For the last few season, Food Network has aired their Thanksgiving Live special full of recipes, tips, and tricks from different Food Network personalities. That short tradition dies this year. Maybe it's because of Giada's crazy and annoying behavior, not mention her nearly losing a finger, that lead them away from the live format to a pre-recorded show.
Below you will find my running commentary about the show. For the recipes, please visit Food Network's website.
Bobby's Roast Turkey with Mustard Maple Glaze | Click here for the recipe
The show begins like any good Thanksgiving show should with the prepping of the turkey. Bobby is doing a roast turkey with mustard maple glaze. Bobby employs the start with a hot oven (450 degrees) and finish it in a cooler oven (350 degrees). If you reverse this method you still brown the sky, but are more likely to overcook the meat doing so. Do it at the start and you don't have to worry about that.
Katie's Cornbread Stuffing with Herb Butter | Click here for the recipe
Katie Lee makes a cornbread dressing with the herb butter. Her tip was to cook the dressing once the turkey is done cooking. It needs to rest before carving. She has it already to go a day or two before hand, and then it's ready to slid in the oven when the turkey is ready. Great use of time and oven space.
Sunny's Cranberry, Apple, and Fig Streusel Tart | Click here for the recipe
As a produce man, the first thing that jumps out to me is figs. The recipes call for fresh figs. Good luck finding a fresh fig around Thanksgiving. They pretty much disappear from stores once the calendar turns to fall. You can find dried figs year around or use dates. Not much else is said about the dessert.
Bobby's Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes | Read my recipe review
Since the recipes were posted way earlier I was able to try this out out before the show. The best part of these potatoes is using buttermilk instead of just regular milk. It adds a nice tanginess. In the show he uses just a potato masher for mashing while online the recipe says you can use a food mill. I did it with the food mill - which gave it a lighter texture. Bobby offered a great tip to keep the potatoes warm. Put them in a bowl and make a double boiler. The steam from the pot underneath will keep the potatoes warm while the rest of the meal comes together.
Sunny's Sage and Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole | Click here for the recipe
To make up for the fig oversight, Sunny comes up with the idea of making a crumble topping for sweet potatoes, that combines pecans, sugar, butter, and sage. She folds in the marshmallows instead of just throwing them on top. She roasts them in the oven first to give you that camp fire like flavor. Not a bad idea if you are a fan of this often over sweetened dish.
Back to Bobby's Turkey
He rubs this maple-mustard glaze onto the turkey. I am sure the glaze is very flavorful, but if you are like family that doesn't eat the skin then all the flavor is going to waste. Another option would be to taste the same glaze and put it underneath the skin before you begin cooking it.
Alex Guarnaschelli's Broiled Cauliflower Steaks with Parsley and Lemon | Click here for the recipe
If you are looking for a new Thanksgiving side dish to try, this may be the one you have been waiting for. Making cauliflower into steaks is all the rage. The cauliflower gets blanched, and then marinates in coconut milk and spices. You make this ahead and all you have to do is roast them for 10 to 15 mintues, then broil them to get some nice char. All done at the last moment before the meal. I love tips that help you bring the meal together and hot all at the same time. Drop a little gremolta (parsley, lemon, garlic) and a vinaigrette. A great way to bring a super fresh flavor to the meal.
Roasted Carrots, Spanish Spices, Yogurt Sauce, Harissa | Click here for the recipe
I am all about including carrots in the Thanksgiving meal. These carrots are blanched, then fried in spices, topped off with yogurt sauce and a pomegranate vinaigrette. I have seen the exact carrots he is using. They are small, carrots that come with a small section of the tops and are peeled. These carrots are extremely expensive. I have seen them for $7.99 per pound. You are better off buying a bag of organic rainbow carrots which go for about $2.49 and then just cut them into sticks.
Bobby's Gravy, Alex's Great Idea
The best way to make a gravy is a roux. This helps prevent the disastrous lumpy gravy from occurring. I love the idea Alex has come up with. She takes the vegetables she roasted the turkey with and purees them and adds them to the gravy. This is great way to thicken the gravy without adding flour. Perfect choice for those looking for a gluten free gravy and it adds great flavor.
Michael's Southern Greens | Click here for the recipe
Michael uses a combination of kale and collards and instead of the standard ham hock, he goes for smoked turkey wings. You get the smoky flavor, by it's a bit healthier with the turkey.
Final Thoughts on the Show
I did not like it as much as the Thanksgiving Live. Show wasn't as teaching or as useful those new to cooking for Thanksgiving. It also lacked that fan interaction that made things more exciting in the past. I would not call it a true replacement. However the show still did provide some useful tips, my favorite being pureeing the vegetables to add to the gravy. Watch replays of the show to get some good recipe ideas.
Here are the recipes they were shown by not really talked about:
Alex's Indian Pudding | Click here for the recipe
Michael's Chocolate Pumpkin Pie | Click here for the recipe
Katie's Deviled Eggs | Click here for the recipe