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Dine Like A Chef This Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is fast approaching on Thursday, November 22. But there’s no need to stress, we sat at the table with a handful of leading local chefs, who shared their favorite recipes, offered up sneak peeks at their holiday menus, and dished out a few tips for the home cook. MIA STEFANKO

Thanksgiving Yorkshire Pudding by chef Andrew Spurgin, Bespoke event styling & menu design (www.andrewspurgin.com)


1 cup whole organic milk

1 cup hen eggs

1 tsp sea salt

1 cup all purpose flour, sifted twice

1 tsp ­­rosemary, finely chopped

2 tbsp cold water

¼ cup turkey drippings


You’ll need: 12-count muffin pan, bowl, mixer, fine sieve, measuring cup


Drain off turkey drippings, strain through a fine strainer. If cooking a beef roast do the same. If you have no drippings use duck fat, bacon fat, lard, or butter. Pre–heat oven to 425º Fahrenheit. With a mixer beat the eggs into the milk with the salt. Sieve the flour into the custard, no lumps! Allow to rest for an hour (not in fridge), pour through strainer, stir in rosemary. Heat the popover pans until very hot! Heat fat if not liquid, mix cold water into the custard, add about a teaspoon of fat into each muffin pan, it should be smoking. Give the custard one quick stir, immediately fill each pan 1/3 full with the custard and pop in the oven, do not open it until fully cooked. Bake for 15 minutes, turn oven down to 350º for another 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately! Sop up with lots of lovely gravy.


Serves six



Pumpkin Cupcakes by pastry chef Jennifer Costa of The Lodge at Torrey Pines

1 stick (4oz) butter

1¼ cup flour

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp clove

½ tsp ginger

½ tsp allspice

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 cup sugar

2 whole eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

½ cup warm milk


Paddle together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Sift together the dries and mix together milk and puree. Add dries and milk mixture to butter alternating, ending with dries. Bake at 350° Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes.



Cream Cheese Frosting

16 oz cream cheese

½ cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp cinnamon

4 oz white chocolate


Paddle together cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Add extract and cinnamon. (Taste and add more if you have more of a sweet tooth.) Melt white chocolate and slowly add to cream cheese. Once it comes together, stop mixing and pipe onto pumpkin cupcakes!


Yields 12 cupcakes


Clams Molica Appetizer by chef Antonio Friscia of Stingaree & Campine Catering


“For the Friscia family Thanksgiving, we always incorporate seasonal seafood,” notes Friscia. “I grew up at a wholesale seafood market in San Francisco, so Dungeness crab was always on the menu. Unfortunately, the Indians and Pilgrims did not have Dungeness crab, but they did have clams, oysters, lobster, and striped bass. Anyway, I think if there were any Italians stowed away on the first pilgrimage to our beautiful country they might have introduced this dish for their first Thanksgiving offering.”


24 littleneck clams, scrubbed and soaked

3 cups coarse sea salt

5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

finishing olive oil

2 shallots, fine dice

5 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped

1 cup fresh herb foccacia bread crumbs (sub Panko + 1 tbsp oregano)

2 tbsp grated Parm

pepper to taste 

pinch red chili flakes


Open clams and discard the top shell. Drain clam liquor into a small bowl. Reserve for later. Loosen the clams from their shells. Pour salt onto a baking pan and place 1/2 shell clams atop salt. Saute shallots and garlic until translucent and golden brown. Add bread crumbs and incorporate with garlic and shallots until golden. Remove from heat. Season with salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Add clam liquor. Heat broiler and add 1-2 tsp of molica (bread crumb mixture). Place stuffed clams under broiler for about 2 minutes. Golden brown and crunchy. Drizzle with finishing olive oil and a little chopped parsley.


Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy your family. 

Love and aloha,



Thanksgiving at George’s At The Cove/California Modern

While the final menu has not yet been released, we’ve been assured that you can count on executive chef/partner Trey Foshee’s Thanksgiving turkey special — Free Range Turkey Breast and Braised Leg with roasted mushroom stuffing, whipped potatoes, maple glazed butternut squash, cranberry chutney, and gravy. And for the home cook, Foshee advises, “Although it goes against tradition, people should consider cooking the breasts and legs separately.” 


Executive pastry chef Lori Sauer also shares a few of her secret tips:
“When making apple pie, slice your apples very thin on a mandolin and cut your baking time in half.”

“Omit pie crust completely and pour your pumpkin pie filling directly into a greased pie pan for a gluten-free, hassle-free pumpkin pie.”


And her personal favorite: “Tapioca pearls in my fruit pies, so good!”


Thanksgiving at Nine-Ten Restaurant

$55 per adult; $75 with wine pairings. Children 12 and under are $18. (858/964-5400, www.nine-ten.com)


First Course

Thanksgiving is fast approaching on Thursday, November 22. But there’s no need to stress, we sat at the table with a handful of leading local chefs, who shared their favorite recipes, offered up sneak peeks at their holiday menus, and dished out a few tips for the home cook

• Kabocha Squash Soup, pumpkin seed oil powder, chorizo, roasted apples; Paired with: Kung Fu Girl Riesling

• Fall Salad, asian pears, celery root, granny smith apple, raisins, little gems, butter milk dressing; Paired with: Copain Chardonnay


Second Course

• Free Range Diestel Turkey, roasted turkey breast & confit turkey leg hash, braised greens, potato puree, cranberry & orange relish, herb gravy; Paired with: Hahn GSM

• Roasted Grouper, salsify, pearl onions, rock shrimp, fingerling potatoes, fine herbs, shellfish emulsion; Paired with: Domaine Matrot Chardonnay

• Prime C.A.B. New York Steak, roasted Brussels sprouts, cipollini onions, roasted carrots, smoked potato puree, J1steak sauce; Paired with Foppiano Petite Sirah


Third Course

• Pecan Cream Puffs, pecan cream, fried pecans, brown sugar tuile, bourbon ice cream; Paired with Bonny Doon Vinferno

• Dark Chocolate Pancakes, cocoa nib streusel, brown butter ice cream, chocolate sauce; Paired with Tobin James Liquid Love

• Pumpkin Mousse, spiced cake, candied pumpkin seeds, cranberry, pumpkin paper; Paired with Mad Cuvee Royal Takaji


Thanksgiving at A.R. Valentien at The Lodge at Torrey Pines

$85; children under 12 are $35. (858/777-6635, www.arvalentien.com)


First Course

• Coleman Lettuces, Tangerine, Pomegranate, Sherry Mustard Vinaigrette

• Butternut Squash Soup, Pepitas, Sage Marscapone, Aged Balsamic

• Potato Gnocchi, Roasted Mushrooms, Parsley, Fontina Fondue

• Tuna Carpaccio, Horseradish Crème Fraiche, Crispy Capers and Parsley

• Cider Glazed Pork Belly with Ira’s Cabbage-Apple Kraut


Second Course


• Roasted Turkey with Traditional “Fixins,” Cornbread Pecan Stuffing, Cranberry Orange Relish and Giblet Gravy

• Roasted New York Strip Loin with Celery Root and Butternut Squash Gratin,  Braised Broccoli with Laurel, Bordelaise Sauce

• Roasted Duck Breast and Confit Leg, Fuyu Persimmon, Braised Escarole and Mustard Seeds

• King Salmon, Spinach, Roasted Mushrooms, Smoked Tea Broth

• Guerrero Negro Scallops, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Double Smoked Bacon, Sunchoke Puree



• Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream and Pumpkin Seed Brittle

• Maple Crème Caramel with Pomegranate, Maple Leaf Tuile

• Pecan Tart with Candied Orange and Praline Ice Cream

• Chocolate Mousse Cake with Cranberry Jam


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