Thanksgiving 2.0

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Anyone who listens to public radio surely knows what Susan Stamberg is making for Thanksgiving dinner. What we want to do, the day before Thanksgiving, is air out the airwaves with some new recipes, new meals, new ways in which we can prepare our holiday bird. (The consensus around the office is that the Turduken is so

2004, the deep-fried turkey so 2003, the Tofurkey so 1976.)

Instead of turning to cookbooks and celebrity chefs we‘re going to turn to a fresher, more fertile field: the Internet. The Internet offers thousands of fantastic food blogs that range from high-end cuisine to lowbrow chow.

If you have a favorite food blogger who should be on this show, please post your suggestions. And don’t hold back on your Thanksgiving menu; share your recipes, traditions and help us define what kind of Turkey will be so 2005.

Jim Leff

Jim Leff didn’t know it at the time but he actually wrote one of the first food blogs What Jim Had for Dinner. This is now part of his popular website, known as the Zagat guide of the 21st century, Leff is a food critic who has eaten everything from every corner of the world. Tonight Jim Leff will be the surrogate for those of us who never cook on Thanksgiving but do a lot of feasting.

Derrick Schneider

Derrick Schneider lives inoakland, CA and blogs about gustatory bliss, An Obsession With Food. He’s also a freelance food and wine writer.

Guy Prince

Guy Prince is known on the web as Dr. Biggles. He blogs about all things meat on MeatHenge.

Julie Conason

Julie blogs from her home in Spanish Harlem. You can look at her Thanksgiving recipes at A Finger in Every Pie.

Food Blogs from Listeners

Podchef, a food podcaster (via bicyclemark, who calls him one of the hardest-working chefs in the podosphere)

Gluten Free Girl (also via bicyclemark)

eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters (via benchcoat)

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  • Potter

    (excerpt from a New York Times article about pastry chef Pichot Ong, November 17th 2004 by Melissa Clark)

    “Kabocha is a staple in Asian cuisine,” he continued. “You can fry it as tempura, braise it with soy sauce, bake it in a casserole with pork belly, steam it with chicken stock, cube it and add it to sweet and savory soups.”

    “If you’re a pastry chef working in New York, you can also use it in an Asian-fusion version of the holiday’s ubiquitous pie. In Mr. Ong’s kitchen, that means a dense, spicy cheesecakelike confection with a lime-scented graham cracker crust, served with ginger butterscotch sauce.

    “Kabocha is similar to pumpkin but I prefer it in desserts,” he said. “The flesh is softer, more like custard, and has a mellow flavor. It also has a better color. It’s brighter orange when cooked, not as brown.”

    This sounded intriguing but I could not find that squash so I substituted an organically grown sugar pumpkin with great results. This pie is “oh so 2004” but it was worth repeating.

    November 17, 2004

    Recipe: Kabocha Squash Pie

    Adapted from Pichet Ong

    Time: About 2 1/2 hours

    For the filling:

    1 medium kabocha squash, about 3 pounds

    10 ounces (1 1/3 cups) cream cheese, at room temperature

    1 cup sugar

    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    1 teaspoon ground ginger

    3/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (about 1/4 of a nutmeg)

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 1/2 tablespoons brandy

    2 eggs at room temperature

    For the crust:

    3/8 cup (2 ounces) walnuts

    1/2 cup, packed, light brown sugar

    3/8 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 7 crackers)

    Grated zest of 1 lime

    3/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

    3/8 teaspoon salt

    1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

    Crème fraîche, for serving (optional)

    Ginger butterscotch sauce, for serving (see recipe).

    1. For pie filling, bring an inch of water to a boil in a large covered pot fitted with a steamer basket or rack. Put in squash, cover and steam, replenishing water as needed, until fork tender, about 1 hour. Turn squash over halfway through steaming. Set squash aside until cool enough to handle.

    2. Heat oven to 325 degrees. For crust, place walnuts on a baking tray, and toast in oven, stirring once or twice, until fragrant, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

    3. In a food processor, combine walnuts with a few tablespoons brown sugar and pulse a few times, until nuts are coarsely ground. In a large bowl, whisk nuts with graham cracker crumbs, remaining brown sugar, lime zest, spices and salt. Pour melted butter over this mixture, and mix with your fingers until butter is distributed. Press evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Bake crust until lightly browned, about 12 minutes, then set aside. Keep oven at 300 degrees.

    4. When squash is cool, cut it in half and scoop out seeds and pulp. Scoop squash flesh into a measuring cup until you have 2 1/2 cups.

    5. In a food processor, process cream cheese with sugar, spices and salt until light and smooth. Scrape down bowl, add squash and process until smooth. Mix in brandy and then eggs, one at a time. Finish mixing with a rubber spatula.

    6. Place pie plate on a baking sheet and scrape filling into crust. Bake until just set in center, about 1 hour. Let cool before serving, topped with crème fraîche and drizzled with butterscotch sauce.

    Yield: 8 servings.

    Recipe: Ginger Butterscotch Sauce

    Adapted from Pichet Ong

    Time: 25 minutes plus 30 minutes’ cooling

    1 pound dark brown sugar

    2 1/2 ounces (about 4 inches) fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced into coins

    1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, pulp scraped

    10 tablespoons (5 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed

    2 cups heavy cream

    3/8 teaspoon salt.

    1. Place sugar, ginger and vanilla pod and pulp in a heavy pot set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is molten and fragrant with ginger and vanilla, about 8 minutes. (It won’t melt entirely but will be somewhat crumbly.) Add butter (stand back, it will foam up), and stir until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes.

    2. Pour cream and salt into pot, stirring, and bring to a simmer. Let sauce bubble until thickened, about 8 minutes. Let cool for at least 1/2 hour, then strain out ginger and vanilla pod. Warm sauce before serving. This sauce will keep for up to 2 weeks in refrigerator.

    Yield: 3 1/2 cups.

  • Potter

    Here’s an interesting web site to explore:

    My niece was shelling pecans ( from her backyard tree in the Golan) and needed a recipe for pecan pie when she stumbled into this site and told me about it. Then I noticed they have all these Thanksgiving recipes up. Coincidentally a good friend in Maine called and told me she is making dinner for 9.5 people and so I quizzed her about her menu. The green beans peaked my interest. She said she HAD to make them the way K— has eaten them on this holiday since he was a kid. This is made with canned green beans, canned mushroom soup and ( canned?) french fried onions. “Oh yuk” I am thinking. But lo and behold there the recipe is on cookingforengineers’ Thanksgiving recipes here:

    What I would do is re-engineer the whole thing starting with fresh green beans, fresh mushrooms, cream etc. It might be good. I’ll make mine with butter and lemon.

    But I bet there are a lot of folks out there who just HAVE to HAVE something every Thanksgiving or it wouldn’t be Thanskgiving.

    I wish you all a good one!

  • smtcapecod

    I must be getting too dour as I get older….When i saw a dedicated Thanksgiving show, my first presumtion was that it must be a thoughtful piece on the family issues and interpersonal relations that come to the forefront on this holiday. Ground that’s been trod before in Hollywood, I suppose. But recipes??? How about trying to find some anthropologists/sociologists/gastronomea about customs and foods in similar holidays in other cultures and nations?

  • I think Kate Hopkins of Accidental Hedonist would be an excellent person to speak with for this show:

  • benchcoat

    I’m a big fan of butterflying the bird–you lose the nice presentation if you like carving at the table, but you shave about an hour off your cook time, don’t end up with part of the turkey overcooked, and you get to both tear out the spine with a cleaver and whack the turkey with a mallet (which can be pretty cathartic, depending on who’s coming to dinner).

  • Potter

    smtcapecod: Make this pie and have it with a glass of wine shared with your loved ones and you will forget about anthropoligists/sociologists/gastronmea about customs and foods in other cultures, interpersonal relations etc.

    Cheers, L’ Chaim …..

  • One of the hardest working chefs on the podosphere…. the Podchef

    And for the Gluten Free Vegans out there, no one beats the Gluten Free Girl

    Those are my absolute favs for food..

  • benchcoat

    current favorite food blog:

  • Chelsea

    Hi Megwoo,

    Thanks for suggesting the Accidental Hedonist.

    I spoke with her yesterday. She’ll be eating Thanksgiving dinner at a favorite restaurant. For this show we’ve decided to talk to bloggers who will be doing a lot of Thanksgiving cooking.

    We’ll be cheking in with her, however, for future food shows.

  • Robin

    Hey guys, watch it with the tofurkey bashing! For those of us who have chosen not to eat meat, the tofurkey is a chance for us to participate in holiday traditions without feeling totally alienated. ( I’m gagging a little bit hearing Mr. Meat-henge describing stuffing bacon into the turkey.) Both of my father’s brothers and their wives and their combined six children are all vegetarian, so when we get together the non-meat dishes are in full effect. My favorite is my mom’s stuffing, which always starts with roasted chestnuts (that’s my dad’s main job other than staying out of the way), carrots, onions, spinach, and crumbled up whole wheat bread.

    Also: did you know that the president traditionally spares one lucky turkey in a holiday presidential pardon? There’s a political cartoon with Scooter Libby dressed as a turkey begging to be drawn here.

  • Nina

    Thanksgiving can be tolerable if you follow these simple precautions:

    1. When invited to a friend’s house, be grateful but regretful, and say you’re going to your family’s.

    2. When invited to the family gathering, be grateful but regretful, and say you’re going to a friend’s.

    3. Stay home.

    Now you’re ready to cook what you really want for your feast. I like turkey thighs, so I buy these, roast them with a Nantucket Rub of herbs and spices. I make dear old Pepperidge Farm stuffing in a separate small cassarole. I freeze old turkey bones, knawed, along with leftover veggie parings. These I’ve already cooked in a crockpot overnight, strained and chilled so I can lift off the fat in one chunk. Gravy is shitake mushrooms, sauteed in butter, and mixed with this reduced stock. Oh, yes, don’t forget the “round kind” cranberry sauce.

    This is course 1, eaten when ready.

    After eating the turkey, you can start on the yam. Cut a yam in wedges, turn over in olive oil, and cook in a very hot oven until crispy and caramelized.

    This is course 2, eaten when ready.

    By now it’s about 4-ish. Time for a walk on the beach. Be sure to put a scarf over your face so no one will recognize you and blow your cover.

    Brussels sprouts are next. Forget those stupid little X’s in the stem. Cut ’em in half. Steam for about 20 minutes, then mash with butter and lots of coarse salt.

    Course #3.

    You can go on like this more or less indefinitely.

    The next day, call around to your friends. You’ll no doubt find someone who hates dark meat and who has a slab of yummy pie just waiting for you. Invite yourself over.

    That’s the best way to do Thanksgiving.

  • A little yellow bird

    To Robin (a fellow bird!): Since I’m not a cannibal, I too do not partake of the critters. Seriously, I am vegan but not narrow. I hate the torture and pollution of standard factory farms; but if people are omnivores, I don’t mind sitting at the same table with ’em if they’ve got free-range roast critter. Also, if a hunter brings home something wild, I’ve got no problem with that–a wild turkey or boar is a vicious, nasty brute that begs to be shot. Tofurkey also deserves to be shot–and left to rot. There’s so much else out there. I like The Onion’s meat-substitute product-name suggestions: Mockwurst; I Can’t Believe It’s Not A Dead Animal!; Nauseages; Prosciuttofu; and my favorite: Tof**k You, Meat Lover!–a jab at self-righteous, holier-than-thou vegans who help turn people off to the idea. Peace

  • Brendan

    Hey bicyclemark, we took your suggestion, listened to podchef, cut down some audio and then fifteen minutes into our program iTunes screwed me with its new copy protection and kept on cutting the clip down to fifteen seconds. So I couldn’t steal it. Or something.

    Thanks for the tip. Sorry we couldn’t get it on the air.

  • bww

    My favorite recipe for holiday dessert has to be Cranberry Pudding. This recipe came from my mother’s family, and has been a part of Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember.

    This is a traditional pudding (in the bread sense), and the key is how the cranberry and molasses flavor is offset by the sweet buttery cream sauce.


    2 cups raw cranberries

    1-1/2 cups flour

    3/4 tsp. baking soda

    pinch of salt

    1/2 cup unsulphured molasses (is there any other kind)

    1/3 cup boiling water

    You need a sifter for the dry ingredients. Mix everything together and spread into a bundt pan. Steam in a large covered pot for one hour.


    1 cup sugar

    1 cup cream (not milk)

    1/3 – 1/2 cup butter

    1 tsp. vanilla

    Melt butter and stir in ingredients on stovetop for 15 to 20 minutes over low heat.

    Serve slices of warm pudding with generous portions of sauce.

    Dare not to have seconds.

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  • AAKleeman

    We have Thanksgiving on Friday instead of Thursday! That way, everyone can come (no one feels split obligations). Also, since I need to work on Wednesday, I can use Thursday to cook in a very relaxed way, all day long!

  • KenLac

    Chris kept asking, “What to drink? What to drink?” Here’s what to drink: “Glogg Spiced

    Red Wine: A mulled spice wine made from a Swedish recipe and served warmed, excellent for the holidays and winter.”

    For those who would turn up their noses at a spiced wine — this is not your typical mulled wine in a pot w/ lemon and cloves floating in it. It’s a real red, but the spices are going to cooperate with all the heavy food and get you to the pumpkin pie without any bumps. Boyden also makes a good cranberry wine. (Yeah, it’s a plug but I’m a fan, not a shill.)

    I’ve a friend who writes about wine, who (for a long time) had a theory that it’s impossible to find a wine match for turkey. This year he’s softened his position, and makes some reccomendatioins in his column, “In Vino Veritas”

  • Potter

    We had out Thanksgiving on Wednesday, leftovers on Thursday. Friday and Saturday feel like Sunday. Five Sundays in a row!

    Last year we had Christmas at the end of January. With the door closed, you would never know the difference.

    AAKleeman: way to go!

  • Brendan — Im a little behind on comment reading… glad to be able to help out the show and point to some excellent blogger/podcasters. looking forward to contributing more in the future.