A Run Up to Thanksgiving – 4 Days Out

Still dictating from the campsite. Thanksgiving Dinner? It is the one day when Mom, Dad and I all get in the kitchen and cook our butts off, drink our best wines, and just have fun. This year I have put together some recipes that are based on traditional ingredients, but prepared in non-traditional ways. Hope you like them. I will miss being with my Mom and Dad on Thanksgiving this year, but we’ll make up for it at Christmas. P.S. No my wonderful readers I will not provide you with a recipe for Turduckin. Nope!
Ginger Sweet Potatoes
Again a staple for Thanksgiving but with a different twist. The addition of a good amount of fresh ginger adds a great deal of flavor. And don’t skimp on the ground pepper, which
contrasts with the brown sugar. May be made well ahead and rewarmed just before serving.
Author: Chef James R. Kirkley, IV

Served to Assistance League of Santa Barbara, CA

Serves: 10

Ginger Sweet Potatoes


2 1/2 pounds, Sweet Potatoes/Yams – scrubbed
3 tablespoons, unsalted butter –¬†heaping
1 1/2 tablespoons, fresh ginger (do not substitute, ginger must be fresh) –¬†grated
1/3 cup, brown sugar (depending on sweetness of potato/yam, amount of brown sugar should be increased or decreased)
Salt and pepper to taste (don’t skip the pepper, pepper creates great contrast taste to brown sugar)
1/2 cup, pecans (optional but adds to the appearance and presentation of dish) – toasted


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. TO BOIL
  3. Place the whole sweet potatoes or yam in a large pot and cover (plus a good inch) with water.
  4. Bring to boil and cover
  5. Adjust heat to maintain a fast simmer, continue to boil until potato is soft and tender, about 30 minutes
  6. Drain and allow to cool slightly
  7. Peel and cut into 1/2″ pieces
  9. In a small skillet, melt butter until shimmery, allow to cool
  10. Add the ginger and brown sugar to cooled butter
  11. Add the butter mixture to cooked sweet potato/yams and stir well
  12. Potatoes will have a “Chunky Applesauce” consistency
  13. Season to taste with salt and plenty of pepper and stir well again
  14. Transfer to a lightly buttered baking dish
  15. Cover with foil
  16. BAKE
  17. Bake for about 45 minutes or an hour
  18. Remove the foil, stir and continue to bake for another 15 minutes
  19. Serve immediately with a heavy dusting of toasted of pecans
Apple Tart
This tastes as good or better than traditional apple pie, but is much easier. The problem with pie is you have to get the filling and the crust done simultaneously. With this recipe the filling is cooked separately, insuring the filling is nice and caramelized. I can always adjust moisture and sweetness based on specific batch of apples, a very good aspect of this recipe. Then it is enclosed in the crust and baked together. No more soggy pie crust or underdone filling!


Author: Laura S. Kirkley

Rustic French farmhouse style tart is easy as pie

Serves: 6

Apple Tart


2 pounds, apples – peeled, quartered and cored
1 tablespoon, lemon juice
1/4 cup, superfine sugar
1/4 cup, butter
1 pie crust (9 inch)
whipped cream


  1. Cut each cooking apple quarter lengthwise into two or three slices. Sprinkle with lemon juice and sugar. Toss to combine.
  2. Melt butter in a large heavy frying pan over medium heat and add the apples. Cook stirring frequently, for about 12 minutes until the apples are just golden brown. Remove the frying pan from the heat and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Place prepared pie crust on a baking sheet.
  5. Spoon apples onto the pastry round, heaping them up, and leaving a 2 inch border all around the edge.
  6. Turn up the pastry border and gather it around the apples to enclose the outside apples.
  7. Bake the tart for 35 to 40 minutes until the pastry is crisp and browned.
  8. Serve warm, with whipped cream.


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