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A Very Chicagoist Thanksgiving 2K6

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Nov 21, 2006 3:25PM

2006_11_turkeyday.jpgCome this time Thursday morning, some of you will be nestled in the comforts of Mom's home cooking, or a friends', or your significant other's. Some of you might be doing the cooking yourselves, and wondering if you bit off more than you can chew by planning a menu centered around roast turkey breast wrapped in applewood smoked bacon and served with hazlenut mole. Many of you who still think going out the night before Thanksgiving is a mandatory exercise will be nursing hangovers you haven't had since your freshman year of college. Meanwhile, that pervert uncle on your dad's side leers at your date and asks if she wouldn't mind "licking his egg beater," while she smiles at him and eyes the carving knife with deadly intent, and the talk around the football game is all about how the Bears could whip any of the teams playing 107-3. It's enough to make you wonder if you made the right decision in not going movie hopping at River East all day.

It's become an annual tradition here at Chicagoist to offer some unique Thanksgiving dishes that are easy to prepare and complement any type of Thanksgiving dinner. Actually, we're a little scared of Jocelyn's Ho-Ho Freakout recipe, but the name sounded too awesome to not include it this year. So sit back and enjoy, while we bring you "A Very Chicagoist Thanksgiving 2K6."

Cranberry Turkey Meatballs by Joanna Miller
"This Week in Stupid" and "Focus, People, Focus" columnist, owner of the third-cutest dog on the Chicagoist staff.

2 eggs, beaten
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1/3 cup ketchup
1 small onion, or half of a large onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds ground turkey

1 (16 oz.) can whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 bottle (12 oz.) chili sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced

In a bowl, combine the first 9 ingredients. Add turkey and mix well. Shape into 1" balls. Place in an ungreased 15x10x1" baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees for 8-10 min. or until no longer pink. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a slow cooker or chafing dish. Combine sauce ingredients in a saucepan; simmer for 10 min., stirring occasionally. Pour over meatballs. Serve warm.

Makes about 7 dozen.

Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Curry Soup by Sarah Dahnke
Interview Staff, savant-like knowledge of all nightly bar specials within the city limits, arabesque.

2 large red bell peppers
2-3 tomatoes
1/2 an onion
4 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons (or so) olive oil
½ can coconut milk
2-4 tablespoons curry powder
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Quarter and seed the bell pepper. Quarter the tomato. Slice the onion into 1/4-inch pieces. Peel the garlic. Place bell pepper, tomato, onion and garlic on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, making sure to cover all of the vegetables. Generously salt and pepper entire baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Flip vegetables over halfway through baking process. When the bell peppers begin to soften, and their skins wrinkle, take baking sheet out. Carefully peel red pepper skins off (they're hot!) and discard. Allow vegetables to cool for about 10 more minutes. Place roasted vegetables in blender, add coconut milk, and puree. Add the rest of the seasonings (curry powder, cayenne pepper, basil, more salt and pepper if desired), and blend until smooth consistency. Soup can be served hot with bread or cold like gazpacho, topped with diced vegetables.

Sesame Broccoli with Walnuts by Rachelle Bowden
Chicagoist Prime, Packer fan (but she doesn't know better).

2006_11_sesame_broccoli.jpg1 spray cooking spray
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 cup broccoli, florets
1½ tablespoons chopped walnuts

Coat a large skillet or wok with cooking spray. Pour in oil and heat over medium-high heat. Stir-fry broccoli until crisp-tender, about 2 to 3 minutes; add walnuts and stir-fry 1 minute more.

Apple Cornbread Stuffing by Laura Oppenheimer
Food/drink writer, "This is the greasiest veggie burger I've ever tasted!", lover of the Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment

2 cups chopped onion
1½ cups chopped celery
1½ sticks (¾ cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 cups pecans
3 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves (or 1 tablespoon crumbled dried)
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves (or 2 teaspoons crumbled dried)
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary or (1 teaspoon crumbled dried)
½ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
3 Granny Smith apples

Cornbread for Stuffing
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

In a bowl stir together the flour, the cornmeal, the baking powder, and the salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, the egg, and the butter. Add the milk mixture to the cornmeal mixture, and stir the batter until it is just combined. Pour the batter into a greased 8-inch-square baking pan and bake the cornbread in the middle of a preheated 425-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top is pale golden and a tester comes out clean. Let the cornbread cool in the pan for 5 minutes, invert it onto a rack, and let it cool completely.

Crumble the cornbread coarse into 2 jelly-roll pans, bake it in the middle of a preheated 325-degree oven, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until it is dry and deep golden, and transfer it to a large bowl. In a large skillet cook the onion, the celery, and the mushrooms with salt and pepper to taste in ½ stick of the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened and transfer the mixture to the bowl of cornbread. Add the pecans, the sage, the thyme, the rosemary, the parsley, the remaining 1 stick butter, melted, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the mixture gently until it is combined well, and let it cool. The mixture may be prepared up to this point 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. Stir into the mixture the apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ¼-inch pieces.

Bake at 350 degrees until the stuffing is warmed through.

Double Layer Pumpkin Pie by Shannon Saar
Weekender, Pumpkin Lover, Geek, Nerd, OMG, ROFL, LOLz

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon each milk and sugar
1½ cups thawed whipped topping
1 prepared 10" graham cracker crust
1 cup cold milk
1 can (16 oz.) pure pumpkin
2 packages (4-serving size) Jell-o Vanilla flavor instant pudding
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Mix cream cheese, milk and sugar in a large bowl with a wire whisk until smooth. Gently stir in whipped topping. Spread on bottom of crust.

Pour the cold milk into another large bowl. Add pumpkin, pudding mixes and spices. Beat with a wire whisk until well mixed. (Mixture will be thick!) Spread over cream cheese layer.

Refrigerate four hours or until set. Garnish with additional whipped topping, if desired.

Smith Family Gooseberry Pie by James Koh
Copy editor, the Pythagorean Korean, "Team Dwight Schrute", "It's all in the guide, Tankboy."

1½ cups sugar (or more)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 cups gooseberries (or more)
2 pie crusts
1 tablespoon butter (or more)

Pre-heat oven to 450.

Combine sugar and cornstarch. Sprinkle this mixture over the gooseberries. Put the berries in a sauce pan, and, stirring gently, bring it to a boil, adding water (1 tablespoon at a time) only if necessary to prevent scorching.

Pour the berries (trying to withhold most — but not all — of the liquid) into a pie crust, and dot with butter.

Top with the second crust. Bake at 450 for 10 minutes (on a cookie sheet to catch drippings). Reduce heat to 350, and bake until the crust is golden brown (about 30-35 minutes). Let it rest for 5-10 minutes.

Call the kids in quietly to get their slices of pie before Papa Smith eats the entire pie (again).

Ho-Ho Freakout by Jocelyn Geboy
General contributor, VIS!, knows what water can do to a dead body, still getting used to street signs that don't have "north" as a designation.

1 box of Ho-Hos
2 packages of instant chocolate pudding mix
4 cups of milk
1 large tub (16 oz.) whipped topping

Cut Ho-Hos into circles, saving 1 Ho Ho. Mix pudding and milk according to pudding package directions and chill until thick. In a large glass bowl, layer Ho-Hos, pudding and whipped topping, ending with whipped topping. Take remaining Ho-Ho and slice in circles and place on top. Keep refrigerated until ready to eat.