A twist on the Thursday tradition

Nov. 25, 2008, midnight | By Katie Sint Julia Wynn | 12 years, 3 months ago

Blazer recipes provide flavors to savor

A mouth-watering smell of turkey wafts out of the kitchen. A vibrant deep red cranberry sauce, concocted to sweet and sour perfection, sits ready to be gobbled up by guests. The oven opens to reveal a warm pumpkin pie surrounded by a golden crust.

Almost every dinner table in America will be decked out with these foods - staples of the traditional Thanksgiving feast - when that fateful yet glorious Thursday rolls around. Ninety seven percent of Americans will chow down on a turkey on Thanksgiving night, bringing in a whopping total of 45 million consumed turkeys nationwide, according to polls conducted by the Tracy Press.

For many Blazers, Thanksgiving is a time to sit back, relax with family and stuff themselves until the sound of bursting buttons reverberates through the house. Other Blazers give thanks for the ability to create their own unique recipes in celebrating their Thanksgiving spirit. These Blazers have dug up, invented and perfected unorthodox table traditions that are so revolutionary, they would make the pilgrims proud. For Blazers who are tired of the typical Thanksgiving meals and are in need of a little inspiration, these recipes from fellow students should satisfy both stomach and mind.

Veggie vogue

Whether it's Butterball, Shady Brook or straight off the farm, the star of the Thanksgiving dinner is always the turkey. For all those who can already feel themselves getting bored with the same meal year after year, it may be time to mix it up. No one understands this concept better than sophomore Hannah Felperin, who chooses this year to indulge herself with a heaping plate of tofu turkey, commonly known as "tofurkey." This year will be Felperin's first time trying tofurkey and she is excited for the chance to remain true to her vegetarian beliefs for the second Thanksgiving in a row. "Eating all the traditional foods without the turkey and gravy was still really delicious, and it was the same thanksgiving as always," she recalls.

Photo: Tofurkey, an excellent vegetarian substitution for turkey, is on sale at Whole Foods.

Traditional Tofurkey
1. Blend tofu in blender until lumps are gone.
2. Transfer to a large bowl and mix with herbs, poultry seasoning, stock powder and salt and pepper.
3. Line a round colander with one layer of cheese cloth or a clean dish towel. Put the tofu mixture in colander and fold remaining cheese cloth over the top. Place the colander on a plate and put a weight on top. Put in fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight if possible.
4. With the tofu still in the colander, scoop out the center, leaving about an inch of tofu around the edges. Place your stuffing in the cavity. Put the tofu mixture you scooped out over the stuffing and press down firmly.
5. Flip the formed turkey on to an oiled cookie sheet, use the excess tofu to form the turkey legs and wings for an added turkey look. Brush the whole turkey with the marinade.
6. Cook at 350 degrees for about 1.5 hours (can be longer) brushing with marinade every 15 minutes or whenever you remember to.
Marinade instructions:
1. Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together
2. Adjust the spices if you feel the need.
Recipe courtesy of Vegweb.com

The icing on the cake in a turkey feast is, of course, the rich, savory turkey gravy that is drizzled over the meat. But for those loyal Blazers in want of a vegetarian option, Felperin's vegetable gravy is definitely one to savor. Replacing vegetable oil and soy sauce for turkey drippings, the gravy takes on a lighter taste that's still a dazzling compliment to whichever festive feast you choose. If you're still determined to cut into a turkey this Thanksgiving, vegetable gravy is delicious on a variety of foods, including real meat.

Good Gravy
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/3 c chopped onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c all-purpose flour
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
4 tbsp light soy sauce
2 c vegetable broth
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
2. Saute onion and garlic until soft and translucent, about five minutes.
3. Stir in flour, nutritional yeast, and soy sauce to form a smooth paste.
4. Gradually whisk in the broth.
5. Season with sage, salt, and pepper.
6. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring constantly, for eight to 10 minutes, or until thickened.

Soup-er thursday

Perhaps the best example of innovation at work is freshman Rubie Ansong's recipe for Peanut Butter Soup. There's no arguing that peanut butter may be the greatest culinary invention around, but with this dish, the popular spread is taken to a new level. Forget the bread and the jelly and try something new this year - but don't forget to give your thanks to early PB pioneer George Washington Carver.

Creamy Peanut Butter Soup
Cooking spray
1/2 c fresh chopped onion
1/2 c chopped carrots
1/2 c fresh chopped celery
1 fresh leeks, sliced (white part only)
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
3 c chicken broth
15 oz canned great northern beans, unsalted, rinsed, drained
1/3 c peanut butter
1/2 c milk
1/2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 pinch hot pepper sauce
1 pinch salt, cayenne and black pepper
1 pinch fresh chopped green onion

1. Spray large saucepan with cooking spray, heat over medium heat until hot.
2. Saute onion, carrot, celery, leek, and garlic for 5 minutes.
3. Add broth and beans and heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are tender for 10 to 15 minutes
4. Process soup and peanut butter in food processor or blender until smooth
5. Return soup to sauce pan, stir in half and half and curry powder
6. Heat over medium heat until hot
7. Season to taste with lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, salt, cayenne, and black pepper
8. Pour soup into bowls, sprinkle with green onion
Recipe courtesy of Dlife.com.

The creative new soup is not the only thing Ansong has to offer for the Thanksgiving feast; a great recipe for pigs' feet is also available on the menu. Although it may sound unconventional, the flavorful dish is at least something new to try. And if you find it's not your favorite appetizer, it's the perfect dare to bring to the kids' table.

Party with Pigs' Feet
8-10 pigs' feet
1/2 c chopped onions
1/3 c sliced celery
1 small green pepper, sliced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper, optional
1 c vinegar
4 c water
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce

1. Place pigs' feet, onion, celery, green pepper, seasonings and vinegar in an eight-quart sauce pot.
2. Add 4 c water or enough to cover pigs' feet.
3. Bring to a boil; reduce to medium heat.
4. Cook three hours or until pork is tender and meat starts to pull away from bone.
5. Stir in tomato sauce, simmer 15 minutes.
6. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy of Cooks.com.

Accommodation and importation

For those Blazers who are vegetarian but have families that aren't, junior Sophie Chang has some great family recipes for you. With a new twist on two holiday favorites, mashed potatoes and turkey, these recipes will meet the needs of every family member seated at the table. Use horseradish as a new ingredient to add some unexpected flavor to those bland mashed potatoes.

Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
1. Make mashed potatoes as usual.
2. Boil potatoes.
3. Mash with butter, no cream.
4. Mix 1 c of sour cream, 1/3 c of chopped chives, 1/4 c of horseradish in separate bowl.
5. Mix with potatoes.

The exotic recipe for Jook - in essence, turkey porridge - will entice all those who have been disappointed with the lackluster dry turkey on the table. Taken from Chang's grandmother, the recipe is a favorite delicacy of the Korean culture. Use this Thanksgiving as a chance to delve into something new and exciting for your taste buds.

Grandma Chang's Jook Recipe
1. Strip turkey meat off bones.
2. Cover turkey carcass with water.
3. Add one onion.
4. Simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
5. Bring to a boil, then simmer.
6. Strain stock and throw away bones.
7. Add short grain Mochi rice into stock.
8. Add diced pre-soaked shiitake mushrooms, a piece of dried fruit peel, salt and pepper.
9. Simmer for three hours.
10. Add canned chicken soup.
11. Mix lean ground pork with soy sauce and flour in separate bowl.
12. Add a little flour, tofu and egg.
13. Shape into 3/4 inch balls.
14. Add to gruel.
15. Cook for half hour.
16. Add shredded turkey meat.
17. Top the dish with scrambled and slivered eggs, red ginger, chopped green onions, Chinese parsley and chopped nuts.
18. Serve with cucumbers and Mung beans in Marukan Brand Seasoned Gourmet Rice Vinegar.

Something's fishy

For Blazers who long for a more aquatic approach to Thanksgiving, seafood is always a sure bet. Instead of the typical lightly browned, crisp skin of a Thanksgiving turkey, senior Vinh Phung prefers the hard red shell of a steaming dinnertime lobster. If you're not a big fan of lobster, there are a plethora of other seafood options to enjoy, including salmon, tilapia and shrimp. Instead of hauling a 15-pound turkey around the kitchen, opt for some fish or emulate Phung and have yourself a delicious lobster.

Thanksgiving Lobster
1 quart water
1 lemon, sliced
1/2 bunch fresh parsley
5 black peppercorns
2 (1 1/2-pound) whole lobsters

1. Fit a very large stockpot or soup pot with a rack or an upside-down heat-proof plate on the bottom.
2. Combine all the ingredients except for the lobsters and bring to a boil.
3. Place the lobsters on the rack, cover tightly with the lid and turn the heat to low.
4. The lobsters will steam in approximately 7 minutes.
Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen, Foodnetwork.com.

With all these creative new recipes, Blazers will find their Thanksgiving plates looking refreshingly unique this year: a soft, flavorful chunk of tofurkey drizzled with savory vegetable gravy beside a portion of fluffy horseradish mashed potatoes. On the side, a bowl of creamy peanut butter soup for a nutty flavor. With this well-rounded spread, it may even be difficult to remember the holiday and give thanks before diving into the meal - bon appétit!

Katie Sint. Katie Sint is 5 foot 2 and her last name rhymes with "squint" which has lead to the creation of many Asian jokes. Katie likes Sour Patch kids, Iron chef, laughing, Bubble Shooter, The Office and naps. She plays volleyball and is a CAP junior. More »

Julia Wynn. Hello, my name is Julia Wynn and I am looking forward to my senior year as a member of the Silver Chips Online staff. I love to dance (especially poms), listen to music and play piano. My two main food necessities are any kind of … More »

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