Tag Archive | "Thanksgiving"

Thanksgiving Wines to Be Thankful For

If you are serving red wine, think of something light-bodied and bright.

Ask five different wine people what they will be pouring for thanksgiving dinner and you’ll likely get five different answers. Why is that? Because the foods on the table are so broad in flavors that they lend themselves to a remarkable number of wines. So, serve Champagne and let the bubbles cut through the heaviness of the gravy and dressing. Or pour an off-dry Riesling and let its touch of sweetness complement the relish, the sweet potatoes and the turkey. Pinot Noir is a favorite with many because of its versatility with food.

Better still, have several choices, from dry to sweet, to appeal to all tastes at the table.

About the only answer you’ll get an agreement on is that a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is not for your heavier wines. So, leave the oaked Chardonnays and California Cabernets in the wine rack. Think brightly acidic wines or low-tannin treats, and you’ll do just fine.

Here are a few choices from five local people involved in the wine business.

Sarah Verheyen of Glazer’s of Texas:

“We are going to the big family set-up where I bring Beringer White Zinfandel because that is what my in-laws like. I don’t even bring any food — that is what they want!

“Beforehand, I am going to make a stuffed chicken with wild mushrooms and sage dressing for the four of us, so I will probably pair that with some Pinot Noir of some sort. Pinot Noir was the turning point, which I am sure it is with a lot of wine folk; (it made) me fall in love with wine, food and wine pairing and literally, (and) that led to meeting my husband, having my awesome step children, and now my son. Can’t be more thankful for anything in a glass than Pinot Noir!”

Kellis Chandler of Republic National Distributing Company:

“My mother and I are adopted by the Walthal family (a retired Trinity prof) for Thanksgiving. I’m the wine guy, so it’s an opportunity to pull that great Pinot Noir I have been wanting to share with special people. I usually bring a well-made, crisp Chablis-like (if not Chablis) to start things off.

Put away the oaky Chardonnays in favor of something crisp and light.

“It’s funny, these folks are not wine geeks, so we very rarely talk about the wine. They just look at me and nod with a smile on their faces, and comment on how nice the wine is.”

Don Pullum, winemaker for Sandstone Cellars and winemaking consultant for Torre di Pietra Winery:

“I’m going Moroccan for Thanksgiving.  Appetizers include Fried Eggplant Jam, Sweet Tomato Jam, Marinated Olives and Spicy Gulf Shrimp. The wine? Torre Di Pietra 2009 Blanc Du Bois Reserve: It’s a full-bodied, complex white with about 0.5 percent residual sugar that is very versatile in pairing with food. It’ll handle the the complex spices, sweetness, and peppers in the various appetizers. This wine is the first time I’ve worked with Blanc Du Bois, and I’m thankful that I had the opportunity. I’ve a new respect for this varietal.

“The entrée: Tagine Turkey Meatballs with Herbs and Lemon. Sides include Baked Root Vegetables with Prunes Spiced Lentils with Pumpkin Couscous. And the wines: Sandstone Cellars 2009 IX, a blend of 75 percent Tempranillo and 25 percent Touriga as well as the 2006 Bodega Muga Reserva Rioja. I’m thankful for having Mason County growers growing interesting Iberian varietals that produce wines which favorably compare to many wines produced in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and southern France.

“Dessert is  Semolina Pancakes with Figs, Almonds, Butter and Warm Honey. The wine is Haak 2007 Blanc Du Bois Madeira. I’m thankful to Raymond Haak for going through all the trouble to make this wine.

“And assorted cheeses with the Sandstone Cellars 2006 IV (a port-style wine). Thanks to Paul and Nancy Buist for growing Touriga at their Robert Clay vineyard.”

Nichole Bendele, public relations and tasting room coordinator for Becker Vineyards:

Rosé complements many of the Thanksgiving dishes.

“Our dry rosé, the Becker Vineyards Provençal (made from Mourvèdre) and a dry Robert Weil Riesling (Erstes Gewachs) are what I’ll be bringing to my brother’s house for a traditional Thanksgiving meal!  Yum!  I haven’t decided on what red I’ll bring – maybe a Seghesio Vineyards Zinfandel.

“The Provençal (and hopefully our Alsatian-style Gewurztraminer will be bottled by then) and some of the lighter-bodied reds like the Prairie Rotie (Rhone-style blend) and Reserve Grenache are some people also enjoy with the Turkey and trimmings.  These reds aren’t too heavy with tannins and won’t overpower the food.”

Philippe Placé, co-owner, Coco Chocolate Lounge & Bistro, 18402 U.S. 281, Suite 114:

“I am actually hosting the Thanksgiving meal this year. My wife Kim’s family will be here, so we will have about 15 people.

“We will start  with a cold fresh salmon and asparagus terrine paired with an Auxey Duresses 2007. It’s one of the underdogs of Burgundy, and I absolutely love it. It is a little leaner and racier than a Meursault with a deep gold color and hints of hazelnut.

“The turkey will be rubbed with sage and spices about three days before being cooked, and the rub will be reapplied every day. I will have some haricot verts sautéed with almond, plus black-eye peas prepared by the 94-year-old grandmother of Kim. Sweet potato fries. Garlic mashed potatoes two colors. Parsnip tournés with a citrus zest. The stuffing will be made of French brioche, apples, chestnuts, onion, leeks, parsley, fresh grapes and chicken stock.

“The wine served with that will be a Morgon ‘Les Charmes’ 2006. I love it that wine that my parents would always serve for special occasions will be served at my home. From the Beaujolais appellation, the Morgon has a beautiful rich purple color with hints of plums and cherries. It’s full bodied wine with a lot of character.

“For dessert, there will be apple tart tatin by me and pumpkin pie made by Kim. I will be serving the dessert with the Becker Vineyards Muscat Canelli Amabile. We finish with a Texas wine that I happen to love! I love the hints of nutmeg and cinnamon and that tender sweetness.

“I have much to be very thankful for this year. I had the chance to visit my family in July. My dad’s health is degrading rapidly, and I was able to talk to him and spend some amazing time with him and my French family. I am very thankful for my wife that keeps me going every day and never doubts my ability to be a good dad, good husband and a good restaurateur. I am thankful for my two outstanding sons that I love immensely. I am very thankful for having a successful business that allows me to take care of my employees, partners and my family.”

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Plenty to Be Thankful For

Cornucopia (1)

In the classic “Holiday Inn,” Bing Crosby croons a Thanksgiving song aptly titled “I’ve Got Plenty to Be Thankful For”:

I’ve got plenty to be thankful for.
No private car.
No caviar.
No carpet on my floor.
Still I’ve got plenty to be thankful for.

Many of us are in the same boat this year. Or, out of the boat, because we haven’t got a boat, either. We’ve lost our jobs, we’ve lost our financial sense of security. The comfort factor of having a job was suddenly taken from us. But every single day we think about what we have gained in return!

We have experienced such an easing of job stress that it is almost scary.


Candied Bacon Apple Pie

On the other hand, we have maintained our professional contacts, readers and friends in the food and restaurant community in San Antonio and beyond, who simply changed our e-mail addresses on their lists and kept us in the loop.

They have invited us to judge wine competitions and food contests, asked us to write for their publications, asked us to come to their restaurant openings and report on their festivals and events.

With our freedom has come a kind of giddiness that makes each day more of a blessing then the previous one.

When it is cold and rainy out, we can stay home and snuggle up with a pet (Bonnie with her cats, John with his  cockatoo). We love the fact that on Sunday nights we are not faced by Monday mornings at the office. While we must continue to look for regular employment, it’s even a blessing that we have the time to do so on our own schedules. We’re also grateful for the chance to get into the kitchen more often to experiment and develop our own recipes, from Bonnie’s addictive Herbed Buttermilk Parmesan Bread to John’s over-the-top Candied Bacon Apple Pie.


Candied Bacon Apple Pie

Most of all we’ve learned who our true friends are.  While there have been hurt feelings and unpleasant surprises along the way, these have been more than eased by the many folks who have stepped forward. They offered space in their homes in case we lost ours. Others offered cash. Still more offered an ear in case we needed to vent; many gave us, and still give us, hugs of support.

We were invited to lunch and dinner, not simply to be fed, but to listen to ideas for employment or businesses that friends had obviously given much thought. To name just a few, Moe Lazri, Ray Ayala and Eric Rodnite came through with not only friendship, but great ideas. Tom and Young Cacy cooked a beautiful Korean meal in their home — then plied us with ways to add to the revenue stream of SavorSA.

Both of us are grateful for family. Bonnie, for the unflagging moral support from her husband, David Miron. David lost his full-time teaching job just a few weeks before she lost her job in January.

The two of us are also grateful that we can continue our working relationship. We sat next to one another for 10 years during our previous jobs. Now, we remain just a phone call or e-mail away, and are still appreciating (and arguing about!) the same things on a daily basis.

We also are grateful for the friendship shown to us by the core group of SavorSA. First and foremost is Nick Mistry, our business partner, for so many things, not the least of which are his networking skills, his knowledge about social media and the way the Web operates, his business acumen and his fine photography skills.


Flourless Chocolate Cherry Hatch Cake

Also on that list are Pam and Cecil Flentge for their expertise and compassion, and Kristina Mistry for pitching in to compile the Upcoming Events file, write, edit as needed and create a sensational recipe or two (Flourless Chocolate Cherry Hatch Cake).

We’re thankful for our advertisers, those who have supported us thus far and those who are coming online soon. They include William “Goro” Pitchford of Godai and Blanca Aldaco of Aldaco’s-Stone Oak. You’ll never know how much your support has meant to us.

We’re thankful for our readers and subscribers, an ever-growing list of folks who support us by reading our articles, responding to our questions, logging on day after day.

Finally, we are certainly thankful for the existence of the Web!  It has given us the opportunity to continue to do what we love to do. That is, think, read and write about all things culinary, while feeling we have an audience who appreciates us doing that and wants to participate. Stick with us — we have more plans ahead for SavorSA.

This Thanksgiving, we aren’t just repeating a platitude when we say, “Happy Thanksgiving to you all — and count your blessings!”

By Bonnie Walker and John Griffin

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Websites and Hotlines Offer Holiday Help


Honey and Spice Glazed Turkey / Butterball

Here are hotlines and websites for finding information on just about everything you need for Thanksgiving.

  • Butterball Turkey Talk-Line: (800) 288-8372, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. live assistance, then automated;
  • Crisco Pie Hotline: (877) 367-7438 offers a pie expert to talk to from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday throughout the holidays. The line is also available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. now through Nov. 26 and Dec. 15-23. On Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, access videos with step-by-step visual instructions and guidelines for making pie crusts.
  • Domino Sugar: – look here for baking tips and recipes.
  • Fleischmann’s Yeast Baker’s Help Line: (800) 777-4959: offers information for using yeast, storing it, determining if it is still useable. Consumer representatives are on hand 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Recipes, tips at
  • Food and wine pairing: offers tips on what wines to pair with turkey or your side sides.
  • Foster Farms Turkey Helpline: (800) 255-7227: answers questions about their products and how to prepare turkey, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday. Or visit
  • King Arthur Flour Co.’s Bakers Hotline: (802) 649-3717 for information on baking just about anything. Staffed 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday year-round. During the holidays, the hotline is available weekends from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Also, you can e-mail questions to or join live chats at when the hotline is available.
  • Land O’Lakes Holiday Bake Line: (800)  782-9606; hotline available 8 a.m.-7 p.m. through Christmas Eve.
  • McCormick: provides  holiday recipes and instructions for craft projects that use spices.
  • National Turkey Federation: advocates for the turkey industry and has a Thanksgiving guide for turkey preparation as well as other holiday dishes.
  • Nestlé Toll House Baking Information Line: (800) 637-8537 is available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Monday-Friday. Also, their Web site,, offers baking tips and recipes.
  • Ocean Spray consumer help line: (800) 662-3263 is available 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, including Thanksgiving Day. Or visit for a  Thanksgiving planning section including expert advice, tried-and-true recipes, ideas for a beautiful table, crafts and hints for the host.
  • Perdue Farms: (800) 473-7383. Find out about roasting, carving and leftovers at
  • Reynolds Turkey Tips hotline: (800) 745-4000 for recorded turkey defrosting and roasting information;
  • Shady Brook Farms Turkey Line: (888) 723-4468 offers recorded information about turkeys from buying and prepping to roasting and carving.
  • USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline: (888) 674-6854 offers information on safe food handling and prevention of food-borne illnesses.

John Griffin and contributed to this report.

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Griffin to Go: A Thanksgiving Feast for Diabetics


“You’re sublime.
You’re a turkey dinner.
You’re the time
Of a derby winner.”

“You’re the Top,” Cole Porter

I can’t begin to list the myriad things for which I’m grateful this year. So many blessings fall under the categories of family, friends, health and general welfare that I’m constantly humbled by the magnitude of them.

DiabeticTG-6But one item high on the list was the chance to share an early Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, one of my sisters, her husband and my nephew.

That may strike some of my friends as odd. They know that the traditional Thanksgiving dinner is not one of my favorites. All that brown food. The narcoleptic bloat that comes from overeating. I didn’t get it.

Well, maybe my body got it. When I was diagnosed with diabetes several years ago, I noticed that the Thanksgiving dishes I most avoided, such as dressing, were the ones that were the most laden with carbohydrates.

So, this year, I decided to make a more diabetic-friendly Thanksgiving meal, one with plenty of fall flavor but without all the harm.

It’s doubly important in my family since my father also lives with diabetes, and my nephew is a carb-addict who limits his meals largely to mashed potatoes, bread and a tiny bit of meat.


Cornbread-Sausage Stuffing (click for recipe)

Diabetes is different in each person. In me, the carb content, no matter the fiber content, causes my blood sugar to skyrocket. So, no pasta, no rice, no potatoes. Bread has to be limited and kept to certain kinds. Sugar actually affects my blood sugar level less than these other foods.

So, how do you translate that kind of limitation into dressing, which was created as a means of finding a new use for stale, old bread? That was the hardest challenge. Friends told me they had had breadless stuffings before, but that didn’t seem right. I thought about what I did like in some dressings: sausage, onions, celery. A great start. I sautéed them up and added apple and just a little cornbread.

Mashed potatoes in my parents’ home is a staple, and my mom made up a large pot, largely for my nephew. But I also did mashed cauliflower, which tastes enough like mashed potatoes to make believers out of my dad, a cauliflower hater. Adding a little bacon helped.


Holiday Cran-Raspberry Sauce (click for recipe)

Bacon was also featured in the sautéed cabbage, made bright with a touch of ground coriander. Asparagus, no longer limited to spring time, was roasted under the broiler at the last-minute.

The menu was easy, but could I get everything done on time? That’s the challenge all of us face on Thanksgiving. I made a time line and faced the drawback I generally face when I’m cooking for others: I couldn’t wait to get started.

The day before, I made the cran-raspberry sauce, the only sugar to be included in the meal and an item I would have to ration wisely, though the flavor and freshness of this dish makes it tremendously appealing. I also had to rinse the turkey in cold water for a long while because it wasn’t thawing quickly enough in a too-cold refrigerator.

The day we got together, I started with the turkey. Rinsing and drying it is always the way to start. Then I borrowed a technique from my colleague, Bonnie Walker, who made her turkey last year as if she were roasting a chicken. That meant cranking the oven up to 450 degrees and roasting the turkey, breast side up, at that high heat until the tips of the wings started to get dark, maybe 30 minutes. The heat was then lowered to 350 degrees where it roasted until finished.


Mashed Cauliflower (click for recipe)

The end result was a turkey with an ultra-crisp skin (perhaps my favorite part) and juicy meat inside. I was roasting a Butterball, so basting was not needed; but the bird did cook more quickly than it would have had it been roasted only at 350 degrees. It was ready about 20 minutes before the rest of the dinner was, which is fine, because you want it to rest before serving.

While the turkey was roasting, I started preparing the cauliflower, followed by the dressing, which went together too quickly. It ended up staying warm in the oven for more than an hour. The cabbage followed, with the asparagus going in the oven after we said our prayers, so it could cook while the rest of the food was served.

The last touch was to strain the pan drippings, rather than stirring in carb-heavy flour for gravy.


Sautéed Cabbage With Bacon (click for recipe)

It was Thanksgiving all right. Too much food to fit on the plate. Seconds and thirds and even fourths. But there was a difference. No one curled up into a ball after dinner or begged for a little down time.

Yes, there was a dessert served later that evening. And, no, it wasn’t diabetic-friendly. It was my sister’s birthday, and Mom made her favorite: coconut-cream pie. But by avoiding all those carbs earlier in the meal, I enjoyed my slice without too much guilt. And that’s something else for which I’m grateful.

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Have Your Dressing and Cut the Carbs, Too

DiabeticTG-5Dressing or stuffing, for many, is a way of using old bread or rice. Yet you can keep the dish on your Thanksgiving menu and cut back the carbohydrate count.

Cornbread-Sausage Dressing

1 rib celery, minced
1/2 onion, minced
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
3 mild Italian sausages, casings removed and broken into small pieces
1/2 apple, chopped
1 or 2 stale or toasted cornbread muffins, to taste
1 tablespoon fennel seed
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup pan drippings from the roasted turkey or chicken stock

Sauté celery and onion in butter or olive oil, about 5 minutes or until soft. Add sausage and cook until done. As sausage is beginning to turn brown, add apple to mix and stir thoroughly. When sausage is done and apple somewhat soft, crumble the cornbread muffin over the top and stir in. Add fennel, salt and pepper and season to taste. Place in an 8-inch square pan and keep warm until ready to serve. Just before serving, pour pan drippings over the top.

Makes 4-6 servings, depending on how much cornbread you use.

From John Griffin

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Counting Down to Thanksgiving With SavorSA


Last Updated: Tuesday, November 24th @ 1:44am

Thanksgiving is a week away. Don’t panic. If you are hosting this year there is still plenty of time to get it all done. A few general tips start things off. Then, our time line, below, is a general guide.  We suggest things to remember, day by day, before Thursday and on the day of  Thanksgiving.

The Tips

  • Do as much as you can ahead of time.
  • Enlist help from your family and any guests who are coming. If they don’t cook, they could pick up a bag of ice, bring an ice chest or bring a bottle of sparkling wine for a toast.
  • Remember that anything and everything, including the entire meal, can be purchased ready made. If, the day before Thanksgiving you just can’t make the rolls and the pies, purchase them store bought. We rely on Sister Schubert dinner rolls. And, if I didn’t have friends who could be counted on to make pie, I’d probably pick one up at Costco.
  • SavorSA is just an e-mail away. We’ll be working on our Thanksgiving meals on Wednesday, but don’t hesitate to shoot us a question. Also, check SavorSA early next week for a list of helpful telephone  “turkey hotlines.”
  • Finally, here’s some advice from chef Jason Dady: Thanksgiving is his favorite meal, but his  advice to beginners is to “keep it simple.” Your grandmother did not start out making Thanksgiving dinners as elaborate as they were by the time you showed up, he said.

The Timeline

TurkeydayCountdown3Friday: If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to organize. Write things down, make lists — these help. Devise the menu. Figure out what dishes you can ask others to bring and let them know now — or ask them to make suggestions. Decide what you can make and what you don’t have time for.

Make a shopping list and plan a couple of trips, if possible. Pick up bulky items (paper towels, napkins, candles, disposable baking sheets, aluminum foil and plastic wrap), canned goods and other non-perishables on the first trip; leaving perishables closer to the day before Thanksgiving.

Pull out the items you are going to use that you’ve stored for a year. Does the silver, or even the good stainless, need polishing; do the tablecloths and napkins need stain removal, washing or  ironing? Do you have all the dishes you need for complete place settings? Get help doing these — or decide that a pretty table runner and large, soft paper napkins will do this year. Get them ready, then set them aside and check them off your list.

SavorSA can help: If you need  ideas for dressing up your Thanksgiving table, visit SavorSA on Sunday for some beautiful examples from around San Antonio.

Saturday: If you want to shop today, go early or late. The stores will be crowded.  Clean the refrigerator out to make room for the large bird and extra food. If you’re buying a frozen turkey, you might want to purchase it today and put it in the refrigerator to thaw out slowly. If you are making any foods that can be prepared ahead and frozen, that might also be on the agenda today.  Also, gather together essential pots, pans and utensils to be sure you have what you need. If  not, add to the shopping list.

SavorSA can help: Are there people in your family who are diabetic? Look for John Griffin’s article on Monday about the complete Thanksgiving dinner he made recently that was diabetic friendly.

Sunday: Take it easy. Talk to your family about what they need to do to help you as the week progresses. Give them specific tasks: emptying garbage, removing tableware from the table, loading the dishwasher or entertaining the smaller children.

Monday: If you have some heavy housecleaning to do, why not get those big chores done today? We don’t suggest you go whole hog and clean all the windows and re-varnish the wood floors. In fact, we’d suggest that someone hosting a large Thanksgiving could use some hired help. But you will still need to do the supervision.  Also, if you’re purchasing a frozen turkey, you might get it into the fridge to start thawing today.

Holiday Cran-Raspberry Sauce

Tuesday: Check your list and think about shopping for the perishables today – early or late. Again, it will be busy. Consider getting store-made foods, from frozen pizzas to ready-to-heat beef fajitas or stews.  Take it easy on the everyday cooking.  However, if there is time today, you could make the cranberry sauce (so much better made fresh), start preparing a few things for relishes, such as trimming radishes, green onions, carrots or celery, the latter of which should be stored in water to stay fresh. Make salad dressings or dips.

SavorSA can help: Today might also be the day you want to pick up some wines. Check out the wine tips and touts we’re offering on SavorSA on Tuesday.  Also, check out where to get your knives sharpened and how to carve that turkey, if you’ve never done it before.

Also, if you’re going to take the plunge and deep-fry a turkey this year, check out our articles from Saturday about the Barrios-Treviño Family Thanksgiving. Roland Treviño shows his tried and true method of frying a turkey.

Wednesday: Look at your list: This is the day to pick up flowers, ice, and any other last-minute items. We like to get the table set the afternoon before Thanksgiving. Set up any sideboards with water pitchers, ice buckets, serving utensils, iced tea or wine glasses, extra napkins. The more you do today, the more time you have to work on dinner tomorrow.

Make some of your dishes ahead: Do anything from oven-ready dressing to sweet potato casseroles, getting potatoes peeled for mashed potatoes. Pies and other desserts can keep well overnight, too.

SavorSA can help: Check out our webcasts on Saturday and Sunday featuring the Barrios-Treviño family Thanksgiving. Diana Barrios- Treviño shares her favorite Sweet Potato Soufflé and Cheesecake, both of which are must-haves at the family dinner. Also, think about breakfast tomorrow, or the day after Thanksgiving — and make ahead these really good Rasberry-Lemon-Pecan Muffins for breakfast and coffee.  For other desserts, check out the SavorSA article on desserts for Thanksgiving.

Thursday: TurkeydayCountdown1This is the day. What time is dinner? Check the poundage of your turkey; the package will tell you how long to cook the bird. Then, figure on letting it stand at least 10-15 minutes after you take it out of the oven or at least 20 minutes after the fryer. Then figure some time for carving. When the bird has gone in the oven, it’s time to do last-minute preparations. Get the appetizers together, put in wine to chill.  Your table is set, the turkey’s in the oven, the dressing is ready to go in and the potatoes are peeled and on the stove, ready to be turned on. Have the rolls ready to shoot into the oven to warm once the turkey’s out. And, have your gravy broth warm and the thickener mixed and ready.

SavorSA can help: Check out these helpful links for making gravy and how to carve a turkey. Also, check out our list of Thanksgiving hotlines, if you’re unsure about cooking the bird, or look at our article Monday on cooking for diabetics, which tells you how to roast the turkey.

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A Granola for the Season

CowgirlGranolaAre you mad for granola?  Then you may want to check out the pumpkin spice blend granola that Cowgirl Granola has produced for this Thanksgiving.

The San Antonio company is offering a granola made with seasonal spices as well as dried orange-cranberries, perfect flavors for those who can’t enough during the holiday.

The special granola is only available through the end of the month. It sells for $8 for a 12-ounce package.

You can purchase it or the two regular flavors (Original with organic raisins and Cranberry with dried cranberries) by calling (210) 865-5900, online at or at the Leon Springs Farmers Market, 13222 Boerne Stage Road every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

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Ask a Foodie: Thanksgiving Day Snacks That Aren’t Filling

oliveoilQ. Have any suggestions for some light appetizers to ease the wait for the turkey feast? We generally gather to kibbitz and nosh for a couple of hours before we sit down, but we don’t want to overdo with cheese, dips, chips, etc. What do you see out there on the horizon?


A. Keep it simple. That’s a good theme for the whole Thanksgiving Day feast.

For a light snack or appetizer beforehand, raw foods are the best because they won’t fill you up. Think of a tray of celery, radishes, cucumbers and even some olives and pickled items like artichoke hearts and pickled beans.

Keep it light on the carbohydrates. Crackers and chips will fill you up quickly, and you often can’t stop eating them once you’ve started. So, no elaborate Spanish tapas on toast points, no baked brie en croute, no Greek dolmas (the rice is too filling).

Strangely enough, the one item that always disappears in our group — and you can chalk this up to the tastes of the people in question — is a can of sardines, rinsed and topped with something like a harissa sauce or even freshly squeeze lemon. Rinsed anchovies is another that some return to time and again.

That leads me to the last suggestion: bagna cauda, the warm butter-oil dip with anchovies that you dip veggies in. It could be the centerpiece of a crudité plate or served alongside a platter of roasted veggies in an antipasti plate.

Recipe: Bagna Cauda

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Holiday Cran-Raspberry Sauce

CranHomemade cranberry sauce has it all over cranberry sauce from a can.  SavorSA likes to think our Cran-Raspberry Sauce is better still. The two-berry sauce is bright and lively with holiday flavors such as orange, cinnamon, fresh ginger and even a dose of rum.  Expect requests for seconds, and maybe thirds.

Holiday Cran-Raspberry Sauce

1 (12-ounce) bag fresh cranberries
3/4-1 cup sugar, or more to taste
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Juice and zest from 1 large orange
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 knob fresh ginger, about an inch long, peeled and cut into 4 slices
1 (10-12-ounce) bag frozen raspberries
1 ounce rum or 1/2 teaspoon rum flavoring

In a medium-large saucepan, put cranberries, sugar, water, cinnamon, juice and zest from orange, lemon juice and ginger slices. Bring to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the raspberries (they can be thawed or frozen) and the rum or rum flavoring. Simmer until the cranberries have popped, the raspberries have turned very soft and the sauce has thickened a little. (Don’t worry if the raspberries fall apart, they’ll still add great flavor.) Taste to see if you want more sugar. Take off stove to cool. Take out the ginger slices with a spoon. (If you like a stronger flavor of fresh ginger, you can also mince the knob of ginger after it is peeled. Add to the sauce and leave it in.)

Serve warm or at room temperature.  If preparing ahead, refrigerate sauce until serving time.

Makes 3-4 cups sauce.

From Bonnie Walker and John Griffin at SavorSA

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Get Your Turkey and Trimmings – and Have Someone Else Do the Work


*Updated with additional listings on November 23.

If you don’t have the time, the means or the energy to prepare the Thanksgiving meal, don’t sweat it. There are numerous places offering meals to go, while many restaurants are offering lavish spreads.

Restaurateurs, if your Thanksgiving menu isn’t included, please e-mail We’ll update the lists below as often as we can.

First, we’ll start with the take-out options:

  • Central Market, 4821 Broadway – A host of meal options abound. The turkey dinner with all the trimmings serves 6-8 and features gravy, dressing, green beans amandine, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls and a pumpkin chiffon pie for $129.99. A vegetarian meal for four with Hazelnut Cranberry Roast en Croute sells for $69.99. Call (210) 368-8600 or (210) 368-8686.
  • The County Line – Order barbecued turkey breast as well as ribs, sausage and brisket through the barbecue joint’s Air Ribs program. Call (800) AIR-RIBS (247-7427) or visit
  • Crumpet’s Restaurant & Bakery, 3920 Harry Wurzbach – For a full menu of take-out options, call (210) 821-5600.
  • Earl Abel’s, 1201 Austin Hwy. – Order a 23-pound oven-roasted turkey dinner with cornbread dressing, giblet gravy and cranberry relish for $125. Two pies (one apple, one pumpkin) are included. Side dishes, including mashed potatoes, candied yams, green beans, gravy and dinner rolls, available individually. Pie options include pumpkin, sweet potato pecan with Chantilly cream, Texas pecan, cherry, apple, maple pecan and meringue. Orders must be placed by Nov. 20. Call (210) 822-7333 or (210) 822-3358.
  • SoGo, 19903 Stone Oak Parkway – The holiday meal for 6–8 people costs $159.99 and includes Whole Roasted Tom Turkey (brined with canella, cider, sugar, salt, cilantro and clove); Fresh Herb Bread Stuffing; Roast Garlic Mashed Potatoes; French Green Bean Casserole; Cranberry-Orange Compote; Turkey Gravy; House-Baked Dinner Rolls with Whipped Butter; and your choice of Home-Made Chocolate-Chip Pecan Pie, Apple Pie or Pumpkin Pie.  All items are also available á la carte.  Reserve your meal at (210) 494-8222 or online at
  • Whole Foods, 255 E. Basse Rd. – A variety of appetizer options include Crab Cakes; Traditional Deviled Eggs; Brie en Croute; and Antipasti & Cheese platters.  Á la carte entrées include Herb-Encrusted Tenderloin of Beef; Diestel Pre-Roasted Organic Turkey; and Spinach and Hazelnut Tofu Loaf.  There is a large selection of side dishes included Traditional Herb Stuffing; Roasted Brussels Sprouts; and Apple-Baco-Cheddar Potato Cakes.  Desserts include Four Seasons Pie; Vegan Pumpkin Pie (traditional also available); and Chocolate Pecan Pie.  More information is at or call (210) 826-4676.

For restaurant options, make reservations early. Also note that some places will not be open on the holiday. A few we know include Rosario’s, Acenar, El Jarro de Arturo, the Palm Steakhouse, Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses and Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse.

  • Biga on the Banks, 203 South St. Mary’s St. – Brunch on Thanksgiving Day will run 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Prices and information on the special meal will be posted on the restaurant’s website,, as it becomes available. Place an online reservation and receive a complimentary glass of Champagne.
  • Boudro’s, 421 E. Commerce – Thanksgiving Day hours are 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Start the meal with an amuse bouche – Chicken Liver Paté and Persimmon Jam.  Choose between Corn and Crab Chowder with Pumpkin, Poblano, and Parmesan Croissant Croutons or Beet Salad with Watercress, Fresh Goat Cheese, Grapes, and Orange Sherry Vinaigrette.  The main course selections are Achiote Butter-Basted Turkey Breast with Wild Mushroom, Parmesan, and Celery Root Sour Dough Stuffing or Herb-Roasted Niman Ranch Pork Chop.  Alongside the entrées will be Jalapeño Cornbread, Cranberry Scones, Carmelized Onion-Sage Rolls, and Rosemary and Grape Kolaches.  Dessert is Sweet Potato Pecan Pie with Chantilly Cream, Mexican Chocolate Cheesecake with Candied Orange and Cajeta Sauce, or any dessert on the regular menu. Cost: $37 for adults, $15 for children’s turkey dinner, all plus tax and tip. For reservations, call (210) 224-8484.
  • Brasserie Pavil, 1818 N. Loop 1604 W. – A three-course Thanksgiving prix fixe menu will be served 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Choices of appetizers include roasted butternut squash soup, Pavil Maison Salad Mix and a classic Caesar. Entrée choices include Grilled Chicken Breast Dijonaise, Steak au Poivre, Roast Turkey and Mushroom-Sourdough Stuffing, Rainbow Trout, Sea Scallops Beurre Noir and Fettuccini with Pulled Braised Lamb. Dessert choices include Pumpkin Cheesecake, Gateau au Chocolat and class crème brûlée. A la carte sides also available. Cost:  $34.95 a person plus tax and tip. Reservations for parties of 7 or more. Call (210) 479-5000.
  • Crumpet’s Restaurant & Bakery, 3920 Harry Wurzbach – Holiday fare will be offered during the day’s abbreviated hours, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. For reservations, call (210) 821-5600.
  • Earl Abel’s, 1201 Austin Hwy. – Thanksgiving hours start at 6:30 a.m., but the holiday meal will be served 11 a.m.-11 p.m. The special menu comes with choice of appetizer, vegetable, dinner rolls and dessert. Entrée options include roast turkey ($15), country ham ($16), fried chicken ($14), Niman Ranch top sirloin ($19) and fried shrimp ($17). Call (210) 822-3358.
  • Fogo de Chao, 849 E. Commerce St. – Thanksgiving hours are 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-10 p.m.  Lunch prices: $24.50. Dinner: $38.50. Both options include the regular 15 cuts of meat plus salad bar. Patrons can also choose salad bar only for $19.50. Call (210) 227-1700.
  • The Grand Hyatt, 600 E. Market St. – At the hotel’s Achiote River Café & Bar, the buffet is from noon to 9 p.m. Mixed salads, a carving station with roast turkey and entrees including pan-seared salmon, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, poblano corn bread stuffing, seasonal vegetables, an artisan bread station and a dessert station are offered. Cost: $25 a person. Call (210) 224-1234.
  • Green Vegetarian Cuisine, 1017 N. Flores Ave. – Have a vegetarian feast at Green from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. E-mail for reservations.
  • Hyatt Regency, 123 Losoya St. – The Thanksgiving buffet at Chaps Restaurant will be 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Carving stations with turkey, ham and prime rib are offered in addition to buffet choices of fire-roasted chicken, roasted turkey thighs, grilled acorn and butternut squashes, candied yams and grilled Escobar. Also: salad bar, Thanksgiving bread table and dessert table. Cost: $40 adults, $36 seniors, and $20 children. Children under age 3 are free with paying adult. Call (210) 222-1234.
  • Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort, 9800 Hyatt Resort Drive – The buffet in the Hill Country Ballroom is from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. A rustic soup station, seafood, salads of the season, a gnocchi and pasta bar, carving stations with turkey and ham, a breakfast bar and specialties ranging from roasted pork loin and roasted beef sirloin to glazed salmon and roasted acorn squash are featured. Dessert buffet and children’s buffet included. Cost: $42.95 adults, $35 seniors (65+), $21.50 children ages 4-12. Call (210) 647-1234.
  • La Mansión del Rio, 112 College St. – The buffet in Las Canarias restaurant will be 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Cost: $64.95 per person, $32.95 children ages 5-12. Price includes unlimited Mumm Champagne for adults. Tax and tip not included. Dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. is a la carte from the regular menu. Call (210) 518-1017.
  • Luca Ristorante e Enoteca, 11255 Huebner Road – Thanksgiving hours are noon-3 p.m. The special menu includes soup or salad, followed by a turkey dinner with all the trimmings,  and ending with pumpkin cheesecake. Cost: adults, $19.95; children, $9.95. The regular menu will also be available during those hours. Call (210) 561-9700.
  • Mike’s in the Village, 2355-3 Bulverde Road in Bulverde, TX, will offer a menu including Pumpkin Soup with Creole Lobster; Deep Fried Cajun Turkey Brined in Cayenne and Brown Sugar; Oyster-Corn Bread Dressing; Creamed Collard Greens; Sweet Potatoes with Pecans & Brown Sugar Butter; and more.  Hours are 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Call for reservations, (830) 438-2747.
  • The Vintage House Restaurant, Messina Hof Winery and Resort, 4545 Old Reliance Road, Bryan — Enjoy a traditional holiday feast from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting with your choice of Pumpkin Bisque or New England Clam Chowder. Next, choose Messina Hof Champagne Salad or Messina Hof House Merlot Salad. The entrée selection is: Roast Turkey with Giblet Gravy served with Seasoned Cornbread Stuffing and Green Bean Casserole; Prime Rib of Beef au Jus served with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Cabernet Mushrooms; or Baked North Atlantic Cod with Fresh Dill and Cornichon Butter Sauce and served with Jasmine rice and Green Bean Casserole. For dessert, enjoy your choice of Pumpkin Cheese Cake, Chocolate Mousse Cake or Tiramisu. Cost: $49.95 plus tax and tip. Wine is not included. Call (800) 736-9463, ext. 231, for reservations.

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