KQED's Forum: Thanksgiving Advice for Your Holiday Kitchen

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Apple Pie by Stephanie Rosenbaum. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend
Apple Pie by Stephanie Rosenbaum. Photo: Wendy Goodfriend

Listen to KQED's Forum: Thanksgiving Advice for Your Holiday Kitchen
Original Broadcast:
Fri, Nov 22, 2013 -- 10:00 AM

KQED's Forum: Thanksgiving Advice for Your Holiday Kitchen

KQED's Forum: Thanksgiving Advice for Your Holiday Kitchen

Thanksgiving is less than a week away. Whether you're roasting your turkey, brining it or ditching the bird altogether, join KQED's Forum as they share recipes and ask cooking experts for their best techniques and tricks on how to spice up entrees, side dishes and desserts for the holiday season. Also, Forum shares a few recipes for "Thanksgivukkah," since Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlap this year.

    Host: Dave Iverson


  • Kim Laidlaw, cookbook author and contributor to KQED's Bay Area Bites blog
  • Stephanie Rosenbaum, local food writer, blogger at KQED's Bay Area Bites, author of numerous cookbooks including "The Art of Vintage Cocktails" and former lead restaurant critic for San Francisco Magazine and the San Francisco Bay Guardian
  • Traci Des Jardins, chef and owner of Jardiniere in Hayes Valley and Mijita Cocina Mexicana in the San Francisco Ferry Building, two-time James Beard award winner and finalist on the Bravo TV show "Top Chef Masters 3."

Thanksgiving Recipes from Traci Des Jardins

Recipe: Grilled Brined Turkey

Serves 8-10

2 gallons water
1 1/4 cups kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1 large onion, peeled and diced
1 bunch celery, diced
2 leeks, cleaned and diced
2 bay leaves
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 star anise
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh sage
1/2 bunch Italian parsley
4 Tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 8-10 pound whole turkey



Bring 2 gallons of water, salt, sugar, vegetables and spices to boil in a large stockpot. Cool completely. If you want to speed up the process, use half the water initially and then add ice to equal the 2 gallons.

Remove the giblets from the turkey. Add the turkey to the stockpot and place a plate on top to weigh the turkey down to insure full immersion. Refrigerate the whole turkey for 24-36 hours. Remove from brine and place the turkey in a large, disposable, aluminum-roasting pan. Allow the turkey to come to room temperature.

Meanwhile, start the grill. When the coals are white hot, bank them up high along the perimeter of the grill so they form a circle. Place the roasting pan on the grill rack and cover with the lid. Control the temperature of the grill by opening and closing the vents. If the grill is too hot, close the vents slightly, but not all of the way. If the grill is too cold, open the vents. While the turkey is cooking, baste frequently with olive oil or butter and pan juices. It may be necessary to add more coals during the cooking process. If so, fire the coals in a cone separately and add them when they are hot.

It's important to know that brined turkeys cook more rapidly than un-brined turkeys. So you should check the internal temperature of the turkey after 1½ hours grilling time. Remove the turkey from the grill when the deepest part of the thigh reaches 160F. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Recipe: Mashed Potatoes

2 pounds yellow finn or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1/4 cup milk
Salt and white pepper


Place the potatoes in a pot of slightly salted water and cook until tender , but not mushy, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from the water and pass the potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer or use a potato masher. Place the milled potatoes into a heavy -bottomed pot and begin to stir with a wooden paddle. Add the butter a little at time, stirring vigorously until the butter is completely incorporated. Add the milk and mix until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe: Gesier, Chestnut and Chanterelles Stuffing

Serves 12

3 quarts Batard bread, crust removed, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
4 eggs
2 cups celery, cut into 3/4 inch squares
2 cups onion, cut into 3/4 inch squares
2 cups leeks, cut into 3/4 inch squares
4 lbs chanterelles, cleaned and sliced
3 tablespoons butter
3 pounds chestnuts, roasted and peeled
1/2 cup chopped parsley


Place the bread into a large mixing bowl and toss with a few tablespoons of duck fat. Place into a 400-degree oven on a cookie sheet and cook until browned, remove and place back into the mixing bowl.

In a large sauté pan, sauté the chanterelles in the butter until golden brown, season with salt and pepper and add to the bread.

Place the vegetables into the same pan and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper and add to the bread mixture. Roughly chop the chestnuts and add to the mixture. Chop the gesiers and add to the mixture with a few tablespoons of duck fat. Add the Italian parsley.

Mix everything together very well and taste for seasoning, add salt and pepper as necessary Beat the egg well and add to the mixture, mix together very well.

Place into a casserole dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes until golden brown on the top.

2 pound gizzards (duck, chicken or turkey)
3 cups rendered duck fat
3 sprigs of thyme
4 cloves garlic, lightly crushed

Heavily salt the gizzards, combine with the thyme and garlic and allow to sit overnight, or for at least a few hours. Place the melted fat and the gizzards into a hotel pan or deep casserole dish and place into a preheated oven at 225 degrees. Cook for 2 to 3 hours or until completely tender, remove from the fat and refrigerate.

Recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Brown Butter and Grain Mustard

Serves 8

This recipe is a favorite of mine for Thanksgiving, but we have also used it at times in my restaurants for a side of vegetables. The sweet and bitter of the Brussels sprouts combine with the earthy mustard, toasty butter and the acid, making quite a magical flavor combination.

2 pounds Brussels sprouts
1/4 cup butter
3 heaping tablespoons of whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons banyuls vinegar, red wine vinegar can substitute
1/4 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley


Remove the rough exterior leaves of the Brussels sprouts along with any of the stem and discard. Remove a few layers of the greenish leaves until the yellow starts to show, keep the green leaves separate from the centers. Quarter the centers. Blanch the centers in salted boiling water until just al dente, about 4-5 minutes, and then spread on a large surface pan to cool. Very briefly plunge the green leaves into the water, remove and spread out to cool.


To finish the dish, use a fairly large non-reactive and not black bottomed pan, place the butter in pan and put on a medium to medium-high heat. Cook the butter until golden brown and giving off a nutty aroma, add the grain mustard to the pan and toast slightly for just a moment. Add the Brussels sprouts and cook for about two minutes or just until the sprouts are hot throughout, add the vinegar and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper as necessary and finish with the parsley.