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Posts Tagged ‘stuffing’

A Little Thanksgiving Something on the Side

In Drink, Food on November 15, 2011 at 9:35 am

This year—more than most—Thanksgiving’s pending arrival has caught me completely by surprise. Perhaps that’s because for the first time in over a decade I won’t be cooking, or at least I won’t be cooking the main event. I’ve been asked to bring a side dish—so I’m bringing two. My friends Vanessa’s excellent Cranberry Sauce with Red Wine, Pomegranate Molasses, and Mediterranean Herbs and Nicki’s favorite Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts Gratin with Pine Nut Bread Crumb Topping were standouts last month at our cooking club. We all made our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes and while I would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite from the lineup, these two were particular show stoppers.

Photo by Tim Morris via bonappetit.com

Photo by Elinor Carucci via bonappetit.com

Looking back through the archives, I thought I’d share a few other ideas from Thanksgivings past. And would love to hear what you’ll be bringing to the table this year. Something tells me I’ll be back in the kitchen next year and really, when it comes to my favorite meal of the year, it’s never too early to start planning…

I LOVE these Pearl Onions Glazed in Port with Bay Leaves. They provide a nice bright note to some of the heavier flavors on the Thanksgiving table.

My go-to and totally decadent Escarole Cornbread Stuffing—rich with prosciutto, fresh ricotta, parm and wild rice. What’s great about this is that it’s all prepared stove top so you’re not fighting for oven space, and then you stick it in the oven for a few minutes to melt the parm just after you’ve taken the turkey out to rest.

This is my all-time favorite Brussels sprouts recipe that’s rich with butter, shallots and fennel—from my friend Carolynn (who cowrote Nancy Silverton’s latest book, The Mozza Cookbook). I’ve made this for the past 10 or so Thanksgivings, so I’m taking a break this year and making the Cauliflower Brussels Sprouts Gratin (which is epic).

And for heaven’s sake, let’s not forget about cocktails! This Champagne Pomegranate Punch is probably the most-requested recipe in my arsenal. I blogged about it last year over on Herman Miller’s LIFEWORK blog. For recipe, click HERE.

How Did This Happen???

In Food on November 18, 2010 at 5:48 pm

I woke up this morning and immediately deployed a four-letter word. Maybe even a few of them, if I’m going to be totally honest. How on earth are we only a week out from Thanksgiving? Fortunately, I am a creature of habit and so the menu isn’t changing all that much. There will be Escarole Cornbread Stuffing (above), rich with prosciutto, parm and fresh ricotta. It’s pretty much the BOMB. And a Heritage Turkey is waiting to wing its way west to be dry brined à la Russ Parson’s Judy Bird recipe in the LA Times. My favorite Brussels sprouts with shallots and fennel will of course be making the scene.

All the usual suspects will be there, including our friend Vincent’s saucy roasted cranberries with a jalapeño kick. For a complete look at this years menu, check out last years. In fact, not much changes year to year—and a recent facebook poll confirmed that this is true at most tables. We like the familiar. This is a holiday about tradition after all. But still. I have a few tricks up my sleeve, so check back tomorrow for ideas, including what I’ve humbly determined to be the ultimate Thanksgiving appetizer…

Thanksgiving Countdown

In Food, Media on November 5, 2009 at 3:25 pm
Photo by Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Photo by Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is a mere three weeks from tomorrow? I was reminded of such while reading a great article in today’s Los Angeles Times by Russ Parsons, which compares how all the food magazines are handling Thanksgiving. Over at The Foodinista’s, here’s how we’re handling the menu, and it’s looking a lot like this:

Roast Salted Turkey: Known in foodie circles as The Judy Bird, this recipe was published several years ago in the LA Times by Russ Parsons, who was inspired by his friend chef Judy Rodgers of Zuni Café in San Francisco. It’s a dry-brine technique that results in the world’s juiciest bird. Parsons suggests three days of dry brining in the fridge, but we will have to settle for two since our Heritage Turkey arrives on our doorstep on Tuesday, 11/24. So excited!!!

Cornbread and Escarole Stuffing: Indulgent and rich, with fresh ricotta, prosciutto and parm balanced by bitter escarole and toasty pine nuts.

Gravy: I usually do a simple pan gravy, but this year I might go easy on myself and pick up some house-made gravy from the Larchmont Larder. Sacrilege or smart?

Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes: A dollop of mascarpone adds creamy decadence to the classic.

Butternut Squash Purée: My mother makes this comforting classic, which has been featured on her family table for more than half a century.

Brussels Sprouts and Walnuts with Fennel and Shallots: A recipe from my super-talented friend Carolynn Carreño, who wins James Beard Awards and authors cookbooks with the likes of Nancy Silverton. We’ve been using this recipe of Carolynn’s at our Thanksgiving table for almost the past decade. I’ll post it soon.

Cranberry Sauce: We’ve never quite settled on one we love, and so this year I’ve charged my friend Vincent, who is joining us!, with finding the ultimate in tartiness, a challenge to which he will undoubtedly rise and surprise.

Pumpkin Pie: My sister is a genius with piecrust. With a little coaxing, perhaps she will share her secret before the big feast. What I can tell you is that she makes beautiful leaves from leftover dough and uses them to decorate the edge of the piecrust.

Bourbon-Pecan Tart: From the November issue of Bon Appétit, this looks amazing. My husband’s family only serves pecan pie (two versions of it) at Thanksgiving, so this one’s for him—unless, that is, I can get my mother-in-law to part with her excellent recipe.

Okay—one final question. Do I need another veg? I hate salad at Thanksgiving. Ditto on peas. Plus, in addition to the Brussels sprouts dish, I figure the stuffing has escarole. But should I be thinking along the lines of adding sautéed kale or broccoli rabe? Maybe green beans and shallots?

The Stuffing Dreams Are Made Of

In Food, Recipes on October 26, 2009 at 5:51 pm

escarole and prosciutto stuffing

Last night I auditioned a stuffing for Thanksgiving, and let’s just say that casting is complete. After a couple years of making a predictable, albeit predictably superb, Italian Sausage and Bread Stuffing from Gourmet, this year I’m opting for a totally decadent version involving escarole for bitterness, pine nuts and wild rice for nuttiness, fresh ricotta and parm and prosciutto for richness, and cornbread stuffing for comfort. It’s an old Janet Hazen recipe, and is meant to be served with wild game. But who knows what kind of teenage angst our Heritage turkey will have played out in its youth? Also, if you’re thinking that this sounds a little rich for Thanksgiving (and believe me, you’d be right, but I’m going with it anyway), it’s also totally fantastic with a roast chicken, which is how we enjoyed it last night.

Cornbread and Escarole Stuffing

Adapted from New Game Cuisine, by Janet Hazen (Chronicle Books, 1990)

Makes 5-6 cups

4 cups water

1/3  cup wild rice

2 shallots, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 head escarole, trimmed and coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme

1/3 lb prosciutto, thinly sliced

1/2 cup FRESH ricotta cheese (please, please, please make sure it’s the fresh stuff!)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups packaged cornbread stuffing, prepared (embarrassed to say I used Stove Top as it was all I could find, but will be looking for a better alternative)

In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil, add wild rice, stir, and return to boil. Reduce heat to moderately high and cook uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until rice is tender and kernels start to burst. Drain and set aside.

wild rice

In a medium saucepan, cook the shallots and garlic in butter and olive oil over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add escarole and cook just until it begins to wilt.


Remove from heat and add mixture to large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and the wild rice, and mix well, making sure to incorporate ricotta and evenly distribute cornbread stuffing. At this point, I pulled the chicken out of the oven and stuck the stuffing in a Le Creuset gratin dish and roasted for 5 minutes (at 425-ish degrees) just to melt the parm, and then served it with a perfectly roasted chicken.

roast chicken stuffing