A dozen recipes created by food bloggers for an extraordinary Thanksgiving meal
By Devour Staff
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JACKELIN SLACK
OK, we get it. It’s Thanksgiving. A meal you’ve feasted upon for __ years in a row (fill in the blank with your age, minus three: one for your infancy and two for those years you were out of the country for study abroad/a church mission/military service or stranded at an airport. Just how many ways can you spin this American feast and still serve a meal that your family and friends will recognize?
Turns out there’s no shortage of fresh and scintillating ideas, especially if you’re ingenious enough to invite a dozen food bloggers to a potluck dinner, as Devour editors did in September. Being able to use the spacious teaching kitchen at Gygi Culinary Arts Center (3500 S. 300 West, South Salt Lake, 801-268-3316 , Gygi.com) gave us ample space to create such a feast, plus a place to dine. Thanks to Heather Smith and her staff for hosting our event.
Starting with an appletini cocktail and a ramekin of fish pate to spread on crackers, it was obvious this would not be our Gram’s T-day spread.
Taking a lead role was Aimee L. Cook (with Gather, Nosh and Savor) who roasted a fresh turkey from Utah Natural Meat & Milk on her Traeger grill. Her method resulted in a moist and succulent smoked bird and a gravy with a surprisingly smoky edge. Both were oh-so-amazing!
From there, we were treated to a veritable flavor-copia of sides, dessert and wine: A curried butternut squash soup kicked off the meal in style, followed by rosemary-spiked sourdough stuffing, creamy gold potatoes (seasoned with rosemary, thyme and sage), apple-cinnamon sweet potatoes and pecans, Brussels sprouts prepared with pancetta and apple-cider vinegar, a pecan studded wild-rice pilaf (as an alternative to bread stuffing), garlicky crescent rolls served with cranberry chutney and plum butter and finally, dessert that included a slice of plum crumble pie topped with a dollop of whipped cream. The courses were nicely paired with a variety of wines suggested by Vine Lore Wine and Spirits.
One thing became clear to the Devour editors: food bloggers rock! These cooks and bakers know how to create authentic, healthy fare at home. Thus, if you’re seeking ideas for an inspired banquet, these bloggers and Instagrammers have it dialed in. This menu is a crowd-pleasing fest of zest.
Get This Party Started
Lisa Clark and Erika Radford
In 2017, sisters Lisa Clark and Erika Radford started the Boozy Ketones Instagram page as a place to log their low- and no-sugar cocktail recipes: “We started doing the Keto diet thing,” says Clark, “mostly to conquer sugar cravings and some bad eating habits.” Agrees Radford, “We gave up on a lot of things in the name of health but drew a hard line at alcohol.” After researching available low-sugar recipes on the internet (which they declared “boring”), they decided to take matters into their own hands: “For the people. Mostly for us,” says Clark with the irreverent and deliciously sarcastic wit that has made Boozy Ketones one of my favorite feeds for a good laugh to go along with their beautiful cocktails.
“Drinking and entertaining should be fun,” says Clark of the sisters’ philosophy of hosting friends and family. “Our approach to a healthy lifestyle is that you need to be reasonable. Be happy and have a social life and don’t make yourself miserable, just make some adjustments.” When making drinks for a crowd, the sisters like to set up an easy and casual serve-yourself bar to suit different tastes. “Alcohol can be something guests have a very strong opinion about, so we try to guide tastes to try something new while also having the classic mixers available.” They created this celebratory cocktail with bubbles and Utah gin infused with the apple-pie flavors of fall.
“Sparkling wine effectively kicks off the holiday season,” says Clark of the cocktail, and “It’s also a breeze to make for a crowd and gets your in-laws dancing pretty quickly.” Win-win. (By Darby Doyle)
American Pie 75
1 ½ ounces apple-pie infused New World Distilling Oomaw Gin*
Squeeze of fresh lemon
2-3 ounces sparkling wine
Garnish: Honeycrisp apple slice
To a champagne flute add the infused gin* and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Fill the glass with sparkling wine and garnish with an apple slice.
*To make the infusion: Add 3 sliced Honeycrisp apples to 1 pint of gin in a large glass jar. Seal and let infuse for 2 weeks at room temperature, shaking it whenever you feel the urge. After 2 weeks, add 2 cinnamon sticks; leave at room temperature for another 2 days and then strain out solids. Decant infused gin into a clean pint jar.
Sweeten to taste as needed with a sugar-free sweetener. “Our favorites are erythritol, monk fruit drops and stevia glycerite,” Clark says, noting that these natural sugars do not spike insulin nor are they metabolized by the body.
Food and beverage writer Darby Doyle’s blog, aBoubonGal.com, began in 2012 as a way to share her home bar experiments and recipes created for the game meat butchered from her family’s hunting and fishing adventures. Although mostly sidelined for paid professional writing now, Doyle’s passion for quality ingredients and interesting ways to showcase them shines through wherever her words appear.
Here, Doyle’s salmon rillettes highlight Alaskan salmon caught by her family and smoked under her watchful eye. “I use a half-and-half combo of smoked fish and fish just barely cooked through in a mild court bouillon for a smooth texture and optimal flavor,” she says.
Doyle’s insistence that some kind of fish be on the table for Thanksgiving is handed down from her maternal grandparents. “In addition to the requisite turkey,” Doyle says, “there would be a whole roasted or grilled fish stuffed with lemon and herbs, a creamy fish dip with potato chips or croquettes made from pressure-canned fish that we put up by the dozens of jars every year.”
Brought up by the incredible hostesses, amazing home cooks and talented bakers who were her mother and grandmother, Doyle says her style of cooking and entertaining is heavily influenced by them. “From my Grandma Audra Belle,” she says, “I learned all about home economy and creatively using ingredients to minimize waste, especially for food they harvested themselves, like fish and venison.”
Doyle notes that rillettes are a terrific way to use up leftover grilled or poached fish, especially “that last few inches toward the salmon’s tail that isn’t as visually appealing but is a shame to waste when it’s so darn delicious.” (By Heather L. King)
Salmon (or Trout) Rillettes
Rillettes (pronounced “ree-yets”) are an almost-perfect potluck appetizer. Basically a rough country pate, rillettes are packed into easily transportable jars for both storage and serving. Usually made with wild game, pork or duck, the standard ratios can be easily adapted for fish.
They can be kept in the fridge for at least a couple of days—or frozen for up to six months. I made this one from salmon I harvested and smoked following a family fishing trip on the Kenai River in Alaska. It’s also awesome with locally harvested trout.
1 large lemon (divided use)
2 tablespoons dry (white) vermouth
⅔ cup water
1 bay leaf
5-6 black peppercorns
4-5 fennel seeds
½ pound fresh salmon or trout, skin and bones removed, cut into ½-inch chunks
½ pound smoked salmon or trout, skin removed, cut into small dice
1 large shallot, diced fine, rinsed under cold water and patted dry
⅓ cup crème fraîche (or sour cream)
4 tablespoons softened butter (plus more, if needed)
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with capers, chives
Served with crackers, fresh veggies
Remove zest of the lemon with a vegetable peeler. Drop 1 swath of peel into a medium saucepan. Finely mince remaining peel and set aside in a small bowl. Juice the lemon, strain and add to the minced peel. Reserve.
To the above saucepan, add vermouth and water. Wrap the bay leaf, (cracked) peppercorns and fennel seeds in a square of cheesecloth and knot closed. Drop the bouquet garni (author’s note with eye roll: herb bundle) into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until just boiling, reduce heat to a bare simmer.
Add the fresh salmon/trout to the saucepan. Stir briefly to prevent clumping. Turn off the heat, top with the lid, and let sit to poach for 10-12 minutes.
Strain the poached fish. Remove the bouquet garni. Move the fish to a shallow mixing bowl to cool to room temp (about 15-20 minutes).
Once cooled, add the diced smoked fish to the poached fish. Add the reserved lemon juice and zest, prepared shallot, crème fraîche, 4 tablespoons softened butter and horseradish. Smash with a fork to combine until it is just barely a rough spread (not a homogenous goo—think sausage, not hot dog). Add more butter or crème fraîche if needed to make it stick together well. Add salt, pepper and more lemon juice to taste.
Pack into glass jars or ceramic ramekins a teaspoon at a time to pack out all air bubbles. If making more than two days in advance, pour a coating of olive oil or softened butter to seal the top of the rillettes against discoloration and spoilage. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
15-20 minutes before serving, set out rillettes to soften at room temp. Garnish with capers, chives and crushed pepper.
Serve with crackers and pickled and fresh vegetables as a garnish.
Velvet in a Bowl
“I want everyone to be able to enjoy my recipes,” says Jackelin Slack of her blog, Salted City, where she emphasizes self-described “health-ish” meals that are mostly plant-based and often have vegan options. “I want it to feel doable, even on a weeknight.”
Slack began the blog as an extension of her work as a professional portrait photographer and her love for food. “I wanted to be able to share my recipes and my love affair with food with my friends and the world,” she says, “and what better way to do that than with a blog.” As followers of her social media feeds can attest, her food photography is downright drool-worthy.
Her style of cooking is flavor-packed and dynamic, with a nice balance of heat and acid. “I like to infuse my food with spices and herbs for a flavor punch without a lot of fuss,” says Slack. She learned to cook in her mother’s kitchen, a place filled with international flavors and ingredients (her mother is German, and the family immigrated to the U.S. from South America when Slack was young). Fans of Slack’s social media feed can count on her recipes being as simple as they are delicious and appreciate her reliance on low-attention-level techniques like roasting and one-pot recipes like stew to make family weeknight meals a snap. “Soup is just so comforting to me,” she says, “and I like starting meals off with soup when the weather turns cold.” Case in point? The fragrant and earthy curried butternut squash soup with coconut milk she shared with our group for the Devour Thanksgiving table. (By Darby Doyle)
Curried Butternut Squash Soup With Coconut Milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
¾ teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon cumin powder
4 quarter-size pieces of fresh
ginger, peeled and minced
4 cups vegetable broth (like
Better Than Bouillon)
1 large cooked squash,
peeled and cubed
(about 4 cups)
1 13½-ounce can
Skillet-toasted Pumpkin seeds*, Fresh cilantro
Heat oven to 400*. Rinse and dry the squash. Slice off the ends of the squash and cut in half lengthwise. Place squash face down on a lightly oiled sheet pan and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until flesh is tender when poked with a fork. Allow to cool, scoop out the seeds and peel. Cut the squash into ½-inch cubes.
In a large stockpot, sauté the onions on medium-low heat until just barely translucent (4-5 minutes). Add the curry powder, cumin and ginger. Sauté another minute, stirring. Add more oil if it sticks.
Add the broth to the onion and spice mixture. Raise heat and bring the broth to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer; simmer about 5-7 minutes. Add the cubed, cooked squash to the broth and simmer another 5-7 minutes. Add the coconut milk and simmer for another minute; remove the soup from the heat.
Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with sprigs of cilantro and toasted pumpkin seeds.
*To toast pumpkin seeds: Place a handful of pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Toss the seeds constantly until they begin to toast and pop.
The Thrill of the Grill
Aimee L. Cook
It’s in Aimee Cook’s blood to cook well and feed a crowd—after all, she’s Italian.
Both her mom and dad have cooked professionally but it was her grandmothers—little nonna and big nonna—who taught her the intricacies of Italian cooking. Whether canning, rolling ravioli or making Italian desserts, Cook credits her continued love of feeding friends and family to her lineage of masterful Italians. “We still to this day make a ton of those family recipes,” Cook explains.
Preserving her family’s recipes and methods was, in fact, the beginning of Cook’s foray into food writing. In 2012, she and a friend started posting family friendly recipes and photos on their Blogger site called Eating Thyme.
Once she started writing about food professionally for Devour Utah, more publications followed and eventually Eating Thyme ended. But in 2017, Cook created GatherNoshAndSavor.com to once again catalog family recipes as well as share restaurant news and events she learns about while covering food-related topics.
“And then I got a Traeger, and it changed my life,” Cook says. Her love of the smoker/oven/grill is well documented online and in print.
And it’s the Traeger that creates the star of the Thanksgiving meal—an 18-pound fresh turkey from Utah Natural Meat & Milk (5600 W. 7400 South, West Jordan, 801-896-3276, UtahNaturalMeat.com)
Once the turkey is prepped, Cook says, cooking it is a breeze. And the results? Picture-perfect golden brown skin and moist, slightly smoky meat.
Let the post-Thanksgiving turkey coma begin! (By Heather L. King)
Grilled Thanksgiving Turkey
18-pound fresh turkey (we used a turkey from Utah Natural Meat & Milk)
Brine (see below)
1 cup butter, softened
4 coarsely chopped fresh sage leaves
Bunch of fresh herbs (thyme, parsley and rosemary) tied with cooking twine for the cavity of the bird
The day before cooking, brine turkey for 24 hours using a mixture of ½ cup brown sugar and ½ cup kosher salt to 1 gallon of water.
When ready to cook, set your Traeger grill (or oven) to 225 degrees and preheat for 15 minutes. Use turkey pellets in the Traeger.
Remove turkey from brine and pat dry. Place on a rack for easy removal and put both in a disposable roaster pan to capture juices.
Combine softened butter with chopped sage. Prepare the turkey by creating a pocket under the breast skin and stuff the butter/sage mixture underneath. Use about half of the mixture. With the rest of the butter/sage mixture, cover the entire breast and as much of the rest of the bird you can.
Place turkey in the Traeger and smoke until the bird’s internal temperature reaches 110 degrees.
Increase temperature to 350 degrees and continue to cook for 3-to-4 hours until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees in the thickest part of the bird.
Remove the bird from the grill (or oven) and let rest 15 minutes before carving. The turkey will continue to cook, reaching 165 degrees.
TO MAKE GRAVY
Use pan drippings to make gravy. Transfer drippings to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Make a slurry of flour and water and pour through strainer to remove any lumps while adding to drippings, stirring continually until you reach desired thickness. Cook off any taste of flour for 5-10 minutes on a low simmer.
Add salt and pepper if needed.
Our Daily Bread
Leslie Shelledy started The Truthful Take by merging her passions for home cooking, entrepreneurship and lifestyle writing. After the birth of her second child, she was juggling parenting and a full-time job as a public-school teacher; she started sharing strategies for weeknight meals with her blog followers in a similar boat. “[I wanted to] help busy families create easy, nutritious meals and to rediscover the joy in cooking,” she says.
In a world of often over-filtered social media idealism, Shelledy has created a bubble of charming and gracious reality for busy home cooks. Hence, the “truthful” parts of her take on real life. With her emphasis on meal planning, goal setting and honest self-reflection, she says, “The Truthful Take helps other parents struggling with life’s many demands to better manage the journey.”
The meal-planning process provides parents with a weekly partner, she says, pointing to herself with a grin, “to help make dinners easy, budget friendly and delicious for all ages.” Shelledy shares shopping lists, tailored recipes and online cooking videos to support her followers.
For the Devour potluck, Shelledy shared a stuffing recipe that she first made when eight months pregnant with her second child. Knowing that her time and energy would be limited, she created this make-ahead stuffing that can be refrigerated or frozen in advance. “I’ve made this stuffing several times since,” she says, “even without being pregnant. Who doesn’t want to make Thanksgiving Day a bit easier on themselves?” Amen.
(By Darby Doyle)
2 loaves sourdough bread, cut into ½ inch cubes (about 11 cups of diced bread)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
5 celery stalks, diced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely diced (about 3 sprigs of rosemary)
1 teaspoon salt (divided use) and ground pepper
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1½ cups chicken stock (plus more if needed)
4 tablespoon butter, cut into 8 small pieces
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Rip or cut bread into half-inch cubes. Ask the bakery to slice the bread. Then, tear the bread into bite-size pieces. Alternatively, you can use a knife for more uniform pieces. Put the diced bread into a large mixing bowl.
In a large sauté pan, turn heat to medium and add oil. Add diced onion, diced celery, chopped rosemary, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook until the onion cooks down and become translucent—about 4 or 5 minutes. Pour onion mixture into bowl that contains the diced bread. Mix thoroughly.
Add chicken stock, Parmesan cheese and an additional ½ teaspoon salt to bread mixture. Combine until everything is incorporated. It’s OK if the some of the bread breaks down.
Pour stuffing mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish. If you’re freezing ahead of time, you can split the stuffing evenly between two 9×9 baking dishes, so it fits better into your freezer.*
Place butter pieces on top of stuffing. Bake, uncovered, for about 45-60 minutes or until the top has browned and is crunchy. If the top gets too brown, cover with foil.
*If freezing: Once stuffing has cooled, top with a layer of plastic wrap, then top with a layer of foil. Place in the freezer. This stuffing can be made up to two months ahead of Thanksgiving. To thaw, place frozen stuffing in refrigerator the day before Thanksgiving.
Since bread loaves can vary in size, you may only need 1½ loaves of bread.
If using stale bread, you may need to use more chicken stock. Check consistency of the bread before placing it into the baking dish. You want it moist with stock but not drenched.
Mashed and Smashed
Growing up in California in a home of Spanish, Chinese, Filipino and Portuguese influences, Chloe Colette had the opportunity to eat all different types of food. She was already acting on her interests and talents in middle school, but her love of food and creativity led her to start a blog in 2009.
“I had a yaya, which is a Filipino nanny, growing up, and she would not let me cook, only watch,” Colette says. In doing so, she gathered inspiration from her nanny as well as from her great grandmother, whom also lived with her. (Asian families, Colette says, are often multi-generational and live together in the same household).
Colette does not just blog about food. She channels her inner Martha Stewart and is an accomplished seamstress, making clothes for both her and her young daughter. Colette is also an avid gardener, and grows most of her own produce. As a home chef, she teaches the art of making various types of paella in her own kitchen.
“What is funny is that Italian and Mexican foods are the ones that are exotic to me,” Colette says. She loves trying new cuisines and developing new recipes. “The ultra-creamy mashed potatoes I serve as a side dish at my Thanksgiving table actually came from a family friend named Betty, who brought them to our house when I was kid. We did not have any recipes for mashed potatoes in our house, [so] Betty was always charged with making them. They were the only things I wanted to eat—they were so delicious.” (Aimee L. Cook)
Creamy Gold Potatoes
Special tools needed: A potato ricer or food mill fitted with fine disk.
4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, any eyes cored out and scrubbed
4 teaspoons sea salt, plus a bit more
1½ cups organic grass-fed whole milk
½ cup organic heavy cream
8 cloves of garlic smashed, no need to remove the skin
5 sprigs rosemary
Small handful sage
5 sprigs of thyme
¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces (Colette prefers Kerrygold)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
A few stems of fresh chives as garnish
Place potatoes in a large pot and pour in cold water to cover by about 1 inch. Add a lot of salt—about ½ cup—and bring to a boil.
Lower heat and simmer until potatoes are very tender but not crumbly, about 30-35 minutes. Drain, quickly rinse with cool water to remove any excess starchy-ness and return potatoes to warm pot (off heat) to dry while making the milk mixture.
Warm the milk, cream, garlic, rosemary, sage, and thyme in a small saucepan over medium heat until fragrant, about 7 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
Pass hot potatoes through ricer or food mill into a large bowl. Do not wait for the potatoes to cool or else they will become gummy. Add butter and 4 teaspoons of salt; stir until butter is completely incorporated.
Strain milk mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large measuring glass. Slowly pour a scant cup at a time into the potatoes, stirring after each addition until liquid is fully mixed in. Everything should be super smooth.
Add freshly ground pepper and/or chopped chives. Enjoy.
“Since a lot of Thanksgiving dinner is already a done deal—turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing—I think side dishes are where you can get creative and try something new,” food writer Valerie Phillips says. “If it’s a hit, maybe your side dish will become a family tradition for years to come. If it’s not, oh, well. There are usually lots of other side dishes to choose from, and people can always fill up on mashed potatoes.”
Valerie Phillips has been a food writer for more than 20 years. After gleaning knowledge from some of the world’s top chefs, she won several writing awards and published her first book in 2000 as a compilation of her dining series for the Standard Examiner, “Dining Through the Decades.”
Having grown up on a farm in Rush Valley, Utah, Phillips learned early on the importance of fresh foods before “farm to table” was even a thing. She has gone on to provide shortcut techniques for home cooks in hopes of taking the complications out of homemade.
“One of my pet peeves is portentous food,” said Phillips. “Sometimes it seems they will take a bunch of expensive ingredients and put them into one dish, and I believe, less can be more, it does not need to try that hard to be good. (Aimee L. Cook)
Apple Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes With Pecans
8 red garnet sweet potatoes
1½ cups apple juice or apple cider
¼ cup brown sugar (white sugar will do in a pinch)
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a 2 quart (or larger) microwaveable casserole dish, heat the apple juice, sugar, butter, salt, pepper and cinnamon in the microwave for 2 minutes, or until the butter is completely melted. Stir to mix well.
Peel and slice the sweet potatoes into ¼-inch slices, placing them in the casserole dish as you go. Stir to coat all the slices with the apple juice liquid. Cover with lid and microwave on high for 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Remove from the microwave and stir to evenly coat the slices with the liquid. Mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped pecans. Sprinkle over the top and bake, uncovered, in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. (Or microwave an additional 5 minutes, uncovered.) Serves 12-16 people.
Chef’s Note: This dish is cooked in the microwave, a bonus when Thanksgiving Day oven space is usually limited due to turkey roasting and pie baking. I recommend baking the last 10 minutes in the oven, to toast the pecans. This dish can be easily transported and reheated.
The Point of Pancetta
SLC Lunches was launched in 2010 as a way for Heather King to return to food writing after she took a short hiatus. It was also an outlet for her to share lunches she enjoyed at numerous client meetings. In 2012, she also began posting her own recipe creations to the Examiner internet site as part of its Fresh Foods section. As a food writer, Heather says having multiple ways to share food stories is a necessity.
“I love cooking, but following a recipe is difficult for me, which is why I cannot bake,” King says. “I will consult several recipes, pull out all the things I like from them and merge a recipe together. I do a lot of testing, and without measuring, it is difficult for me to re-create recipes.” The Fresh Food became a reference for her to use as her personal recipe book.
King still enjoys eating out, and you can find current restaurant news and information on her website. She is also a restaurant critic and food writer for The Salt Lake Tribune as well as an avid traveler whose journeys play an important role in inspiring content on her food blog.
“So much about food is the actual experience—visiting the places and understanding why that food was created, or what the history behind it is, going back to the roots—makes me understand how foods came to be,” King says. “It makes me try and be true to the foods that I make.”
Her Brussels sprouts have been a staple on her Thanksgiving table for the past seven years. No other green vegetable has won a seat at her table—why mess with perfection? (Aimee L. Cook)
Apple Cider Brussels Sprouts
Much of the prep work for this dish can be done in advance and then made and served hot from the stovetop. This recipe is easily doubled or tripled.
24 small-to-medium raw Brussels sprouts, halved
2 slices of pancetta, cubed and crisped
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons butter (or 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon rendered fat from pancetta)
½ of a white onion, thinly diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Clean and cut the Brussels sprouts. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes until steamed through. Set aside.”
In a medium pan, partially render the pancetta. Drain and set aside. Adding to the renderings from the pancetta, melt the butter. Saute the onion and garlic until lightly browned. Add the Brussels sprouts and stir thoroughly.
Add the apple cider vinegar and toss to coat well. Season with salt and pepper. Add the pancetta to warm and cook through. Add the Parmesan cheese to melt. Stir until warmed through. Can be kept on the stovetop on low, stirring occasionally until ready to serve.
Rice Is Nice
“What I love about Thanksgiving is that it’s a holiday that’s tailor-made to bring family, friends, cultures and cuisines together,” says Neena Panicker, founder of the blog and YouTube channel Paint The Kitchen Red. “It’s like a fusion holiday. You can make your own traditions and borrow from others.”
Panicker takes a similar international cuisine viewpoint when developing recipes, which for her blog are made specifically for Instant Pot cooking. “I have many Instant Pot how-to guides that are especially helpful to new users,” says Panicker. “Every Instant Pot recipe includes detailed step-by-step instructions and photos for multiple models.” Panicker started her blog with a general focus on family-favorite, stove-top recipes developed during her stay-at-home mom years. Within six months of starting the blog, she bought her first Instant Pot, but she found the manufacturer’s user guide confusing. So, she decided to create and post her own guide. Says Panicker, “The response was so great that I posted an Instant Pot adaptation of my mom’s chicken curry.” She continues, “That was so well-received, I posted another, and then another, and now I’m an ‘Instant Pot Blogger’!”
Readers of Panicker’s blog come back for her detailed instructions and thoroughly researched and tested recipes. “I am very picky about what recipes I post on my blog. If my family says, ‘It’s OK’ or ‘Not bad,’ or ‘Pretty good,’ then I won’t post the recipe.” She says with a big grin, “They have to love it.”
There’s a lot to love about Panicker’s hearty wild rice dish made in the Instant Pot, freeing up room on the stovetop and oven on a busy Thanksgiving Day. (By Darby Doyle)
Instant Pot Wild Rice Pilaf With Pecans & Cranberries
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
2 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
¾ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground sage
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
(or to taste)
2 tablespoons white wine
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups wild rice blend
(such as Lundberg)
½ cup toasted pecans, chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup green apple, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh parsley,
chopped (to garnish)
Select ‘Sauté’ mode and allow the Instant Pot to heat up.
Melt butter in the Instant Pot inner pot and sauté onion, celery, garlic and mushrooms until onions start to become transparent.
Stir in salt, black pepper, thyme, sage, rosemary and crushed red pepper.
Deglaze with white wine, stirring to remove any brown bits.
Stir in broth and balsamic vinegar.
Finally, add in the wild rice blend. Don’t stir, just push the rice down with a spatula to make sure the rice is submerged in the liquid.
Close the Instant Pot lid and set the steam release to ‘Sealing’.
Pressure cook on ‘High’ for 26 minutes.
Allow the pressure to release naturally for 12 minutes and then release any remaining pressure by setting the steam release handle to the ‘Venting’ position.
Once the float valve is down, open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. If there is extra liquid at the bottom, it should get absorbed as the rice rests. If not, turn on ‘Sauté’ mode and heat for a couple of minutes to let the liquid evaporate.
Stir in pecans, cranberries and apple.
Garnish with parsley.[Note: This recipe can be made into a one-pot meal by stirring in pieces of rotisserie chicken or leftover turkey at the end.]
Kneady No More
Professional blogger and baker Annalise Sandberg is the woman behind CompletelyDelicious.com, one of the longest running food blogs in Utah.
Her blogging journey began in 2005 as food blogs and The Food Network were just becoming popular. “I’m not sure how I stumbled upon my passion for baking,” recalls Sandberg. “Suddenly I was buying cookbooks and surfing the web for recipes and ideas. I started baking all sorts of delicious things—from scratch.” She started posting her recipes and slowly but surely gained a loyal following.
“Besides a very brief experience in culinary school, I am almost completely self taught,” she continues. “Most things I’ve figured out for myself, learning by trial and error. I hope to inspire other people out there to let anyone know they can bake.”
With Thanksgiving being one of her favorite holidays, Sandberg shares one of her most meaningful recipes.
“Everyone needs a go-to roll recipe, especially one that’s easy to throw together,” says Sandberg, who finds these especially ideal because there’s no mixer required and they can be prepared in advance or in between other feast essentials.
Handed down from her mom, Sandberg’s garlic herb crescent rolls pair perfectly with the holiday roasted turkey and everything else on the table. “I’m not sure where the name ‘fairy rolls’ came from, but I assume it has to do with their light and fluffy texture,” she says of her rolls.
“Our family has been enjoying these little pillows of heaven for as long as I can remember,” she says. “During the holiday season, my mom made them by the sheet pan, and you’d be surprised at how quickly they all disappear.”
(By Heather L. King)
No-Knead Garlic Herb Crescent Rolls
Makes 24 rolls
1 cup warm water
2¼ teaspoon (1 envelope) active dry yeast
½ cup butter, melted and cooled
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped herbs, like rosemary and thyme
Additional butter, for brushing
¼ cup butter, melted
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon chopped herbs, like rosemary and thyme
Combine the water and yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, butter, sugar and egg. Add the flour, salt, garlic, and herbs and stir until just combined. Dough will be soft.
Cover dough with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Dump out onto a well-floured surface, work the dough into a smooth ball with your hands, and knead it a few times.
Split the ball of dough into 2 equal pieces and put ½ back in the bowl. Roll out the other half on a floured surface to about 12 inches in diameter. Cut into 12 equal triangles. Starting with the fat end, roll up each triangle and place in a greased sheet pan. Repeat with the other half of dough.
Cover the baking pan with a towel and let rise for an additional 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake rolls until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Combine butter, garlic and herbs and brush onto hot rolls.
Rolls will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
It’s Like Buttah
Food has always been a way for Christina Lakey’s family to connect. She began taking cooking classes from renowned chef Adalberto Diaz of Fillings & Emulsions in 2006 with her two sisters in an attempt to distract herself from her husband’s deployment while also serving to up their cooking game. This led to family members hosting a monthly dinner on a rotating basis. The tradition lives on today with nearby siblings. Out of their love of food, food styling and cooking, Lakey and her sister-in-law, Tammy Blankenship, launched a food blog in 2013.
“We love to gather and eat,” Lakey said. “We love trying new stuff, and it is so fun to think about how it has connected us for all these years. The food blog came about after my sister-in-law moved away. Her outlet was cooking when she was so far away from everyone, so she and I could talk about cooking and cookbooks all the time.”
Lakey loves to talk technique, where to dine out and home cooking. She finds inspiration in following chefs who create layers of flavor and who make good food that is not overly complicated.
“So many cranberry dishes are overly sweet to me; this one has a savory side of ginger and green onions. It’s a very unique dish,” Lakey says. “Sometimes I even put some on my mashed potatoes—it really goes with anything.”
(Aimee L. Cook)
1 tablespoon canola
or other neutral oil
5 green onions white
parts finely chopped,
approximately top ⅓
greens sliced and set
One 12-ounce bag fresh
or frozen cranberries
⅔ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon garlic,
1 teaspoon fresh ginger,
peeled and minced
½ teaspoon salt
In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat.
Add the white parts of the chopped green onion to the saucepan and cook for about 3 minutes, until starting to soften.
Add all remaining ingredients and stir together.
Simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes or until berries “pop” and mixture starts to slightly thicken. Remove from heat.
Add remaining green onion tops and stir to incorporate. (You can save a few to throw on as a last-minute garnish for serving as well).
Allow to cool or serve warm.
Make ahead: This chutney stores for up to a week.
Overnight Crockpot Plum Butter
3½ to 4 pounds plums,
skins left on: washed, sliced
in half and pitted
¼ to ½ cup water (may not
be needed; see notes)
1 cup brown sugar packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground
Place plums in crockpot with a little water.
Simmer on low heat for about 1 to 2 hours, stirring about every 30 minutes to encourage the plums to break up.
Once plums have broken up well, give mixture one last good stir to make sure it is evenly distributed in the crockpot.
Cook overnight (about 8 to 10 hours) on low heat (no need to stir during this time).
Stir mixture again. Add brown sugar and spices.
Pour mixture into blender (or use an immersion blender) and puree until smooth.
If desired, add a little more water to thin to your desired consistency, and blend in well. The best way I can describe the consistency is a velvety butter that spreads quite easily, but is not at all runny.
Pour into quart-size jars and enjoy over bread, meat, dumplings—you name it!
“One of my favorite ways to enjoy my time is with a cup of hot coffee, a pile of graph paper and a good pen, and an absolute heap of cookbooks,” says professional food photographer, food writer and baker Caroline Hargraves (formerly baker at The Daily and Copper Common, for which she still does photography). “Of course, there are plenty of times where you just need to put food on the table, but when I really cook, I want every step from the first sip of wine to getting the last dish scrubbed clean to be an act of love.” She continues, “both to feed my own soul and to share that devotion with the friends and family I cook for.” I like to think of Hargraves as the Nigella Lawson of the Wasatch front.
Hargraves especially appreciates how sharing food experiences through words and photographs brings passion to the page or the screen: “… food writing can capture that spirit of love and generosity and provide a way to share that with a much broader audience over years and decades, rather than a single shared meal.” For the Devour bloggers’ potluck, Hargraves chose to make a decadent fruit pie featuring the humble plum. “Why should peaches get all of the stone fruit love?” she says with a big laugh. “The tart, jammy depth of a good plum is such a nice transition into the colder seasons.” And of this pie rich with texture and contrast she says, “vibrant plum filling interspersed between salty, buttery, oaty crumble here and sweet, faintly-spiced cream cheese there … it’s got all the good things happening.” It does, indeed. (By Darby Doyle)
Oaty Plum Crumble Pie
Crust Ingredients (makes 2 discs)
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 pound butter, cold
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup cold water
Combine flour, salt and sugar. Cut butter into ¼-½-inch cubes, toss into flour mixture and pinch and scrunch butter into sheets to combine. Combine apple cider vinegar and water. Scatter over and toss into flour mixture a few tablespoons at a time until dough just holds together when you squeeze a handful. Divide into 2 discs. Refrigerate at least half an hour or up to 4 days.
Oaty Crumble Ingredients
2 sticks butter – browned and fully cooled
1 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
Mix together oats, brown sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom. Add chilled butter and pinch/squeeze butter into dry mix until no visible butter remains and mixture resembles pebble-sized clumps.
Plum Filling Ingredients
3½ pounds (about 12) ripe plums, sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup dark brown sugar, divided
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup tapioca starch (or potato starch, or arrowroot powder)
10 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
Mix together the cream cheese, cinnamon, cardamom, and ¼ cup of the brown sugar in a bowl until combined; set aside. In a separate large bowl toss together plums, lemon juice, remaining ¼ cup of brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and tapioca starch.
Assembly and Baking
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 disc of pie dough into a 12-13-inch circle.
Transfer to a 9-inch pie tin and crimp edges as desired. Spread cream cheese mixture onto pie dough and then add fruit mixture in an even layer, leaving behind any excess liquid. Top with oat crumble. Place pie onto a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Cover rim of pie with a strip of foil. Bake approximately 80 minutes until juices are bubbling in center.
Remove strip of foil in the last 10-20 minutes of baking. If the topping or crust begin to brown too deeply, cover with foil and check intermittently. Allow to set and cool for 4 hours before slicing.