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2010 Thanksgiving Wins and Losses

The big day has come, and with it have come the epic wins of dishes that are huge hits, as well as the inevitable losses of dishes that flopped. what went well for you? what didnt?

Brown Bag Turkey. always a consistent win.
Brussels with Bacon and Balsamic-Orange Reduction
Basil and Parm Stuffed Tomato Upside Down Rolls--> delicious!!

Lemon Meringue Pie was too loose. tasted good, but lemon juice ran and pooled in the dish after cutting!

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  1. actually, since the pie still *tasted* good, i'd call it a draw ;)

    1. Win: Mushroom and Lentil Pot Pies with Gouda Biscuit Topping - delicious

      Loss: Vegan Pumpkin Pie - daughter is allergic to eggs so I tried it. The taste was great, but the texture was like rubber. Yuck.

      4 Replies
      1. re: janehathaway

        if you want to post the vegan pie recipe here or elsewhere, i'd be happy to help you troubleshoot...or i can dig up my recipe for you to try next time. the filling is terrific - not rubbery at all!

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          That is so kind of you! I threw my recipe out in frustration and can't remember where I found it in the first place. I do remember that it had 6 tbs. cornstarch, which seemed like a lot to me. I would love to have your recipe when you have time. My daughter loves pumpkin pie, but is severely allergic to eggs. Thank you so much!

          1. re: janehathaway

            so it doesn't necessarily have to be vegan, just egg-free? oh, and yes, 6 Tbsp of cornstarch is too much. i've *never* seen a recipe that called for more than 1/4 cup, and even that's pushing it!

        2. re: janehathaway

          Our dishes were similar:
          Sort of win: veggie pot pie with Trader Joe's puff pastry crust. The filling was wondefful, but the pastry crust sagged and remained pale instead of puffing up and turning golden. The pastry scraps I baked with the pot pies were great though.

          Win: baked artichokes from Martha Stewart web site

          Win (as always): roasted veggies: brussels sprouts, baby potatoes, carrots, parsnip, beets, onion

          Win: dessert of mixed berries, vanilla custard (scratch made), lemon whipped cream

        3. fab giblet gravy
          neighbor's cranberry and port sauce terrific
          good potatoes

          losses - white part of turkey a little dry
          Paula Dean's chocolate, bourbon pecan pie was horribly sweet - not sure I would make that again without a lot of adjustments.

          14 Replies
          1. re: smartie

            my lemon pie was paulas as well! it doesnt sound like you could go wrong with chocolate, bourbon, and and pecans though doesnt it??

            1. re: smartie

              @smartie, do you typically like pecan pie? it's generally pretty cloying. there are several things you can do to tone down the sweetness of this one - use unsweetened chocolate or add some dark cocoa, cut back a bit on the sugar, sub molasses for half of the corn syrup, and increase the pecans (try an extra 1/4 cup). i'd also toss in a bit of espresso powder.

              believe it or not, Tyler Florence's recipe uses the same basic ingredients, but calls for even *more* corn syrup and fewer pecans! i can't imagine how sweet it is. blech.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I'm not American but English so perhaps the pie was too sweet for our Brit tastebuds! I did use unsweetened chocolate as per the recipe but it had 1 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup of dark corn syrup which I wondered when I made it yesterday if it would be a bit too sweet. I like the idea of coffee added. I will play with the ingredients for another time.

                1. re: smartie

                  ok, the Paula Deen recipe on the FN website calls for 1/2 cup corn syrup & semisweet chocolate. the Tyler Florence recipe uses 3/4 cup syrup and unsweetened chocolate.

                  i think you used the Tyler Florence recipe.

                  Paula's here:

                  Tyler's here:

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I use a recipe that has 1 cup corn syrup and 1/4 cup brown sugar, which is far less sweet that most pecan pies I've had.

                  2. re: smartie

                    I make this maple syrup pecan pie recipe and it is to die for. The author only uses maple syrup, no sugar or corn syrup. I never liked pecan pie until I tried this.


                    1. re: Jen76

                      :0 oh thanks for the extra 10 pounds I'm about to gain :)

                      uh, I'm either reading wrong or something because I see it does call for 1/2 cup sugar

                      1. re: iL Divo

                        you're right - it does call for 1/2 cup of sugar. but if Jen76 made the pie without the sugar and it was still that good, then all the better! ;)

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          oh I agree, I'd much prefer it without..........I am not a sugaraholic though, so to me, the pure maple syrup is all I'd want in there.......

                        2. re: iL Divo

                          D'oh...I didn't see that and now I don't remember what I did. I haven't made it in awhile! Probably followed the recipe though as I usually try to get all my ingredients in order before starting.

                          1. re: Jen76

                            well you're a better man than I am, because although I try to do that, I am usually too excited to just get it going....no patience, no patience at all in the kitchen...... :(

                            1. re: iL Divo

                              Well, I did say "try"! ;) It's very possible I left it out. It's not really that much though in comparison to other recipes. You could always try it without!

                              1. re: Jen76

                                and I will cause i like the sound of it a lot, thanks

                      2. re: smartie

                        smartie: wha??? have you taste tested sweets in the US vs. UK? I'd say the makers are little more generous there than here. YMMV.

                        but I will agree pretty much everything is too needlessly sweet.

                  3. Win: sausage and chestnut stuffing - yum!
                    win: baked kabocha squash for my calorie-conscious consumers - nice change from butternut and pumpkin
                    no real losses - my family's not a big fan of green bean casserole, but i have all my homemade french fried onions to nosh on tomorrow!

                    1. Great Diestel turkey (this year with a probe thermometer finally)! Wonderful mushroom and leek stuffing. Super yummy and sort of light creamed spinach/kale combo. Mom's marinated mushrooms to cut through the richness of everything. Dulce de leche with salt pumpkin pie all good.

                      Not too bad was giblet gravy (my first, I prefer ungiblet-ed) and braised turnips. SO really liked these though.

                      I actually went so overboard that I have 4 new things to cook and 5 new things to serve tomorrow with the leftover turkey and gravy. My glazed brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, braised carrots, beet and apple salad, and apple sage tart didn't even make it to the table today!

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: sasha1

                        "Dulce de leche with salt pumpkin pie all good." - oh my god, that sounds wonderful!

                        would you be generous enough to post a recipe?

                        1. re: mariacarmen

                          I didn't have a recipe. I based it very loosely on this:http://www.recipegirl.com/2008/11/15/....

                          But generally, here is the process. I made a graham cracker crust and prebaked it a bit. Then I spooned in about 1/3 of a can of sweetened condensed milk that I had boiled for 3 hours (in the can). Then a generous sprinkling of pink salt crystals. Finally the pumpkin mixture went on top. I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie spice, so I mixed 2 cups of pumpkin pulp I had roasted with the remainder of the dulce de leche can, a heaping tsp of powdered ginger, and an egg. Baked it at 350 for an hour and let it cool.

                          It's not "real" pastry, so you can fudge it to some extent. Enjoy.

                          1. re: sasha1

                            wow, thanks! i know this is a dumb question, but i don't really do sweets hardly ever.... i need to open a hole in the can to boil it for that length of time, don't i? what happens to the condensed milk, does it solidify so it is more like the consistency of the pumpkin? it's a layered thing? thanks again for posting it.

                            1. re: mariacarmen

                              MC, you don't punch a hole in the can, but you do make sure it is fully covered with water; the texture can be anywhere from pourable caramel sauce to more solid, depending on how long it cooks. Everything you need to know covered extensively here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/382487

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                so it would have to be weighted down, right? oh, ok, i'll check out that link, thanks CMc!

                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                  It doesn't have to be weighted down. Just put the can in a big pot with lots of water covering it, cover and cook for 2-3 hours. I used my stockpot, and there was no danger of water boiling away.

                        2. re: sasha1

                          sounds like everyone that is at your house for thanksgiving and today are the real winners here! the stuffing and pie sound excellent

                            1. re: sasha1

                              I improvised a mushroom-leek stuffing extremely similar to this recipe (same mushrooms, same wine, same thyme; I used olive oil instead of butter, and much less of it; I included celery along with the leeks, and parsley when I mixed it all with the bread). It turned out quite delicious.

                        3. The freshly caught and cleaned deep-fried bluegill fillets w/corn fritters were a hit.
                          The non-alcoholic punch was a bust until I spiked it with vodka.

                          The turkey is being served when the rest of the family arrives in town, later this morning.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: deet13

                            caught by you or purchased? either way, i wish there had been seafood on my table!

                            1. re: mattstolz

                              We caught, filleted, packed, and froze most of the decent sized fish we've been pulling over the past few months, but almost all of the bluegills were fresh caught.

                              We had around forty panfish, some catfish, a couple of red drums, a couple of pounds of shrimp, and quite a few blue crabs ready to either fry, grill, or boil by Thanksgiving morning.

                            2. re: deet13

                              <The non-alcoholic punch was a bust until I spiked it with vodka.>

                              Love the honesty. Haha.

                            3. Win: My five curry Moroccan turkey stew. So delicious.

                              Lose: The crust of my pumpkin pie burnt to a crisp. Trying to figure out why!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                                people replied on your other post - your temp was too high. i made a pumpkin custard, and the temp was 350 for 40 minutes. 425 for the whole time was just too high. sorry about that!

                                1. re: SouthToTheLeft

                                  that stew sounds delicious!! what else goes in it besides turkey?

                                2. Wins: roasted/mashed turnips/fennel with mashed potatoes, creme freeeeshhh, and rosemary butter. cranberry sauce made with clementines and thyme. Brined turkey breast.

                                  Losses: brussel sprout "salad" - food processed the sprouts instead of slicing thin, so felt i had to lightly saute instead of serving raw - with candied pecans, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, parm cheese. there was a fishy taste to the dish that i couldn't account for....
                                  turkey leg came out a bit dry - wrapped in foil to wait for breast and it of course kept right on cooking. not bad, but what a waste - i love dark meat.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                    I have made a raw brussel sprout salad with shaved parm., olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt. Not a fan of either the texture or flavor.

                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                      from what you two are describing here, to me it sounds wonderful, but I'd like it best if it was just a bit blanched first, to take the total rawness out of the mix. otherwise, sounds like a winner

                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                        that's what i ended up doing, mostly because i'd shredded the sprouts too finely, as opposed to slicing thin for a salad. so i got a bit of the rawness out, but still enough to have a little crunch. there was just something odd about the combination of flavors together - again, something weirdly fishy! we used the rest of the unused sprouts in a soup and it tasted wonderful, so it wasn't the sprouts themselves.

                                        1. re: mariacarmen

                                          As I've mentioned several posts before our family fights over Brussels.
                                          I've never made a meal of them, any which way, that they didn't disappear.
                                          Ok that's a lie, I did make the Brussels au gratin for a Christmas party at our DIL's parents house. I subbed out the minced fresh garlic with garlic flavored oil -over did it.
                                          Still good but waaaaay to garlicky

                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                            Maybe they need the Japanese cabbage salad treatment - salting and squeezing - to get the weird taste out?

                                      2. re: mariacarmen

                                        I wonder if you might enjoy Alton Brown's Brussels sprouts recipe instead:

                                        Similar with the shredding and pecans...I made this recipe for the first time last Thanksgiving and really loved it. Subbed dried tart Michigan cherries instead of dried cranberries (yum!). Here's a link to last year's photo:

                                      3. Winner: sausage stuffing recipe from Chow (which is showing up on the list of most popular pages to my right, deservedly). I halved the amount of sausage, added probably about a half cup of gravy in place of the same amount of stock, and used all sourdough, but otherwise made as directed. Perfect.

                                        Loser: pie crust. I had a strange texture issue, i.e. there is a weird crunch, not from overcooking it, but from what seems like sugar that did not dissolve into the liquids upon baking. Either I did not mix up my dough *enough* (who has THAT problem?) or subbing rum for the vodka in the CI recipe is not a good idea.

                                        1. Wins:
                                          Bag roasted turkey. Rubbed that sucker down with sage butter and it came out juicy and tender with crispy skin.
                                          Pumpkin pie with eggnog whipped cream. Pie was perfect from crust to custard.

                                          Losses: The spiced applesauce cake didn't have quite enough apple flavor.

                                          15 Replies
                                          1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

                                            Good moring, HouseFrau. When you say, "bag roasted turkey," do you mean the plastic turkey roasting bag or paper bag? Just curious. The sage butter rub sounds wonderful.

                                            1. re: LoBrauHouseFrau

                                              Did you have to remove the turkey for a final browning/crisping, or did it come out of the bag crispy? I did the former one year and slightly overbrowned my turkey. I was nervous the skin would be soggy and flabby otherwise.

                                              1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                for our Saturday second meal, I bought a bag also. never used one before and not sure I really want to exactly because of what you're talking about. not sure how it can brown up within a plastic bag. and let's face it, all of us, or most of us anyway, like a little crisp on the outside. my friend does his always with a pound of bacon over the entire top of the turkey and boy does it get brown let alone rich in porky good flavor over the whole of the top of the bird. yummy

                                                1. re: iL Divo

                                                  So when the bacon is removed from the turkey, the turkey is brown? Interesting. I just figured that the bacon would KEEP the bird from browning which wouldn't work for me.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    that's what I do with pheasant, but it's a much leaner/drier bird. maybe remove the bacon and pop the bird back in for a bit if it's not the right level of brown/crisp.

                                                    really does add an extra level of flavor.

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      You could always make a bacon fat compound butter, and put bacon into the stuffing.

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        I know recipes usually remove the bacon halfway through or something and then continue to cook the bird to brown it. (Incidentally, adding meat on top to give moisture and flavor is called using a bard)

                                                        1. re: observor

                                                          I always get puzzled looks when I suggest barding, so I've more or less dropped it from my vocabulary, easier to just explain the process from the start.

                                                        2. re: c oliver

                                                          the turkey is way browned when bacon removed.
                                                          but more importantly, the flavor.
                                                          also he likes to cut up the bacon for salad bits.

                                                      2. re: ChristinaMason

                                                        I make a rack out of heavy duty aluminum foil for the turkey to sit on, and rub it over with sage butter and it comes out brown, crispy and wonderful. I don't open the bag until after the turkey has rested, and I haven't had any problems with flabby or soggy.

                                                        1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                          People who haven't done it before find it impossible to believe that the skin of the turkey can become both brown and crisp when it's cooked in a bag. My family has been cooking turkeys this way for years. My mother did it in a brown paper bag, and I switched over to the Reynolds bags soon after they started making them. I've tried a few different methods, and a few different types of turkeys. But I always return to a Kosher turkey in a Reynolds bag. It looks great; it tastes great; it's no muss, no fuss; and it's extraordinarily forgiving.

                                                          I have had problems on occasion with the skin on the pope's nose and on the underside of the wings not getting quite as crispy as I would like (never had a problem with breast, legs, or upper part of wings). This year, for the first time, I removed the bag about half an hour before it was going to be done. The breast didn't overcook (either meat or skin) and the skin on the wings did crisp up a bit. The pope's nose had to go into the oven again the next day, along with the back, but I now looks at that as the day-after treat for the cook and am almost happy that they're not fight-overable during the day.

                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                            I was one of those skeptics about the bag, but then after tasting a friend's pulled pork, full of nice crispy bits, I took her recipe and roasted a big hunk of pork shoulder in a bag--and I've been doing it that way ever since. It *was* hard to believe the outside got brown and crisp that first time, but it did and it does, every time. A few years ago, our Thanksgiving hosts cooked their bird in a bag, and it was lovely, moist, and beautifully browned. I announced to my mother, who remains skeptical, last week, that I am using the Reynolds bag for the next turkey, and no one is going to talk me out of it!

                                                      3. Biggest win in the side dish dept. was JoanN's brussell sprouts and chestnuts cooked in butter. Thanks Joan!

                                                        7 Replies
                                                        1. re: Berheenia

                                                          Loss: the Martha Stewart recipe for pumpkin chiffon pie that was supposed to be enough for two 8-inch pies - the filling barely covered the bottom of a 9-inch crust.

                                                          1. re: Berheenia

                                                            Oh, I'm so happy to read that, Berheenia. They were a pretty big hit on my table, too. And this year I found out that Trader Joe's vacuum packed chestnuts at about half the price are every bit as good as the French bottled ones.

                                                            1. re: JoanN

                                                              I didn't see them at TJ's here in Boston but now I have quite a few left so we'll just have to make this dish again for Christmas! Different guests and DH loved them.Thanks !

                                                              1. re: Berheenia

                                                                Berheenia, the vacuum-packed ones are refrigerated - look for them in the sections with the packaged vegetables.

                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                  scratch that. see if you can find the shelf-stable ones if they have them this year. i tried my package of refrigerated yesterday, and they were horribly dry and chalky. i couldn't even get them out of the package in decent-sized pieces, they all crumbled to bits. boo.

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    Wow! I used the vacuum packed, need-to-be-refrigerated ones for my Brussels sprouts with chestnuts this year and I thought they were every bit as good as the French ones in a jar. I had the shelf-stable ones on hand just in case, but I never opened them. I was even snacking on the chestnuts right out of the bag and they most definitely were not dry or chalky. I wonder if by any chance there might have been a leak of some sort in your bag. I have another package left in the fridge. I'll be curious to see if those are as good as the first package.

                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                      please let me know! i actually just declared these a "nay" on the yea/nay thread...but i may buy one more package to see if mine was defective.

                                                          2. Our smoked turkey- always a hit with no leftovers!
                                                            My gravy- delicious but in spite of numerous rouxs and slurries it never got thick enough for my taste.
                                                            My mother in law chops up celery and onions and tosses them into pepperige farm stuffing mix (raw of course) before baking it. Yeah it's not the best lol, but like pizza, the worst stuffing is still pretty good, and this was far from the worst.
                                                            I'm a but jealous of people who got to make interesting dishes. My family would never allow that! Tradition blah blah blah…

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: iheartcooking

                                                              "i'm a bit jealous of people who got to make interesting dishes... tradition blah blah blah...."

                                                              same here!! im hardly even allowed to mess around with grandma's giblet stuffing recipe. people were so close to having a heart attack when i told them that i added whole wheat bread to it that you woulda thought grandma herself had risen from the grave and yelled at us all!

                                                              1. re: iheartcooking

                                                                A good way to thicken gravy is to whir turkey dressing into it via hand blender.

                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                  thats a awesome idea! my mom always used to use a ton of cornstarch and i never really was a huge fan of the consistency when she did that.

                                                                2. re: iheartcooking

                                                                  Starting now, 364 days to experiment and get the family enthused about a new dish or two!

                                                                  1. re: iheartcooking

                                                                    I caramelize onions and shallots and blend them into the gravy with an immersion blender. Thickens it a bit and adds a really wonderful rich flavor.

                                                                    1. re: iheartcooking

                                                                      The best thing to do is to add new dishes, but not take away any of the beloved old ones. They'll be much more happy about trying the new if they are in addition to, but not replacements for, the old. It means there's more food, but hey, it's Thanksgiving!

                                                                    2. Another big win in my family this year, although not had on tday, was Aida's Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash thats been on your sidebar of Chow all week. i swapped the rice with whole grain Orzo and added ground turkey, but besides that kept it the same and it was excellent!

                                                                      1. Wins: Good Turkey and great gravy, all veggies home runs.
                                                                        Loss: The pumpkin crack made with pineapple cake mix. Ugh.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                          Oh I once tried one of those cake mix-pumpkin things-- truly dreadful!

                                                                          1. re: mamachef

                                                                            So sorry about the pumpkin crack. Made with the yellow cake it was quite good. I tend to dislike any thing that is "fruit flavored" without using real fruit.

                                                                          2. Wins: deep fried turkey legs, sour cherry pie (used tapioca to thicken for the first time and I'll never go back to cornstarch!), thyme roasted sweet potatoes, bourbon pumpkin pie made with spiced rum instead of bourbon. Oh, and my roasted vegetable stuffing - it's ALWAYS a win!

                                                                            Losses: nothing really, except the stuffed dates I accidentally burned. Since I was only cooking for two, I didn't have nearly as much to worry about this year and I was able to do things on my own leisurely schedule. I missed our guests but enjoyed the more relaxed pace of the day!

                                                                            1. I did a 10# wingless breast, stuffed, using the 50+yr old method of roasting at the temperature you want it to finish at. The lowest reading on my oven is 175 (below that is "warm") so that's what I used, preheating at that setting. You roast it breast-side down the whole time, so no basting. Since I was using just a breast, it fit into my mother's covered chicken roaster and I roasted it with the cover on. Put it in the oven at midnight, then went to bed. When I got up at 7:30, the meat thermometer registered about 170 so I removed the pan from the oven. The nice thing about this method is that the meat CANNOT get too hot. For all I know, it may have sat at 170 for hours. Not so nice is that there's none of the enticing aroma of roasting poultry; instead, the rather unpleasant smell of hot, pale skin. I turned up the heat to 450 and flipped the stuffed breast skin-side up. When the oven was hot, I returned the uncovered pan and roasted it for 15 min. At that point some of the skin was brown but not the sides, and not evenly. So I turned off the oven and let the pan remain there another 45 min, by which time the kitchen smelled good and the skin was evenly brown. You don't get the deeply brown fond at the edges of the roasting pan - so you need to reduce the pan juices more when making gravy. I started with a dry pan - decided to omit the usual chunked vegetables because I knew they wouldn't brown. Glad I did, because there was a lot of pan juice since the low heat doesn't evaporate much. Had there been vegetables in the relatively small pan, the meat would have been poaching. This really easy method produces juicy meat and good skin, with no worries at all, so I will do it again.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                PS, forgot two things: A) I didn't mention that this was an injected breast, supermarket house label. I wish I'd been able to compare side by side with one I brined myself. I believe this one was equally juicy but without the "hammy" texture you can get with brining. And it is definitely the most tender breast meat I have ever eaten.
                                                                                B) The pan juices had what looked like a layer of uncooked skin lying there - pale and smooth. But it broke up so couldn't be spooned out - a straining spoon was required. I assume this was coagulated blood. There was a lot more of it than the darker scum you'd spoon out from a pan when using higher heat. Before cooking I had poured out the serous defrosting liquid but did not rinse the cavity.

                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                  Serous, nice word, I'll think of that every time I do a bird. Your method is one that my great-aunt used to do when I was little - everybody loved her turkey.

                                                                              2. Wins: Deep fried turkey from Yat's (here locally in SF); cranberry citrus sauce (recipe from Chow); cranberry balsamic sauce (from another website); cornbread, pecan, and salt pork (we subbed bacon) stuffing (another Chow recipe).

                                                                                Loss: Bourbon cream gravy (from Chow). Too watery and not quite the punch we wanted.

                                                                                1. Ina Garten's raspberry cheesecake recipe that I used low-fat cream cheese, non-fat sour cream, a little less sugar, added a can of pumpkin, and spices instead of the raspberry topping. Oh and a gingersnap crust! WIN! :)

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: junglekitte

                                                                                    Recipe please.

                                                                                    So did you use raspberries as well as the pumpkin or made it a pumpkin pie based on her recipe?

                                                                                    1. re: junglekitte

                                                                                      ditto to 'your' recipe that you made please and thank you

                                                                                    2. I had a 3.5 pound boneless ribeye roast. After consulting way too many websites I decided to roast it at 200 degrees to start, heavily seasoned with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. After three hours the internal temp was 125 so I took it out of the oven and wrapped it tightly in foil while I worked on side dishes (mashed potatoes with lots of butter and cream and spinach sauteed with butter and garlic slices). I cranked the oven to 550 degrees, unwrapped the roast (unwittingly making a mess, juice was everywhere), replaced it on its pan and cooked for eight minutes, making sure all available windows and doors were open before taking it out--a LOT of smoke. But the roast was PERFECTION--medium-rare from end to end, juicy and tender. The potatoes and spinach kicked ass too. My husband is STILL talking about how good it was and I am resting on many piles of chef's laurels. ;)

                                                                                      1. you sound fortunate to have had at least both, wins and losses.
                                                                                        we did too.
                                                                                        but for us it was mostly wins:
                                                                                        the turkey moist and delicious
                                                                                        the stuffing very flavorfu and moist
                                                                                        the gravy, one of the best I'd ever had, although the maker said that it was too salty, not at all, perfection
                                                                                        the baked apples were superb, our sons grandmothers recipe that he made for the second time, moist, buttery, spiced perfectly
                                                                                        the whipped yams with nicely browned marshmallows on top and then lighter colored on on the very top portion gave two contrasting textures and flavors, not too sweet, perfect

                                                                                        the losses:
                                                                                        the green bean casserole, too wet, the sauce didn't come together, not sure who made it, think our daughter in law and her mom, but the flavor was good
                                                                                        the mashed potatoes were not piping hot any longer but undersalted they were good in flavor since the gravy had so much
                                                                                        the bananas in dolce de leche that I'd brought, although husband loved the flavor, they looked awful and after dishing his up, I dumped the rest

                                                                                        also, after fighting tooth and nail with 36 eggs most of which went in the trash, I completely forgot to take the deviled eggs out of the fridge in the tupperware and set them out, also forgot to take out of the fridge the sliced cheese platter and salami with spiced nuts that I'd prepared the day before with the eggs. I can't believe I forgot all in the fridge, but I'd never been to this lady's house before and got caught up in the gad. kept looking at the appetizer table wondering why it looked so sparse, duh, my forgetting stuff is why. good news. daughter in law text'd me this morning saying that the sliders made with my slider rolls and the cheese and salami platter was eaten last night as late night snacking with the deviled eggs...............................crud.........................oh I mean YEAH

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                            yea really, the egg thing, about new eggs vs older eggs is true.
                                                                                            I had bought them the day before Thanksgiving and hard boiled them and then tried to peel. oh really, I don't think so, they were sooooooooooooooooo stuck to the skin. they had no plans anytime soon of letting go either........aaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrgh

                                                                                        1. I think we had all wins this year!

                                                                                          Dishes that had the most raves:
                                                                                          Salad of mixed greens with tart apples, crumbled Coastal cheddar, toasted nuts, dried port-soaked cranberries & a port wine vinaigrette
                                                                                          Ina Garten's Spinach Gratin
                                                                                          Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish (raw cranberries, sour cream & horseradish)
                                                                                          Ina Garten's Sagaponack Corn Pudding (really lovely --not sweet-- with ricotta & herbs)
                                                                                          Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts & Pancetta
                                                                                          Brussels sprouts with bacon, maple syrup and pecans
                                                                                          Baked Cranberry Sauce (I'll prepare it this way from now on)
                                                                                          Paul Prudhomme's Sweet Potato Pecan Pie
                                                                                          Lemon Curd Cheesecake

                                                                                          The Mustardy Creamed Onions Gratin were just meh. The returns weren't equal to the efforts IMHO. But I might try them again :)

                                                                                          14 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: sweetbasil

                                                                                            thats too bad about the onions gratin, it sounds like it has so much promise! hard to believe that mustard+onions+gratin could be bad.

                                                                                            1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                              I made this a few days before T Day to try out and was surprised that I didn't like it enough to include in the big dinner. I like the recipe I have for creamed onions better.

                                                                                            2. re: sweetbasil

                                                                                              baked cranberry sauce? Do tell...

                                                                                              1. re: just_M

                                                                                                i haven't thought about baked cranberry sauce in AGES. it's wonderful. i made this Bobby Flay recipe several years ago, subbing brown sugar for some of the white, and adding a little molasses, and it was delicious.


                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                  Thanks ghg, very much looking forward to playing with this new to me idea.

                                                                                                  1. re: just_M

                                                                                                    well i hope you have fun with it! i also hope sweetbasil tells us which recipe she used - i'm always interested to see how everyone's experiences & tastes compare.

                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                      Hi all! I used the recipe for Bourbon Cranberry Sauce (the bourbon is added after cooking), and did half with Bourbon and half without. Since the baked cranberry sauce has no water added, the cranberries are almost candied -- a bit caramelized in flavor, although not tremendously so. You do need a deep wide pan since the sauce bubbles up significantly while it's baking.


                                                                                                      I also made Spiced Cranberry Sauce with ZInfandel (which I've made for several years now). This one is always a hit!


                                                                                                      1. re: sweetbasil

                                                                                                        excellent - thanks for the links & info!

                                                                                                        1. re: sweetbasil

                                                                                                          thanks sweetbasil - I can't wait to give it a go ;-)

                                                                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                      One of my friends recently shared this recipe with a twist--swap the bourbon for Amaretto and add a teaspoon of orange zest...can't wait to try it!

                                                                                                  2. re: sweetbasil

                                                                                                    your screen name not withstanding, did the basil in the corn pudding strike an odd note?

                                                                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                      i'm not sweetbasil but i wouldn't think so.... i've made corn salads with basil in them... i know that the pudding was probably sweeter, but i bet the combo is delicious.

                                                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                        I like fresh corn sauteed with grape tomatoes, basil, and butter, but am not sure I would dig basil on the Thanksgiving table.

                                                                                                  3. Wins:

                                                                                                    Julia's and Jacques' Deconstructed turkey basted with apple cider & giblet gravy (flavored with port)
                                                                                                    Cranberry-Cherry chutney

                                                                                                    Loss: "Easy" dinner rolls--they were icky

                                                                                                    Draw: Cornbread-apple stuffing--1 rave from the gluten-free person, the rest only thought it was nice
                                                                                                    Apple-cranberry crisp--I let the topping crisp too much. (OK, so I burned it a bit.)

                                                                                                    1. We have a collaborative Thanksgiving, so all I did was an app and dessert.

                                                                                                      Wins - codfish fritters and flan

                                                                                                      Loss - a Marlbourough Pudding which was supposed to be a "lost" colonial recipe that Sturbridge Village in MA makes - it had a strange texture and very strong sherry flavor - it hit the trash after a taste

                                                                                                      1. Fabulous wins: the beets and asparagus with romesco mayonnaise from the Williams-Sonoma website--unbelievably yummy;
                                                                                                        mincemeat and pumpkin pies made with that amazing CI vodka pie crust recipe. I'm never going back to my old pie dough again;
                                                                                                        the Smoking Bishop drink from Chow--everyone loved it--you should all run out and get the ingredients to make this tonight, esp. if it's cold where you are! We used a cheap Calif. pinot noir and Ware's ruby port.

                                                                                                        Other wins: smoked turkey (bought online--perfect!!); rolls made with my grandmother's famous fattening recipe; arugula and radicchio salad from the Epicurious website

                                                                                                        Losses: my stuffing/dressing--it's usually excellent but I didn't realize I had no thyme and it was too late to buy any (out of thyme and time), so it really didn't taste right

                                                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                          I made that CI vodka crust this year for the first time and now I see what all the fuss is about. My usual crust for apple pie is an all butter pate brisee, but I wanted to try something that would be a little flakier. It really is a dream to roll out. But it didn't hold an edge for me any better than the all-butter crust does. I'm going to have to play around with chilling the top crust before trying to make fancy cutouts in it and then chilling again both before and after making the decorative edge.

                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                            Try using Earth Balance for the shortening. My first CI crust was Crisco, and it was a little softer, but when I made the next one with Earth Balance, it was much sturdier. I rerolled the scraps and cut out decorative stars without having to rechill it. In both cases, I used Whole Foods 365 butter.

                                                                                                            1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                              Earth balance "butter" or the actual "shortening" sticks they make?

                                                                                                              1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                The shortening sticks. They look sort of scary, but they did make a good crust.

                                                                                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                  I'm too lazy (and too into my evening cocktail) to look up the difference between Earth Balance shortening sticks and Crisco with regard to why one should allow a crust to hold an edge better than the other. Anyone have anything to offer?

                                                                                                                  Gotta say though, the shortening sticks sound a little scary--even before looking at them.

                                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                    Crisco contains emulsifiers and hydrogenated oils, EB doesn't. EB is also higher in saturated fat, which could potentially make it sturdier/more stable.

                                                                                                                    i'm guessing it's one or more of those factors...

                                                                                                          2. re: Isolda

                                                                                                            << the Smoking Bishop drink from Chow--everyone loved it >>

                                                                                                            That sounds really interesting - I will have to check that one out.

                                                                                                            1. re: NE_Elaine


                                                                                                              If you make it, do try to find fruit with UNWAXED peels. Waxed fruit takes longer to brown in the oven and makes it much harder to clean the pan, plus it's probably not all that good for you. ;) But it did not adversely affect the flavor.

                                                                                                            2. re: Isolda

                                                                                                              Isolda, may I ask what brand of smoked turkey you ordered on-line? Might try that even at Easter. Thanks.

                                                                                                              1. re: Val

                                                                                                                We ordered a whole smoked Willie Bird from Sonoma, CA (ordered thru Williams-Sonoma and probably paid too much, so shop around.). As it was reheating, I was afraid it would be way too smoky, but it was absolutely perfect, tender and juicy (even the white meat) with a lightly smoked flavor. If you follow the reheating instructions, it does give off some juice and a little fat, so you could, in theory, even make a gravy, but I didn't bother. Your Easter guests will really enjoy this if you choose to order one of these!


                                                                                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                  I do believe good old Willie can send you that bad birdy directly from the store on Sebastopol road. Do not pass go, and eliminate the W.S. middleman!

                                                                                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                    Yeah, that's what we're doing next time.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                      I agree about the Willie Bird through WS...anything bought through them is going to have a stiff mark-up.

                                                                                                                      We in NorCal are so lucky to live near to Willie Bird's actual home store. They have such wonderful stuff. We even have gotten to love their turkey bacon as much as the REAL thing....not quite as much, but close.

                                                                                                            3. Wins

                                                                                                              Turkey - made in one of those $25 Rival roaster ovens. It comes out great every year
                                                                                                              CI green bean casserole - I love this recipe and I am not a big fan of mushrooms
                                                                                                              Garlic mashed potatoes - just the right amount of garlic - of course this was after an epic garlic fail a few years ago
                                                                                                              Green Jello - yummy, although there are only three of us that like it
                                                                                                              Maple glazed sweet potatoes - super yummy

                                                                                                              CI vodka pie crust - it was super flaky and tasty, but I had to make 5 crusts to get 2 usable ones. When I pre-baked the crusts the foil kept sticking to the dough pulling away most of the bottoms. The parts that didn't pull away were great though.

                                                                                                              CI pumpkin pie - just not that good http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7496...

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: dynastar

                                                                                                                In "The Pie and Pastry Bible" Rose Levy Berenbaum says you shouldn't use foil when prebaking because it doesn't allow the crust to breathe and it can end up having a cardboard-like texture. She says it's preferable to use either parchment or coffee filters. You might want to try one of those next time and see if that works better for you.

                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                  Thanks so much for this info JoanN. I've been using foil to cover the crust when I put in the pie weights. Although I never experienced the cardboard texture, I'g going to give this idea a try...Tonight when I make Ottolenghi's Very Full Tart.

                                                                                                              2. Win:

                                                                                                                I prebaked a pie shell for about 12 minutes at 350 degrees. (I did a dry run about two weeks ago to make sure this would work.) This left the pie shell a bit underbaked, which was what I wanted, but still crunchy after being cooled. Then I poured in the pumpkin pie filling and baked the filling at 350 degrees until it had set and a sharp knife inserted halfway between the side of the pie shell and the center came out almost clean (maybe forty minutes?--but I wasn't paying attention to the time, just the texture).

                                                                                                                What was unusual for me about this was that it defied the "Better Homes and Gardens" (circa 1950) cookbook instructions to use an unbaked pie shell, which Better Homes and Gardens italicizes to make sure you notice. (I did, however, reduce the baking temperature from the recommended 400 degrees to 350.)

                                                                                                                The difference was dramatic. The pie shell was much crunchier than the pie shells I have made up to that time for pumpkin pies. From now on, I am prebaking my pie shells, but leaving them a little underbaked so that they don't burn after I add the filling and put them in the oven for the second time.


                                                                                                                I think that I'm a pretty good cook, but I still haven't got mashed potatoes down the way I would like. (Except for Thanksgiving, I don't cook them very often.) They should not have a pureed quality to them, but mostly, they should be unlumpy. (A few lumps are okay, but not a lot.) I used a ricer this time, which reduced the number of big lumps, and then a hand masher, briefly. (I am very leery of turning them into glue or thinning them with warm milk too much.) However, this time the mashed potato had little potato granules in it, about an eighth or a sixteenth of an inch across, roughly the size of the holes in the ricer. I don't think anyone noticed but me, but when you run your tongue across the roof of your mouth, the potatoes should be smooth, not slightly pebbly in texture. I wasn't too bad, but I was hoping to do better.

                                                                                                                18 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                  you could always put it through the ricer a second time?

                                                                                                                  have you ever tried a food mill for them?

                                                                                                                  1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                    I love lumpy mashed potatoes! (Think this is the result of my childhood trauma of having to eat mashed potatoes made from--horrors!--a box!)

                                                                                                                    1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                      I'm wondering if you're using enough fat in your mashed potatoes. Too much butter can make them greasy but this year I used heavy cream (42% fat) instead of milk and they were silky and light but with plenty of structure to stand up to gravy. I will never go back to milk.

                                                                                                                      1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                        gfr, it sounds like you had too many un-ruptured starch granules. the ricer typically takes care of that, but as mattstolz indicated, sometimes a food mill is the way to go.

                                                                                                                        what type of potatoes are you using for your mashed? there are pros & cons to each type. Idahos & Russets tend to be grainy or mealy even if you rice them, and Yukon Golds (or other waxy potatoes), though wonderful & smooth *if* you don't over-mash them, can be gritty if overcooked and gluey if overworked.

                                                                                                                        the other consideration is temperature - be sure the milk is warm enough.

                                                                                                                        1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                          Dear Mattstolz, Isolda, Just M, and Good Health Gourmet,

                                                                                                                          Thanks for the advice. Matt, I like the idea of putting the potatoes through the ricer a second time. I was concerned about over -manipulating the potatoes and making them gluey, but, based on the slightly grainy ttexture result this time, I will try what you suggested, next time. As for the food mill, I've never used one, but I'll give that a try, too.

                                                                                                                          Isolda, thanks for the encouragement. I don't mind a few lumps either, but these lumps were a uniform graininess, not just a few lumps.

                                                                                                                          Just M, you may be right about the lack of fat. I used about a cup of warm whole milk, but not anything else. I'll try the cream and/or butter next time and see how I do.

                                                                                                                          Good Health Gourmet, I used Idaho potatoes, which I thought was sort of standard for mashed potatoes. I like your suggestion about the milk. It was warm but not hot. I'll try making it hotter next time. Thanks to everyone for all the advice.

                                                                                                                          1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                            Always, heat the milk and butter to a simmer before you incorporate it into the potatoes - don't know the chemistry of it, but cold milk and butter added to a pan of hot, mashed spuds is just a recipe for disaster.....

                                                                                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                              Huh. I've never heated milk (or butter) before adding and have never had an issue with gritty potatoes. I do tend to keep the pan over very low heat and add both the milk and butter before mashing. Maybe it heats up enough that way. Lowfat buttermilk also makes great creamy mashed potatoes without the fat of cream. I also steam my potatoes rather than boil, and I steam them until they are very soft and almost mash themselves just by touching them!

                                                                                                                              1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                Hi Jen76--I'm intrigued by the idea of steaming potatoes before mashing. What do you see as the main advantage. It sounds like it might result in somewhat drier potatoes. How does it compare (timewise) to boiling? I'm assuming you cut them into pieces?
                                                                                                                                I like the idea of this (although I have a tendency to scorch pots when I'm steaming). I do have a steamer basket for my pasta boiler, which I never use but probably would be perfect for potatoes and would allow me to use a lot of water from the get-go. What kind of set-up do you use?

                                                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                  i almost always steam mine before mashing too. and Jen is right, they practically fall apart on their own... its wonderful!

                                                                                                                                  i also think it results in mashed potatoes that taste more like.... potatoes i guess. i think when you boil them they lose some flavor to the water

                                                                                                                                  1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                    not only do they lose some flavor to the water, they can also *absorb* too much moisture and become waterlogged, diluting the flavor further. for the ultimate steamed, mashed potatoes, rinse them off about halfway through to remove any excess starch that may have accumulated and coated the outside, then put them back in to finish steaming.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                    Oops, I must have missed this post. mattstolz and GHG are right - they just seem less waterlogged, to me, and they have a great texture. I don't rinse, as GHG suggests and I think they're fine. I actually feel like they cook faster, though to be honest, I've never really timed them because I just let them steam away while I'm prepping/cooking other things. You really can't overcook them (within reason). The water boils faster as there is less of it to heat. Yes, I cut them into bite size chunks and I put them in a metal steamer basket (that I got for $3 somewhere) inside a pot. I add water until I just see it starting to come up through the holes in the bottom of the steamer basket. I also cook sweet potatoes and squash this way if I plan to mash them.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                      thx all. i am trying steaming on my next batch.

                                                                                                                                2. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                  interesting, mamachef, i've never heated my milk/butter either! maybe my potatoes aren't coming out the ways others' are!

                                                                                                                                3. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                                  hopefully the answer to your quest for the perfect mashed lies somewhere among all our feedback! please report back next time to let us know how it goes...oh, and you can just call me GHG - much easier to type ;) good luck!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                                    This is a matter of personal taste, but I prefer Yukon Golds to Idaho russets for mashing. They're not as fluffy, but they mash up smooth and velvety. Also, I second the idea of more fat - cream and butter instead of milk, for sure!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                                      If your potatoes were grainy and felt "rough" on the tongue, I'm guessing they may have been undercooked. Is that possible?

                                                                                                                                    2. re: gfr1111

                                                                                                                                      I often use a ricer to make mashed potatoes and the only time this has happened to me was when my potatoes where undercooked. I'm pretty sure that's the key to your problem :) HTH

                                                                                                                                    3. For a change, my turkey was perfect. This year I used a 13 plus lb TJ Kosher turkey, unstuffed. I used a probe thermometer, plus, used my new Thermapen -- cooked to temp of 170.

                                                                                                                                      We put the mashed potatoes in my All-Clad crock pot but these new ones are just too hot -- it was on low but potatoes were getting brown parts -- added 1/2 and 1/2 and butter; they were edible but next time, no crock pot (wish I still had my old one).

                                                                                                                                      I should not have made Mario Balali's balsamic cipollini onions at the last minute. I liked them, tho.

                                                                                                                                      I made an apple studel using TJ's puff pastry -- good. (No energy to make the pumpkin pie, which I love.)

                                                                                                                                      Normally, I'm pretty careful, but...I used a leftover "lifter string" thing from Butterball...you cook it with the turkey and it's easier to lift out. I threw it in the garbage and later on, when the kitchen was clean and the 2 Abby cats were allowed out, I notice one had something hanging out of her mouth and she was running around happy and manic. For a moment, I thought it was the tail of a mouse out of her mouth, but, I'd never had a mouse in the house. I caught her and it was the long string she was trying to eat and swallow. Thank God I was home and saw that and was able to pull it out. I'll be more careful in the future.

                                                                                                                                      1. all wins:
                                                                                                                                        roasted root veggies; cook leftovers with stock and puree for soup

                                                                                                                                        sausage bread stuffing

                                                                                                                                        cranberry sauce made with raspberry lambic

                                                                                                                                        flourless carrot cake; modified ny time recipe (substituted pecans for almonds) and frosted with pia's cream cheese frosting with whipped cream.

                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: wonderwoman

                                                                                                                                          did you use Martha Rose Shulman's cake recipe? it's wonderful with half pecans & half walnuts instead of the almonds...and i added a little freshly grated ginger - delicious.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                            i did. used all pecans, love the ginger. i was also thinking of swapping orange extract for the lemon zest. it was fabulous with the whipped cream/cream cheese frosting, garnished with a few chopped pecans.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: wonderwoman

                                                                                                                                              IMO you can't go wrong with cream cheese frosting on carrot cake...as long as it's not *too* sweet. i'm not a big fan of orange with carrot, but i do love lime with it - i've swapped out lime zest for lemon in the past, and it's terrific.

                                                                                                                                              cardamom (used VERY judiciously) is the other spice i love in recipes with flavors like this.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                Cardamom would work very well in this cake, I'm sure. I recently made cookies that incorporated carrots, oats, walnuts, and golden raisins; the recipe didn't call for any spice, but I added vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon or so ground cardamom, and it was the perfect choice.

                                                                                                                                        2. Re LindaWhit's post on the now-locked thread on T'day mishaps, I'll bet the applesauce gravy would have been a hit. I always put cider in my poultry gravy if I have it on hand and if not, a little applesauce. Like many people, I put apple in the bread stuffing, so why not in the gravy, as long as it's homemade and neither highly sweetened or spiced.

                                                                                                                                          1. Wins: Salt Sage Bay leaf dry brine, Turkey from Healthy Family Farms(LA area), classic stuffing(breadcrumbs, celery, sage, onion) Cook's Illustrated Turkey Gravy, sauteed cabbage and bacon, mashed potatoes with half and half and butter, whipped to perfection(yukon golds, skin on)

                                                                                                                                            Loss: Digital Roasting thermometer, less than a year old from Sur La Table, went haywire even though I had been using it ALL THE TIME . . . ditched it and went with time, instinct and a old fashioned one, kept having to pull the bird out but it came out perfect.

                                                                                                                                            I need to get a thermapen but does anyone have a good recc for a roasting thermometer?

                                                                                                                                            1. Wins: most of the meal went off without a hitch. Crowd favorite seemed to be the brussels sprouts hash from epicurious. My roasted curried cauliflower also turned out really well. A surprise hit was the boubon cranberry sauce (also from epi), as I always make cranberry sauce, but it's usually barely touched -- I saw people getting seconds of this stuff. Maybe the Jack Daniels in it had something to with it. Best new dish of the night was the wild mushroom bread pudding I made for our vegetarian guests -- rich, unctuous, full of flavor.

                                                                                                                                              Semi-losses: the phyllo rolls filled with caramelized onions, pear and blue cheese were left in the oven for too long and the cheese bubbled out and made the bottom soggy. It didn't seem to stop anyone from eating them, but I was disappointed with the presentation. Pioneer Woman's crash hot potatoes were a fun change from mashed potatoes, but my advanced prep seemed to be detrimental to the final product -- I think the oil absorbed too much into the potatoes and they didn't get crispy and fluffy like they have in the past.

                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                Oooh. Oooh. Did you do the Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding from the 1993 NYTimes? This year was the second time I've made it, this time for a completely different audience, and it was at least as huge a hit this year as it had been previously. And just an hour or so ago I had some leftovers with gravy for dinner. I'm sure it was only because the pressure was off, but I liked it even better today. A real keeper.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                  I made this one from epicurious:


                                                                                                                                                  I made some tweaks based on the reviews: used a larger quantity of mushrooms: chanterelles, shiitakes and creminis, doubled the cheese, included asiago along with the parm, used half whole milk, half heavy cream (instead of the 1 to 2 ratio called for), added a bunch of minced shallots and upped the herbs. I also baked it in a small round cast iron dutch oven.

                                                                                                                                                  It really was fabulous. So rich and creamy, it was like eating a savory dessert. The meat eaters who got a sample oohed and aahed. It's definitely got a permanent place in my vegetarian arsenal.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                    That's absolutely fascinating. The recipe you linked to is different from the one I made in a number of respects ( http://events.nytimes.com/recipes/726... ), yet, if you look way down at the bottom of the Epi recipe it says it's from the article "Hold the Turkey" by Molly O'Neill from the November 14, 1993 issue of the Times. And that's exactly the article I have sitting in front of me. In the article, Molly O'Neil credits the recipe to Anne Rosenzweig, yet the Epi recipe makes no mention of Rosenzweig. I'd love to know who changed the recipe and why. Whoever changed it has made it larger, heartier, and richer--especially with the addition of cheese, which wouldn't have worked for me anyway.

                                                                                                                                                    So, different as they may have been, we both made the same recipe. What a giggle.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                      Ha, this *is* fascinating! Where did you see the reference on the epi recipe? I was just looking and didn't see anything. The recipes are really quite different, but I have no doubt that they are both delicious!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                        Sorry, my bad. I had both recipes open, was flipping back and forth, and misread the article reference as being on the Epi page when it was actually on the NYT page. I see now that the Epi recipe credits Bon Appeitit of December 1997.

                                                                                                                                                        They seemed awfully similar to me. As you say, as long as they were both delicious. And I've favorited the Epi one since it's a bit less fussy to make and I'm sure that there are times when the cheese addition would be just the ticket.

                                                                                                                                              2. Wins: home made (not canned) pumpkin pie for the first time...not going back..plenty of fresh ginger
                                                                                                                                                turkey -- brined and then roasted to Martha's 101 recipe...draped with cheesecloth and basted with white wine and butter
                                                                                                                                                gravy--roux of drippings and flour, add brandy, lots of dried shitakes reconstituted in Sherry and boiling water
                                                                                                                                                losers: I promise I will never again use dried sage in the dressing. It is worth the walk to the garden for fresh.
                                                                                                                                                chipotle mayo for turkey sandwiches on rolls for football viewing had the requisite zip but was made with a Meyer lemon instead of a regular lemon...not tart enough

                                                                                                                                                1. Way more "Wins" this year:
                                                                                                                                                  * Because there were only 3 of us I cooked a turkey breast and a thigh. Roasted them on a bed of carrots, celery and onions, both turned out well, very moist.
                                                                                                                                                  * Sage stuffing
                                                                                                                                                  * Mashed potaotes (butter, heavy cream and buttermilk) OMG good.
                                                                                                                                                  * Creamed Onions with Thyme & Sage (Dean Fearing recipe, also OMG good)
                                                                                                                                                  * Sizzled Green Beans w/Crispy Prosiutto & Pine Nuts
                                                                                                                                                  * Cranberry Margaritas (variation on the Red Chile-Guava Maggie on this site)
                                                                                                                                                  * Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake from the Oct/Nov issue of Fine Cooking. Cake and frosting were wonderful, I didn't think the nut topping really added much to the final product. This recipe is definitely a keeper for our family!

                                                                                                                                                  * Gravy, no lumps but not as good as usual. Got a lot of juice from the turky parts, but not a lot of drippings, they flavor was not as not as rich as usual. It was perfectly fine and perfectly edible but paled in comparision to how well the other stuff turned out.

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                                                    The Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake sounds lovely - do you have a link perchance?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thursday

                                                                                                                                                      Here you go - http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/br...

                                                                                                                                                      We didn't particularly care for the nut topping, your experience might be different. Next time I'm just going to toast some pecans, finely chop them and then press them into the sides of the cake.

                                                                                                                                                      The cake batter is super simple and goes together easily. Next time I'm going to add some vanilla and amp up the spice quantities a little bit. The cake has a very light crumb and the texture is quite fine. It's stayed moist for several days, even after being cut.

                                                                                                                                                  2. I had no real losses this year, everything tasted fantastic. Thanks to the folks here for helping me with advice on my first try at brining my turkey, it was fabulous! I also tried guy fieri's 'whiskey glazed yams and apples' which was a huge hit with my guests.

                                                                                                                                                    I also tried putting my dressing in muffin cups ala rachel ray..but I used my own recipe, and, while it still tasted as wonderful as ever, it did not hold the shape of the muffin tins, so I guess that was my loss for the year. Still it tasted so great that most of it went home with guests ..I might have to make some extra today for us to eat with our other leftovers!

                                                                                                                                                    1. I'll chime in for our son and daughter.
                                                                                                                                                      They met at his house for the meal.
                                                                                                                                                      8 in total.
                                                                                                                                                      the two desserts DD bought from Costco, pumpkin cheesecake and tiramisu, she said completely fabulous.
                                                                                                                                                      pretty much everything else.
                                                                                                                                                      sad huh? they all tried so hard but it wasn't in the cards for them this year. maybe next...

                                                                                                                                                      1. Wins: Turkey cooked on the BBQ, my cornbread sausage stuffing, 2 kinds of cranberry sauces from this site (one with chipotle and the other with cabernet), my sweet potatoes, 2 kinds of mashed potatoes. Also, a cocktail found on this site Cranberry Margarita;s. Excellent!

                                                                                                                                                        Losses: a raw cranberry sauce from this site (Straumburgs?I threw it out), the "best ever" sweet potatoes- meh, not well balanced enough for me. I asked a guest to bring a pie...she volunteered to bring "both" pies, apple and pumpkin. They were cheap, frozen, discount grocery store brand ....with off brand cool whip to boot! Gross. We all choked it down to be polite. I offered a second "dessert" though - involving alcohol and everyone was happy.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Wins the Guiness Brined Turkey from Nov Bon Appetit, and the Roasted Brussell Sprout dish from Bobby Flays TG-Throwdown with the Pioneer Woman, I loved the idea of the pomegranites, it was absolutely the prettiest dish on the table other than that gorgeous dark golden smoked Turkey I did on the BBQ (we had to do it on the Big Green Egg) and I always do a sweet potato gnocchi with sage leaves and a brown butter sauce. I always do my Moms wild rice and mushroom stuffing (Separate from the turkey) and everyone else makes dessert I'm not much of a baker but everything turned out really well this year no Duds, wish I'd taken a few pictures.

                                                                                                                                                          1. Wins-
                                                                                                                                                            Turkey on the Grill-Brined with Alton Browns Ultimate Turkey Brine
                                                                                                                                                            Food Network Sage Sausage and Apple Stuffing
                                                                                                                                                            Shaved Brussels with Bacon
                                                                                                                                                            Acorn Squash Hummus (appetizer)
                                                                                                                                                            Macaroni and Cheese Bites (appetizer)
                                                                                                                                                            Zingermans Pecan Pie-too full to fully appreciate-maybe as an app next year!

                                                                                                                                                            Beet Salad (too cold-would have been better on a separate salad plate but didn't want to deal with more dishes)
                                                                                                                                                            Kale Crisp for appetizer-green teeth
                                                                                                                                                            Too Many appetizers

                                                                                                                                                            Smitten Kitchens Sweet Potato and Chard Gratin-made ahead and just didn't want to cook thru-recipe is delicious and a great break from overly sweet sweet potatoes- just needed way more time than I had planned.
                                                                                                                                                            Mashed potatoes and celery root-I thought they were great but the mashed potato purists among us disagreed.
                                                                                                                                                            Costco Pumpkin Pie-Good-but felt like cheating

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: margib

                                                                                                                                                              i dont know what it is about that costco pumpkin pie but it really is so good! i would almost say its worth the guilty cheating feeling!

                                                                                                                                                            2. WIN: I got requests for the cheese biscuit recipe! nobody has ever asked for a recipe before, AND even though they were overcooked! I just didn't want to see the kids munching away on junk chips, easy as heck but now I'm obligated for the next thing (what was I thinking?)

                                                                                                                                                              1. Lots of wins this year:
                                                                                                                                                                Dungeness crab, leek and bacon dressing that I mostly made up; I loved it, and it got rave reviews from my family, and my picky sister wants me to put it on a regular rotation.
                                                                                                                                                                Dry brined turkey (a salt, sage, thyme and rosemary mixture), was great, and stuffing it did make it take longer to cook, but it still turned out well.
                                                                                                                                                                Brussels Sprouts with onion and prosciutto, with all of the leaves pulled off of the sprouts and everything sauteed: great, and finally won my sister over to brussels.
                                                                                                                                                                Cornbread and sausage dressing, my grandmother's recipe, even grandma approved of how I made it
                                                                                                                                                                Pumpkin pie, made from my favorite new pie crust recipe, and Rose Levy Berenbaum's filling, perfect texture and flavor
                                                                                                                                                                I made lots of other family favorites again this year (the ham, the cranberry sauce, etc.) and all worked well.

                                                                                                                                                                The only loss: the sweet potatoes, but only because they burned on the bottom and then we kind of forgot about them.

                                                                                                                                                                1. Wins

                                                                                                                                                                  Mulled cider with Drambuie - in the Crock-Pot, with cinnamon sticks and lemon slices, Drambuie on the side.

                                                                                                                                                                  Creamed Onions (epicurious) - I added these this year. They were scrumptious, totally worth the expense and the crazy work of peeling. This was the only cream-sauced dish at the T-Day table, and it's a keeper.

                                                                                                                                                                  Mashed sweet potatoes with garlic, coconut milk, and cilantro (ATK) - Amazing as always, even when made by my SIL (a less-than-confident cook) and screwed up slightly by my mother's failure to read the directions. The only dish with no leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                  My made-up stuffing of bread + celery + an apple + sage and other herbs + (at the last minute) some bacon - Everybody was skeptical of my play-it-by-ear approach. Everybody loved the results.

                                                                                                                                                                  The turkey, a free-range, fresh, 15-lb. bird - finished cooking earlier than expected (the same as last year, but I'd forgotten), but my mom saved the day by bundling it up and keeping it in the oven at 180 for an hour (?) while we finished the side dishes and rounded up all the eaters. I don't mess with brining or basting, I just rub herb butter under the skin of the breast (Thanksgiving comes but once a year) and never have to worry about dry white meat.


                                                                                                                                                                  Mushroom Terrine (NYT) - Ridiculously complicated to make (with every ingredient under the sun including four kinds of mushrooms, soaking of the dried ones, multiple chopping and blending and mixing steps) and not really worth it. My guests loved it, but I didn't. I might try it again without the shiitakes - I'm beginning to think those aren't meant to be eaten any way other than soup - or I might just let it be.

                                                                                                                                                                  Cheese course - I had a crazy idea to add a cheese course to the end of the meal this year, inspired by some plum jam I made earlier in the fall that paired really well with a local goat cheddar. I was only going to make pecan pie for dessert, but then my mom requested that we add pumpkin. When the cheese plate came out on top of all that it was met mostly by stunned silence - people ate a little just to be polite, but I wouldn't call it a success. I think I'll save the cheese course for non-holiday meals from now on.


                                                                                                                                                                  Cranberry sauce (HTCE) - Nice flavor - the added fragrance from cooking it with strips of orange peel was not overwhelming as I'd first feared - but didn't gel at all. If I make this again I'll use less water. I'd be open to going with a different recipe next time, perhaps the one with dried cherries mentioned upthread

                                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: csdiego

                                                                                                                                                                    I have a cranberry sauce I love that I once found in Gourmet, I believe. No water, just chopped shallots, grated orange rind, cranberries, sugar, bourbon.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                      Bourbon, shallots, always good. I'll keep an eye out for it, thanks--or do you have a link?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                        sounds like the Cranberry-Bourbon Relish from Food & Wine, not Gourmet...?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                          You are absolutely right! It was stuck in my brain that it was from Gourmet; I don't get Food and Wine...I must have copied it down from a copy at hairdresser or something.

                                                                                                                                                                          I really love it, so easy and everyone seems to love it. Great with some cream cheese on a bagel, too.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                            "Great with some cream cheese on a bagel, too."
                                                                                                                                                                            or with mascarpone, or gorgonzola, or....

                                                                                                                                                                            sorry got distracted there ;)

                                                                                                                                                                            i bet a hit of freshly cracked black pepper would be a great addition to the relish.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                            Wow, that looks amazing! Much less fussy than I'd feared too. Definitely bookmarking. I wonder how it would be with cognac, or would that be an abomination? I don't tend to keep bourbon around anymore. I guess I could always buy a pint just for Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: csdiego

                                                                                                                                                                              go for it with the cognac i actually prefer the flavor over bourbon myself!

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Win! Stuffin' muffins. I saw it on the Food Network, duh, why haven't I ever thought of that?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Wins:
                                                                                                                                                                          An appetizer called "prosciutto filled with happiness" (arugula, currants, pine nuts and gorgonzola) from epicurious
                                                                                                                                                                          Pickle tray replacing the crudites that no one eats - I made half sour pickles, raspberry vinegar radishes, and pickled persimmons. I bought several asian style pickles.
                                                                                                                                                                          Pearl onions and grapes
                                                                                                                                                                          Wilted Summer Greens
                                                                                                                                                                          Hazelnut sage bread
                                                                                                                                                                          Buttermilk biscuits with cheddar and herbs (probably too rich for all the other food, but we loved them anyway)
                                                                                                                                                                          Shaker lemon tart ( a keeper!! Gone by the day after)

                                                                                                                                                                          After years of perfectly cooked Diestal's turkeys, I bought a Mary's organic turkey, and despite the thermometer registering 165 in the breast and 174 in the thigh, it looked raw when we cut into the thigh. The whole dinner was delayed about an hour. Another down side was that there was very little fat, not enough to make gravy so I had to substitute butter with a great loss of flavor.
                                                                                                                                                                          The up side was that the meat had a more "turkey" taste, slightly gamy, which we all liked.
                                                                                                                                                                          I probably will go back to Diestal. Anyone have ideas as to what went wrong?

                                                                                                                                                                          French chocolate cake instead of the usual Queen Mother cake. It was good, but not as good as the Queen Mother.
                                                                                                                                                                          Parmesan sweet potato cake - not bad, but needs fiddling. I'll slice the potatoes thicker next year instead of the paper thin called for, I'll add thyme or rosemary, and a bit of cream.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Wins:
                                                                                                                                                                            Mashed Roasted Potatoes, Parsnips and Garlic modified from epicurious - may never make boiled mashed potatoes again!
                                                                                                                                                                            Pecan Pie - modified my no corn syrup recipe from last year even further and ran out of bourbon so I subbed in rum. More than 1 person said they never liked pecan pie before and now wanted the recipe.
                                                                                                                                                                            Pumpkin Pie - took the easy way out and used nonfat sweetened condensed milk instead of evaporated or cream + sugar. Extra cinnamon than called for and topped with pie-crust acorns decorated with minced crystallized ginger and it was the best I've made!

                                                                                                                                                                            Surprise Win:
                                                                                                                                                                            Champagne Gravy - I always make Champagne Gravy, but this year I was in a hurry and started out with too much flour, and then the turkey didn't give off much juice. I ended up miserably tossing in some butter and water just to salvage something, and it turned out just fine!

                                                                                                                                                                            Surprise Losers:
                                                                                                                                                                            Turkey - the thermometer read the breast as overcooked so we pulled the bird out quickly, only to find on carving that all the dark meat wasn't done yet. We've been thinking we needed a new thermometer for a while now, but we just moved and I think we need an oven thermometer as well. I'm almost positive it cooks hot because the other loser was
                                                                                                                                                                            Date Nut Pudding - my great-grandmother's no-fail recipe was overcooked for the first time in 100 years. Definitely buying an oven thermometer.

                                                                                                                                                                            Sweet Potato biscuits - huge win actually in terms of taste, ease of making - absolutely delicious! But not one recipe of the score I looked at said they needed to be refrigerated after baking - roughly 12 hours later when we went to eat a couple for breakfast, there was fuzzy green mold peppered throughout the batch.
                                                                                                                                                                            Skillet Greens with Crispy Shallots and Cider Gastrique - the greens and shallots were delicious, but this was the wrong recipe to try on Thanksgiving. The Gastrique was too time-consuming to make in a hectic holiday kitchen, so we bagged it at the last minute, and the greens really needed to be served piping hot, which is almost impossible with such a vast feast. Definitely will keep the recipe, but not for Thanksgiving or hectic meals.

                                                                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thursday

                                                                                                                                                                              "Pecan Pie - modified my no corn syrup recipe from last year even further and ran out of bourbon so I subbed in rum. More than 1 person said they never liked pecan pie before and now wanted the recipe. "
                                                                                                                                                                              yes please - recipe :) what do you use in place of corn syrup?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                I find the corn syrup too cloyingly sweet and am unnecessarily worried about secret HFCS =) so I just use butter and brown sugar to make up the difference. Recipe:

                                                                                                                                                                                Freeze a premade pie crust (homemade or store bought).
                                                                                                                                                                                Toast 2 cups of raw pecans and let cool.
                                                                                                                                                                                Combine 3 eggs, 1 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 cup butter, melted, 1-1 1/2 tsp vanilla, and 1-2 tbsp rum. Lay the pecans in the frozen pie crust, pour the filling on top, and bake for about an hour at 350 or until set in the center.

                                                                                                                                                                                It's really fantastic - gooey without being gelatinous, sugary without hurting your teeth, and very very nutty. Whipped cream is, of course, a lovely accompaniment... =)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: thursday

                                                                                                                                                                                  totally with you on the corn syrup for both of the same reasons. i've been toying with the idea of using coconut palm sugar & molasses...now that i know you had such good results with brown sugar i'm even more hopeful :) thanks for the info!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                    Molasses sounds like it might be a nice addition! Let me know how it goes if you decide to experiment! I'm a big fan of molasses in whatever I can add it to sneak in a little extra iron and potassium.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: thursday

                                                                                                                                                                                      will do - i need to see if anyone has a good price on pecans this week!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: thursday

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm dumb: do you par-bake the crust first?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't, simply because I have bad luck with pie crusts changing shape on me and I find the extra step unnecessary. I find freezing the crust first helps it cook at roughly the same speed as the filling - I've never even needed pie shields with this method.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: thursday

                                                                                                                                                                                      Sounds delicious.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Totally agree about the overly sweet [I mean overly sweet] flavor of the typical pecan pie.
                                                                                                                                                                                      That said, I once ate an entire one all by myself. MIL was a wonderful baker. Her pecan pie was delicious but oh so sweet. When it didn't get touched at TG at my house, but all other pies were eaten. I took that as my welcome to eat the entire thing myself. Can't believe that diabetes eluded me. It was so good. Later though I was overly sugarfied and haven't had a drop of pecan pie since.

                                                                                                                                                                                      This recipe gives me new hope.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Love the inclusions and exclusions, thanks for sharing.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Win: using a crockpot to braise 10 Bosc pears in red wine, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and pear juice for 1.5 hours on low. Set and go, pure genius!

                                                                                                                                                                                  Win: Brining a breast-only turkey before using a roasting bag. An amazingly tender, juicy white meat resulted with a wonderfully roasted crispy skin. The brine-oven roast bag is the way to go with breast-only.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Loss: Creamed spinach from fresh greens but used Greek yogurt as a cream sub. Something was missing and I won't sub (& I adore Greek yogurt) from the original recipe again.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                    Ooh, can you tell me more about the pears? I love poached pears and I love the idea of using a crockpot and having them ready and warm for dessert. Did you cover the pears with the liquid? Or just part way? Anything else we should know?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TorontoJo

                                                                                                                                                                                      Covered completely so the wine tint would be even. The only suggestions I would add: don't use the high setting, low does the trick perfectly. Check for fork tender about an hour into it and then gauge from there; you want the pear to stay whole beautifully. And, def. use a wine you love because the flavor really comes through. Next time I'm going to add fresh lemon mint to the liquid.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Wins:
                                                                                                                                                                                    *Brussels sprouts shredded in the food processor and sauteed with dried figs, bacon, and white wine (Mark Bittman's recipe)
                                                                                                                                                                                    *Cornish game hens marinated in an apple juice brine then roasted in the oven
                                                                                                                                                                                    *Blanched green beans sprinkled with sea salt
                                                                                                                                                                                    *Sweet potato pie
                                                                                                                                                                                    *Pumpkin bread pudding with whiskey, cinnamon whipped cream

                                                                                                                                                                                    *Wild rice (It was undercooked and burned at the same time. Flavor was only o.k.)
                                                                                                                                                                                    *Not making scalloped potatoes, which were the unanimous win from last year

                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AudiBaby

                                                                                                                                                                                      Oooo, is the pumpkin bread pudding a specific recipe, or did you just add some pumpkin to a standard bread pudding? That sounds incredibly delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Losses:
                                                                                                                                                                                      *Sweet potato gratin with chipotles curdled this year. For leftovers, I pureed it.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Wins included the Cranberry Margaritas, rest of the menu, and three new additions this year:
                                                                                                                                                                                      *Deviled eggs made with fresh pickled wasabi from a local favorite Japanese restaurant (Hana)
                                                                                                                                                                                      *Spinach-parmesan puff pastry swirls
                                                                                                                                                                                      *Fatty 'Cue Brussels Sprouts that I mention in this link: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7472... that goodhealthgourmet had recommended in another Thanksgiving thread. What a hit. They're made with a garlic, chili, shallot paste with coriander, bacon, maple syrup, and chicken stock. They were the first to go so I made another batch to enjoy with leftovers this weekend. Three people asked for the recipe including a couple of former sprouts-haters. I should add that I didn't make it with two chiles for Thanksgiving (I used one red Vietnamese chili without seeds for the paste). I did use both when I made them again and they are delicious eaten plain, but maybe too spicy for a Thanksgiving side dish. I also needed to add more fat to the pan after browning the sprouts and used fat from the turkey pan drippings.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Didn't take pictures the day of, but some camera pics from a friend:
                                                                                                                                                                                      Deviled eggs http://twitpic.com/3a51u4
                                                                                                                                                                                      Spinach-parmesan puff pastry swirls: http://twitpic.com/3a53qb
                                                                                                                                                                                      Turkey out of the oven: http://twitpic.com/3a5oym

                                                                                                                                                                                      From this weekend: Second batch of sprouts, and last night's Thanksgiving Redux plate:

                                                                                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                                                                                        What great photos and that sprout recipe looks and sounds amazing!

                                                                                                                                                                                        In case anyone was searching for the sprout recipe (they can get buried around here!) here you go!

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks Hill J! The brussels sprouts were delicious - can't believe I had no leftovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                                                                                            don't you just LOVE it when you can bring people back to Brussels sprouts? I can get toddlers to like 'em (ok, I'll tone down the smug factor now)

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for the link, HillJ. That recipe is on my CVhristmas menu list. I'm thinking of including roasted chestnuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Rubee: What A Feast!!

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                                                                                            I have yet to make it to Hana, but now I really want to go just for the wasabi!! And those brussels sprouts do look good. I've never like them, but I'm almost tempted to get some to try that recipe! What kind of bacon did you use?

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jen76

                                                                                                                                                                                              The pickled wasabi is so good! Salty/tangy/spicy. I LOVE Hana. I haven't posted on it yet, but uploaded some pics from recent visits: http://www.chow.com/restaurants/423/h...

                                                                                                                                                                                              For the bacon, I just used regular grocery store bacon. Not sure the brand, had my husband do the grocery shopping ; ) The brussels sprouts are pan-fried in the bacon fat to start, so that's always a good first step!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                                                                                                Those pictures made my mouth water. Someday I will get there. We're on a relatively tight budget right now, so we don't eat out much. I do splurge on a few good ingredients now and then, though. I'm currently in love with Niman Ranch bacon which I get at TJ's. It's so good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hi Rubee,

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Could you share with us exactly how you did the deviled eggs? They look and sound amazing!


                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Rubee

                                                                                                                                                                                                oh man, i want some of that pickled wasabi. it sounds so good!

                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Wins:
                                                                                                                                                                                                Two potato Gratin
                                                                                                                                                                                                Roast turkey that was brined and THEN had compound butter smeared underneath the skin
                                                                                                                                                                                                Fig-sausage stuffing
                                                                                                                                                                                                Roasted pear salad with a cider vinaigrette

                                                                                                                                                                                                Almond tiramisu where the amaretto was WAAAAAAY too strong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Wins:
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Cranberry Sauce with Port and Dried Figs
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Brussels Sprouts with Lardons and Lemon
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Chocolate Pecan Tart (I was worried about this one because I really had to manhandle the tart crust to get it in the pan - but it turned out perfectly!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Here it is:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      CHOCOLATE PECAN TART

                                                                                                                                                                                                      ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
                                                                                                                                                                                                      ¼ cup sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 large egg yolk
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1/8 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 large eggs
                                                                                                                                                                                                      ½ cup (packed) golden brown sugar
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 cup dark corn syrup
                                                                                                                                                                                                      ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1/8 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1½ cups coarsely chopped pecans
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 cup chocolate chips

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Using electric mixer, beat butter in medium bowl until smooth. Add sugar, egg yolk, and salt; beat until blended. Add flour and beat just until dough begins to clump together.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Roll out dough on lightly floured work surface to 10 1/2-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of pan. Pierce dough all over with fork. Cover and refrigerate.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Place crust in freezer 30 minutes before filling and baking.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Preheat oven to 350°F.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Whisk eggs and brown sugar in medium bowl until well blended. Whisk in corn syrup, melted butter, and salt. Stir in pecans.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Spread chocolate chips in unbaked crust and bake until chocolate is melted, about three to five minutes (note that the chocolate will maintain its shape even when melted).
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Remove from oven and spread melted chocolate evenly over the bottom of the crust with a spatula.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Gently pour filling into crust. Place tart on rimmed baking sheet.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Bake tart until filling is slightly puffed and set, about 40 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Drizzle with melted chocolate (if desired).
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (if desired).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The liquid-to-nut ratio of the uncooked filling seemed high to me, so I added 1/2 cup more nuts. Then I wasn't able to fit all of the filling into the shell and had to pour off some of the liquid. Once the tart was cooked, it was REALLY nutty! Everyone loved it, but next time I'm going to follow the recipe. =) Also, if you're OCD like me, you can take the time to turn over the top layer of pecans with a fork so that they are all right side up. I felt like Rainman when I was doing it, but it looked really pretty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: aching

                                                                                                                                                                                                        thanks! i've been comparing a bunch of recipes to formulate my own version...with a gluten-free crust (i'm thinking i'll use pecan meal in there too).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. One of my neighbors, when living in her "old" neighborhood, had a great way of figuring out ahead of time what new recipe might be a hit (or a miss) that Thanksgiving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Each neighbor who wanted to participate, prepared a previously untried dish to bring to a pre-Thanksgiving dinner party the Saturday before the holiday. They then rated the dishes and shared the recipes for the "keepers." Too fun!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hils

                                                                                                                                                                                                      hils: that's a good idea, I might push the date back a week or two, but it's still a really good idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Most of the dinner was a win! This is the first year that I have tried to roast an actual turkey. Since I moved from the US to the UK, and have been limited to a very small oven, I've generally been cooking chickens. I figured that as the only American at dinner, I'd be the only one to know that it was a bit wrong. But this year I had another expat over so I had to do it right! So:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The top half of the turkey (it was so beautiful I took photos!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Pumpkin pie & almond crust (last-minute substitutions made it really good)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Apple-raisin stuffing

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The bottom half of the turkey (not fully cooked, I had to carve it up and cook in a covered dish a while longer before dinner)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      The edges of the pie crust (I forgot to put foil on it so it was a little toasted)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      The broccoli mash thing I invented so that my husband could have green vegetables was a bit bland

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Wins - most of the meal was great but two things stood out - the gravy and the dressing. I believe gravy was best because the pan drippings were excellent. We basted the turkey with butter and Yukon Jack and it rested on a raft of carrot and celery stalks, garlic, onions and apples. I added a bit of water to the pan at the last 1/2 hour too. The stuffing was made up as we went along and included apples, dried figs, and chopped pecans along with the normal celery/carrot/onion mix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybes - everyone loved the streusel on the pumpkin pie but I think it could have had a bit more crunch. I think I would add it after the filling starts to set a bit instead of before baking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Wins:
                                                                                                                                                                                                          *Sweet Potato Pie from James McNair's Pie Cookbook
                                                                                                                                                                                                          *Pioneer Woman's mashed potatoes (just went with it after seeing people oh and aw on the Throwdown episode; made with cream cheese and excellent)
                                                                                                                                                                                                          *Simple stuffing made with cubed Italian bread, butter, onions, celery, sage and thyme

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Win for everyone else, but me:
                                                                                                                                                                                                          *TJ's kosher turkey with compound butter under the skin, cooked to 160 (way too gamey for me, but very moist)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          *Cranberry chutney from a local Spanish restaurant; they must have used Seville oranges because it was much too bitter for me

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Biggest Win: Having my son and daughter-in-law hold Thanksgiving at their house and make most of the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Second biggest win: I made a wonderful dessert that I found online (am too lazy to look for it right now, but if anybody wants it, lemme know and I'll gladly provide it.) It's a pumpkin flan. Well, actually, it's individual pumpkin flans. The recipe calls for them to be served in tart cases, but I was too lazy and just rolled out the pie dough and cut it into wheels the size of very large sugar cookies. Baked the crusts and served them stuck into the flan when it was unmolded.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            This was amazingly delicious and quite easy...well, except for the caramel. I burned the first batch by not remembering to watch and stir EVERY SECOND because it turns from amber to dark, blackish brown in a millisecond!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            These were just delicious and very well-received.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I also made a dish that's been in my family forever. My husband loves it, but nobody else seems to be that interested. I made a lot and only about half was eaten.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's quite easy. Sliced cukes, chopped red onion and sour cream (I used combo of low-fat sour cream and Pavel's low fat yogurt.) and salt and pepper. It's made the night before so it can sit in the fridge and develop flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: emily

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I had a TJ Kosher turkey, also and mine wasn't at all gamy. How big was yours? I prefer smaller ones; mine was 13 and change lbs. I cooked mine to 170.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, just to have refreshing crunch, I made cukes (I prefer the hard to find Japanese ones) with rice vinegar, water, fresh lime juice, sliced shallot and diced serrano. If anyone wants the proportions, let me know. (You sliced the cukes thinly.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: walker

                                                                                                                                                                                                                12 lbs. The broth made the next day was particularly offensive. I actually couldn't stand to be in the kitchen with it, but others enjoyed it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                (I should add that I'm just not a fan of turkey... not the $$$ Rosengarten turkey I ordered one year or the Greenberg smoked turkey I ordered another year).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. The nieces and nephews pick out some dishes this year- it explains the cheesecake and sticky rice.. we all had a good time. We were fortunate enough to have grandma around this year from Taiwan. I’ve never seen a 90 y/o go for seconds on both the food and dessert. Woo~

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Brined turkey2- very moist
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Standing prime rib with horseradish and thyme crust, horsey cream fraiche
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Parmesan sesame light brioche rolls
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sautéed shredded brussel sprouts with chestnuts
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sauteed fennel with raisins and saffron
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mashed potato with sour cream
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sticky rice stuffing with mushrooms and lapchong
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Creamed pearl onions with bacon and chives
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bread stuffing with homemade Italian sausage and chestnuts
                                                                                                                                                                                                              New york cheesecake with candied black cherries in blackberry compote

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Gravy- too salty – fixed it mid-dinner =)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Brined turkey1- dry and overcooked (oops, we forgot to check this one)
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pumpkin pie- crust slippage to midway of pie plate (I don’t know why this keep happening to me), but I just added more leaves and cutouts on top. People appreciated the extra crust, fortunately.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jeniyo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                jeniyo, did you use the fennel recipe (also with almonds) from Gourmet Magazine?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the fennel with raisins and saffron caught my eye too..... sounds wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    well, just in case we don't hear back from jeniyo, this is the one i was wondering about...


                                                                                                                                                                                                                    the cilantro strikes me as odd so i'd probably omit it...and maybe add a pinch of chile flakes. it could also be wonderful with sherry vinegar instead of the orange...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: jeniyo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think the pie crust shrinking thing happens when you try to STRETCH your pie dough to fit your plate. It has to be rolled to size.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jeniyo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Did you pre-bake your crust? This year was the first time that I really followed the crust instructions properly, and the recipe I used said to chill the crust in the pan before pre-baking in order to keep it from slipping. So I wrapped mine up in a plastic bag and set it out in the snow for half an hour, and it seemed to work pretty well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jeniyo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Christina Mason is right about stretching; the dough will just shrink back to where it was. And Manderv's right about chilling. I freeze my piecrusts before filling them. When ready to go into the oven, I pour the filling into the frozen crust and then put it directly into the oven.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jeniyo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Gravy-too salty-fixed mid dinner"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        One TG at my aunts house, the entire really long table was set up and dinner was ready to be served. When we started the passing of the whatevers around the table so each could dish up, someone asked, "Is there gravy for the stuffing?" I wondered, "What about is there gravy for the mashed potatoes?" That's when I realized there were no mashed potatoes and no gravy had been made. My cousin and I did what you did, mid meal and mid stream, she and I went into the massive kitchen and concocted the potatoes that had been boiled so that part was easy. The gravy not so easy. We did manage and being quick in the kitchen helped a lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh the things we can pull off on the cuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Pesto mashed potatoes! I had a little bit of heavy cream left over. Brought it to a simmer with a couple tablespoons of softened butter, tossed in about a cup of pesto, and let slightly thicken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Pour the pesto cream into your mash and stir. Absolutely delicious!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            hell yeah! I know what I'm doing with some of this summer's basil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wish my summer basil in the yard lasted longer or came back like parsley does.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Don't like in the beginning of the season that it's always so hard to find those 4" containers at L's or HD.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I look for lots of kinds of seeds, a variety of basil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Novelli

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            yum, i did the pesto mashed potatoes this summer, tho i just mixed the pesto directly into the taters which already had milk/chicken broth/butter. the heavy cream sounds more refined, and just makes it over the top YUM.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. I am pleased to say I didn't have any misses, though I have to say that we got a pre-made Greenberg smoked turkey that was wonderful. Delicious cheddar mashed potatoes (through the ricer), gravy, roasted maple mustard greenbeans, cornbread sausage stuffing, pureed squash, cranberry sauce, pecan pie. Whoops, there was a miss...Pillsbury dinner rolls. Yuck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Looking forward to reading all the other replies....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So for us this year, the turkey was the worst I've ever cooked, but fortunately found a fabulous oyster dressing recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I usually brine a turkey with garlic and all the herbs I love, but this year we had a cheap, pre-brined bird and I was afraid to 'over-brine', so tried to make up for flavor by rubbing butter and herbs under the skin before roasting. Didn't cut it - this scrawny bird was exhibit A for why people hate turkey!! My husband thought it wasn't bad, but personally... ugh - bland, dry, blah, blah, blah... Never again. Lesson learned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              On the other hand, this recipe for oyster dressing from Epicurious was a winner - http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo.... I grew up with my grandmother's oyster dressing every Thanksgiving and this is the closest in flavor to any recipe I've tried. Added some sauted mushrooms for my husband and even increased the amount of oysters and it was nothing short of fabulous, For anyone interested in trying it, I would suggest that the amount of butter and rendered bacon fat in the recipe are much more than needed - I probably used only half. That plus the turkey broth provides plenty of moisture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: acecil

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The recipe doesn't come up, just the home page, and there are several oyster stuffing recipes, but I'd love to see it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  acecil had a period at the end of the link, rendering it invalid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  FYI, when that happens you can always hover your mouse over the link in someone's post and the URL should appear along the bottom of your browser window. fortunately with Epi, the link always includes the exact name of the recipe, so once it appears at the bottom of your screen you can go there yourself and search for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for that tip! And for finding the recipe, ghg.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        yeah - thanks! never noticed that problem before

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. My whole meal came out great, but I really loved the beet, clementine and pomegranate salad! Here's the recipe. And as you can see, it's stunningly colorful! http://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Beet, Clementine and Pomegranate Salad

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4 medium beets
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange, tangerine or clementine juice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Salt and pepper to taste
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 small red onion, thinly sliced
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4 clementines (or satsuma tangerines), peeled and separated into sections
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the stems and wrap each beet tightly in foil. Place on a baking sheet and bake about an hour or until the beets feel tender when pierced with a knife. Let them cool for 10-15 minutes, then peel and chop into bite-sized pieces.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Whisk together the juice, pomegranate molasses and vinegar in a medium serving bowl. Add the olive oil and whisk well. Season to taste with salt and pepper (it won’t need much salt, if any.) Add the beets, onions, clementines and pomegranate seeds and mix gently. Serve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, it does. My Thanksgiving table would definitely have benefitted from that. I've copied it to my T-giving folder, but don't think I'll wait that long. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i certainly won't be waiting a year to make it! i may actually try it with walnut oil and Champagne vinegar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: cathyeats

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would absolutely love that, must make it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cathyeats

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      oh my, yes, I think I'll be making that for a January dinner party, just as the after-holiday blahs are starting to set in! thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good idea - imagine the colors, must be just gorgeous.