Gourmets Go Alternative

Photo courtesy of simoneink

Todd Thrasher of Tiki TNT.

A couple different ideas for your Thanksgiving this year like deep-fried turkey or sweet-and-spicy green beans.

Thanksgiving traditionalists assume Turkey and all the trimmings will make its way onto the holiday table, but what about the unexpected dish – like a Stuffed Ham? Some may be quick to think that chefs always serve gourmet meals at family Thanksgiving feasts, but this isn’t the case. This year is all about comfort food, and now more than ever, chefs are embracing humble meals of Green Bean Casseroles and the classic Pumpkin Pie. Several chefs and restaurateurs from around the country share fond childhood memories of a favorite family dish – with enough flavor and nostalgia to make any Turkey Day menu really sing!

Photo courtesy of simoneink

David Gaus of Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery.

People tend to be adamant about their Thanksgiving traditions, insisting on certain dishes, trimmings, table settings, and activities that remain constant year after year. Many make the journey to family gatherings—sweet reunions and a grand test of patience. Chef David Guas of Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery in Arlington, VA – makes, with his family’s help, a Thanksgiving with all the goodness of Southern Louisiana: Deep Fried Turkey, Spinach Madeleine, Sweet Potato Pies, and Cranberry-Orange Preserves. The favorite – Oyster Dressing — combines a little Cream of Chicken soup, Pepperidge Farm Italian-Seasoned Bread Stuffing Mix, Cornbread, Pecans, Onion, and fresh Gulf Oysters: a true taste of New Orleans, through and through. As David’s father was born and raised in Cuba, the family adds an Cuban feast to the celebration a day or two later, serving Roasted Pork, Black Beans, and Yucca drenched in Olive Oil and Garlic.       

Barman-turned-distiller Todd Thrasher of Tiki TNT [Washington, DC] began his own holiday tradition with the help of his wife Maria. Skimming through cookbooks for inspiration to prepare for their first Thanksgiving together, Maria was enamored of a recipe for Sweet and Spicy Green Beans – an unexpected choice, as she is not typically a huge fan of the vegetable. The Green Beans are lightly blanched with toasted Cashews and tossed in a wok with Sesame Oil, Cayenne Pepper, and Spicy Honey. Todd made it for that first Thanksgiving together – and he’s been making it every holiday since for the past 10+ years! 

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