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Thanksgiving Menus and Recipes

Come Party With Me: Californian Thanksgiving — Menu

Normally when I plan Thanksgiving dinner, I'm inspired by faraway places and exciting cooking methods. However this year, I'm embracing local ingredients and tried-and-true techniques. It's a meal that highlights my love for San Francisco and the surrounding areas. We'll begin with a messy but decadent appetizer: cracked Dungeness crab with horseradish mayonnaise.

Since the weather is still gorgeous, the turkey will be grilled to a succulent and smoky perfection. As for the sides? Raw kale and avocado salad is unexpected; sourdough bread stuffing with celery and mushrooms and make-ahead baked mashed potatoes (made with butter and milk from my hometown creamery, Clover) round out the menu. Interested in these recipes? Read more to check them out.

Cracked Crab With Horseradish Mayonnaise

Cracked Crab With Horseradish Mayonnaise

Cracked Crab Recipe

Ingredients

For the horseradish mayonnaise:
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable, corn or safflower oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, plus more as needed
3 Tbs. prepared horseradish
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. warm water
For the crabs:
4 quarts water
1 Tbs. salt
3 live Dungeness crabs, each 2 to 2 1/2 lb.

Directions

  1. To make the horseradish mayonnaise, in a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, mustard and 1 Tbs. of the olive oil until an emulsion forms. Combine the remaining olive oil and the vegetable oil in a cup with a spout. Drop by drop at first and whisking constantly, gradually add the oil mixture to the emulsion. Stir in the garlic, the 1 1/2 Tbs. lemon juice and the horseradish. Season with salt and pepper and add more lemon juice, if needed. Whisking constantly, add the warm water to thin the mayonnaise slightly. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. To prepare the crabs, in a large pot, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Once it boils, add the salt and the crabs, immersing them completely. Boil until the crabs are cooked and the shells are red, about 12 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the crabs to a plate and let cool slightly.
  3. Working with 1 crab at a time, place the crab on its back. Pull off the small triangular apron-shaped shell flap and discard. Turn the crab over and lift up and snap off the large top shell and discard. Remove the dark gray intestines and the feather-shaped white spongy gills from the body and discard. Rinse the body well. Using a large, heavy knife, cut the body in half from the head to the tail. Cut each half crosswise into thirds. Using a lobster cracker or a mallet, crack the claws and legs. If the crabs have cooled, warm them on a steamer rack over boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. To serve, arrange the crabs on a platter and serve with small forks or lobster picks for extracting the meat. Offer the horseradish mayonnaise on the side.

Serves 6.

Grilled Turkey With Spiced Almond Butter

Grilled Turkey With Spiced Almond Butter

Grilled Turkey Recipe

Ingredients

1 10-to 12- lb. fresh or frozen whole turkey
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup finely chopped slivered almonds or chopped pine nuts
1/3 cup snipped fresh parsley
1 tsp. finely shredded lemon, orange or tangerine peel
4 tsp. lemon, orange or tangerine juice
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground allspice or ground ginger
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Thaw turkey, if frozen. In a small bowl, combine butter, almonds, parsley, lemon peel and juice, garlic, allspice and pepper. Cover and chill in freezer for 10 minutes or in refrigerator for 20 minutes or until easy to handle.
  2. Remove neck and giblets from turkey. Starting at the neck on one side of the breast, slip your fingers between skin and meat, loosening skin as your work toward the tail end. Once your entire hand is under the skin, free the skin around thigh and leg area up to but not around the tip of the drumstick. Repeat on the other side of the breast. Rub almond butter under the skin, directly on meat. Skewer neck skin to back. Twist wing tips behind back. Tuck drumsticks under band of skin or tie to tail. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of an inside thigh muscle.
  3. For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above the pan. Place turkey on grill rack over drip pan. Cover; grill for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until thermometer registers 180 degrees F and turkey is no longer pink, adding fresh coals every 45 to 60 minutes and cutting band of skin or string the last hour of grilling. (For a gas grill, preheat grill, reduce heat to medium. Adjust for indirect cooking. Grill as above.)
  4. Remove turkey from grill and cover loosely with foil. Let stand for 15 minutes before carving. Carve turkey into thin slices.

Serves 8 to 12.

Kale, Carrot, and Avocado Salad

Kale, Carrot, and Avocado Salad

Kale and Avocado Salad Recipe

Ingredients

1 bunch curly kale, stemmed and finely chopped
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 avocado, peeled, and pitted
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1/2 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce

Directions

  1. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Use your hands or the back of a large spoon to thoroughly mash avocado into kale.
  2. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving to allow kale to soften.

Serves 4.

Sourdough Bread Stuffing

Sourdough Bread Stuffing

Sourdough Bread Stuffing

Ingredients

1-pound loaf sourdough bread
8 tablespoons butter
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/2-inch thick in both directions
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 to 4 stalks celery with leaves, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
About 10 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stems
10 to 12 fresh sage leaves, chopped
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley leaves

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.
  2. Cut or tear the bread into 1-inch cubes and spread it evenly on 2 baking sheets. Toast the bread in the oven until completely dry and beginning to crisp and brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and a few pinches of salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add celery, onion, 2 tablespoons butter, and thyme. Once the butter has melted, cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add sage and remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add chicken broth to skillet and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Transfer toasted bread cubes to a large bowl. Pour the chicken broth mixture over the bread cubes and toss to combine until the bread cubes absorb the liquid. Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish, and sprinkle with parsley. Bake in the center of the oven until heated through and the top is golden brown, about 40 minutes. Remove the stuffing from the oven and allow to cool about 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 6-8.

Baked Mashed Potatoes With Parmesan Cheese and Bread Crumbs

Baked Mashed Potatoes With Parmesan Cheese and Bread Crumbs

Baked Mashed Potatoes Recipe

Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon of butter and set aside.
  2. Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until they are very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; return the potatoes to the same pot and mash well.
  3. Mix in the milk and melted butter. Mix in the mozzarella and 3/4 cup of the parmesan. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Transfer the potatoes to the prepared baking dish. Stir the bread crumbs and remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the mashed potatoes. Recipe can be prepared up to this point 6 hours ahead of time; cover and chill.
  4. Bake, uncovered, until the topping is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Serves 6-8.

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