Tag Archives: Thanksgiving


As the rest of you are toiling away in the kitchen, taking or giving orders and wondering why every year it takes so much brainpower to figure out turkey math, I’ll be cooking…nothing. I’m not that happy about it. To me, a proper Thanksgiving involves an element of chaos. This from the second youngest of 12 grandchildren, whose clan always gathered en masse for Thanksgiving; that is, except for the rare occasion when Thanksgiving coincided with a powder day, in which case Thanksgiving was a do-over at Howard Johnsons on the drive home from the mountains Sunday. As I grew into personhood and became a ski racer, Thanksgiving was always an away game, taking place wherever we were training for the start of the season.  

Perhaps that is why, to me, Thanksgiving is less sacred than rogue. I love taking on too many cooking projects, making old favorites, enjoying the satisfaction of new recipes that are surprisingly good (Knock-Out Vegan Pumpkin Pie), and suffering the consequences of epic fails (pretzels that could break your teeth). Ideally, there’s a little bit of all that going on, and nobody really remembers the food anyway because of the chaos and the company.

With the kids gone on their own ski racing journeys, our Thanksgivings have become very small affairs. This year, my culinary responsibilities come down to making a mustard dill sauce for smoked salmon. This task takes all of three ingredients and five minutes, if you are a slow chopper.

It’s is a solid recipe, from one of my few remaining cookbooks, The Silver Palate Cookbook. I have the 1982 edition, with “Thys” penciled in my Mom’s handwriting on the inside cover. As the stains throughout attest, this baby has lived on the front lines for many a Thanksgiving.

Here is the recipe in its entirety, though I’ll be making ¼ recipe which will still be too much:

Dill Mustard Sauce

from the Silver Palate Cookbook

  • 1 cup sweet mustard (the really sweet honey ham stuff)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup chopped fresh dill

Mix all ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

And that, my friends, is all am making for Thanksgiving; but it just feels wrong, so I’ll bring something else for sure. Bringing an unassigned dish to a small Thanksgiving, however, can be tricky. You don’t want to boss a new dish on everyone when the pressure is on to try it and enjoy it; or steal the host’s mojo by creating a direct competitor to a favorite dish.

It has to be something that can be easily served as a complement, and/or politely stored away for another occasion. If you happen to be in this situation, here are a few suggestions:

You’ll never go wrong with nuts, especially at the holidays. Honey thyme walnuts go well with any cheese spread, and anything from the Bring It nut anthology can stand alone. The app table can always use some substantial Everyone Crackers that accommodate most all special diets, except sesame allergies.

A jar of chili crisp will add a little sass to the turkey without stealing any cranberry thunder (they’re definitely different food groups). Homemade granola is a good call, especially if you are staying over. Press the Easy button with Tahini Granola (sorry again sesame allergy peeps), or super healthy Seed Bark Granola or my current fave Judson’s Crispy Granola from Martha’s Vineyard Magazine.

If you can’t cook, you also can’t come empty-handed. (Huge bonus points for anyone with vintage miniature Pilgrim candles btw). You’re never going to go wrong with flowers, a bag of good coffee, a box of chocolates or a bottle of something fun. Might I suggest Ancho Reyes, which can spice up any margarita or Bloody Mary, either of which may come in handy when the family’s been together for a few days.

That’s all I’ve got for now, because I must go chop my handful of dill and rest. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

For the host who has everything, rice krispy  turkey legs are just the thing.

Thanksgiving Samosas

A twist on Thanksgiving leftovers

A twist on Thanksgiving leftovers

Thanksgiving was so great this year. My mom, my sister and my brother-in-law came to visit from Connecticut. The three of them combined with my small family made for a total of six at the table. It was a small, quality group. My mom is very traditional and she was front and center when I created the Thanksgiving menu.  It consisted of turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, cranberry sauce, rolls, pickles, and olives. All followed up by the standard apple and pumpkin pie. We busted a move from tradition with a side of quinoa for the vegetarians in the group (running with scissors, I know!). We had a wonderful meal, great conversation and a nice, cozy time together. One of my favorite parts to the meal was the Gratitude Game we played at the end (Google “Gratitude Questions” and you can play too!).

The next day, I started thinking about what I could make with the leftovers that is non-traditional.  Since I didn’t play the “non-traditional card” on Thanksgiving Day, I figured I could do something fun with the leftovers. I pulled out my cookbooks for inspiration and found it right away. Samosas with turkey leftovers inside! That was it. I hesitated for just a split second thinking, “this borders on pie” (given that Samosas are essentially savory food inside pie shell). But then I realized, dare I say, I’m getting pretty good with the pastry shell.  And so, I forged ahead, making the pastry dough and gathering my leftovers to assemble these tasty nuggets.

Oh, one last thing…. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not BRING these Samosas anywhere. My boys scarfed them down in what seemed like nanoseconds.  Every now and then they would take a small breath and utter, “these are killer”!  Enjoy and happy holidays.


3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp paprika
2/3 cup cold butter, cubed
2/3 cup cold water

Egg wash:
1 egg
1 Tbsp milk

Leftovers!  This can include anything in your fridge.  I used turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. I wished I had more leftover veggies, because I definitely would have stuffed a few of these with veggies! Have gravy on the side for dipping!


To make the dough, place flour, salt, baking powder, turmeric, and paprika in a food processor. Add butter and process until sand-like, approximate 10 seconds. Add water and pulse until mixture just comes together. Wrap dough in saran wrap and allow it to rest in refrigerator for at least an hour.

When ready, line up leftovers and take dough out of fridge and preheat the oven to 350. On lightly floured surface, roll out dough and cut into circles approximately 5 inches in diameter (I used the top of a large yogurt container to make the cut outs). Place approximately ¼ cup of filling on half of the circle of dough. Fold the dough over to make a half moon. Seal the edges well by pinching dough together. I used a folk to push down the edges and make little ridges.

Place samosas on parchment lined baking sheet. Mix 1 egg with 1 Tbsp of milk to make egg wash. Brush each samosas with the egg wash. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. They can be shallow fried if you prefer in 2 inches of vegetable oil until golden brown.

Gobble, gobble!

Knock-Out Vegan Pumpkin Pie

V stands for Very Tasty

V stands for Very Tasty

This pie was a revelation. The pie itself is fantastic, and is a stand-alone favorite, V or no V. It comes from the November issue of Self, the one with UFC star Ronda Rousey on the cover. That’s where the revelation comes in. I’ve been staring at that cover for a solid two weeks, flipping to the pie occasionally to remind myself of what ingredients not to forget this time I go to the store. Each time I flipped past the story on Ronda, looking at the pictures but not tempted to read a word of it (or to even google UFC. It’s Ultimate Fight Championship. Pretend you knew that—I won’t tell.

Then she got knocked out. Suddenly I heard her name pop up a lot. Even my husband commented on the great Ronda Rousey losing a match. Now, give me a loser and you have my interest. It’s not schadenfreude, but a strong aversion to packaged success stories…especially when they double as fashion spreads.

Anyway, I finally read the article (in which she is interviewed by a comedian) and it was hugely compelling: revealing, honest, unusual. She did talk about leaving a legacy as an undefeated champ. So much for that, but by losing she got at least one person who was only interested in pie to read her story and now care about her.  I am still not sure I could actually watch a UFC match—way too much blood, guaranteed—but go Ronda.

Now, on to pie. This is awesome. I made it with kabocha squash that I had baked. You could also use fresh pumpkin or butternut squash or the canned stuff. I can’t use the canned stuff, having recently been burned by a legacy can in the pantry. Oops.

With pumpkin pie the Vegan situation means no eggs, milk or cream in the pie and no butter in the crust. Coconut milk subs for the liquid and somehow enough squash just makes the egg factor go away. The crust—where you can really do some dietary damage with pies—is pretty darned healthy, and even easier to put together than a graham cracker crust. It’s a total win. Top it with whipped coconut cream for the full V experience, or with regular whipped cream from happy cows. It’s time to get your pomegranate game on, so you can get fancy and sprinkle some of those on top too. Either way, you’re going to wish you had room for seconds.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie


  • 1  Pecan-Coconut Crust, frozen
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 can (13 oz) coconut milk


Heat oven to 375°. In a bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Add vanilla, pumpkin puree and coconut milk and mix until well combined. Place frozen shell on a baking sheet and slowly pour in filling. Bake on center rack of oven 25 minutes. Rotate 180 degrees and continue baking until filling is set and no longer looks wet at center, 20 to 30 minutes more. (Mine took longer. No eggs means it won’t set as firmly but it will set more as it cools.) Cool 2 to 3 hours. Serve lightly chilled.

Pecan Coconut Crust


  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


In a medium skillet over medium heat, toast pecans until fragrant; set aside and cool. Reduce heat to medium-low and toast coconut, stirring, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes; cool. In a food processor, process pecans, coconut, sugar and salt until mixture is fine and sticks together slightly. Pour into an ungreased 9″ pie pan. Press into bottom and sides of pan. Freeze until solid. Makes 1 crust.