around as anyone knows to mess with a Texan’s Pecan Pie is clearly not the smartest thing to do (even if said Texan lives in California.)  It’s not quite sacrilege — but it’s pretty damn close.

"So this pie I’m baking, I found a recipe online and I’m not sure how it’s going to come out," my big red-headed angel tells me.

"You’re a baker, I’m sure it’ll be just fine," I respond.

"I don’t know about that, it’s kind of a different sort of Pecan Pie."

Different sort of pecan pie. Different sort of pecan pie. DIFFERENT SORT OF PECAN PIE. DIFFERENT SORT OF PECAN PIE! Are you getting that, folks? As those words floated around the kitchen they took their sweet little time worming their way into my brain. A what type of what pie? Did I really hear you correctly? Would you like to grab an enchilada while you’re at it and poke me in the eye? How about hitting me over the head with a rib bone from Tyler, Texas? Come on, I’m all yours, just do it! You already started.

Why I Love Thanksgiving

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by David Latt

ImageThanksgiving was my mother's favorite holiday. She loved the chance to have her family and friends seated around the table, catching up, telling stories,and eating favorite treats.

Most of the time I do the cooking since I work at home and because we have a kitchen the size of a New York closet. Thanksgiving is my wife's day and I happily step to the side, working as a sous chef, assisting her in executing a meal that usually serves between 15-20.

Even though Thanksgiving is a lot of work, the key is organization. Writing up a menu is the first step, then a shopping list, and finally a time-line for the day before Thanksgiving and the da y of the meal.

Along with those first steps, we cover the bottom of the oven with aluminum foil so clean up after the meal is easier. We also clean out the refrigerator so there's room for the turkey after we pick it up from the grocery store. We also want room after the meal so there's space for all those delicious left-overs.

Thanksgiving

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by Nora Ephron

jello_biography.jpgnora_hs.jpgHere's the deal about Thanksgiving dinner at our house: it's the same every year, except for one thing.   Every year one thing changes.  

Sometimes we try something new and it stays forever, like the apricot jello mold that's been a guilty pleasure of our Thanksgiving dinner for at least fourteen years.  

Sometimes it's something that makes the cut for several years - like sweet potatoes with pecan praline - and then, for no real reason, falls off the menu never to be spoken of again.

And sometimes it's a mistake, like the pearl onions in balsamic vinegar, which turned out to be a dish that was far too full of itself. 

Big Bird

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by Brenda Athanus

turkey.jpgThis is the first Thanksgiving that we are eating a turkey that someone else raised. That is one of the first things I will be thankful for. The next thing will be the great friends and family that I get to share this holiday with. Why didn't we raise a turkey? Simple, we just kept waiting for it to stop raining here in Maine, but it never really did. What you have heard about turkeys being less than sensible is all true. They will stay out in their pen in driving cold rain when they could be in a nicely heated house with a foot of pine shavings. Being out in the rain wouldn't be most poultry's first choice, but you can't stop a turkey from self-destruction. One year we decided to experiment with Heritage turkeys like Bourbons and Narragansetts, old varieties. They have a richer, denser meat because they take so long to grow and we were hoping that they would be smart enough to know when to "get in, out of the rain." We ordered our heritage turkeys from Murray McMurray, the premier poultry breeder and 18 of the cutest baby turkeys arrived by mail. The minimum is 18 because that is how many it takes to generate enough warmth for them to arrive safely by mail.

The Postmistress of our small town called at 5:30 in the morning to tell us our chirping box had arrived, which she immediately placed next to the furnace.  It is a ritual to take the dogs. They get so excited! It's their job to babysit the birds for the next few weeks. The heat lights are ready, all the water containers and food bowls are filled. We are ready for the turkeys and it is only June! Who said Thanksgiving is an easy holiday?

Thanksgiving Addictions, I Mean Traditions

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by Susan Russo

ImageEver since Jeff and I moved to Southern California seven years ago, my parents have flown from Rhode Island to celebrate Thanksgiving with us.

Each year about a week before they leave, Mom calls and asks,"Do you want us to bring anything? Bread from Buono's? What about some soppressata from Venda's?" After taking down our requests, she invariably asks me one question: "Is Jeff going to make those rosemary nuts this year?"

I make the turkey, the stuffing, the cranberry relish, the vegetables and all the desserts. But what do my parents want to know? If Jeff is making the rosemary nuts.

These Sweet and Spicy Rosemary Nuts have become such an integral part of our celebration that none of us can imagine Thanksgiving Day without them. Jeff makes them early in the morning, enticing us with the aromas of earthy rosemary and sweet honey.  We traditionally serve them with drinks before dinner. When there's about half a bowl left, we take turns, saying, "Put them away. I've had enough."

Cooking for 22

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by Bumble Ward

thanksgivingtable.jpgThanksgiving is my favorite holiday. (Although come Christmastime, you know I'll be making the very same declaration, ditto Easter). This year we are having about 22 people for lunch. In LA, people say "What are you doing for the holidays" and I say sunnily "Oh, I'm having 22 people for lunch." They look at me in horror and ask why I'd be doing such a thing or tell me to make it a pot luck. Truth be told (and I am dear reader, a great advocate of truth as you know) I look forward to these great family feasts. I love sticking post-its all over my food magazines, and pulling down dusty cookbooks from the top shelf, and rifling through old recipes, and sitting in bed at night with the Maharishi swapping ideas for stuffing. The most brilliant thing is that my husband, the Maharishi, my very own James Beard (no pun intended) is a fantastic cook and a most excellent collaborator and so these things tend to go pretty smoothly. As long as we don't drink too many glasses of pre-lunch champagne, that is.

If nearly twenty-two years of marriage has given us anything it is the intricate dance of the kitchen. We could be blindfolded and still we'd know where the other was and what they were doing. Words are just superfluous and not because we'll be invariably listening to the NPR Julia Child & Jaques Pepin Turducken story or a lovely festive niblet from David Sedaris (yes, he has become a holiday favorite) but because things no longer need to be spoken. It is the kitchen dance of lerv.

Pumpkin Cream Pies

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by Seale Ballenger

ImageWhat is it about the holidays that make everyone feel like baking? Is it the change in seasons that triggers a Pavlovian response to stock up on delicious dishes in order to endure the long winter ahead? Or is it simply that because of the temperature change people wear more clothing and can afford to eat a bit more of the foods they love without worrying about exposed midriffs or cellulite?

This past weekend, dreaming of Pumpkin Crème Pies from the “Tasty Kitchen” section of Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman website, I waded with the recipes through the throngs of humanity out shopping, for what I foolishly thought would be a quick trip to the store. What seemed a simple task at hand turned into a nearly day-long ordeal in which I wandered from store to store, leaving each one empty-handed and downtrodden. But motivated by a yearning for the old-fashioned whoopie pies I envisioned, my “food mood” quickly accelerated from a status of moderately hungry and cranky – to completely starving and angry. The problem: the recipe called for a few ingredients that for some reason proved challenging to find with the chief culprits being canned pumpkin (versus pumpkin pie filling), ground ginger and ground cloves.

 

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