Experimental Thanksgiving Potluck

Tori and Kelli made: Butternut Squash & Israeli Couscous Salad–Two Ways


Israeli couscous
roasted butternut squash (seasoned with garlic, salt, and nutmeg)
goat cheese
toasted walnuts
2 shallots, finely diced
topped with fried sage leaves


Israeli couscous
roasted butternut squash (seasoned with garlic, salt, and nutmeg)
1 tin of anchovies, chopped
6-8 garlic cloves
2 large shallots
olive oil (for a quick saute of the garlic and shallots)
parmigiano reggiano
fresh basil, chopped
lots of cracked black pepper

Rich made: Sweet Pumpkin Spice Tamales

(Makes 12 to 14 tamales)
Cortez uses fresh masa (available in tortillerias and Latino markets); look for masa refregada, masa molida or masa sin preparada on the package.  Do not buy masa preparada, which is premixed with lard.

30 large dry cornhusks
1 cup butter, room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/4 cup fresh masa

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 to 1/4 cup milk

Rinse cornhusks; soak in hot water until pliable, about 15 minutes.

Cream butter and sugar on medium-high in mixer until fluffy, about 12 minutes.  With mixer running, add salt, cinnamon and cloves after first few minutes of mixing.

Thoroughly mix masa, pumpkin puree, baking powder and milk in separate bowl.  Mix masa mixture, ¼ cup at a time, into butter mixture until ingredients are incorporated and texture is airy.

Drain cornhusks and pat dry.  Spread 2 tablespoons dough on half of each husk, leaving margin on all sides.  Fold sides of huscks to enclose dough and bring up pointed end of husks even with cut ends.  Tie tamales.

Place tamales vertically, folded side down, in steamer basket covered with a few unfilled cornhusks.  Place basket in large pot with 1 to 2 inches simmering water.  Cover tamales with some of remaining unfilled cornhusks and clean towel, then add lid.  Steam, without uncovering pot, 50 to 60 minutes.

Tamales should be firm when prodded with fork after being unwrapped and allowed to sit 5 minutes.

Dave made: Italian-inspired Stuffing

1 large loaf italian white bread

1 loaf focaccia (a nice one with cheese and herbs, preferably)

1 lb hot italian sausage
1 fennel bulb

1/2 red onion

6 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fennel seeds

3 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms

7oz smoked mozzarella, 1/8 inch dice

1 cup good quality kalamata olives, deseeded and chopped

1 medium sized jar tomatoes marinated in oil (dried or fresh)

½ cup parmesean, grated

-dice bread and dry out in oven at 250 for 30-40 min until dry but not toasted
-Brown sausage and deglaze w/water or stock. Reserve liquid.
-sautee onions, fennel, garlic
-dry fry fennel seeds
-rehydrate porcini mushrooms in stock
-remove mushrooms and chop
-combine all ingredients (including tomato marinating oil) in greased roasting pan and bake for 40 minutes at 350
-sprinkle parmesean on top and finish under the broiler

Jessie made: Blue-Cranberry Sauce and Pumpkin Pie with Pumpkin Seed and Crystallized Ginger Topping

Blue-Cranberry Sauce

Serves 9


1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
1 cup water
½ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
2 ¼ teaspoons finely grated orange peel
1 pint fresh blueberries

1. Wash and pick over cranberries. Place in a medium saucepan with water, sugar, and orange peel. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, stir, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until
cranberries pop.
2. Slightly mash the cranberries with the back of a wooden spoon to ensure all skins are broken. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Mix well.
3. Remove from heat and mix in the blueberries. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
4. Transfer to a bowl, cool slightly, and place plastic wrap directly on top of sauce to cover.
Refrigerate until chilled.

Pumpkin Pie with Pumpkin Seed and Crystallized Ginger Topping

Serves 8

1 recipe for a 9” double pie crust
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons unsalted raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
Large pinch of salt
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, slivered
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

½ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream

1. Roll out one pie crust on a lightly floured surface to 13” in diameter. Transfer crust to 9” glass pie dish. Press crust evenly onto bottom and up sides of dish. Trim dough overhang to 1”. Fold overhang under, forming high-standing rim ¾” above sides of dish. (This is important because there will be lots of filling.) Crimp edges decoratively. Freeze crust until firm, about 1 hour.
2. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add almonds, pecans, and pumpkin seeds; sauté until nuts brown slightly and pepitas begin to pop. (Watch the nuts very carefully; you don’t want them to burn.) Sprinkle brown sugar and salt over; stir until sugar melts and nuts are coated with glaze, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in crystallized ginger. Cool topping in skillet.
3. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line frozen pie crust with foil; fill with dried beans or rice. Bake crust until sides are set, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove foil and beans or rice. Bake just until crust is set and sides are pale golden, 5 to 7 minutes longer. Remove crust from oven. Maintain oven temperature.
4. Combine pumpkin, both sugars, molasses, flour, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk until well blended. Whisk in eggs and egg yolk, then cream. Pour filling into warm crust. Sprinkle topping evenly around edge of filling, forming 1 ½” border (some topping may sink into filling). Bake pie for 20 minutes. Remove pie from oven and wrap foil around edge of crust and topping to prevent the crust and nuts from burning. Return pie to oven and continue to bake until crust is golden and filling is set in center (center may move very slightly when dish is gently shaken), 40 to 45 minutes.
Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.

Amber made: Jerk Turkey Drumsticks


8 turkey pieces, mix of legs and thighs

Here’s what you throw in to make the rub:

2 bunches of scallions, rough chopped
1/2 cup ground allspice or 1 cup whole allspice berries
12 scotch bonnet peppers, seeded and roughly chopped (more for hotter)
1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup soy sauce
10 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed (add more if you like)
1 T ground thyme
1 T ground cinnamon
1 T fresh grated nutmeg
1 T fresh ground black peppercorns
Optional: 1T molasses (makes it sweeter, funkier)

To do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pulse all of the rub ingredients in a food processor, stirring occasionally, until it is of the consistency of a sludgy slush puppy or sandy mud (thick and grainy but liquid; all veggies thoroughly blended in. The spices will make it grainy, especially if you use whole allspice berries). It will exude a peppery, scallion-y scent. Don’t put your face too close to smell it! Rub the poultry parts thoroughly with the rub. Thickly slather them as you arrange them in a heavy duty baking dish. Pour the rest of the rub over the top. Cover the dish tightly in foil, and bake until the collagen in the meat starts to break down and it starts to fall off of the bones (about two hours, but check periodically). When it is close to done, your kitchen will begin to smell wonderfully like a mingling of spice cookies, garlic, and stewed meat. You will begin to drool. For holidays, serve with a homemade whole-berry cranberry sauce or cranberry relish.

WARNING: Use plastic or rubber gloves when handling scotch bonnets and the blended rub. Do not handle the jerk rub with your bare hands, and for the love of your brother don’t splash any in your eyes or nose area. And, as with bacon, please don’t do this nude.

Zach made: Chipotle Mac and Cheese


1 pound macaroni

1 small onion, finely chopped (1/2 cup)

1/2  cup  finely chopped red bell pepper

1/4~½ cup butter?

3 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon paprika

1 tsp mustard powder

Pinch of cumin

Maybe one can of diced tomatoes

Maybe 1 cup of cottage cheese

4 chipotle in adobo and their juices, chopped or 1 tablespoon ground chipotle chili

3 tablespoons~1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups whole milk (2 if using cottage cheese)

3 cups shredded sharp Cheddar (1 cup monetary jack and 2 cheddar)

Salt and black pepper to taste (1~1.5 tsp salt, .5 t of pepper)


Preheat oven to 350°.

Place a pot of water on to boil for macaroni. When it boils, salt water and cook pasta until a little under done, just shy of al dente.

1. Remove 1.5 teaspoon~ 1T adobo sauce from can; set aside. Remove 3 chipotle chiles from can; finely chop to measure 1 tablespoon. Reserve remaining chiles and adobo sauce for another use.

2. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray, and place the macaroni into the bottom of the dish. Heat milk in a saucepan until hot but not boiling.

3. Melt butter in a saucepan, and cook and stir the onion, garlic, and chipotle chiles until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and let cook for about 3 minutes, whisking constantly to avoid burning. Whisk in the hot milk, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir in paprika, mustard, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer (do not boil), whisking constantly until thickened, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheeses, about 1/2 cup at a time, and stir until the cheeses have melted and the sauce is thick and smooth.

4. Pour the sauce over the macaroni in the baking dish, and stir gently to combine. Cover the dish with foil.

5. Bake covered until the dish is bubbling and the macaroni has absorbed some of the sauce, about 40 minutes. Uncover, and bake until golden brown on the edges, 10 to 15 more minutes.


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