Search Results for: thanksgiving

By Emily Peck

Emily is a nutritionist, personal chef, Kitchen Assistant at the Institute of Culinary Education, and the blogger behind The Greener Palate. She’s been a vegetarian for over a decade and is passionate about plant-based, whole-food cooking.

Vegan Thanksgiving fans, anyone? From the sausage stuffing to the gravy to the big ol’ turkey, it’s hard to imagine a meatless Thanksgiving that’s still mouth-watering and traditional. If you’re someone who’s inclined to save a bird this year, you might worry that all the tofurkeys and lentil loafs in the world won’t convince your family that eating plant-based foods is in any way comparable to a juicy turkey. But it’s our duty, my fellow plant lovers, to find ways to persuade the skeptics in our lives that we can enjoy the fruits of the earth in so many unique and appetizing ways, while staying true to some of the classic holiday recipes. That’s why, when I was given the opportunity to take Vegan Thanksgiving, a course taught by Chef Peter Berley at the Institute of Culinary Education, I jumped at the chance. He shared a handful of recipes plus ideas for modifying any dish to make it both delicious and entirely plant-based. The following are some tips I took away from the course.


  1. Innovate with herbs. Cooking with herbs has the double benefit of adding fresh flavors and nutritional benefits to any dish. You can innovate with herbs for interesting new flavors, like we did with the Roasted Vegetable Pâté recipe. The recipe called for chopped rosemary, thyme and sage, but we had a lot of basil too, so I added a handful of that plus some leftover celery leaves — the final product had a complex (and delicious) flavor.
  1. Lighten up. You can substitute heavy ingredients like cream and butter for healthy alternatives. The traditional recipe for candied yams calls for butter, but we used extra-virgin olive oil (a heart-healthy dietary fat) instead. Coconut oil is another alternative fat source that adds some nutty sweetness to the dish as well. Bonus: coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides, or “MCTs,” which have been found to boost HDL or “good cholesterol.”
  1. Nix the gluten. One recipe that I particularly enjoyed was the Stuffed Dumpling Squash with Kamut, Spelt Berry and Wild Rice. The kamut and spelt berry, however, are gluten-ful grains, and while wild rice is gluten-free, store-bought mixes are often made in facilities that also make products containing gluten — which can be problematic for those with gluten sensitivities. If you’re looking for gluten-free options, opt for a gluten-free grain such as quinoa — a hearty and healthy complex carbohydrate with a low glycemic index.
  1. Swap out refined sugars. Many candied yam and sweet potato dishes call for refined white sugar, a processed simple carbohydrate. Instead, try substituting maple syrup, agave or even coconut sugar for a natural, less-processed sweetener.
  1. Swap in Flavorful Cooking Methods (Like Caramelizing). Roasting your veggies for a half hour or more will caramelize them and bring out their natural sweetness. Chef Peter’s Caramelized Onion Gravy was impressive — it had a delicious sweet and savory component due to the slow cooking of the onions. The gravy was a rich topping for the squash dumplings (mentioned above), creating a unique twist on a classic dish without using a meat base.

Many families rely on their collective traditions when choosing Thanksgiving dishes. I like to create my own traditions while paying homage to the long-standing ones of my family — my aunt’s irresistible Pecan Squares and my mom’s Creamy Zesty Carrots, both recipes handed down from their mom, my grandmother. This year, I plan to recreate these dishes by substituting the dairy and any highly processed ingredients with plant-based, fresh ones. My uncle, who finds great value in keeping things simple and classic, probably won’t admit that he likes Chef Peter’s Maple Tofu Whipped Cream that I’m going to pile on top of my Vegan Almond-Raspberry Cake. But the proof will be in the pudding — or on his empty dessert plate when he’s asking for seconds. Aside from being delicious, cooking plant-based foods provides the freedom to eat more (within reason), while taking advantage of many benefits, including improved digestion due to high amounts of fiber, minerals, vitamins, healthy fats and plant-based proteins. All of this creates healthy and happy bellies on Thanksgiving.

Emily’s Vegan Almond-Raspberry Cake
Servings: 8


2 cups almond flour, firmly packed
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coconut- or almond-milk dairy-free yogurt
⅔ cup honey
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 ounces raspberries, preferably organic
Zest of 1 lemon


Sprinkle of powdered sugar
½ cup chopped raw pistachios, almonds or pecans


  • Preheat oven to 325º F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pan (I used a spring form pan) with vegan butter or spray and lightly dust with almond flour.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, ginger and sea salt.
  • In small bowl, combine the yogurt, honey, vanilla extract, olive oil and lemon zest. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix well and fold in the raspberries. Pour the mixture into the pan.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the cake is golden brown. Test with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  • Once cooled, slice into 8 pieces. Top with Maple Tofu Whipped Cream (recipe below). Optional: Sprinkle with chopped nuts and powdered sugar.


Chef Peter’s Maple Tofu Whipped Cream
Servings: Makes about 2 ½ cups


½ pound soft tofu, drained
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons agar flakes
½ cup cold water
1 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch
½ cup plain soy or almond milk


  • Combine tofu, maple syrup, oil, vanilla extract, lemon juice and salt in food processor.
  • Place the agar flakes and cup of cold water in sauce pan over medium heat. Stirring continuously, cook until the mixture reaches a boil. Then reduce the heat to simmer.
  • In a bowl, whisk the arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) and soy milk (or almond milk) and add to the simmering liquid. Raise the heat and whisk continually until the mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat.
  • Slowly pour the hot mixture into the food processor and process until smooth. Stop the motor and scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate all of the ingredients.
  • Transfer the tofu cream to a clean container and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  • Process the tofu cream again briefly just before serving

Want to expand your healthy-cooking repertoire? Click here to check out upcoming recreational cooking courses.

Recipes by Ted Siegel — Chef Instructor, School of Culinary Arts

On Thanksgiving, turkey is always in style. A juicy bird with salty, crunchy skin is the pièce de résistance of this highly anticipated meal. But if you’re looking to shake up your usual turkey prep method — add some spice or brine to the table — ICE Chef Instructor Ted Siegel has some ideas for you. Below, Chef Ted shares two different methods for preparing your turkey when it’s time to give thanks this year, plus his expert roasting tips.

Thanksgiving Turkey

1) A Caribbean kick: try a Jamaican jerk turkey marinade.

Marinating delivers the double benefit of infusing meat with flavor and keeping it tender.


6 scallions
6 habanero or scotch bonnet chiles
2 medium onions
6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup fish sauce
1 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup brown sugar
1 bunch dried thyme leaves, minced
1 bunch dried oregano leaves, minced
1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves and stems, minced
½ cup butter


  • For the marinade, finely chop and combine: scallions, habanero or scotch bonnet chiles, onions and garlic. Add tamarind paste, Worcestershire sauce, fish sauce, fresh lime juice, fresh orange juice, olive oil, brown sugar, dried thyme leaves, dried oregano leaves and fresh cilantro leaves and stems.
  • Prepare the marinade, dividing into two halves: 1/2 for the turkey and 1/2 to make a compound butter. Marinate the turkey for two to four days, depending on its weight (two days for an 8-12 pound turkey, three to four days for a 13-30 pound turkey). Remove turkey from marinade. Make the compound butter by mixing remaining marinade with butter. Separate the skin from the breast and thighs and gently rub the compound butter onto the flesh without ripping the skin. Roast immediately.


2) Brine time: give your turkey a multiday brine bath.

Like marinating, brining will add flavor to your turkey, and make it exceptionally juicy and tender. Here’s how to brine.


1 pound kosher salt
2/3 pounds sugar (granulated, brown, molasses, maple syrup, agave syrup, honey or any other kind of solid sugar or syrup will work)
2-3 gallons water
25 juniper berries
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon white peppercorns
1 teaspoon star anise pods
2 tablespoons dried thyme
½ cup liquid smoke (which you can find at most grocery stores)


  • To make the brine, combine kosher salt, sugar, water. Add the juniper berries, dried herbs and liquid smoke.
  • Brine your turkey for two to four days by either submerging the entire bird or injecting it with brine. If you choose the latter, do not brine the turkey for more than two days.


Roasting tips

For roasting, I always begin by browning the turkey. In an oven preheated to 450°F, cook the turkey for about half an hour or until golden brown. Then, turn the heat down to 325°F and roast about 18-20 minutes per pound until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.

Want to sharpen your culinary skills with Chef Ted? Click here to learn more about ICE’s Culinary Arts program.

By Jenny McCoy — Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts

Cranberry season is in full swing, and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, what better time to rethink your cranberry sauce? I find people either love cranberry sauce or don’t like it at all. I happen to be someone who loves it. The bright color on my dinner plate pops against the whites, browns and greens of turkey, stuffing and veggies. The super bright and tart flavor is a much-needed contrast against rich and heavy side dishes (often drowned in gravy). Plus, a schmear of cranberry sauce on a leftover turkey sandwich is a crucial component of one of my favorite lunches.

Each year, I change up my recipe to keep myself excited about the sauce, but also to convert a few family members who are convinced they just don’t like it. I’m sharing a few of my favorite recipes, but before we get into the kitchen, let me tell you a few things about America’s quintessential Thanksgiving fruit.

Cranberries by Casey Feehan

(credit: Casey Feehan – @caseyfeehan)

Cranberries: One of the Most American Ingredients

Wild cranberries have long been consumed by New England’s Native Americans, for some 12,000 years. The fruit is one of a handful of our country’s indigenous fruits. Cranberries thrive in their natural environments; bogs created by glaciers thousands of years ago. Prized for their culinary purposes, cranberries were also used for medicinal purposes and as a dye for textiles.

Though the early European settlers enjoyed them, larger-scale cultivation of cranberries didn’t begin until the early 1800s, when Captain Henry Hall, a revolutionary war veteran, noticed that his cranberries grew best when his bogs were covered in wind-blown sand. He moved his vines to more favorable locations and as his production grew, his method of cultivation spread. Other growers adopted his method of covering their berries in sand, increasing the yields of cranberry production throughout the northeast region, especially in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Harvest Time

Have you ever seen a cranberry harvest? You may recall those cranberry juice commercials featuring farmers in waist-high waders, standing in what looked like a pond covered in cranberries. Well, that’s precisely how cranberries are “picked.” Cranberry bogs are filled with water (up to a couple of feet though, not waist-high) the night before harvest. The vines are then raked to loosen the berries from the plants. The berries float to the surface of the water because they contain little air pockets, allowing them to be collected efficiently.

In 2015, over 840 million pounds of cranberries were produced in the United States. While many of us associate New England with cranberry growing, it is Wisconsin that now corners the market, having produced 60% of the country’s annual yield. With 20% of the annual harvest eaten on one day of the year — Thanksgiving — let’s take a moment to celebrate this most American fruit and discover a few new ways to add cranberries to your Thanksgiving table!


Go Raw Cranberry Relish
Servings: yields 8 to 10 servings


One 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries
2 tangerines (with peels)
1- to 2-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper


  • Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and chop until fine.
  • Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days before serving.


Smoky Bacon Cranberry Sauce
Servings: yields 8 to 10 servings


One 12-ounce bag of cranberries
1 cup light brown sugar
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
½ to ¾ cup cooked bacon crumbles, to taste


  • In a medium saucepan, simmer the cranberries, sugar, orange zest and black pepper until the cranberries have broken down and the liquid has thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Let the cranberry sauce cool to room temperature and stir in the paprika and bacon to taste.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 5 days before serving.


Herbed Cranberry Relish
Servings: yields 8 to 10 servings


One 12-ounce bag of cranberries
¼ cup honey
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 large bunch parsley, stems removed
3 large sprigs fresh rosemary, stems removed
4 cloves garlic
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ bunch scallions, finely sliced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste


  • In a medium saucepan, simmer cranberries, honey and sugar until the cranberries have broken down and the liquid has thickened, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Let the cranberry sauce cool to room temperature.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine parsley, rosemary, garlic and olive oil. Finely chop, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add additional olive oil, if needed.
  • Stir the chopped herbs and garlic mixture into the cooled cranberry sauce. Add the sliced scallions.
  • Add the red wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days before serving.

Want to study with Chef Jenny? Click here for information on ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program. 


The day of Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to catch up with extended family and friends, but from a culinary perspective, we’re all about the leftovers. Last year, ICE Director of Culinary Development James Briscione wow’ed us with three brilliant recipes for leftover turkey. So, of course, this year we came back for more. Grab a wedge of brie, a bag of cranberries and those prized turkey scraps. This is one grilled cheese you don’t want to miss.

thanksgiving grilled cheese

Not into the cranberry and brie? Chef James also recommends the combination of cheddar and sauerkraut for a leftover turkey grilled cheese.

*Note: This recipe includes instructions to make cranberry chutney from scratch, but if you still have leftover cranberry sauce from your holiday dinner, lucky you!

Thanksgiving Leftovers Grilled Cheese

  • Cranberry chutney
    • 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen cranberries
    • 1 piece fresh ginger, peeled and crushed
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Cooked turkey breast, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 thin slices of brie cheese
  • 2 slices pullman loaf or 7-grain bread
  • 1 tbsp butter
  1. Combine the cranberries, ginger, cinnamon and sugar in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer over a medium flame. Cook until very thick, 30-40 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
  2. Butter the outside of two slices of bread, and spread the cranberry chutney on the insides. Layer the turkey and cheese between the slices, then press them together and fry on a griddle over medium high heat until golden brown.

Our leftover strategy doesn’t stop at sandwiches. Give that sweet potato casserole a second life with a recipe for sweet potato doughnuts

By Chefs Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian

Chowders are chunky, hearty soups—a classic comfort food for the long, cold winter. As ingredients, cauliflower and cashews are both mellow in flavor, with buttery, earthy richness, but here they combine to make a bold soup. Cauliflower has become a star in the modern nutritional hit parade, standing in for potatoes in a mash or roasted until its curly white edges turn deep gold. The florets soften entirely in this soup but keep their creamy white color. We like to purée about a quarter of the soup and leave the rest of the florets and cashew pieces whole. This gives the soup a rich texture without the addition of too much heavy cream. (We’ve added a little cream to finish the soup, but if you choose to leave it out, the soup will still taste unctuous.)

cauliflower cashew soup

Cauliflower-Cashew Chowder

Yield: 12 cups

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 all-purpose potato, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups (7 ½ ounces) coarsely chopped cashews
  • 4 cups (14 ounces) cauliflower florets (from 1 small head)
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrots, potato, and garlic. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cashews, cauliflower, thyme, and stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat until the soup is simmering and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Remove the sprigs of thyme, but don’t be concerned if the leaves have fallen off the stems.
  3. Ladle 2 cups soup into a medium bowl. Using a handheld or standard blender, purée until completely smooth. Return the purée to the pot. Add the heavy cream and season with the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons salt and the pepper or to taste. Serve immediately. Store any cooled leftovers in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat any quantity of soup over low heat.

Dream of developing your own holiday recipes? Click here to learn more about careers in food media. 

Recipe reprinted from In A Nutshell: Cooking and Baking with Nuts and Seeds by Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian. Copyright © 2014 by Cara Tannenbaum and Andrea Tutunjian. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.






By Jenny McCoy—Chef Instructor, School of Pastry & Baking Arts 

Early on in my career, while working in New Orleans for Emeril Lagasse, I was tasked with creating inventive variations on the ever-popular bread pudding. My menu at Delmonico in New Orleans featured a seasonal bread pudding, which I changed monthly. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, this sweet potato bread pudding with cashews proved to be a favorite. Served with a dollop of marshmallow meringue, what was once a classic side dish is easily transformed into dessert.

spotato duo

Sweet Potato Bread Pudding with Crunchy Cashews (from Desserts for Every Season)

Makes 8 to 10 servings


  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup whole milk, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons whiskey
  • Finely grated zest of ¼ orange
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 cups (about 8 ounces) soft white bread, cut into ¾ inch cubes
  • ½ cup (about 2 ½ ounces) whole cashews, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
  • 1 recipe Marshmallow Meringue (optional)


  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F.
  2. Wrap the sweet potatoes individually in aluminum foil. Place them on a baking sheet and bake until soft when pierced with a fork, 1 to 1 ½ hours. Remove them from the oven and let cool until just warm. Remove the foil, cut the potatoes in half, and scoop the flesh from the skins. Transfer the cooked sweet potato to a food processor, add ½ cup whole milk, and process until smooth.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, whiskey, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice together until smooth. Meanwhile, bring the remaining ½ cup milk and the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Slowly pour the hot cream over the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Add the sweet potato purée, and stir until evenly combined. Add the bread, and gently stir to combine. Refrigerate the bread pudding base for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  4. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9 x 9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  5. Stir the bread pudding base, then pour it into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top with the cashews and turbinado sugar, and bake until golden brown, slightly puffed and set, about 35 to 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Marshmallow Meringue

  • 3 large egg whites
  • Seeds scraped from ½ vanilla bean
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of sugar on low speed.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1 cup sugar, water, corn syrup and salt in a small saucepan, and set over medium heat. Cook the mixture until it reaches 238°F on a candy thermometer and remove from the heat.
  3. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium high, and very slowly pour the hot sugar mixture over the egg whites, taking care not to pour the mixture onto the moving whisk. Increase the speed of the mixer to high, and whip until tripled in volume, thick, glossy and cooled to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Want to study with Chef Jenny? Learn more about ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program. 


By Chef James Briscione

It was a pleasure teaming up this Thanksgiving season with Potluck Video’s Ali Rosen for an exciting three-part turkey series—from brined to bacon-wrapped to deep-fried. But once the magnificent feast is over, what do you do with all those leftovers? Watch below to find out our top tips.

The Ultimate Leftover Sandwich





  1. Cover 1 slice of bread with thin slices of brie. Then layer in order: cranberry sauce, apples, turkey and top with more brie. Lay a second piece of bread over the sandwich and press lightly.
  2. Butter the outside of the bread and brown in a non-stick pan over low heat. Flip and brown on second side.


Leftover Turkey Chilaquiles aka The Perfect Post-Thanksgiving Brunch


Ingredients (Chilaquile Sauce)

  • 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup mined onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • pinch ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon minced chipotle in adobo
  • 28 oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 8 oz beer (or water)


Instructions (Chilaquile Sauce)

  1. Place the olive oil in a sauce pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until tender. Add the garlic and cumin; cook 30     seconds more. Stir in the chipotle and tomatoes and beer. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt.


Ingredients (Turkey Chilaquiles)

  • ¼ cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 lb turkey meat
  • 1 cup crumbled queso fresco or feta cheese
  • fresh cilantro, as needed
  • sour cream, as needed
  • minced onion, as needed
  • 4 fried eggs


Instructions (Turkey Chilaquiles)

  1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan. Carefully add the tortillas one at a time and fry until just crisp. Drain on paper towels and season lightly with salt.
  2. Add the meat to the sauce and bring to a simmer.
  3. To plate, place a small spoonful of sauce on the base of plate, top with one tortilla. Cover the tortilla with more sauce and top with a second tortilla. Spread the second tortilla with sauce, then finish with cheese, cilantro, sour cream, onion. Top each with a fried egg and serve immediately.


Turkey and Oyster Gumbo



  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 lb andouille, diced
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • ½ cup green pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 6 cups chicken stock, heated
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chopped turkey meat
  • 2 cups shucked oysters



  1. In a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pan heat the oil and flour, stir constantly to form a roux. Cook over medium heat until dark brown (think melted milk chocolate) and beginning to smoke lightly.
  2. Add the sausage, onion, celery and pepper to the roux. Stir over medium heat until softened. Stir the garlic, thyme and oregano into the roux and immediately add 2 cups of the chicken stock. Stir rapidly until the mixture is once again smooth. Add another 2 cups of stock until, stirring well again before adding the remaining stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the cooked turkey to the pot with the bay leaves. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in the oysters. Garnish with cooked rice.

By Tim Bruderek

This past week I attended ICE’s New Thanksgiving Meal, taught by Chef Anthony Sasso, an ICE alumnus and the chef du cuisine at New York City’s Casa Mono. This fabulous menu featured modern twists on classic Thanksgiving flavors, with the hope of offering creative ways to present guests with the traditional ingredients we all love. All of the recipes were easy enough to take home and try out for friends and family this holiday season.

Smoked mushroom stuffed turkey breast roulade

When it comes to Thanksgiving, it’s all about the bird (there’s a reason it’s called “Turkey Day” after all). People typically roast the whole turkey just so we can see it perched majestically at the center of the dining room table. But like most cooks, I find it nearly impossible to prepare the perfect roasted turkey. Since different parts of the bird cook at different times and temperatures, there’s a reason why you have overdone breast meat and undercooked legs. Call me crazy, but I’m getting a bit sick of the same dry turkey, and having to pour gravy over the whole thing to moisten it up!

This class helped solve the problem of having to contend with dry Thanksgiving turkey. The menu included Smoked Mushroom Stuffed Turkey Breasts, prepared in a roulade style and cooked using an at-home smoker. With a flavorful stuffing of sautéed oyster mushrooms, onions, garlic, herbs and LOTS of butter, the turkey breasts were smoked then finished in the oven to ensure a moist and flavorful roast that made for the perfect replacement for that whole bird we’ve all grown tired of. (For those of you who’d like to try it at home, scroll down for the recipe, courtesy of Chef Sasso).

Offering up another twist, the class learned how to get the most out of another popular part of the turkey – the legs – by making Pulled Turkey BLTs. By slowly roasting then braising the turkey legs, the meat gets incredibly juicy and falls right off the bone. Pile it on some toasted bread and dress it with a fresh and tangy cranberry vinaigrette to get modern version on the classic pairing of turkey and cranberry sauce.

And you can’t forget the sides (arguably the best part of every Thanksgiving meal). Along with these great turkey dishes, we enjoyed a silky saffron cauliflower soup with roasted brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes with truffle oil and parmigiano reggiano and curried butternut squash and rainbow carrots with pomegranate yogurt, to name a few. And to top it all off, for dessert the class whipped up a deliciously creamy butternut squash mousse with candied ginger pecans, while getting into the holiday spirit with a sinful sweet sherry eggnog.

Throughout the class, Chef Sasso taught us some valuable tips on maximizing flavors, such as using a food mill to get the perfect mashed potato texture and how to make an easy yet flavorful pan gravy.

For those of us who were looking to impress our guests this year and move away from the same old dishes, this class was a huge success!


Yield: Serves 8

3 turkey breasts, skin on
Olive oil for sautéing
1 pound oyster mushrooms
1 stick butter (cut in half)
Garlic, chopped
¼ cup sherry vinegar
4 fresh bay leaves
6 sprigs thyme
2 quarts chicken stock

1. Set up a smoker on the top of the stove by arranging two hotel pans on top of each other (deep one on the bottom, shallow perforated one on top). Line the bottom pan with aluminum foil and a few pieces of wood and newspaper. You want the wood to be cut into thin splinter-like pieces, over a pile of the crumpled paper. Light these on fire and allow the flame to burn for 1 minute. Cover with the perforated pan, making a homemade smoker where the smoke from the bottom pan seeps through the holes and infuses the ingredients on top. Season the turkey on both sides with salt and pepper and place them on top of the perforated pan, then cover the whole thing with foil. Set over a couple of burners set to low heat and leave to smoke for 30 to 45 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms in a hot pan with some olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You don’t want to overcrowd the pan or the mushrooms will never turn brown. Add ½ stick of butter and the chopped garlic and cook another minute. Then add the sherry vinegar, reduce until dry and cool.

3. Preheat the oven to 375° F

4. Stuff the smoked turkey breasts with the sautéed mushrooms, bay leaves and thyme, splitting the ingredients evenly among the breasts. Rub the skin with the remaining butter and place in a casserole in the oven with the chicken stock coming half way up the meat (you may not need all of the stock). Cook for another 30 minutes until fully cooked.

ICE has everything to help you wow your friends and family this holiday season. Click here for a full list of our upcoming Recreational classes.

Included in the grand traditions of Thanksgiving are parades, football and naps (most importantly, naps), but the most consistent thing about the holidays is that every family does it differently. Just this week, a particularly food-savvy friend and I bonded over the shame we feel for our deep-seeded love of gelatinous canned cranberry sauce and boxed stuffing, both having been served at almost every Thanksgiving meal I can remember. This year, I’m looking forward to something different — nothing but homemade, handcrafted deliciousness at a dinner prepared by the most traditional of country moms. (It’s important to note that this model of domesticity is not my mother, though Mrs. Wheeler can certainly hold her own in a kitchen.)

While I’ll be traveling to the wilds of Wyoming for a home-cooked meal, those of you staying in New York have many more options. Many fine-dining establishments around the city set up prix fixe menus. Pastry Chef Jennifer McCoy of Tom Colicchio’s Craft will be among the many chefs working hard to serve those who are happy to leave the cooking to the pros. Luckily, she also taught a class at ICE on how to make some of her favorite Thanksgiving desserts. Over the four hours we made every dessert that will be gracing the pages of Craft’s Thanksgiving menu this year, including a Comice Pear and Cranberry Crumble that has become my single favorite dessert. While I don’t plan on making every dessert, there was certainly a lot to be learned from Chef McCoy:

* The Weight of it All: When making a pie crust there are a couple of tricks to refining a golden crust. For a perfect pumpkin pie, you have to partially bake the crust before filling it. Use a layer of aluminum foil lined with pie weights to help the crust keep its shape. If you don’t have ceramic pie weights, dry beans work just as well. More »

By Caitlin Raux

It’s not easy to remove the intimidation factor from wine. Save for sommeliers and connoisseurs, most people get a little squirmy when it comes to talking about wine — a fact that makes wine buying a challenge. Dustin Wilson, master sommelier and co-founder of Verve Wine, wants to make wine more accessible to everyone. With both an online and brick and mortar presence, Verve Wine aims to educate customers and help them buy, order and enjoy wine with confidence. ICE is excited to welcome Dustin as one of the featured participants in the next First Fridays at ICE on April 7. In anticipation, we chatted with Dustin about his path to Verve and picked his brain for some seasonal wine recs.

Dustin Wilson MS

When did wine shift from a hobby to a career path for you?

I would say it first became a hobby when I was living in Maryland. I was working at a steak house and I got really interested in wine from being around it on a regular basis. So I started reading and studying it and tasting more often. But it wasn’t until I moved to Boulder, Colorado in 2005 and started working with Bobby Stuckey at Frasca’s Food and Wine that I realized that there was potential to work as a sommelier and have wine as a career path. Bobby is a master sommelier and he was my first mentor.

You’re a master sommelier also, right?

Correct. I passed the exam in 2011.

I’ve heard it’s a pretty intense test, to say the least.

It is indeed.

Tell me about preparing for that. What was the training like?

The majority of it is self-taught, so you don’t go to class for it. In order to get good, you need to have a great support system of wine people around you who are also pursuing it. It would be incredibly difficult to prepare for it on your own, without guidance. It took me basically from the time I started pursuing it until I actually passed, so a five year process.

Five years!?

Yes. It’s a lot of studying. You know, leading up to the time when I passed, I was putting in a solid 3-4 hours of study time on days that I was working. Then on days off it would be another 8-12 hours of study time. Tasting all the time, studying all the time with my group. It was definitely all-encompassing. I didn’t have a lot of free time.

After working as a sommelier for some time, you started Verve Wine. Can you share a little more about Verve?

Verve is a place to learn about, discover and buy wine online. We also have a physical store in Tribeca. We focus on small, artisanal producers from all over the globe, but we’re very particular about the producers that we carry. We like family owned estates that very much respect their land and make wines that are true to their sense of place. So it’s a process of curation — finding great wines from all over the world at different prices, everything from ten-dollar picks to those that cost thousands of dollars. We really wanted to create a place that makes finding and learning about wine accessible for a lot of people. That’s our main focus — making wine accessible and making it fun without dumbing it down. Also we make sure we provide top quality wines.

I was checking out your website and, like you said, it does seem very accessible. I work in food so I found the tool where you can search wines by food pairings very useful.

Exactly. We realized that people like to shop for wine in various ways. Some people go in and know exactly what they’re looking for. Some people are looking for a particular grape or region. Other people look for wine to go with a certain type of food. There’s also an “occasions” feature, so if you’re looking for wine for brunch versus Valentine’s Day or Thanksgiving, we put together curated lists of wines that fit each occasion.

And that’s just the website! Do you also do in-house wine education?

Yes. We host tastings pretty often and they cover a wide range of topics. Sometimes we do a casual tasting — like on Thursdays, we open up a couple of bottles from a region and people can come, taste and we talk with them about the wines. Other times, we’ll invite winemakers or sommeliers and host on a seminar where we taste through their wines or a specific region and talk more in-depth about it. This Friday we have Richard Betts, another master sommelier coming in to do a tasting of a wine he makes plus some other wines that are similar to his. We want people to come to the store to learn and taste, not just buy.

It seems like all the master sommeliers know each other. Do you guys and girls all hang out and open magnums together? 

Sometimes. It’s definitely a small community of people. At this point I think there’s only around 230 worldwide. We tend to all know each other. I am buddies with some of them and we get together on a regular basis. We’re always supportive of each other in our respective endeavors. A lot of us got to know each other through the process of studying for the exam. Some of my best friends are guys I took the master sommelier exam with.

That makes sense. Circling back to the First Fridays event you’re taking part in at ICE — The Craft of Food, Wine & Chocolate — do you have any pairing suggestions for wine and chocolate?

It depends on the type of chocolate. If you’re having a bitter, dark chocolate on its own, I like something called Banyuls. It’s actually the name of a place in southern France that makes a really delicious fortified wine — kind of similar to port but a slightly different flavor and texture to it that I think works really well with bitter chocolate. Let’s say you’re having a chocolate truffle or something with caramel or fruit inside — I’d recommend this interesting wine from Austria that’s a sweet wine, late harvest made from a grape called Zweigelt. You definitely want something that will match up with the sweetness of the chocolate. The pairing would change depending on the other flavors with the chocolate, if any. If you’re having a chocolate with peanuts or almonds, you might want a vin santo from Italy.

That seems counterintuitive to me. I would think you’d want a contrast in flavors — like if you have a creamy chocolate, you’d want an acidic wine. 

All of these wines actually have a lot of acidity. Because they’re sweet, they need to have a lot of acidity; otherwise the wines would feel cloying and overly rich. But if you were to pair a dry red wine with chocolate, it would be a clash because the chocolate, which is so sweet, would make the wine taste even drier. You don’t want a wine that’s sweeter, you just want to match the sweetness.

Since it’s Spring, can you give us a pairing for a seasonal meal, such as roasted chicken with spring vegetables?

Chardonnay from Burgundy handles itself really well. It tends to be lighter, brighter and fresher than a California Chardonnay, for instance. That would be great with roasted chicken. For spring dishes, especially at this time of year when the sun is starting to come out and things are warming up, I’d recommend crisp, bright, more mineral-driven whites. Things like Gruner Veltliner, Albariño, etc. Sancerre can definitely be a great spring wine, especially with something like roasted asparagus. That goes really well Sauvignon Blanc.

Thank you, Dustin. We’re looking forward to seeing you at ICE soon!

Learn more about First Fridays at ICE.