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A Very Chicagoist Thanksgiving

By Erin in Food on Nov 22, 2005 12:30PM

2005_11_thanksgiving.jpgAhhhh. Thanksgiving. The time to visit family and, later, fight with them. It's a day where we try to convince people that Black Friday is actually named as such for another reason and we're not wasting an extra day off of work fighting for deals on sweaters that we wouldn't give to our amazingly adorable golden retriever. Thanksgiving means we watch football and get stupidly wasted the night before because there is some unspoken rule about Thanksgiving Eve being The Party Night to End All Party Nights and we are nothing if not sticklers for The Rules around these parts of Chicagoist.

But mostly, Thanksgiving is a day for eating. We love eating. And if we at Chicagoist are not eating, you can bet your bottom dollar we're drinking. It's a wonderful time of year as Thanksgiving kicks off a virtual explosion of reasons to do both.

So we present to you, dear readers, a sampling from the cookbook of Chicagoist. It's by no means a complete Thanksgiving meal, but it's chock-full of things some of us will be gorging upon come Thursday. Neither are they original but at least we left out a recipe for green bean casserole.

Happy eating!

Winter Salad with Poppyseed Dressing – Amy Hart, Politics, Inventor of Chicagoist-brand Beer, Wants Everyone In This Room Here To Look In Her Direction

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons onion, diced
1 teaspoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
4 oz. shredded Swiss cheese
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 pear, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup dried cranberries


2005_11_wintersalad.jpg1. In a blender or food processor, combine sugar, lemon juice, onion, mustard and salt. Process until well blended.
2. With machine still running, add oil in a slow, steady stream until mixture is thick and smooth.
3. Add poppy seeds, and process just a few seconds more to mix.
4. In a large serving bowl, toss together the romaine lettuce, shredded Swiss cheese, cashews, dried cranberries, apple, and pear.
5. Pour dressing over salad just before serving, and toss to coat.


Pomegranate Walnut Sauce (Fesenjaan) -- Benjy Lipsman, Sports, The Real Sam Bakken, Brings Da Noise, Brings Da Funk

2 cups pomegranate juice
Pinch of chicken bouillon or soup mix
2 Tbsp. molasses
2-8 Tbsp. sugar (to taste)
1 Tbsp. butter
2 oz. package chopped or ground walnuts
Pinch salt and pepper
1-2 Tbsp. cornstarch or flour
1-2 onions
1-2 Tbsp. oil


1. Heat the pomegranite juice in a medium saucepan nearly to a boil.
2. Add the soup mix, molasses, and sugar. If the sauce is bitter, add more sugar (or honey).
3. Add the butter and walnuts, and heat gently (don't boil, as the sauce may curdle).
4. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
5. Transfer to a blender in two batches, letting each run on the highest setting until there are no more chunks of walnut.
6. The heat of the sauce will want to expand, so hold lid firmly -- or risk splatter painting your kitchen!
7. Add the flour, a bit at a time, and blend it in until the sauce sticks to the back of a spoon.
9. Sautee onions in oil until soft.
10. Serve warm, pour sauce over poultry and top with in sauteed onions.


Persimmon Pudding, Matt Wood, Raconteur and Man-About-Town, Ving Rhames double

1 cup persimmon pulp, from the store or, if you're lucky enough to
know someone with a persimmon tree, use the ripe ones that have
fallen to the ground
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 small eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon


1. Beat the eggs separately, then combine with rest of ingredients.
2. Pour into a greased, 8x8 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes,
or until it pulls away from the edges of the pan.
3. Serve with Cool Whip.


Gingerbread Bars with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing – Rachelle Bowden, Editor, Chicagoist Prime, Lady of the Manor, Da Boss, Hot Blooded, Check Her and See

Gingerbread Bar Ingredients
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon McCormick® Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon McCormick® Ground Cinnamon
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup molasses
3 tablespoons water

Lemon Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Lemon Extract


2005_11_baked.jpg1. Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil. Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Cream butter in large mixer bowl. Beat in 3/4 cup sugar, egg, ginger, and cinnamon.
3. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Add to butter mixture and mix well. Stir in molasses and water; mix until just blended. Spread in prepared pan.
4. Beat cream cheese in a large mixer bowl until smooth. Stir in confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and lemon extract; beat until smooth. Using 1/2 cup icing, spoon dollops (about 1 teaspoon each) over batter in pan. With a knife, swirl icing through ginger base with 3 to 4 large strokes in each direction to marbelize. Refrigerate remaining icing.
5. Bake 28-30 minutes or until batter begins to pull away from edges. Cool completely. Spread icing over bars. Cut using a sharp knife. Store in refrigerator.


Hot Apple Cider, Julene McCoy, Music, Identifier of Obscene T-shirts at Intonation, Walks With a Switch, Talks with Street Slang

1/2 gallon apple cider
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. whole cloves
1 tsp. whole allspice
2-3 cinnamon sticks


1. Combine all ingredients. Simmer 20 minutes. Drink.

Helpful hints:Put spices in a tea ball so that they don't have to be strained out. Captain Morgan is fabulous to add to the cider. Also can be put into a crockpot and kept on low all day (after simmering). This will fill the house with a great spicy aroma.


Suggested Wine Pairings, Chuck Sudo, Food, Not A Belushi, Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman, Pro-Bounce

"Pair a turkey with a nice aged beaujolais or young bordeaux. Desserts can be spiced up a bit with some fruit-flavored liqueurs. Mathilde Framboise (raspberry), Poire (pear), or Peches make nice additions drizzled onto pies al a mode or ice cream. The framboise mixed with a heavy cream is a sublime after-dinner drink. All three of these, plus Mathilde's Orange XO liqueur can be purchased for under $25 at any self-respecting package store."


Pumpkin and Spice Creme Brulee, Aaron Bailey, Gay/Lesbian Issues, Will Do Anything For Love But He Won't Do That, Lives By "Pumpkin + Creme Brulee = Orgasm"

2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons rum or vanilla
8 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup granulated white sugar (for the caramelized tops)


1.Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, rum or vanilla, yolks, sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Blend well.
3. Strain into a large bowl, skimming off any foam or bubbles. Divide mixture among 6 ramekins or custard cups.
4. Place in hot water bath (see note) and bake until set around the edges, but still loose in the center, about 30 to 40 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven and leave in the water bath until cooled. Remove cups from water bath and chill for at least 2 hours or up to two days.
6. When ready to serve, sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons of sugar over each custard.
7. Caramelize carefully with a kitchen torch or under a broiler.It helps if you have a kitchen torch, but a careful turn under the broiler will do the trick.
8. Rechill for several minutes before serving.
Makes 6 servings.

Note: For the water bath, put a paper towel on the bottom of a roasting pan to prevent the ramekins from slipping. Place the custards in the pan and carefully fill the pan with warm water to about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully place on the middle rack of the preheated oven.


Brussels Sprouts For People Who Think They Hate Brussels Sprouts -- Erin Johnson, Associate Editor, Master Slammer of Irish Car Bombs, The Kind You Don't Bring Home To Mother

1 pound of brussels sprouts
1 teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes, or to taste
5 cloves garlic, finely minces
1/4-1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, or to taste, preferably fresh grated
1/2 cup freshly grated or shaved Parmesan cheese


1. Trim the ends off the brussels sprouts and remove and discared any discolored leaves. If sprouts are large (more than 1 inch in diameter), cut them in quarters lengthwise through the stem end. If smaller, cut in half.
2. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, then add salt and sprouts. Boil the sprouts uncovered until they are just crunchy-tender, about five minutes. Do not overcook! Drain well.
3. Wipe and dry the pot and heat olive oil in it. Add red pepper flakes and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add sprouts and nutmeg and saute for another minute.
4. Top with Parmesan cheese