thanksgiving in december

December 3rd, 2008 · 73 Comments

the beloved: rudrani devi

i rarely get too personal on ceF. i pretty much keep it to food. but i felt the need to share this with you and if at all possible to even ask you for a small favor…

together, just this past week, we all watched in horror as mumbai became a war zone. we saw the death and destruction – and the innocent people who were being terrorized. as a nation we felt shocked, angry, even helpless. and we also felt thankful that we were home and that our loved ones were safe. we sat around our thanksgiving tables and spoke of what was happening in india, saying "can you believe this?" and  "how incredibly insane the world is"…

late wednesday night when i got home from a decadent pre-thanksgiving dinner with friends, and i finally got around to checking my voice mail, all i can remember was a message from my dear friend santos. he said he had bad news and went on about something to do with his wife "the beloved" and that she had been shot in mumbai and that he’d almost lost her but after emergency surgery it seemed that she would be ok… i didn’t even play the whole message. i was confused. i’d been busy all day and had seen something on the news that afternoon, but in the midst of my life, i had turned it off – never so much as thinking… so i immediately called his number and his sister answered. santos had been sedated but she patiently filled me in while i broke down and cried. she told me that rudrani was stable, and that santos was leaving in the middle of the night to get to an airport to fly to baltimore to go to the embassy to get his papers in order, so that he could immediately fly to mumbai and be by her side…

rudrani had been at my house for a dinner exactly 2 weeks before – just 2 days before she left for india.

but let me start at the very beginning…

i met santos about a year ago on the nashville scene’s food blog called ‘bites‘. there was no denying that this guy knew his food, but he could also make you laugh out loud with his witty repartee and seemingly endless trivial knowledge on virtually everything. on occasion, the ‘bites’ contributors and commenters would get together for lunch and so, santos and i finally met for the first time at prince’s – a nashville institution, and immediately became fast and furious friends. santos is a 110% latin american man from venezuela, and well, santos loves women. so being a woman around santos is delightful. he pays attention to detail. but make no mistake about it, at the end of the day there is only one woman for him. the beloved. his beautiful wife, rudrani about whom he can’t stop talking – and with the kind of adoration and devotion that you rarely see. and he never calls her by name. it’s always "the beloved".

and then i finally met her. and ok – so she’s gorgeous. but she’s also majorly fun and well, just lovely. and smart. and caring – to all creatures (she has bonded with my cat, merle) and she LOVES to eat. let me tell you, this woman is a serious carnivore. and so there were gatherings and dinners – and well, then i had two friends…

rudrani devi is a very spiritual woman, a true shaman who was fulfilling a deep desire to journey to india in the wake of her teacher, master charles cannon, joining him and about 20 other people on a meditation retreat. one week ago while having dinner in mumbai she was shot execution style while under a table at the oberoi hotel. the man next to her was shot in the head and died in her lap. alan scherr and his 13 year old daughter, both from the meditation group were killed.

santos lopez holding his beloved, rudrani devi at the hospital in mumbai.

santos has called me a few times from mumbai. one of the things he has mentioned is his desire to make a wonderful thankgiving dinner for his wife and their families. a thanksgiving dinner like no other. a day of food and celebration, a way to rejoice in the gratefulness of rudrani’s return to him, their home, their life together… and he asked me to help make it happen.

so in turn, dear readers, i come to you. because this year i traveled to nyc to be with family and i didn’t cook a lick. and so i need recipes. and i know they will be tried and true and fresh, not only in your mind but on your palate.

if i may ask you to leave in the ‘comments section’ some recommendations, or perhaps even a link to a post of a dish that was an absolute winner… that would be so nice. and if you would, please be specific. and i’d like it to be something traditional, something that really wowed you – the dish that you’ll be sure to make next year. we need it all – from the perfect turkey, a classic but out-of-this-world stuffing, a wonderful cranberry dish – to a few sides and of course desserts. oh, and there’s only one stipulation. no pork. at all. i know, i know. but we can do this….

and with your help, from these recipes we will comprise our menu. and i will be sure to report back to you with pictures and huge thanks in making rudrani’s december thanksgiving even more memorable…

i know that i can count on you…

i mean if not you, who?

Tags: local · not food · other

73 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Julia // Dec 3, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Claudia, What a touching post, and I can imagine what an incredible meal you will prepare! The absolute hit of my family’s Thanksgiving are Wild Rice Pancakes — not tradition but nonetheless more important to us than the turkey. I didn’t post it on my blog, but here it is:
    3/4 cups all purpose flour
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1 tsp. salt
    2 TBS fresh dill
    1 egg + 1 yolk, beaten
    3/4 cup milk
    1/4 cup whole butter, melted
    1/2 cup carrots, chopped
    1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
    1/2 cup celery chopped
    1/2 cup onions chopped
    2 cups wild rice cooked
    plain (canola) oil for cooking

    1. Sauté onions, mushrooms, carrots and celery in butter. Add to wild rice. Add dill.

    2. Mix dry ingredients together. Make a well in the center

    3. Pour eggs and milk into well and incorporate wet ingredients into dry.

    4. Add just enough batter to bind the rice. Do not want rice to be “swimming” in batter.

    5. Fry pancakes (1/2 tbs. batter for canapé size) in plain oil until dark, golden brown.

    Top each pancake with a small spoon of creme fraiche or sour cream and a small spoon of caviar, or a slice of smoked salmon, or fresh salmon.

  • 2 CeeElCee // Dec 3, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    It is so good to see them both together in Mumbai, even if it is in a hospital. As soon as I put 2 and 2 together after hearing of the Nashville connection, my thoughts have been with them both. The world needs more spirits like Santos and Rudrani!

    Like the little drummer boy, I have no gift to bring that is worthy of your stove and their plates, but I will sprinkle my gratitude for their safe return all over the meal!

  • 3 krysta // Dec 3, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    claudia, i’ll email you a recipe for sweet potatoes if you want them…

    all that love in that picture, wow. she has to get better, you cannot lose such a wonderful soul due to something so violent and distructive. i’ll be thinking of them and their well- being.

  • 4 Mike // Dec 3, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    The best turkey recipe I have even tried is from Wolfang Puck, and uses a brine with ground cloves and ginger, bay leaves, peppercorns, maple syrup and honey. The brined bird is rubbed under the skin with a rosemary-garlic-sage compound butter. I’ve cooked it for 4 years now, and it always gets rave reviews from the family. I believe the recipe is available on .

    Our thoughts and prayers are with your friends.

  • 5 Kristie // Dec 3, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Aw, Claud. That’s terrible. I’ll keep them in my thoughts and prayers, and keep hoping that we’re at the dawn of a new era where this type of terrorism is eliminated diplomatically and swiftly.

    I don’t have a recipe that is special enough for a dinner of this levity, but I can send you some of my sourdough starter if you’ve a hankering for fresh sourdough rolls.

  • 6 Lesley // Dec 3, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    You know you can count on me for recipes without pork in them for our friend. Stuffed acorn squash and sweet potato casserole with a praline topping are two of my favorites. But I also think that when they get back, they could use a dose of fried chicken and cornbread. No better welcome back to the south, right?

  • 7 Rachel Luxemburg // Dec 3, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Hi Claudia, thanks for the post. I am glad your friend made it through the Mumbai tragedy.

    My stuffing recipe is a big winner, every time I make it folks love it:

  • 8 Jack // Dec 3, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear your news, but thankful that your friend survived such a terrifying experience. I have a couple of recipes in mind and will send them to you soon.

  • 9 Delaney // Dec 3, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    Hey Claudia… thanks for a gorgeous post and for sharing this story. Keep us posted, ok?

    I’ve made this cranberry relish every year for ages and it never fails to thrill me. I’ve been tossing in crystallized ginger and some scraped vanilla bean. Enjoy!

  • 10 Marcie // Dec 3, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Keep us posted! These are two recipes from my blog that I’ve tried a few times. They’re delicious!

  • 11 democommie // Dec 3, 2008 at 9:39 pm


    I will work on the food thing, but I just wanted to say that I was glad to hear your friend is doing better.

    I don’t pray anymore, but I still think warm thoughts for loved people. I will think some for your friends Rudrani Devi and Santos.


  • 12 Jennifer Hess // Dec 3, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Wow. I saw your comment on MI and have been holding my breath and sending all sorts of good thoughts to you and your dear friends. This whole thing was just incredibly tragic, and it brings how just how much closer we all are through the magic of the internet…

    Anyway, I wish I had a recipe… I don’t, but if I can come up with something worthy I will definitely pass it along. But I will continue to send love and healing and hopeful energy to all of you.

  • 13 Julie // Dec 3, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    Wow. Just wow. What a stunning post. It makes all the horrific events in Mumbai that much more horrific. I’m so sorry about your friends.

    Sending good wishes/prayers/good thoughts to Rudrani and Santos. I hope they’re able to celebrate Thanksgiving soon.

    My favorite thing I make for Thanksgiving is this creamed spinach with jalapeno cheese.

  • 14 noble pig // Dec 3, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    That gave me the chills. What a story, I mean what is this world coming to. Thank god she survived, she is so very lucky, I can’t even believe you know someone to suffer such a tradgedy. May you all have a wonderful, wonderful Thanksgiving. Blessing to all.

    Mt favorite sweet potatoes:

  • 15 Traci @ Soup of The Day // Dec 4, 2008 at 1:44 am

    That picture of the two of them at the hospital was the sweetest thing ever. Oh, thank God she survived. Life is just so precious.

    What a story.

    I have lots of recipes I love, but there are some that are just really special, and I make this wild mushroom soup each year at Thanksgiving and everyone loves it so much, they always eat way too much and never are able to eat much of anything after it because they’re too full! It’s absolutely decadent and as formal as it gets, while still being down to earth. :) I serve it with hot French bread.

  • 16 Donald // Dec 4, 2008 at 3:44 am

    Man Claudia, I’m sorry. I am wishing for a safe return of your friends.

    I didn’t post any Thanksgiving recipes this year but I can tell you this, this was a great dish:

    And I had a heritage turkey from here:

    It was truly the best turkey I’ve ever had. There isn’t as much breast meat, as these birds actually fly and mate on their own, so if you need a lot of white meat, you’ll need 2 10-12 pounders.

    I hope it all works out for you, Santos, and his beloved. I can’t imagine being in his shoes.

  • 17 ntsc // Dec 4, 2008 at 5:28 am

    I offer two,

    is always useful, we went through about three gallons on Thanksgiving. Not canned in this case as we had skipped that step and simply made it the week before, keeping it cold.

    This chocolate cake is always popular with the children at a meal.

  • 18 Laura Creekmore // Dec 4, 2008 at 6:52 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I will keep them in my thoughts and prayers and hope they are soon home safely.

    This is absolute Southern comfort food, no two ways about it. But every year at my house, there are no leftovers.

    It really matters that you boil the potatoes 2 days in advance.

  • 19 Chris // Dec 4, 2008 at 8:42 am

    I had the pleasure of being at that dinner with Rudrani and Santos. They are a lovely couple and so fun and funny. I am pleased to know that she is going to be okay.
    After seeing the outpouring of recipes I am not going to offer one of my own, but I am going to offer myself as a kitchen help when this dinner goes down. Count me in.

  • 20 Amy @ Minimally Invasive // Dec 4, 2008 at 9:27 am

    What a lovely post, Claudia. Your friends really come alive through your words, and I know they’ll have an amazing late Thanksgiving dinner with you involved.

    Nothing I prepared this year was a “winner,” given the health concerns and sensitive palates of our guests, but my very favorite Thanksgiving dish is my grandfather’s oyster dressing. It’s a little involved and not to everyone’s liking, but if you’re into oysters and organ meats, it can’t be beat!

  • 21 Amy @ Minimally Invasive // Dec 4, 2008 at 9:27 am

    D’oh! you said no pork. Substitute beef. Sorry. :)

  • 22 Amy // Dec 4, 2008 at 9:52 am

    This was a wonderful and beautiful entry. I’ll see if I can come up with one (most of the ones I do have are in my head!)

  • 23 Lynn // Dec 4, 2008 at 9:56 am

    I only met them that one night at dinner. But their love was swirling around in the room. There is no doubt that she is the love of his life. I have been so …I don’t even know the words to say. They’ve both been in my thoughts and prayers daily.

    I’m sure you have plenty of recipes, but if you need an extra set of hands or if I can make something that will help round out the evening, you have me at your disposal. Do not take that lightly.

    You are an incredible friend.

  • 24 SQ // Dec 4, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    The most amazing dessert ever:

    I have made this 3-4 times for differnt groups. Every time, eeryone who tastes it is amazed.

  • 25 Melissa // Dec 4, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    I told Steve last night I felt worried about you and had for days. He thought I was being silly.

    My boss’ wife and daughter were staying at the Taj when this happened. It was a long 5 days for him until they came back to the States earlier this week. They were two of the lucky ones to make it out unscathed after 48 hours locked in their room. Blessing.

    I’m very sorry about your dear friends’ suffering, Claudia. I heard about Alan Scherr and his daughter, terrible, and I have a passing familiarity with the Synchronicity folks. My dad was heavily into the teachings of Muktananda when I was a teen and I got involved with it, with him. I always find it painfully… ironic? that such spiritual people can often be on the receiving end of such hatred and violence. Heartbreaking. I will send much warmth to her, and to her loving husband.

    As for food, I don’t have a recipe to offer. I was ultra-pleased with the way everything turned out for my big day and you’re welcome to scan my post about it, but there isn’t anything in the way of recipes like these folks above me have contributed. The one thing I had a recipe for has pork in it. Whoops.

    Look forward to hearing all about dinner when she returns, safe and sound.

  • 26 Leniza // Dec 4, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    What a touching story…I still have tears in my eyes.

    This was my first year making the turkey. I used the turkey brine from Williams Sonoma, and I rubbed a butter-rosemary-thyme-sage mix under the skin. It was a huge hit and I’ve already been informed that I will be making the turkey again next year.

    I also made roasted butter nut squash. I peeled and cubed a medium squash, roughly diced two onions, and threw in about a 1/2 cup of dried cranberries. Tossed it all with about 3-4 tablespoons of oil, maybe 2 tsp salt, and at least a tsp each of fresh ground pepper, ground nutmeg, and dried sage. Another hit.

  • 27 Maffy // Dec 4, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    I used your chocolate cake recipe for Thanksgiving, so you already have that. I used 8oz butter and 8oz chocolate – figured I’d keep it simple to remember, since I was cooking at my sister’s and had to wing it.

    I look to you and Heidi for guidance, so I don’t know what I can contribute – but I want to. I hope she gets home soon – safe and sound. I’m sure your Thanksgiving will be a wonderful success, and look forward to hearing all about it.

  • 28 joycooks // Dec 4, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Very nice and heartfelt post, Claudia. I am glad to know you and of course, Rudrani and Santos. I can’t believe that we saw them right before she left. I can only continue to believe that her special gift in life which is so evident when you meet her, will get her through this terrible experience.

    Oh- and I have soooo many pumkins, squash and sweet potatoes that I don’t want to throw out! So can I please contribute to the dinner in this way? I will make all kinds of pies that just feel like Thanksgiving, ok? I look forward to it.

  • 29 Robert // Dec 4, 2008 at 6:10 pm


    Glad you’re home, and the trip went well.

    So sorry for your friends, she will be changed forever. Hope it turns out for good, who knows why we have the life we do. Possibly grieve/rejoice differently than most, but if I were to attempt to feed souls that just endured this, the food would be simple and as God gave it to us.

    As a Florida boy, citrus ambrosia comes to mind when you say Thanksgiving. But in this case not the usual stuff that we throw together, but something that is lovingly prepared to be something heavenly. Only people that you truly love will get this treatment.

    You must go around to all of the secret trees and gather citrus fruits that are special and unique. For this dish you need oranges and grapefruit that produce large granular cells of flesh. The fruit is peeled and the individual sections are then skinned into a bowl, picking out every seed and speck that isn’t a perfect bead.The beads of each type of fruit is placed into a Ziploc, with a folded paper towel in the corner to absorb all loose moisture. I find tangerines that are tart and grapefruit of several persuasions that cover the color and sweetness spectrum. Pineapple oranges and navels provide the main body of beads. Each bag has a different color and looks exactly like caviar at this point. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve. To get to this stage you may spend an entire day just on this part. It may be done the day before, all the work is now done.

    Just before you eat you place a few spoonfuls of each type of dry fruit beads into a small clear dessert bowl and drizzle with citrus honey. Stir one time to swirl but not mix the different fruits. The diner spoons a smooth mixture of tiny beads that burst open to release many similar but unique flavors, changing continuously as they ‘chew’ and swallow.

    The ingredients are as God provided, but the intense love of the preparers hands make the dish so much more. If you had to carry a covered dish with you when you died, this would be the one to bribe St Pete. Your friend deserves this, she has been there and back.

    I know that citrus is an abstract idea in Tennessee, and the chances of even finding the right ingredients is impossible. But I also know you, and your mind can find something to put together that embraces the concept.

  • 30 Jack // Dec 4, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    That is so sad about your friend and so unharmonious that she was on a meditation retreat. My oldest sister turned my mother and my brother on to transcendental meditation back around 1972. They went to a ceremony somewhere in Nashville and were given instruction and assigned mantras. My brother still meditates daily and credits TM for much of his success on the tennis court and life in general

    My turkey dressing has always gotten good reviews, but it isn’t in print and would be harder to figure out the right amounts than to make. You probably will get several stuffing recipes anyway.
    Two other things that were a constant at Thanksgiving in our house were escalloped oysters and my mother’s boiled custard. The oyster recipe uses shucked oysters, bread crumbs, butter and heavy cream. It’s put into a dish and baked for about 20 minutes Some people make oyster dressing, but we have always preferred the escalloped oysters at our house.. If you are interested I can look it up.

    My mother was determined that we would always have her boiled custard with dessert on Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. She wouldn’t dare serve anything from a carton and it was the same way with eggnog at Christmas. I think it is interesting that she didn’t have a problem with serving frozen coconut and jam cakes from a box, but some things obviously cannot be compromised. Mom used to make at least gallon of boiled custard a day or two before Thanksgiving.
    I would be happy to make boiled custard for your friends dinner Claudia.

  • 31 canarygirl // Dec 5, 2008 at 2:50 am

    Claudia, I am so terribly sorry your friend was injured. And thankful to God that she will be alright. (hug) You’ve got lots of menu ideas already, but I’d love to suggest a pumpkin torte for dessert–, it’s been in my family forever, one of (if not THE) the best pumpkin desserts I’ve ever tasted. Your friends will be in my thoughts, Claudia.

  • 32 Lauren // Dec 5, 2008 at 7:22 am

    Give my love…

  • 33 The Culinary Sherpas // Dec 5, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Oh my goodness Claudia. She is safe and sound now. and that is all that will ever matter.

    I’ve included links to three recipes from our blog for traditional Thanksgiving dishes and then one link to our company’s site where you will find some more creative but very easy dishes, as everyone should be spending time with her and not in the kitchen.

    Hugs and kisses to you my dear Nashville friend.

    Brussels Sprout, Pancetta, and Portabella Gratin with Pomegranate Charms

    Cranberry and Mire Poix Stuffing

    Turtle Pecan Pie

    Under this link you will find:
    1. Cranberry and Chestnut Pesto
    2. Pumpkin and Pomegranate Risotto
    3. Butternut Squash Soup w/ Roasted Chili Oil and Cinnamon Popcorn

  • 34 The Culinary Sherpas // Dec 5, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Ooops, here is the missing link:

  • 35 fluffernutter // Dec 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    I’m thankful for Santos, and for Rudrani’s recovery, and am sending an e-hug to them — please pass it on. Here’s a recipe for Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Smoked Paprika and Maple. The original calls for honey, but I used maple syrup.

  • 36 Laura // Dec 5, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Claudia, wow. Prayers are with them.

    My family makes a very pretty cranberry sorbet — it’s the most shocking fuchsia. Here it is:

    Boil together until soft:
    1 bag of cranberries
    3 cups water
    2 cups sugar (go scant at first, then taste — how much you use depends how sweet the cranberries are to begin with)

    Press through a sieve until pulp is quite dry. Reserve juice and discard pulp. Meanwhile, soak together:

    1 t. gelatin (or kolatin or ko-jel which are porkless)
    1/4 c. water

    Mix gelatin into cranberry mixture and chill.

    Whip 2 egg whites with 1/4 t. salt until stiff. Fold into cranberry mixture and freeze.

    We never used our ice cream freezer — just attacked it with handheld beaters ever couple hours. It’s so good — crystalline, tart, light, and frothy.

  • 37 leena! // Dec 5, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    First time reader, first time commenter, just wanted to say wow, thank you for sharing your story. My family is from India and the recent attacks were difficult to handle (thankfully, no one was hurt).

    Here is a great recipe I’ve used for years, only I swap out frozen cranberries for fresh.

  • 38 We Are Never Full // Dec 5, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    wow, claudia. this post was amazing. your friends seem like wonderful people. i am so glad your friend is alive! what a horrible tragedy. i’m so sickened by the whole thing having lived through 911, anytime terrorist attacks happen all those feelings come right back up. again, i’m so happy for your friends!

  • 39 Marie // Dec 5, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Claudia, Thank goodness your friends are ok! My thoughts are with them, what a tragedy on innocent people! terrorists are such cowards! Anyway, those roasted parmesan creamed onions from Rick T, Osteria, were terrific, and a big hit in my family.

  • 40 Lauren // Dec 6, 2008 at 9:07 am

    so, maybe i shouldn’t post this on your blog, as most of my recipes are either yours, too southern, or completely made up by me. this recipe falls into the last category. but… this is how i’ve been doing my turkey for the past few years. it’s really juicy and flavorful…oh, and super easy. only catch is, i don’t measure anything.

    make a mixture of about one part butter (melted) to two parts miso. brown rice miso works best. blend together to make a spread. you can either put it under the skin or just rub it straight onto the bird like i do. i really just try to rub it all over. there will be chunks, but that’s okay. you don’t need salt or anything else since miso is pretty salty in and of itself.

    stuff the bird with oranges or clementines. stab whichever you use many times with a knife so it will release it’s juices in the bird.

    cover with tin foil and start baking it. i used butterball’s directions which were 350 for 3.5-4 hours for a 10-15 lb. bird.

    after it’s cooked for about an hour, periodically pour apple cider over the top to baste. pretty much, baste with the apple cider. it will pool in the bottom of the pan with juices to start your gravy. 30 minutes before the turkey is done, pour a little red wine into the pan. (i’m pretty sure it doesn’t matter what kind as long as it’s good wine, since the past two years i’ve just poured some of what we were drinking and i have no idea what that was.)

    you can thicken up the “gravy” in the bottom with some flour, but i don’t put much. it makes a really rich and tasty sauce.

    anyway, i kinda like this recipe and it’s easier than the length of this comment would suggest. you’ll probably get better on the blog, but i just felt like sharing. and i’m pretty proud of my turkeys.

  • 41 Samantha // Dec 6, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Thank you so much for writing this post. I spent a lot of time thinking about it and I wanted to throw out this idea to you which was to keep everything very very simple and just rejoice in the amazingness of what things can be without being “messed with” too much. Anyway it was just a thought. Being that your friends are very spiritual and all. BUT whatever you guys do, have a blast! Life is a gift, no doubt.

  • 42 lifeinrecipes // Dec 6, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Okay…I now understand why you are wanting me to stick closer to home this season….but go I must. This is such a ghastly story. I will keep your friends in my heart and thoughts.

    This dish would be a beautiful vegetarian/vegan offering a any holiday table.

  • 43 Ethel // Dec 6, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    That was quite a post. I felt myself teary. We all walk a thin line.
    Now for food.
    Trader Joe’s Asian potsticker’s and so easy. Wet paper towel over plate and microwave them, great for a nibble used with a dip or in a soup. A platter of them will be gone in a minute.

  • 44 claudia // Dec 6, 2008 at 8:37 pm


    you’re kidding right?

    thank you to everyone who has commented so far. please keep these great ideas coming and we’ll be choosing from these in about 5 days or so.

  • 45 Peter // Dec 6, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    Claudia, my dear, as you know I don’t do the recipe thing so much. But if you look in the comments after my Thanksgiving post there is a recipe for a dark chocolate mousse that has great power. I hope it works for you and your friends. I feel strongly that the world is going to start to improve on Jan 20.

  • 46 democommie // Dec 7, 2008 at 10:14 am


    I have recipes of my own for a chocolate hazelnut torte, a lemon almond torte and, if I can find it, a turkey dressing/stuffing with giblets, bacon, walnuts and some other stuff.

    I will try to get back and post them later. Or I can just put them on my blog if you’re getting too much stuff here.

  • 47 Abby @ mangerlaville // Dec 7, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    Sometimes we feel so disconnected from the rest of the world. Your post allows us to reconnect…which is much needed.

    I wrote a post on a few suggestions for cooking turkey, but you are a fabulous cook…so really no need. But my suggestion might be to braise turkey, for a unique take.

  • 48 Elsa Dunn // Dec 7, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Apple Dumplings
    -Well first of all I use a croissant dough from Pillsbury(x2), but if you have your own then use it.
    *with the pillsbury dough-unfold it and rip it across the dotted lines to be able to roll the apples in them.*
    -2 apples(peeled)
    -tsp of cinnamon
    -2 tbsp of butter
    -1 cup of sugar
    -2cups of water
    *mix the cinnamon, butter, sugar, and water together(stick in the microwave until butter is melted)*
    -cut the peeled apples into 8ths
    – put the cut apples(there should be 16 peeled apple slices) in the 16 unfolded dough.
    -roll the apples in each one then place them in a pan.
    -when all of the apples are place in the pan pour the mix of the water, cinnamon, suger, and butter on top of the apples.
    – NOW last but not least pour a Sprite/7 Up/ Sierra Mist on the apples.

    ~preheat oven to 375~
    -the apples cook for about 15 minutes and cool about 5 minutes

    -croissant from Pillsbury x2
    -2 apples
    -Sprite/7Up/Sierra Mist

    It was DELICIOUS. ( Great served with COLD vanilla ice cream and a cup of HOT coffee.)

  • 49 Heather // Dec 7, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Wild Mushroom and Cheese tart

    4 large eggs
    2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (such as thyme, rosemary, marjoram, etc.)
    ¼ tsp each salt and pepper
    1 cup heavy cream
    1 cup goat cheese
    1 ½ cup grated cheese (use a mix of hard and semi-soft for best consistency, such as Manchego and Havarti)
    ½ package (one sheet) frozen puff pastry, thawed
    ½ medium-sized onion, thinly sliced
    1 lb fresh wild mushrooms (opt for a mix if possible, such as chanterelle, lobster mushroom, maitake, oyster mushroom, shiitake, morel, etc.), washed and sliced

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9×12 baking sheet with parchment paper.

    Prepare the custard:
    In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, herbs, salt and pepper. In a 2-cup glass bowl or measuring cup, heat the cream for 2 minutes in a microwave oven (or in a pot on the stovetop to the point where steam forms), and whisk in the goat cheese until melted and thoroughly combined. Whisk the cream/goat cheese mixture into the eggs, starting with a little at a time to avoid curdling the eggs. Stir in the grated cheeses until well-combined. The mixture will be a little lumpy from the cheese.

    Assemble the tart:
    Gently unfold the puff pastry and lay it onto a large cutting board. Roll it with a rolling pin to fit the baking sheet, pressing the pastry together in the corners. If the pastry doesn’t fit all the way to the edges, wad up some tin foil to reinforce the pastry.

    Carefully pour the custard into the pastry, and lay the sliced onion and mushrooms into the custard.

    Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the custard – if it comes out dry, the tart is cooked through. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

  • 50 Meg // Dec 8, 2008 at 1:00 am

    Words don’t encompass a horrific experience like that. I can understand why he wants a Thanksgiving like no other, to try and express his gratitude that she has survived. Email me (if I’m not too late); I’ll send you my mom’s recipe for apple pie if you’d like, and her long-standing, much liked stuffing recipe.

  • 51 Jennette // Dec 8, 2008 at 9:05 am

    We made this gorgeous and delicious Southwestern Christmas salad as part of our Thanksgiving this year. It would make a good side dish for you.

    My thoughts are with your friends.

  • 52 jim voorhies // Dec 8, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    So glad your friend survived. We are all touched too closely by things around the globe these days.

    the only fancy holiday treat i’ve got a recipe for is your cranberry tart recipe.

  • 53 Rachel (S[d]OC) // Dec 8, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    This post in my blog has every recipe I used in Thanksgiving. I’d be honored if one was used!

    Horrible experiences like that feel like they’re supposed to happen to someone else – the people we see on the news aren’t people we know, right? It’s hard to believe this could happen to those we know and love. I will keep you all in my thoughts!

  • 54 Heidi // Dec 8, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Hello Claudia,

    I’m sure you are so honored to help with this truly Thankful feast. Madame Devi looks to be a wonderful spirit. I’m so sorry to hear what she and her family have had to endure since the destruction which took place in Mumbai.

    So, I am an American, living in France, not by choice, but by marriage, which did not last very long, and now I am trying to make it here on my own.

    My thing is to cook, so I can understand why you wish to go all out for this event. I had 10 people at my apartment for Thanksgiving – nine I did not know. One young man I met at the metro in Paris and simply asked him to come. He was from Greece. I went all out, which was a feat, especially since finding cranberries in France was a feat in itself.

    So, though I believe simply being there with a good chair and a big pot of soup would suffice, I will tell you what I always make for Thanksgiving that always gets attention. Surprisingly, they are the easiest recipes to do:

    -Carrots cooked in ginger – LOTS of fresh ginger and orange juice. With a bit of honey and butter. Simmered for 15 minutes with big chunks of ginger – amazing. And you can prepare in advance.

    -Cranberry sauce – I use the recipe on the package – but again – I cook them in orange juice add less sugar and cook on low for 40 minutes , finish off with orange zest. Again, amazingly fresh and wonderful. Better two days later.

    -Just plain darn simple yams roasted in the oven wrapped in foil for one hour. The foil steams the yams and keeps all the sweetness of the yam in with the yam instead of dripping out all sugary sweet in the oven. No need for butter, sometimes I throw a bit of thyme or sage inside with the yam.

    Though totally simple, always a hit full of live flavors and essence of the food itself.

    Oh so, I made turkey with gravy, albondigas soup, mole covered creamed corn tamales, and mache salad with grapefruit, blah blah. But these three always, always stand out in everyone’s head as beautiful food.

    Have a wonderful, wonderful meal what ever you choose to do. Remember, don’t fret ;-). All will be totally totally divine.

    xoxo Heidi in Lorraine, but with a California attitude.

  • 55 phillygirl64 // Dec 9, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Oh, wow!

    I had seen this story somewhere else…now it hits that much closer

    All I can offer are my best wishes for Santos and Rudrani

  • 56 Gayle // Dec 9, 2008 at 12:24 pm


    So happy to hear your girlfriend is doing so well.

    Wishing you and Cary and very happy holiday!

  • 57 Mal Carne // Dec 9, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Late in the game. This is a reminder that all news is local – somewhere, someone you know is effected by the seemingly inapplicable happenings on the other side of the world. I find myself forgetting that at times – this is why we should actually give a shit.

    Best wishes for you, Santos, and especially Rudrani.

  • 58 zenchef // Dec 9, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    This is a bit late but i feel so sorry for your friend. I hope she’s recovering well. What an horrible tragedy. I saw 9/11 happening from 10 blocks away and there’s no word to describe how horrible those acts of terrorism are.

    Best wishes to you all.

  • 59 Bren // Dec 10, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    this is late but im so touched by the story. how awful, simply awful, but beautiful at the same time. good for you for being such a great and dedicated friend. i’m sure dinner was more than he expected.
    thanks for sharing.

  • 60 Lindie // Dec 10, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    One of my new favorites is called Tugboat Turnips. It’s one of Paula Deens recipes and you can find it on the food network site. All it is is carrots and rutabagas, brown sugar and butter! It is great tasting, one of my family’s new favorites and so pretty, all yellow and orange.

  • 61 Ethel // Dec 10, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Sweet and sour sauce for tongue sometimes referred as Tongue Polanaise.
    4-6 large ginger snaps
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup white vinegar
    1/2 tsp onion juice
    1 sliced lemon
    1.4 cup white raisons
    I cup hot soup stock
    mix ingredients til smooth. Make sure it is not lumpy. Pour over thin hot slices of tongue.

  • 62 chefectomy // Dec 10, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Claudia dear, I am speechless. I have a lump in my throat. I have no recipe to offer and while I am not particular religious my prayers and thoughts go out to your wonderful friends.


  • 63 Flora // Dec 11, 2008 at 12:19 am

    May your friend continue to gain strength and have a full and complete recovery. We must continue to hope for peace and resolution in this chaotic world.

    Since you asked for a great Thanksgiving recipe, here is one that is a very low calorie cranberry type of relish mold, (came from a Weight Watcher leader – 0 points!)
    2 small packages no sugar cranberry JELLO
    1 cup crushed or finely chopped fresh raw cranberries with 2 packages of SPLENDA (use processor or blender), or one can use sugar if you don’t want to use the sweetener.
    1 small can crushed pineapple in its own juice
    1 cup or more fresh blueberries
    1 cup (or less) chopped celery (I like the crunch.)

    Mix one cup boiling water to JELLO to disolve.
    Then add one cup cold water.
    Add rest of ingredients, chill in a mold.

  • 64 Joanna // Dec 11, 2008 at 11:43 am

    I made this cranberry sauce with port from epicurious. I added orange zest and a couple of cloves. Delicious!

    I am sure your dinner will be magical and I hope your friend continues to recover physically and spiritually from such a devastating experience.

  • 65 TaratheFoodie // Dec 11, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    I don’t have a recipe for you, but instead let me start by saying how very sorry I am to hear that this horrible thing happened to your friend Rudrani, but how very happy I am to hear that she is going to be ok. Well at least as ok as she can be after going through something like that. I can’t even for a second imagine… I saw this on the news and saw them talking about the father and daughter that were killed. Now this feels like it has hit very close to home. This world can be so wonderful, but so horrific at the same time. Thank God she’s safe and that Santos still has her in his life. Theirs sounds like a perfect love story and that is so wondeful to see. I hope your December Thanksgiving is perfect, but I don’t have to hope because I just know that it will be. God bless.

  • 66 Merri Lu Park // Dec 11, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Hello Claudia, Rick Beresford told me about your website today. I have been working for
    1 1/2 years with John of God and he said you are familiar with him.

    Then I read about Rudrani and Santos…

    If you can email me with Rudrani’s full name, birthdate and current physical address (it can be the name and address of the hospital if she’s still there) I will place the information into the prayer triangle at the Casa asking for healing for her.

    She, Santos and you are all in my prayers tonight as I read this.

    All Blessings,
    Merri Lu Park

  • 67 Quickthink » Blog Archive » The Next Flight to Mumbai Please // Dec 12, 2008 at 3:33 am

    […] was shocked by what happened in Mumbai. Then when I read this blog post from Cook, Eat, Fret, the human dimension hit me harder. After reading the story, I wish I could go […]

  • 68 Maureen // Dec 12, 2008 at 11:19 am

    So terribly sad for so many people. I hope your friends (and you) continue recovering.

  • 69 - Are You Riled Up? - » Blog Archive » Cook Eat Fret - Thanksgiving in December // Dec 14, 2008 at 10:15 am

    […] late wednesday night when i got home from a decadent pre- thanksgiving dinner with friends, and i finally got around to checking my voice mail, all i can remember was a message from my dear friend santos. he said he had bad news and went …[Continue Reading] […]

  • 70 jim voorhies // Dec 15, 2008 at 10:28 am

    I had a wonderful appetizer last night – it was brie, covered with cranberry chutney and crumbled bacon, served warm with the brie nice and soft. It would be a nice way to start the meal.

  • 71 Brittany // Dec 15, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Claudia- I have been computer-less for a while and am just getting around to catching up on the blogospere. I am so sorry to hear about your friend. I am sure that I am too late to provide a recipe, but I just posted a gingerbread pudding that is so warm and comforting that you just might want to have it anyway. It tastes like the holidays- if that makes any sense at all.
    This was such a horrible event, and I am so sorry for santos. Hugs to you. Warm thoughts to that beautiful couple.

  • 72 cook eat FRET - o8/o9 // Jan 4, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    […] thanksgiving in december was finally celebrated on ny’s eve. and after i read through every suggestion that you […]

  • 73 Priya // Feb 5, 2009 at 5:42 am

    A first timer here. Like every other Indian, we watched the horror happen at Mumbai and were shocked at the gruesome acts.

    I pray to God that your friends have many a wonderful thanksgiving as this one and may they enjoy many moments filled with love with each other, their family and friends. Best wishes and warm thoughts to the lovely couple…

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