Vegetarian Thanksgiving happy day for the turkey

Move over big bird and make room for the sides.

Vegetarian dishes are stealing the spotlight for more than a few families who are choosing to eat meatless on Thanksgiving - just as they do every other day of the year. 

The NY Times' Tara Parker-Pope writes today about the health benefits of a birdless holiday meal in her Well column while reminding us too that creativity is limitless with a cornucopia of beautiful fresh vegetables.

Eat your veggies!

Holiday dessert classic La Tarte Tatin from Julia Child

Watch the full episode. See more Julia Child.


God bless PBS. 

The educational TV channel has uploaded 28 Julia Child videos. 

And just in time for the holidays, you too can watch and learn to  make a classic ,  LaTarte Tatin, made with juicy, tart and tangy apples.

Bon appetit, now you may eat!

Charles Phoenix one-on-one with the Cherpumple


I was looking for the perfect holiday dessert and reading up on the new dessert trends - yes, cupcakes are so last year - when I discovered the answer to every dessert table dilemma. 

Serve a Cherpumple, a monster cake filled with already baked pies!

This frightening baking project fascinates and repels.  My son would love it, no doubt.

In fact,  this  gi-normous pie cake - made with box mix, can frosting and pre-made pies - presents a challenge.  Could the Cherpumple be refined? Would the Cherpumple lose its kitsch appeal if it was re-invented in a more delicate fashion using better ingredients?

Take the Cerpumple challenge and let us know.

Here's the dish: 9 steps to a smoother, easier Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving spread I like my holidays to be both elaborate spectacles and simple to manifest.  How's that for being at odds with one's self?

Can a table groaning with elaborate dishes and dides ever be an easy task to accomplish?  Sure, why not?

Give your Thanksgiving Day and dinner the  Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. 

Susan Westmoreland, Food Director at the arbiter of American housekeeping,  gives the skinny on 9 best ways to streamline and enjoy your holiday.  (via

photo courtesy of

Thanksgiving 2010 Holiday recipe round-up

Barefoot Contessa's Roasted Shrimp Cocktail We're moving the week before Thanksgiving, so I anticipate the first meals in our new home to be served on paper plates atop cardboard boxes.

I could care less!

We're moving into a great little house with a spacious backyard, an adorable side porch, and a fireplace! As long as the fireplace is crackling, I'm good. 

But, I realize the rest of the world is scrambling for menu ideas. 

Me too, even if I'm not going to go crazy trying to have everything in place day of.

Still, a woman can dream about the next big meal, the one where she's made that fab recycled wood table from ReadyMade, and everyone is gathered together to count their blessings.   And on the table a beautiful glistening browned bird. 

Oh, the sumptuous sides. Oh, the delicious desserts. Oh the stories we'll tell. 

Heres'a holiday recipe round-up for making your own nostalgic moments.

Photo courtesy of The Food Network

Time for a new Thanksgiving tradition with Pasta Sfoglia recipe

Ron- and Colleen share an appetite for good fresh food

Turkey too hum-drum?  It's time to start a new tradition with a sensational holiday recipe from Sfogila chef restaurateur Ron Suhanosky.

Nonna's Holiday Crab and Lobster Sauce Spaghetti is a childhood favorite of the New York chef and co-owner with wife, Colleen, of two acclaimed Italian bistros - one in NYC, the other in Nantucket. We're sure it will become a much anticipated favorite in your family as well.

Suhanosky idled many a childhood afternoon in the kitchen with his grandmother and great-grandmother, watching and learning and inhaling the happiness their cooking brought to the family.

"I always saw her in the kitchen. I could see how happy she was and I wanted to be that happy," he says. "Food was the element for bringing people together."

The Suhanoskys, whose Italian heritage is central to their appetite for slow food prepared from whole, fresh and local ingredients, both grew up in families where lavish family meals were customary on holidays.  

Suhanosky's background is Polish, Hungarian and Italian while his wife's is Sicilian and French.

He dreams of pasta, mixing textures and flavors - both sweet and savory - in the manner of skilled chefs of the Italian Renaissance.  His province in the kitchen is all things savory while hers is all things deliciously, decadently sweet.

"I started experimenting with old traditions, dried fruits, savory with sweet," Suhanosky says. "I'm usually hungry when I start working on a menu."

Pasta is the quintessential italian comfort food. It melds cultural tradition and simple ingredients to produce memorable moments at the table. Suhanosky's nonna's classic seafood sauce is a holiday tradition that can be yours for the making.

adapted from the Suhanosky's recently published cookbook PASTA sfoglia from Wiley

Nonna's Holiday Crab and Lobster Sauce

serves 8


2 tablespoons grape seed oil

3 cloves garlic, smashed

6 live blue Maryland crabs, cleaned (see Note)

Two 1-pound 12-ounce cans peeled whole San Marzano tomatoes, passed through a food mill

8 cups water

3 lobster tails

1/4 cup finely chopped preserved lemons (Pasta sfoglia provides a recipe, but you may purchase these ready made)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound good quality spaghetti

Optional garnish: 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley, basil or dill

1. Add the grape seed oil, garlic and crabs to a large sauce pan or stock pot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until the crabs turn red, about 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and cook for three more minutes.  Add the pureed tomatoes and 4 cups of the water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer until reduced by half, about two hours. Add the lobster tails and 2 cups of the water and cook for 30 minutes. Let cool and refrigerate overnight.

2. Turn on the heat under the sauce to medium-high. Add the remaining two cups of water and stir to combine.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

3. Remove the crab and lobster to a serving platter. Stir the lemons, salt and pepper into the sauce.

4. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions. Two minutes before the pasta cooking time is complete, use a wire mesh skimmer or tongs to remove the spaghetti from the pot and place them directly into the sauce.  Stir to combine.

5. Serve immediately with the platter of crabs and lobster tails on the side. Sprinkle finely chopped herbs of your choice over everything, if desired.

NOTE: Crabs are bottom feeders so they need to be thoroughly cleaned before they're cooked. Soak them in generously salted water for 24 hours. When you remove them from the water, they are no longer alive. Use a stiff brush to clean between and under the legs.

Terrific salads from turkey leftovers & beautiful berries

Berry beautiful blackberry turkey salad

Tired of the same old, same old post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches?

Toss the bread and fat-laden mayo aside for these new takes on turkey salad. The secret to these easy recipes is berries. 

Fresh berries add a burst of flavor, a bit of texture and, of course, up the health quotient.

This Blackberry Rice Turkey Salad from Driscoll’s is a quick and easy way to give your leftover turkey a makeover. Aside from being tasty, blackberries serve double-duty by adding dietary fiber, heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats, Vitamin C and antioxidants to your diet.

Another wonderful menu
option any day of the year is this Raspberry Turkey Salad recipe from Driscoll's. Snap peas add texture and crunch while raspberries add color (and a healthy dose of antioxidants) to this light and fresh salad.

Driscoll’s is offering $.50 coupons through their website  Just click and print!

Blackberry Rice Turkey Salad

Prep time: 10 minute plus rice cook-time
Makes 4 servings


Rice Salad

1             package (6 ounces) Driscoll’s Blackberries
3             cups whole grain brown and wild rice, cooked
1 1/2       cups turkey, cooked and cubed
1             cup celery, thinly sliced
3/4          cup radish, thinly sliced
1/3          cup glazed walnuts, coarsely chopped

1/3          cup olive oil
1             teaspoon Dijon mustard, coarse ground
2             tablespoons lemon juice
1             teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2          teaspoon salt
1/4          teaspoon black pepper

For the rice salad, mix blackberries, rice, turkey, celery, radishes and walnuts in medium bowl.
Stir in just enough vinaigrette to moisten salad.  Serve or refrigerate until serving.

For the vinaigrette, whisk olive oil, mustard, lemon juice, thyme leaves, salt and pepper in a bowl until blended. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Nutrition Per Serving: 497 calories, 25.63g total fat, 4.00g saturated fat, 20.23g protein, 47.18g carbohydrate, 40.42mg cholesterol, 4.89g fiber, 434mg sodium

Raspberry Turkey Salad Crisp and delicious raspberry turkey salad
Prep time: 10 min
Makes: 2 servings

1   package (6 ounces) Driscoll’s Raspberries, rinsed and divided
¼  cup balsamic vinegar
½  teaspoon sugar
¼  teaspoon black pepper, coarse and ground
4   ounces field greens
4   ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed and blanched
6   ounces turkey strips, cooked and sliced
2   ounces ricotta salata cheese, grated
Purée 1/2 cup of the raspberries, balsamic vinegar, and sugar in a food processor or blender; strain. Stir in black pepper.
Combine field greens, remaining 1 cup raspberries, sugar snap peas and turkey in medium bowl.

Drizzle dressing over salad. Toss until evenly coated. Divide between two serving plates. Sprinkle with cheese.

Nutrition Per Serving: 302 calories, 7.73g total fat, 3.50g saturated fat, 31.97g protein, 23.74g carbohydrate, 78.36mg cholesterol, 8.20g fiber, 137mg sodium

An Unforgettable Holiday Dessert Recipe from Dede Wilson

Fabulously different & delicious pumpkin pie

Fed up with the same old, tired pumpkin pie for dessert?  This year try something deliciously different and sure to be an unforgettable finish to the holiday meal.

Celebrity cookbook author DeDe (pronounced Day-Day) Wilson took time recently to share her fantastic take on the traditional pie - Amaretto-Almond Crunch Pumpkin Pie. Creamy classic pumpkin custard shot through with Amaretto and topped with a luscious Amaretti-Almond streusel, this pie is bursting with flavor and texture.

Wilson, who loves to cook everything, but has an affinity for decadent desserts, says her recipes are for anyone who is interested in the art of baking.

"I'm self-taught," says Wilson. "I grew up in a family with a mother and father who loved to cook. Everything was from scratch and authentic international ingredients. I didn't realize that this was educating my palate. You can do this."

Her recipe is easy as pie and straight from her recently published dessert cookbook, Unforgettable Desserts (Wiley, Hardcover, October 2009i, $29.99).

Amaretto-Almond Crunch Pumpkin Pie

serves 8 to 10

To use current parlance, my BFF is a fabulous woman named Juanita Plimpton. She is not a cook—but she is an amazing taster and is able to consistently give me extremely helpful critiques. On one occasion she provided me with an entire concept. “Why not,” she asked, “create a pumpkin pie with the flavors of almond and amaretto?” I never would have come up with this myself—and she was right. This is sensational in flavor as well as texture. Picture a fairly classic pumpkin pie flavored with a shot of amaretto liqueur, topped with a crunchy blend of amaretti cookies and almonds—almost a streusel. The juxtaposition of creamy pumpkin custard and ultracrisp topping is unexpected and exciting.


20 Lazzaroni Amaretti di Saronno cookies

¼ cup blanched sliced almonds

1 recipe Double Butter Piecrust (recipe below), chilled and ready to roll out


One 15-ounce can pure solid-pack pumpkin

¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

¼ teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream

2 tablespoons Disaronno Amaretto

For the topping: Crumble the cookies by hand into a small bowl. The pieces should be about ¼-inch chunks, more or less. Toss with the almonds; set aside.

1 ) Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat a 9 x 1¼-inch tempered glass pie plate with nonstick spray.

2 ) Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 13-inch round. Transfer to the pie dish. Fold the edge under, and crimp decoratively into a high border. Line with foil and weights and blind-bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until just beginning to color. Remove the foil and weights. Bake until the crust is tinged very light brown, pressing with the back of a fork if the crust bubbles, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

For the filling: scrape the pumpkin into a food processor fitted with the metal blade attachment. Process for 15 seconds; scrape down the sides and process for 15 seconds more. Pulse in the brown sugar, spices, and salt until combined. Pulse in the eggs one at a time until blended, scraping down once or twice if necessary. Pulse in the cream and liqueur. Finish off by processing for 5 seconds to smooth out the mixture. Pour the filling into the crust. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the filling is set around the edges, and quivers in the center when you gently shake the pie dish. Cool the pie plate on a rack. The pie is best served the day it is made.

Store at room temperature, loosely covered with foil.

Double Butter Piecrust

After years of making piecrust in a variety of ways I have come to prefer an all-butter crust made in the food processor with ice water. The flavor is exceptional, and since the metal blade is so sharp and fast, it cuts the chilled butter in quickly, yielding a flaky textured crust. The proportions are quite typical, and if you do not have a food processor, feel free to make it by hand. In either case take care not to overwork it.


2½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

4 to 6 tablespoons ice-cold water

To make with a food processor:

Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade attachment and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse on and off until it forms a very coarse meal; there might be pockets of butter that are larger, which is fine. Drizzle in the smaller amount of water through the feed tube and pulse until the dough is moistened and just holds together if squeezed. Add additional water only if necessary.

To make by hand:

Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Add the butter and cut in, using a pastry blender or two knives, until the fat is cut into approximately ⅛-inch pieces. Sprinkle the smaller amount of water over the flour mixture and toss with fingers or a fork until evenly moistened and the dough just holds together if squeezed. Add additional water only if necessary.

To continue for either technique:

Gather the dough into one or two balls and flatten into a disk or disks. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. It may also be frozen for 1 month, in which case, protect it further by placing in a

zipper-top bag; defrost in the refrigerator overnight. Let the dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.

Let's talk turkey or something like it

Red Bamboo 11.18.08 013

As much as I love to putter about the kitchen concocting fabulous food for myself, my family and friends, I really adore the holidays because I get to eat food - glorious food - prepared by other talented cooks.

What a treat to go to someone else's home to relax and enjoy good food and good company.  The down side is that someone has to clean up the mess. Believe me, the cook never sits still. 

There are two simple solutions. Eat out or take out.

Heresy, you say?  A sensible and a generous gift to the special people who cook for us every day, I say.

If you're looking for a traditional turkey dinner with Latin flavor, try Viva Latin Bistro's $25 feast (with Aunt Beatriz' famous pumpkin soup).  Leave room for the tres leches cake.  It's melt in your mouth divine.

Not a meat eater?  Think 271 Adelphi Street's Red Bamboo Soul Cafe. Their cruelty-free meal featuring tasty traditional mock meat and all the trimmings costs $25.95 with sparkling cider or $29.95 with a glass of champagne or beer.

I had a sneak preview of Chef Billy Ahearn's holiday menu and this avowed carnivore is thinking of switching teams. 

The spinach salad with candied walnuts, vegan blue cheese, wafer-thin slices of whole red and green pears with a blueberry vinaigrette was amazing -- colorful presentation and a mouthful of flavors and texture that popped.  The mock meat smoked turkey and ham looked and tasted like the real thing.  No excuses for saying you miss the taste and texture of meat here.

Want to look good in the kitchen?  Grab, Gobble and Go at Clinton Hill's Jive Turkey.  The one-stop specialty shop for all things turkey has a menu of big birds ranging in flavors from Caribbean Jerk to Peach Bourbon to Carmelized Vidalia Onion. 

Shop the store at 441 Myrtle Avenue or order online.  Can't decide which bird to buy? Get the combo for $142.

Toss the take-away containers, add some sides from Trader Joe's, Whole Foods or Fairway and no one need be the wiser.