Archives for posts with tag: thanksgiving

it has become a bit of a tradition to have an ‘orphans’ thanksgiving at my place for a few years now. i start with the usual list of friends, but anyone is invited, and there are always a few last minute add ons. this year it tipped the scales with almost 20 guests. from shopping at the farmers market all the way to the leftovers, here is the feast in photos:

the farmers market fairy delivered this 18+ lb beauty on monday:

i did a majority of my shopping at the wednesday morning santa monica farmers market:

on my way to the market, kcrw had a wonderful segment with christopher kimball, of america’s test kitchen and cook’s illustrated, talking about a julia child thanksgiving. of course he spoke of her simplicity and her use of the best ingredients. it was just the motivation and inspiration i needed. this is the beautiful and colorful loot i came home with:

the pie prep: cranberries, rhubarb, and roasted pumpkin.

the veggie prep: roasted winter vegetables, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and creamed corn with crispy bacon.

the free range willie bird all buttered up, stuffed, and carved to perfection:

the buffet: the aforementioned creamed corn with crispy bacon, garlic mashed potatoes, roasted winter veggies, along with sausage + fennel stuffing, and gravy. my guests brought sweet potatoes, green beans, carrots, salad, cranberries and homemade bread.

the table as people were plating up their food:

the pies: cranberry rhubarb (as well as, a crisp from the extra fruit) and pumpkin. not shown: pumpkin cheesecake and paleo pumpkin bread.

the dead soldiers the next day:

a few of us took off for big bear the next afternoon to just chill out (and digest) for a couple of days. these were some of the leftovers by the fire at the little cabin in the woods the next night:

i made stock from the carcass yesterday, and there was just enough turkey leftover to make soup today. recipe to come…

note: more (professional) photos from the evening can be found at rafiel chait photography. the photos above were just taken by me with my crummy iphone and hipstamatic.


obviously we are coming up to pumpkin pie season being that thanksgiving is around the corner. honestly, i have never been one to choose pumpkin pie over other options during this season, but i found myself going to a dinner party, and wanting to bring a pie. i happened to have a pumpkin on hand with which i intended to make soup, but thought i’d try my hand at a pie instead.

my biggest problem with pumpkin pies is that they are way too sweet, so i researched a few different recipes. they all had similar ingredients and spices: pumpkin, egg, cream, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg etc… most called for canned pumpkin, and a few recipes even called for sweetened condensed milk, which makes me think that was the type of pie i was used to.

i made three changes that i think made the difference; i used a real pumpkin, i substituted the sugar with a mix of brown sugar and honey, and i replaced the cream with coconut milk. the result was a not too sweet, very flavorful, real pumpkin pie.


  • 1 pie pumpkin, about 6-8 inches in diameter, cut in half horizontal, cored and seeds removed (reserved to roast)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground all spice


  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp butter, cold and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 3 tbsp cold shortening
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 2-3 tbsp cold vodka


roast the pumpkin halves skin side up at 350º for 1 1/2 hours on a foil lined pan and covered with foil.

the skin should come off easily, and then pureé.

let the pumpkin pureé come to room temperature while you make the dough for the crust. you can also make the pumpkin pureé ahead of time and refrigerate until this point. if so, take it out of the fridge and let come to room temperature while making the dough.

put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor, and pulse quickly to mix. add the shortening and process for 10 seconds. add the butter and pulse 10 times. pour into a bowl and add 2 tbsp of cold water and 2 tbsp of cold vodka. with a rubber spatula using a folding mixing motion, press down with the broad side of the spatula as you turn the dough letting it stick together. add an additional tbsp of vodka if the dough doesn’t come together. form the dough into a 4-inch disk and wrap in plastic. refrigerate the dough for an hour.

pre-heat the oven to 425º about 10-15 minutes before taking your dough out of the refrigerator.

just before rolling your dough out, mix the all ingredients for the filling together very well with a hand mixer.

roll out and form the dough into the pie dish.

pour the filling into the uncooked pie crust.

bake at 425º for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350º until a knife comes out of the center clean, about 60-75 minutes.

i must say that my first pie after the disaster of the steve jobs pie incident was a complete success. i guess he was right…just move on after a mistake and ‘get on with improving your other innovations.’ pie and technology may not match up in your eyes as innovative, but it does in my mind.

note: i cleaned and roasted the pumpkin seeds with a little oil and salt, and topped the pie with several as a garnish. i also added a bit of cut out pie crust in the shape of a pumpkin and fall leaf and sprinkled it with salt.

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