Recap of Food Network Thanksgiving Live 2012

(Last Updated On: November 18, 2012)

For the second year in a row, Food Network hosted a Thanksgiving Live special. People are invited to use e-mail, social media (facebook, Twitter), and Skype to ask some of Food Network’s greatest stars (Alton Brown, Bobby Flay, Giada DeLaurentiis, Ree Drummond, Sunny Anderson, Rachael Ray, Alex Guarnaschelli and Aaron Sanchez) their Turkey Day questions. And the show is live (from Chelsea Market in New York City) so anything can happen. Here is my recap of the show.

Alton starts with Sunny Anderson and appetizers. She goes with a pumpkin, sage, and shredded rotisserie chicken all wrapped up in an empanada or you could use wonton wrappers. Pretty easy to make and it can get your guests appetites a rolling along to the main course. Alton wants to start it out with a drink.

Concord Grape Royal | Click here for the recipe
This is a drink that can made without alcohol. It involves reducing Concord grape juice, along with some rosemary, crystallized ginger and then add some balsamic vinegar and reduced again to make a syrup. For the non-alcohol drinkers just add some club soda and serve. You usually don’t think of adding rosemary, ginger, and vinegar to grape juice but those bold flavors are something I would be willingly to experiment with.

Sopes | Click here for the recipe
Aaron Sanchez offers a vegetable appetizer that is corn masa tart. It features masa, peppers, wild mushrooms. crema fresca, and queso fresco. Nice choice if you don’t want to do over-do with meat. You could also use tostadas or tortilla chips.

Skype Question: What Can I Bring If I am Traveling a Long Distance
Our first Skype question of the day is to answer the question of what do with when you want to bring a dish but you have to travel a distance. Ree Drummond recommends bringing something you can bring that you can serve at room temperature such as a cranberry sauce. She like using pomegranate juice in hers. I like adding some ginger ale to my homemade sauce.

Holiday Bacon Appetizers | Click here for the recipe
Not exactly the most gourmet appetizer as it is just Club crackers with bacon on top and some cheese. It might be tasty, but I expected something a little better.

E-mail Question: How Do I Know What Kind of Turkey to Buy?
Rachel Ray likes to buy fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving and buy a frozen one to keep for later. Bobby uses a kosher turkey, which is a turkey that has already been dipped in a salt solution before hand. Alex Guarnaschelli talks to a turkey expert. He talks about a couple types of turkeys:
Broad Breasted White – standard supermarket turkey, with more breast meat and small legs.
Organic – a Broad Breasted raised on an organic, vegetarian diet
Kosher – dipped in a salt solution
Wild Turkey – lean and gamy tasting
Heritage Bird, Red Bourbon – gamy, not as much as wild turkey, more dark meat than standard turkey

Turkey Cooking Methods/Recipes
As mentioned above Bobby like a kosher bird. He isn’t a brine fan, he just likes to season it and kick in the oven (his words!). He likes to stuff it with roasted lemons, roasted garlic, rosemary, celery, carrots, and shallots. He adds some chicken stock to the pan to keep the bird moist as well as to make gravy with later. Rachel Ray goes with a brine. She brines it in apple cider and she is planning to smoke it, for a smoky-sweet combo (click here for he recipe). Giada has hers cut up, roasted and adds to it a cranberry-orange glaze (click here for the recipe).

Twitter Question: How to Brown the Turkey Without Burning It?
Rachel says to turn the heat up at the end to brown the skin. Alton has always recommend going with a hot temperature first, then turn it down to finish. I always opt for Alton’s way, just like I did when I tried his Butterflied, Dry Brined Turkey this year.

Battle of the Dressings
Aaron offers up his favorite dressing: Chorizo and Cornbread Stuffing. This dressing contains Aaron’s very own chorizo recipe with beef and pork. Ree offers up her Cornbread Dressing. She likes chunks in her dressing, almost like a panzella. Her cornbread is cooked in a cast iron skillet for the rustic charm.

Viewer’s Choice: Giada’s Side Dish
Viewers had a choice of what they wanted her to cook: Green Beans with Lemon Vinaigrette and Almonds or Mashed Potatoes. The winner was the mashed potatoes much to Giada’s joy as she already burned her almonds for the green beans while Alton was talking. The mashed potatoes contain mascarpone cheese, which Alton loves getting Giada to say over and over again.

Double Stuffed Butternut Squash | Click here for the recipe
Rachael baked a butternut squash (30 mintues) then removes most of the squash. She takes the squash combined it with ricotta cheese, paramesan, cheddar, freshly grated nutmeg, and chicken or vegetable stock, and browned butter. All of it is mixed together and added back to the butternut squash skin. She crumbles some sage on top for service.

Grapefruit-Campari Cranberry Relish | Click here for the recipe
Bobby is asked to try a different spin on cranberry sauce. Oranges are often paired with cranberry, but Bobby opts for another piece of citrus, grapefruit instead.

Alex’s Dessert
Before the show I went through the recipes listed on Food Network’s site and picked one to try out myself before the show aired. I choose Alex’s Citrus Flan. However the viewers picked her Raspberry Crumble Tart. The dough for this tart was unique in containing raisins. The filling is made of raspberries, jam, sugar, and cornstarch.

Sunny’s Fried Apple and Pear Ice Cream | Click here for the recipe
A strange choice for a dessert. A lot of work forming balls of ice cream with apples and pears and then having to deep fry them. If you noticed when her ice cream balls hit the oil nothing happened as it appears her dry fryer wasn’t on or up to temperature. This dessert just doesn’t make sense for Thanksgiving. It’s something you want to serve right away, so really something for a special night not a holiday. Still this might be a fun to try out.

One viewer was trying to make their own gravy but was concerned about lumps. The biggest thing they recommended was to make sure to be stirring often and use flour never corn starch. I like using a combo of flour and potato starch keeps the gravy from becoming a huge mass. I wrote a post last year about how to fix your gravy if it becomes lumpy.

Alton carves a whole turkey with an electric knife in 1 minute 11 seconds!!!! And he still had all his fingers when he was done. The electric knife is the easiest and fastest way to carve a bird.