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Turkey

Swedish Pancakes with Cranberries. Photo from Pixabay

By Barbara Beltrami

Writing this column is a real challenge this week because in our house we’re not big fans of leftovers. Actually, there’s only one Thanksgiving leftover that I really crave, and that’s a sliced turkey breast and Swiss cheese sandwich with lettuce and Russian dressing on rye bread. But then, as challenges often do, this one got me thinking. It was going to be just the two of us for Thanksgiving dinner and we surely were going to have leftovers. There would be no happy leftover aficionados upon whom we could foist them as we usually did. There just had to be things we could recycle and enjoy over the weekend. So here’s what I came up with. I thought, why not Swedish pancakes with cranberry sauce instead of lingonberries? Or turkey, mashed potato and stuffing patties or turkey minestrone?

Swedish Pancakes with Cranberries

Swedish Pancakes with Cranberries

YIELD: Makes about 12 pancakes

INGREDIENTS:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 cup flour

1 3/4 cups milk

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup cranberry sauce

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 200 F. In a 10-inch skillet melt half the butter. In a blender combine the melted butter, flour, milk, eggs, vanilla and salt and process until smooth. Over medium heat, melt one teaspoon butter in same skillet and tilt pan so sides and bottom are coated; when a drop of water bounces on the skillet ladle one-third cup of batter into skillet and quickly tilt pan again so batter covers bottom of skillet.

Cook till set, about a minute or a little more, then using a rubber spatula, lift edges and flip and cook till lightly golden on other side, about half a minute or less; transfer to warm ovenproof plate and place in oven. Repeat procedure with remaining batter. Fold or roll pancakes, sprinkle with sugar and top with a dollop of cranberry sauce. Serve hot or warm with coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

Turkey, Stuffing and Mashed Potato Patties

YIELD: Makes about 12 pancakes

INGREDIENTS:

1 egg

1 tablespoon cold water

1 cup mashed potatoes

1 cup stuffing

1 cup finely chopped cooked turkey

2 scallions, cleaned and sliced thin

1 to 1 1/4 cups toasted unseasoned bread crumbs

1/3 cup olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl mix the egg and water. In a large bowl combine the potatoes, stuffing, turkey and scallions. Shape them into 2-inch patties and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Gently dip the patties, one at a time, into egg and water mixture, then bread crumbs and place them back on the baking sheet. Warm one-third of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. With a spatula carefully lower each patty into skillet; fry, turning once, until crispy on both sides, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Serve hot or warm with hot turkey gravy or cranberry sauce.

Turkey Minestrone

Turkey Minestrone

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 celery rib, sliced

1 carrot, peeled and sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 small zucchini, diced

8 unsauced cooked Brussels sprouts or 1 1/2 cups unsauced cooked broccoli, cauliflower or green beans

1 cup canned petite diced tomatoes with their juice

1 cup shredded cooked turkey

1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed, drained

1 bay leaf

3 cups turkey stock or broth

1/2 cup uncooked tubetti, penne or ditalini pasta

2 cups finely chopped escarole

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

In a large pot heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently until they soften, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add carrot, garlic, zucchini and cooked veggie and cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots start to soften, about 3 to 4 more minutes. Add tomatoes, turkey, beans, bay leaf and stock; bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook covered on low heat until all veggies are tender.

Ladle one and a half cups of soup into bowl of food processor and puree; return to pot. Add pasta and escarole, and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente and escarole is tender and limp; remove bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper, ladle into tureen or soup bowls and sprinkle with grated cheese if desired. Serve with rustic bread and olive oil.

Turkeys waddle around Raleigh’s Poultry Farm in Kings Park as customers stop by looking for potential Thanksgiving meals. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Despite new state restrictions on gatherings, some local small businesses are thankful this year for all the support they’ve received at the start of the holiday season. 

In pre-COVID times, a typical Thanksgiving dinner could host a dozen or even more people. But as of last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced new guidelines for the upcoming holidays, asking people to host small gatherings of 10 people or less. 

Lisa Harris, the owner of Torte Jeff in Port Jefferson, said although they are down in sales, people are still buying Thanksgiving day pies. Photo by Margot Garant

But small groups aren’t stopping people from spending time with their loved ones — just less of them this year. And with the tradition of family get-togethers comes the big Thanksgiving meal, full of sides, pies and of course, turkey.

Cathy Raleigh-Boylan, co-owner of Raleigh’s Poultry Farm in Kings Park, said sales have actually increased this year, much to her surprise. 

“There are a lot of people asking for small or medium sized turkeys, but people are still having Thanksgiving,” she said. “Even if they’re not having a large gathering, they still want a big bird and just have a lot of leftovers.”

The farm has been a staple to the Smithtown community for more than 61 years, she said, and usually people come from all over to pick up their Thanksgiving meats. This year is a little different, but not necessarily in a bad way.

“With COVID, we’re realizing a lot more people are eating at home with families and teaching the young kids how to cook,” she said. “Generations are going back a bit. As bad as COVID was, a lot more family time came out of it.”

Raleigh’s also sells pies, making it a one-stop shop for local Thanksgiving needs. “We’ve sold more pies than ever,” she said. “I think people just want to make Thanksgiving special this year. We can’t do a lot of things right now, so people are looking for some normalcy.”

Some people are opting not for the bird this year, and are switching it up. At Cow Palace in Rocky Point, owner Debbie Teitjen said there are other options they offer. “A lot of people are doing turkey breast or turkey London broil,” she said. “We’re doing tons of catering for smaller events and a lot of curbside catering.”

But Arthur Worthington, of Miloski’s Poultry Farm on Middle Country Road in Calverton, said many of his customers are choosing to size down. 

“There definitely are still a lot of people going along with the tradition,” he said. “There are a lot of inquiries similar from years before.”

He said customers who still want the bird are preferring smaller ones for this year’s dinner. 

“They’re looking for the 12 to 16 pound range, which is tough because everything we do with raising turkeys, we have to plan years in advance,” he said. 

But over in Huntington, Nick Voulgaris III, owner of Kerbers Farm on West Pulaski Road, said it’s been busier than typically this time of the year. 

Turkeys waddle around Raleigh’s Poultry Farm in Kings Park as customers stop by looking for potential Thanksgiving meals. Photo by Julianne Mosher

“This is normally the busiest time of the year for us,” he said. “We’re slightly above normal, which is a good thing especially during the current economic climate.”

Voulgaris said people are gravitating towards smaller birds for smaller groups, but as of right now, they have completely sold out of turkeys for the holiday. 

“We’ve seen a 20% increase in sales over the last six months, or so,” he said. 

While they’re out of birds for the upcoming holiday, they still have plenty of pies to preorder before Sunday Nov. 20, he said. 

Lisa Harris, owner of Torte Jeff Pie Co. on East Main Street in Port Jefferson, said her shop has been down about 25% in sales from last year because gatherings are smaller, but people are still looking to celebrate with their favorite pies for the holiday. 

“We’re selling less pies, but to the same amount of people,” she said. “We have definitely had a request for smaller pies.”

Although it’s a small hit to her business, she’s still happy people want to shop small. Some, she said, are starting new traditions ordering and bringing home her savory Thanksgiving Day pie.

“It’s everything you would have on Thanksgiving in a traditional pie,” she said. “That’s becoming really popular.”

To deal with COVID-19, Harris implemented online ordering through Nov. 20 on a new portal on the shop’s website. 

The spirit of Thanksgiving was alive and well in Huntington Station Monday night.

Andre Sorrentino, owner of PAS Professional Automotive Services on New York Avenue, hosted his 9th annual Sorrentino Turkey Drive Nov. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. More than 2,000 frozen turkeys were given out to area residents in need in an effort to ensure all  have the opportunity to sit down to a traditional holiday meal with their families.

“This year, we’ve doubled the amount of people who wanted to be involved to help,” Sorrentino said. “People came out in droves.”

The lifelong Huntington resident said his family’s tradition started one year when he purchased 30
frozen turkeys and handed them out of the back of a pickup truc
k. This year, he purchased 2,000 and had
accepted another 70 from community donations by Nov. 16. People were still walking in with donated birds in hand the night of the gi
veaway.

While waiting on line for their turkeys, residents were offered hot dogs, hot cocoa, cotton candy and more as a DJ spun the latest hits lending to a carnival-like atmosphere.

“It’s a good thing to help people and I’m trying to teach my kids that,” Sorrentino said. “If we had a little more of that in the world today, we’d all be better off.”

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It’s as if we are living in a James Bond movie but with one small difference: These events are real. A Saudi journalist walked into his country’s embassy in Turkey, we learn, and never came out. He entered at 1:14 p.m. Oct. 2, around the time he had been instructed to come, to pick up papers that would enable him to wed his Turkish fiancée. The wedding was scheduled for the next day. She was waiting outside in the car for him to re-emerge. There is video of him entering the building but none of him leaving. She waits outside but in vain. She does not see him again.

The journalist, we continue to learn, is Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident in his country and critic of the royal family who felt sufficiently at risk to leave and move to the United States. He lived in Virginia and was a Saudi contributor to the Washington Post, for which he said he could write freely. Khashoggi was good friends with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In addition to the video at the Saudi Consulate, there are further videos of two Saudi charter planes landing at the Istanbul airport the preceding night and that same day. Those disembarking were 15 men, all apparently known to the Turkish officials as members of Saudi intelligence. One was identified as an autopsy specialist who carried a bone saw. They all came to the embassy. Late in the afternoon, all reboarded the planes and returned to Saudi Arabia.

Turkish authorities claim to have video and audio showing that Khashoggi was killed in his country’s embassy and his body dismembered. To date, they have not shown the evidence, claiming they do not want to expose intelligence sources. Until now the Saudi government has denied any knowledge or connection with the events in the embassy but has in the last couple of days changed its story. As a result, it now suggests that the journalist was accidentally killed while being interrogated.

Aside from the morbid fascination with these events, why should we in the United States care? We are directly involved because Khashoggi, though still a Saudi Arabian citizen, lived here and was a well-known columnist. Further, Saudi Arabia is a fulcrum of President Donald Trump’s Mideast policy, both in the context of any Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, in the Middle East wars and also in our effort to diminish the influence of Iran. In addition, the Saudis buy billions of dollars of military arms from us and play a major role in the supply chain of oil. The president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is known to have cultivated a close relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is effectively controlling the government. In the past, members of the Bush family too, while in office, were closely tied to the Saudi royals.

Now prominent members of Congress are urging Trump to impose economic sanctions on Saudi Arabia. Trump is caught between all of the previously given reasons not to alienate the Saudi government, and the outrage and disgust of world leaders at a possible grisly murder that is assumed to have been authorized by “MBS” — how the crown prince is known. Revulsion is plain to see as some corporate leaders have withdrawn from a global economic conference, the Future Investment Initiative — known as “Davos in the Desert” — that is scheduled in Riyadh for next week. The conference is seen as something of a prestigious triumph for MBS.

So far, Trump has offered the suggestion that “rogue killers” may be responsible for the possible murder, even as he threatened “severe punishment” if the Saudi royal family were found to be involved. Steve Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, is still slated to participate in the conference. A decision on his going is expected by Friday.

So what will carry the day here, humanitarian or political concerns? Will the world move on, forgetting a single journalist in the interests of Machiavellian gain? Or will there be an honest, vigorous investigation as this morality tale plays out across the globe?

Stay tuned.

Turkey day is almost here!

Centering your holiday meal around a turkey cooked to golden perfection is the ideal way to serve a feast. Without the right preparation and execution, however, your bird could fall short. To ensure your holiday dinner centerpiece lives up to expectations, follow these simple tips, from purchase to plate:

Buy the right bird. Finding a turkey that’s just the right size for your expected party is the start to a successful gathering. One common rule of thumb is to buy 1 pound of turkey per person — so for a 10-person meal, purchase a 10-pound turkey. Don’t forget that nearly everyone loves leftovers, so you may consider buying a few pounds more than necessary.

Be patient. If you opt for a frozen turkey, don’t rush the thawing process. For larger turkeys, it can take days to defrost properly. Timing is everything. Finding the right amount of time for your turkey to spend in the oven is crucial but not always the easiest thing to do. For an 8- to 12-pound bird, aim for 2.5 to 3.5 hours; 12 to 16 pounds for 3.5 to 4 hours; 16 to 20 pounds for 4 to 4.5 hours, and so on. The key is bringing the turkey to a temperature reading of 170 F.

Let it rest. Instead of pulling the turkey out of the oven and immediately carving it, give it a chance to rest for 20 to 30 minutes, which allows the juices to soak into the meat and moisten it up. While the turkey typically receives all the attention at holiday gatherings, rounding out your meal with the perfect sides and desserts is the key to a successful feast.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows

sweet_potato_casseroleYIELD: Serves 8

INGREDIENTS:

5 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes

1/2 cup Kitchen Basics Original Chicken Stock

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

4 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks

2 teaspoons McCormick Ground Cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon McCormick Ground Nutmeg

2 cups miniature marshmallows

DIRECTIONS: Spray inside of 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Add sweet potatoes, stock and brown sugar. Cover.Cook 4 hours on high or until potatoes are tender, stirring after each hour. Stir in butter, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Cover. Let stand 5 minutes. Beat potatoes with electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Top with marshmallows. Cover. Cook 10 minutes on high or until marshmallows are slightly melted.

Zucchini Casserole

YIELD: Serves 4

INGREDIENTS:

6 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, diced

3 medium zucchini, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch slices

2 medium peeled carrots, shredded

1 can cream of chicken soup (10 3/4 ounces)

1/2 cup sour cream

1 bag (8 ounces) herb seasoned stuffing mix, coarsely crushed

DIRECTIONS: In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the onion, cook until tender. Add zucchini and carrots and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in cream of chicken soup and sour cream, mix well. Sprinkle half of stuffing into a 13- by 9-inch greased glass baking dish. Spoon zucchini mixture on top, then remaining stuffing. Bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

Roasted Chestnuts

INGREDIENTS: 20 fresh unpeeled chestnuts

DIRECTIONS: Using a small sharp knife or a chestnut knife, carve an “X” in the flat side of each chestnut. Place chestnuts in an even layer, “X”-side down, in a chestnut-roasting pan. Cook chestnuts over low heat until opened, 20 to 25 minutes. Peel immediately, using a towel if chestnuts are too hot to touch.

Next week: Holiday desserts

A fireball erupts during a demonstration on the dangers of deep-frying a turkey in hot oil. Photo from Brookhaven Town

Brookhaven Town officials held a fiery presentation on Nov. 20 to demonstrate the dangers of deep-frying a turkey in hot oil.

According to a press release from the town, the trend is a growing one that is responsible for several deaths and dozens of injuries every year.

The hot oil can splash or spill, causing severe burns.

“The fireball that we saw during the demonstration clearly showed how the improper use of turkey fryers can lead to personal injury and the destruction of property,” Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) said in a statement. “I hope that people who use deep fryers follow all the manufacturer’s safety instructions and keep a fire extinguisher handy.”

Romaine and the town’s chief fire marshal, Chris Mehrman, held the demonstration on the Friday ahead of Thanksgiving.

The supervisor also announced that this holiday season the town would accept waste oil, which is used to create biodiesel fuel, at the town landfill on Horseblock Road in Brookhaven hamlet.

Last year, the town accepted more than 350 gallons of used cooking oil after Thanksgiving, according to the press release.

The landfill is open Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday, from 7 a.m. to noon.

For Thanksgiving fire safety tips, visit the National Fire Protection Association at www.nfpa.org.