Wed, Nov 21, 2012 -- 10:00 AM
Thanksgiving TipsDownload audio (MP3)
Thanksgiving is around the corner. Do you know what to do with that bag of Brussels sprouts? We have a panel of cooks to help you out. From new and traditional recipe ideas to how to rescue a crumbling pie crust. Call in with your favorite recipes and your cries for help.
Host: Dave Iverson
- Amanda Gold, food writer for the San Francisco Chronicle
- Amy Wisniewski, food editor at Chow.com, an online food magazine based in San Francisco, where she also manages the test kitchen
- Tanya Holland, owner and executive chef of Brown Sugar Kitchen and B-Side BBQ
- How To Brine a Turkey : CHOW.com
- Taste Test of Pre-Brined Turkeys : SFGate.com/Thanksgiving
- Best Way Mashed Potatoes : SFGate.com/Thanksgiving
- Recipe for Pear Upside-Down Polenta Cake : SFGate.com/thanksgiving
- Tips for a Vegetarian Thanksgiving : Bay Area Bites
- Chef Traci Des Jardins Cooks Thanksgiving Dinner : The California Report
- Thanksgiving Help Line : New York Times
- Bay Area Bites: KQED's Food Blog
Steps to Do the Day Before
Amanda Gold: "Sometimes if you're just going to sauté [vegetables], you need to cook them a little bit first. You need to boil them, par boil them in water to get them a little bit softer... You're going to cook it in boiling water for one to five minutes depending on the vegetable... Then you can dry them, put them back in the fridge and then they are ready to finish."
Amy Wisniewski: "I always make my cranberry sauce way ahead of time, just because it's such a simple thing, you can just stick it in the fridge - it's fine for a couple of days. I do anything else that's a casserole like that -- definitely stuffing, sweet potatoes -- you can definitely make ahead because those things just rewarm while your turkey is resting...you don't have to worry about oven space."
"You're basically having a party at your house. So you have to think beyond just the food part: think about the dishes, setting the table, even cleaning the house. Those sort sof things can be done days in advance."
Give Brussels Sprouts a Second Chance
Amy Wisniewski: "I think brussels sprouts are kind of an underrated vegetable. I think people either overcook them and they smell terrible or people always turn to maybe some bacon or something, which isn't a bad idea, because I love that too. But you know, a really cool thing you can do with brussel sprouts is just make them into a salad rather than having to cook them, because you can shred them real thinly and then toss them with a little vinaigrette and you still get a nice flavor and they are a tiny bit bitter and it is a nice compliment. Plus you get a little more texture in your meal, rather than the soft consistency of everything else."
Making Better Stuffing
Amanda Gold: "I think stuffing is one of those things too, almost like brussels sprouts that a lot of people grow up thinking they don't like because they grew up on boxed stuffing. But you can make such good stuffing with fresh artisan bread that you can get [in the Bay Area] -- you know walnut bread, stuff with texture."
How to Personalize a Pre-Cooked Meal
Amy Wisniewski: "[The seasoning on prepared meals] is questionable... it's under-salted, over-salted, or there's just no flavor. But if you get [something like] mashed potatoes, you can always stir in a little cream or a little butter. Or even some herbs, if you want to, at the end. If you get some plain green beans you can add a little toasted almonds or toss it with some worm vinaigrette or something like that to add a little bit more flavor."
How to Save Burned Sweet Potatoes
Amy Wisniewski: "So if you put that sweet potato casserole under the broiler and you end up, ya know, catching your marshmallows on fire?You don't have to worry about it. They actually just peel off in once piece; and then you can just start over and nobody will know the difference."
Fixing Runny Pecan Pie
Dan in Alameda: "I like to make pecan pie but what I find that my pies come out a little bit runny. When I have pecan pie at a restaurant it has a little bit of a thicker richer texture to it and I was wondering how I could achieve that?"
"Usually I use Karo Syrup recipe, which is about a cup of Karo Syrup, a cup of sugar, three eggs, some butter."
Tanya Holland: "That sounds right; I'm wondering about the temperature, if your oven has been calibrated and you have the right temperature, you might want to get an oven thermometer [to see if] you're cooking it long enough."