How Food Bloggers Do Thanksgiving: Delicious Snacks For Your Holidays

February 17, 2017

A group of online food starrings reveal their favorite festive recipesaEUR” from smoked turkey with garlic herb brine, to a curried sweet potato gratin, and pumpkin pancakes.

If youre not someone who does the cooking for Thanksgiving, the holiday is associated with warm memories of households collected around the table, sharing their gratitude while reveling in a delicious meal.

If you are someone who does the cooking, Thanksgiving stirs up memories of panicked grocery shopping in post-apocalyptic, ransacked stores, waking up early to baste a turkey the size of a preschooler, and angrily creating a menu that balances all the delicate needs of your guests, from the vegans to the hard-core carnivores to the carb-averse.

To provide some culinary salve to beleaguered Thanksgiving cooks, The Daily Beast has scoured the Internet and turned to our favorite food bloggers for some of their best Turkey Day recipes, with options for the vegan, gluten-free, and the boozehound loved ones in your life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Kitchen Konfidence

Brandon Matzeks Kitchen Konfidence is brimming with gustatory enthusiasm.

Matzek, a San Diego blogger, is so chock full of recipes and sumptuous photos one would think hes a professional cook. Instead, Matzek is a marketing manager by day, but hes been running Kitchen Konfidence since 2010.

Desserts are a Kitchen Konfidence specialty, and the bourbon pumpkin tart with pecan crumble included below is proof.

But Matzek also whips up delicious sides, like butternut squash macaroni and cheese, and offers a delicious garlic herb brine for cooking the superstar of Thanksgiving: the turkey.

Smoked Turkey with Garlic Herb Brine

4 sprigs sage, leaves removed from stems
12 sprigs thyme, leaves removed from stems
4 cleaves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon red pepper flake
cup kosher salt


Place rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic, fennel seeds, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes in a food processor( I use my small one ), and pulsation until a coarse paste kinds. Add kosher salt and sugar, and pulse until well-combined( about 30 seconds to 1 minute ).

Dry brine can be prepared up to 2 days in advance, and stored contained within the refrigerator.

The Turkey


1 batch Garlic-Herb Dry Brine
1 12 -1 4 pound turkey, neck and giblets removed
1 medium onion, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved widthwise
A few sprigs of thyme, rosemary and sage

Special equipment: charcoal grill, charcoal, charcoal chimney, hickory wood chips( soaked in water ), foil roasting pan, meat thermometer


Rub the Garlic-Herb Dry Brine all over the turkey( top, bottom and inside cavity ), and chill uncovered in the refrigerator for at the least 6 hours( or up to 24 hours ).

30 minutes before smoking, take the turkey from the fridge, and rinse all the dry brine off under cold, operating water. Pat the turkey dry; stuff the cavity with onion, garlic, and herb sprigs, and set aside.

Prepare a charcoal grill to smoke. Define a foil roasting pan in the middle of the lower rack. Surround the pan with hot charcoal, defined the top rack, encompass the grill, and preheat to at least 325 F *.

Once the grill is preheated, place a thin layer of soaked wood chips over the hot coals( both sides )**, then define the turkey on the top grill rack so it’s altogether over the foil pan( this will catch any drippings and avoid flare-ups ).

Cover the grill, and smoke the turkey until the internal temperature of breast meat is 160 F, rotating the turkey on the grill grate 180 every hour( this took us about 2 hours, but day can differ ). Transfer turkey to a platter and let remainder for 15 minutes before carving.

As the turkey cooks, monitor the grill temperature, charcoal level, and the smoke level. Keep the grill temperature around 325 F. If the grill has vents, open them to increase the temperature, and close them to lower the temperature.

Also, add more illuminated charcoal as needed to keep the temperature stable( we did this once during the course of its 2 hours ). When the smoke dies down, hurl more soaked chips on to the hot coals( we did this 4 times ).***


* During this entire process, you’ll want to keep the grill temperature around 325 F, but don’t fret if it fluctuates between 300 F and 350 F.

** Our grill grate has sides that swing up, allowing us to easily access the coals/ wood chips without moving the bird or the grate. If your grill grate doesn’t have this feature, youll need to( carefully) lift the grate and bird off the grill to add more charcoal and wood chips.

*** The size of the bird and the temperature/ weather outside can impact cooking hour and grill temperature.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese


For the mac and cheese :

1 pound of dried pasta( I use shells here)
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
onion, finely chopped
3 cleaves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons flour
2 beakers milk, at room temperature
2 beakers (8 ounces) grated aged/ sharp cheddar
2( 15 -ounce) cans of butternut squash( canned pumpkin would work here too !)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
teaspoon grated nutmeg
teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

For the breadcrumb topping

2 beakers fresh breadcrumbs
1 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the instructions for this recipe, check out the rest of the steps at Kitchen Konfidence .

Bourbon Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Crumble

3 big eggs
1 cup heavy cream
cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons good quality bourbon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
teaspoon fine grain sea salt
teaspoon grated nutmeg
For the crumble :

1/ 2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of fine grain sea salt

For the instructions for this recipe, check out the rest of the steps at Kitchen Konfidence .

Within a month of going gluten-free, she reveled in how much her body improved because of the food she ate–and she decided to document it through writing and photography.

Being able to eat again…made me ensure. Food is so beautiful. The vivid oranges of baby carrots, the fuzzy hair on a soft peach, the little white rings on red quinoa in a skillet, the crumbling flakes of dark chocolate on a cutting boardeverything attracted my eye, Ahern wrote on her blog.

Around a year later she gratified her future husband, Danielthe chef. They began making recipes together, which inspired Ahern to write her first volume, Gluten-Free Girl: How I Received the Food That Loves Me Back , followed by multiple cookbooks with her husband. The latest is Gluten-Free Girl: American Classics Reinvented .

The pair have constructed names for themselves with ingenious, delicious replaces and alternatives that not only work well for gluten-free eaters, but vegetarians and vegans.

Still, their Thanksgiving sides like cranberry chutney, wild rice salad with chanterelles, sour cherries and cashew sour cream, and curried sweet potato au gratin can please any guest.

Cranberry Chutney


2 big navel oranges, zested and juiced
cup sugar
Cinnamon stick
1 big Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1 big Bartlett pear, peeled, cored, and diced
teaspoon grated nutmeg
6 cups cranberries( fresh are best but frozen are penalty)


Set a large saucepan over medium-high hot. Pour in the orange juice and sugar. Cook, stirring often, until the juice comes to a simmer and the sugar dissolves.

Add the cinnamon stick, apple, pear, nutmeg, and cranberries to the sugary orange juice. Reduce the hot to low and let the mixture simmer, stirring pretty often.( Remember that the sugar means you might burn the chutney. No good .) About 10 minutes in, the cranberries will start to pop and release their juices.( Call the children over. This parts cool .) Keep stirring, but a little less frequently now. About 30 minutes in, all the cranberries will have popped and the juiced started to reduce.

Turn off the hot. Add the orange zest. Stir it all together.

Pour the hot chutney into a large, wide bowl or sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Let it cool altogether. Put it in an airtight container, ready for the big day.

Feeds 8.

Wild Rice Salad with Chantrelles, Sour Cherries, and Cashew Sour Cream

Wild Rice Salad

Ingredients :

2 beakers wild rice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 beakers chanterelles
4 tablespoons fine-diced shallots
1/2 cup dried sour cherries
4 teaspoons fine-diced tarragon
1 cup toasted cashews

Instructions :

Cooking the wild rice: Put the wild rice into a large saucepan and cover-up with 6 beakers hot water. Add the salt and stir. Define the pan over high hot and bring the water to a simmer. Reduce the hot until the water bides at a medium-hard simmer. Cook the rice, watching to make sure the water does not evaporate, until the rice is tender to the teeth, about 20 minutes.( You can also reduce the hot to low and simmer slowly, about 45 to 50 minutes .) Drain and set aside.

Sauting the salad. Set a large saut pan over high hot. Let the pan grow really hot. Add the oil.

When it swirls in the pan, toss in the chanterelles and cook, stir, for a few moments. Add the shallots and cook them both, stirring. Toss in the tarragon and cook until it releases its fragrance, about 2 minutes. Add the cherries and toasted cashews. Cook for a moment, stirring. Add the wild rice and cook until it is heated.

Serve the salad warm with cashew sour cream( recipe below)

Cashew Sour Cream

Ingredients :

1 beakers raw cashews
teaspoon salt
2 ounces fresh lemon juice( about 1 big lemon)
about cup water

Instructions :

Cover the cashews with water and let them soak overnight.

In the morning, drain the water from the softened cashews. Put them into a food processor, along with the salt and lemon juice.( We liked this lemony. If you want to mask the taste more, utilize less lemon juice .) Twirl it all up, pouring in the fresh water until the cream has reached your desired consistency. Refrigerate it for a few hours to let it thicken even more.

Curried Sweet Potato Gratin

2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
teaspoon ground turmeric
1 bay leaf
2 cleaves garlic
bunch fresh fine-chopped cilantro
4 big sweet potatoes
2 egg whites
2 beakers Parmesan
cup toasted almond pieces


Preheat the oven to 375. Butter a 3-quart casserole pan.

Bring the cream, curry powder, turmeric, bay foliage, and garlic to simmer in a small saucepan. Set aside and let the flavors immerse for hour.

Strain the bay foliage and garlic from the cream. Add the cilantro into the cream.

Peel the sweet potatoes. Slice them -inch thick.

Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. Toss the sweet potatoes into the egg whites, along with the salt and pepper, and mix.

Put a layer of the sweet potatoes in the casserole pan. Sprinkle the layer with Parmesan cheese.

Repeat until you are out of potatoes.

Pour the flavored cream over the potatoes until it is all gone and evenly distributed.

Finish the casserole with the remaining Parmesan cheese and the almonds.

Cover the dish with tin foil.

Bake in the oven until the casserole is golden brown and bubbly, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Serve hot.

Feeds 8 to 10.

Gluten Free Girl and the Chef also offers a vegan version of this dish :


1/ 2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup Ahern All-Purpose flour mix
4 beakers soy milk
2 tablespoons Madras curry powder
teaspoon ground turmeric
1 bay leaf
2 cleaves garlic
bunch fresh fine-chopped cilantro
4 big sweet potatoes
cup toasted almond pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt and cracked black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375. Oil a 3-quart casserole pan.

Heat the canola oil in a saut pan over medium-high hot. Pour in the flour mixture and stir vigorously until the flour forms a ball. Cook until you have a thick paste, which is called a roux, about another 2 minutes.

Take the pan off the hot and define it on the back burner.

Set a saucepan over medium-high hot. Pour in the soy milk. Add the curry powder, turmeric, bay foliage, and garlic to the soy milk. Once the milk has turned hot and have started to simmer softly, add a bit of the roux( about 2 tablespoons) at a time. Whisk the roux into the milk and let the milk simmer for a few minutes.

Repeat this process, 2 tablespoons at a time, until you have reached your desired consistency.( We use all the roux to create a sauce with the consistency of thick, heavy cream .) You just made a vegan Bchamel.

Strain the Bchamel of the bay foliage and garlic. Add the cilantro.

Peel the sweet potatoes. Slice them -inch thick. Layer the sweet potatoes in the casserole pan until you have use all the slice. Pour the Bchamel over the sweet potato slice. Toss the sweet potatoes with a spoon to make sure the Bchamel is coating all the sweet potato slices.

Finish the casserole with the almonds.

Cover the dish with tin foil.

Bake in the oven until the casserole is golden brown and bubbly, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Serve hot.

Feeds 8 to 10.

Big Girls Small Kitchen

Big Girls Small Kitchen earned honors for tackling a number of problems nearly all young urbanites with a cooking addiction face: How does one create culinary snacks in an itty-bitty apartment kitchen?

Billing itself as a guide to quarter-life cooking, Big Girls Small Kitchen began as the brainchild of friends Cara Eisenpress and Phoebe Lapine in 2008 as they navigated post-college life in New York City.

They released In the Small Kitchen: 100 Recipes From Our Year of Cooking in the Real World in 2011.

Today, Eisenpress manages the site on her own while also working as a food journalist. Big Girls Small Kitchen offers recipes for restricted cooking of every type, but we especially love its recipe for a day-after Thanksgiving brunch.

If eating pumpkin tart for breakfast is too crass for you( not that it should be ), try pumpkin pancakes with honey-nutmeg better.

Pumpkin Pancakes with Honey-Nutmeg Butter

1 tablespoon baking powder
teaspoon salt
teaspoon cinnamon
teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons brown sugar
cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 cup milk
teaspoon vanilla
Instructions :

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar in a medium bowl.

In a separate small bowl, combine the pumpkin and the egg and whisk to combination. Add the milk, vanilla, and cooled melted butter, and whisk once again to make a smooth mixture.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and fold until they are only just combineda few globs remaining are fine.

Heat a cast iron skillet or frying pan over medium-low hot for three minutes. Utilizing about cup of batter for each, cook the pancakes until golden brown, flipping once, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Remove to a plate and serve instantly with Honey-Nutmeg Butter( recipe below) and maple syrup.

Serves 2.

Honey-Nutmeg Butter
Makes cup

Ingredients :

1 stick butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey
teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of salt( if using unsalted butter)

Instructions :

Cream the butter with the honey, nutmeg, and cinnamon until slightly fluffy and even. Scrape into a small bowl and refrigerate until about 30 minutes before youre ready to use. Then, let it soften slightly.

Not merely does Kitchen Konfidence show you how to create a Thanksgiving feast, it provides delectable recipes for recycling your leftovers.

Put your sides to good use and gasoline up for Black Friday shopping with a post-Thanksgiving brunch dish, like Stuffing Baked Eggs.

Stuffing Baked Eggs

Ingredients :

Non-stick cooking spray
About 4 beakers leftover stuffing
Chicken stock, if stuffing is on the dry side
6 eggs
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped parsley

For the instructions for this recipe, check out the rest of the steps at Kitchen Konfidence .

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