Thanksgiving

bestpumpkinpie2There are tons of pumpkin pie recipes, and in November all of the food shows and magazines are filled with both classic and innovative recipes. I think I’ve tried all of them – most started with canned pumpkin, and then the ingredients vary - some use heavy cream, others swear by evaporated milk, some are heavily spiced with cinnamon and cloves.

I love pumpkin pie, but have never found what I would call the BEST pumpkin pie until recently. I was watching an episode of America’s Test Kitchen (the leader in test perfected recipes) called “An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving”. The ingredients and the method were quite original and I couldn’t wait to try it.

There are a few extra steps, but well worth it. If you don’t want to make your own crust, you can use a Pillsbury Ready Made crust. Feel free to alter the amount of cinnamon (I used Penzey's Extra Fancy Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon Click here for Penzey's), but the fresh ginger is key to the pie’s flavor.

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pumpkinbread.jpgIn a recent headline in the "Dining" section of the New York Times, the following question was posed: at Thanksgiving is it all about the turkey or the side dishes?

For me, hands down it has always been about the sides.   Never a fan of the tryptophan laden bird, I spend most of fall dreaming of the day in which gorging on cornbread dressing, broccoli casserole (made with Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup), and sweet potato casserole loaded with pecans and brown sugar is encouraged.   But the side dish I love the very most, the one that is made only at this special time of year, is pumpkin bread.

Whether served hot out of the oven with butter while the top is nice and crunchy; or the next day cold with a dollop of cream cheese...homemade pumpkin bread rocks! 

Especially the recipe for this tasty treat that has been knocking around my family for years now.  It's, by far, the absolute hands down best there is.   But enough of the hyperbole, here's the recipe for you to try, guaranteed to make this Thanksgiving a memorable one.

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pumpkinbread.jpgOur family will pause during Thanksgiving dinner and each of us will take a moment to mention what we're most thankful for in the past year.  Other than that, I have to confess our holiday is all about food. 

The eating begins the moment I arrive at my sister's house.  I put down my suitcase and head for the kitchen where a loaf of fresh pumpkin bread is waiting.  I'll eat my first slice of many before I even take off my coat.   

We have turkey of course, but pumpkin bread is the official food for the week of our family's Thanksgiving.  I've already done the math – and I'm worried whether the 14 loaves Carla already made will be enough for the 14 people in the family  before fights break out over the crumbs. 

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From the LA Times

Roasted TurkeyWe've been writing about dry-brining turkeys for four Thanksgivings now and the response from readers has been overwhelming. Most say it's the best turkey they've ever made. But there are always some lingering questions. Here are answers to some of those most frequently asked. If you've got one that's not covered here, drop me a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we'll add it to this list:

How did the turkey get its name? The "Judy Bird" is named for famed chef Judy Rodgers of Zuni Café in San Francisco. It was inspired by her method for preparing roast chicken, which is legendary among food lovers.

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pumpkincakeSo you're preparing for Thanksgiving and you’re already irritable just thinking about the cooking tasks that lie ahead of you. You wish that it was your sister-in-law who was the one cooking, as usual, but she is bailing this year and going to Paris (where they have lousy pumpkin pie, by the way).

So there you are with the piles of sweet potatoes and cranberries, getting crabbier by the minute. Then you find out that two of your guests are non-dairy and two are gluten-free.

Before you have a nervous breakdown, try this dessert. It’s so easy you can make it plus a pie (for those who are gluten-gobblers and live for butterfat) and still not lose your mind.

Also, you will like it–it’s delicious, especially with a little whipped cream which your dairy-phones won’t like, but, hey, let ‘em eat cake.

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