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A Few Favorite Thanksgiving Family Recipes

Grandma Tissy's GravyHappy as we are to dream up exciting new Thanksgiving recipes (every side dish in pot-pie form, anyone?), one of our favorite parts of Thanksgiving is the tradition of favorite family recipes. In a quick survey, we found that office favorites include Grandma’s crazy-addictive stuffing, bourbon chocolate pecan pie (booze in everything, please) and my own mom’s sweet-potato praline casserole (No marshmallows. Ever.), which is quite similar to this recipe.

We also wondered what chefs would pick, so we reached out to one who’s built his restaurant around his appreciation of family tradition. Ian Boden, chef and owner of the Shack in Staunton, Virginia, was inspired by the culinary traditions of his wife’s grandmother, Tissy, who made Appalachian and Southern food in her own home (which she called “the shack”). In talking about Grandma Tissy’s legacy, Boden mentioned her turkey gravy, a recipe that Boden’s wife tasked him with recreating based on her descriptions of it after Tissy’s death. So in honor of Thanksgiving family favorites, he agreed to share the recipe and its story. (Note: If you’re nervous about making gravy from pan drippings, here is a primer.)

Grandma Tissy’s Turkey Gravy

Grandma Tissy’s gravy had been sorely missed by the entire family at Thanksgivings after Tissy passed, so I was commissioned with replicating it. Unfortunately Grandma Tissy passed before I met my wife, Leslie, so I never had the change to meet her or taste her beloved gravy. Going in blind is a difficult thing, especially when it’s something so personal to the family. That said, I set to work, and over the course of several years have finally gotten their approval. The secret to this recipe is really in the roux. As a chef we learn to make sure the roux cooks evenly over low heat to get its uniform color. But not here. For Tissy’s gravy you must let it cook unevenly and let little dark brown specks develop. Basically forget everything you know about making roux!

Ingredients
Turkey drippings to yield ½ cup turkey fat (if needed, supplement with lard or butter) and 4 cups of remaining drippings (if needed, supplement with turkey stock or low-sodium chicken stock)
½ cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Pour the drippings from the turkey’s roasting pan into a heat-proof cup and refrigerate until the fat solidifies (about 15 minutes).

Skim the fat to add to a small sauce pot, reserving the rest of the now defatted drippings. Over medium heat, melt the turkey fat, then stir in the flour. Cook for approximately 35 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until the roux reaches a medium-brown color.

Drizzle in the defatted turkey drippings as well as the turkey stock and stir, slowly raising the temperature of the gravy until it reaches a low simmer, then simmer the gravy, stirring regularly, until the desired thickness is achieved (15 to 20 minutes). Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

This Guy is Drinking Ten Cokes a Day For Science

Some people have — how can this be put mildly — issues with consuming rational amounts of soda pop. But these sodas are usually packed chock-full with sugar, and doctors tend not to like it when you inject your body with 350 grams of sugar in a day. However, one guy is doing just that by downing ten whole cans of Coke each and every day. Why? For science!

The owner behind the blog 10 Cokes a Day has been drinking, uh, ten Cokes a day for nearly a month now. In a move reminiscent to Morgan Spurlock’s Supersize Me, he’s doing it to raise awareness about the health ramifications of ingesting that much sugar. So far, he’s gained over twenty pounds and has some blood pressure issues to boot, proving once again that too much of a good thing is actually a bad thing.

He still has ten more days to go, so who knows what will happen at the end? Maybe he’ll turn into a giant can of soda.

Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Cheesy Kale, Sausage and Rice Casserole

Gluten-Free Casserole Recipe

AKA Let the Good Times Casserole

When you write about food for a living, people assume you make glamorous roast duck with fancy vegetables every night for dinner. While I can’t speak for every food writer, I’ll let you in on a little secret: I don’t cook fancy food that often, and I eat a lot of casseroles. Sunday nights, you’ll find me in the kitchen putting together some sort of casserole for dinner that night, or for lunch and dinner for the next few days. Casseroles are easy. They’re awesome. They freeze well, they reheat easily and they offer comfort after a hectic day. Casseroles are melty and delicious and hearty.

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25 Ways to Use Brussels Sprouts

Although you may remember them as the bane of your childhood existence, Brussels sprouts are the slightly smaller, but equally delicious, cousin of cabbage. Forget whatever you may have thought about Brussels sprouts in your youth and give them another try. When in doubt, pair sprouts with pork; whether it’s bacon, pancetta or even chorizo, no one will be able to resist your bacon-y Brussels sprouts.

On their own, Brussels sprouts are quite the superfood: They’re low in calories, yet packed with vitamin C, fiber and even protein.

Brussels sprouts grow on a long branch, and although it’s a shock at first glance, a stalk of Brussels sprouts is easy to manage; carefully cut off the individual sprouts and peel off the first layer of leaves before rinsing and cooking. Alternatively, purchase trimmed Brussels sprouts for a jump-start in the kitchen.

Thanksgiving is the perfect occasion to showcase your newfound love for sprouts. If you’re still curious about sprouts, check out this Brussels sprouts tutorial, then get cooking. Your mother would be so proud.

  1. If you’ve never made Brussels sprouts (or have never truly enjoyed them), start out with simple Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
  2. Deep-fried Brussels Sprouts are tossed with a miso-sake sauce and crispy bacon for an Asian take on classic flavors.
  3. Brussels sprouts are often roasted, but they can also be cooked on the stovetop. Get them nice and brown, then add water, stock or white wine to cook them the rest of the way. Try the method out with Tiffani Thiessen’s Balsamic-Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta (pictured above).
  4. Bal Arneson’s Indian Brussels Sprouts are tossed with garlic, ginger, coriander seeds, smoked paprika and fenugreek leaves for a fully flavored side dish.
  5. Anne Burrell’s simple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon are finished with toasted pine nuts and a bit of shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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This Apple Store in England is Filled With Actual Apples

By now, everyone knows the iconic look of an Apple Store. There’s the angular steel, the square shape and the millions of too-expensive computer products. However, a group of artists and fruit enthusiasts in England have taken it upon themselves to design an Apple Store and fill it with actual apples, instead of tablets and phones.

The Real Apple Store is currently on display at the 1,000 year old Borough Market, which predates the iPad by a sweet 995 years. Inside visitors will find over 1,000 varieties of apples, which is a sweet 995 more than the average person has heard of. You can also taste any of them, which is the real boon here. Finally, you can get your mouth around that one variety of apple your dad hasn’t stopped talking about since 1977.

Unfortunately, this exhibit will only be installed for a limited time, probably until the apples go rotten.

Fall Fest: Winning Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Truffled Cheese Mash

Let’s be serious. The sides are the real stars of the Thanksgiving dinner table. Once your plate is piled high with mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing and cranberries, the bird is hardly the main event.

We’ve rounded up our go-to picks for each category, but tell us: What’s your favorite Thanksgiving side dish? Vote in the comments as we give thanks to our picks.

1. Mashed potatoes are comfort food royalty. Dress them up for the Thanksgiving holiday with truffles and cheese (pictured above), and you may earn VIP spud status for life.

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Side Show on Broadway: “Come Look at The Sweets”

Side Show

Side Show which opened to critical acclaim in New York City on Monday night, is everything a Broadway musical should be. Centered around two joined-at-the-hip twins, Violet and Daisy Hilton, the glamorous, thrilling, epic story follows the duo’s quest for true love and acceptance through the spectacle of fame and the scrutiny of the spotlight.

To celebrate its opening, Cooking Channel teamed up with Zac Young, resident Musical Maestro of Sweets and Executive Pastry Chef at David Burke Fabrick, to create a Sweet Show to match the grandeur of the twins’ incredible Freak Show (you have to see it to understand). Exotic and enticing, playful and full of passion, these recipes — cleverly named for big Side Show numbers — are sure to stop the show at your next holiday gathering. And just like the Hiton twins, what makes these dessert recipes just a little different is what makes them extraordinary.

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Brits Celebrate Not-Thanksgiving With Turkey-Flavored Doughnuts

Believe it or not, they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving over there in jolly old England. It must be something about those two wars or whatever. That doesn’t mean, however, that they don’t enjoy the sublime tastes of Thanksgiving food. They just tweak it a bit. How much? Well, here are some turkey- and stuffing-flavored doughnuts.

The manufacturer behind these poultry-ish treats is a grocery chain called Tesco, who are known for a series of bizarre doughnut variations appropriately called Weirdoughs. In addition to this turkey and stuffing concoction, they also sell bacon doughnuts, cheese and onion doughnuts and, of course, salt and vinegar doughnuts. They are likened to doughy, soft potato chips, so as not to tax the English’s already dilapidated teeth (zing!)

If you find yourself wandering around England next week, pick up a pack and enjoy Thanksgiving in soft, doughy form. You could probably scour the Internet and find some as well.

 

Hump Day Snack: Cheesecake Pumpkin Pecan “Chumpcan” Pie

Pumpkin Pecan PieTurducken, Veggieducken, Cherpumple, Pumpecapple — no matter if you’re preparing main course or dessert, Thanksgiving’s overstuffed, multi-layer creations are guaranteed to get you tongue-tied and make a statement on your dinner table. Channel the hybrid nature of these behemoth creations with this recipe for Cheesecake-Pumpkin-Pecan Pie. Just like our Veggieducken, which packs sweet potatoes and stuffing into a squash, this three-in-one masterpiece combines a flaky pie crust, a smooth cheesecake, custardy pumpkin and a gooey, sweet pecan filling all into one jaw-widening dessert. You’ll need to make each component separately and freeze each layer to achieve the perfect layers. Once it has baked off and the nutty pecan pie topping has cooled, crack into the crust and cut a piece of what we’re calling the chumpcan pie – it’s triple shot of Thanksgiving-dessert heaven.

For more ways to recreate some of Thanksgiving’s famous hybrid mains and desserts, check out Cooking Channels more celebrated Franken-dishes:

Make Your Own Spice Blends

Everything Bagel Spice

Whether you want to make a truly homemade pumpkin pie or gussy up morning toast, spice blends can fill a lot of needs in the kitchen with just a few shakes. A lot of these are great add-ins to light sour cream or plain Greek yogurt to make a flavorful dip for veggies. They’re also an excellent, portable gift idea.

Pumpkin Pie: With Thanksgiving around the corner, this is the perfect spice blend to whip up now. Use it not just in pie, but in muffins, oatmeal and pancakes.

Apple Streusel: Crushed dried apples infuse this blend with a strong apple flavor. Try it sprinkled on popcorn; stirred into sour cream or yogurt as a sweet dip for fruit; or sprinkle it on oatmeal, ice cream, pancakes or toast.

Everything Bagel: Addicted to the salty, savory flavor of everything bagels? Make this spice blend (pictured above) and use it to add flavor to a baked potato or pasta dish, coat a chicken breast, top a salad, or sprinkle over potato pancakes. It’s even great on pretzels.

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