BREAKING: Hellmann's has changed their…

Hellman's MayonnaiseBREAKING: Hellmann's has changed their mayonnaise! "Yes, we have changed the formula of Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise" reports Hellmann's owner Unilever, via email with The Kitchen. This is tragic! The Kitchen talks about the alternative of making your own mayo, but that's not a great solution. Homemade mayo doesn't keep and each batch requires a lot of ingredients (at least a cup of oil). I know we don't use that much mayo in a week in our house. Honestly, I'm freaking out. Hellmann's is the only mayo I like! And what will become of our post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches if we have to use the new "sweeter with a chemically tangy aftertaste" version?! Please oh please don't let this be true.

Vegetarian Thanksgiving

TofurkyDay four of our Thanksgiving Spectacular continues, and with it, some tips for our vegetarian and vegan friends looking for holiday alternatives to turkey. Tofurky is the most popular meat alternative. Made from organic tofu, beans, and "natural vegetarian flavor", it looks like a boneless breast of turkey roulade, complete with stuffing. I've never tried one, but I can imagine it could be a nice change for folks tired of making do with side dishes.

Cooking with Tofurky for the Holidays offers various recipes for tofurky, including a Glazed Tofurky. Martha Stewart Living (November 2006) has four holiday dishes for vegetarians, including a Quinoa Pie with Butternut Squash that sounds excellent, but I cannot seem to locate the recipe online. Very few other magazines offered much in the way of vegetarian dishes.

If you want to make your own tofu turkey, All Recipes has a Tofu Turkey I that sounds pretty good (it calls for mushrooms, dried sage, tamari, and miso paste, among other ingredients). Over at the Washington Post, a discussion of vegetarian Thanksgiving options, including suggestions for winter squash lasagna and mushroom risotto as vegetarian main courses.

And for those hosting Thanksgiving, a gentle reminder: something cooked with chicken stock is usually not okay for vegetarians. Just because there are no chunks of meat present doesn't mean it's "vegetarian." It's nice to offer a dish or two that are completely free of animal products, especially if you know you'll have vegetarians or vegans in attendance. [Thanks Rebecca!]

The flames were four…

Choire's turkey fire
The flames were four feet high at times. I think at one point we had to dump a ton of rock salt into the grill and slam the cover shut. Heh. Near the surface, it tasted a bit like a Smithfield ham. I loved it, but I might have been the only one.

My friend Choire had some trouble last year, as you can see. Cooking a turkey on the grill is a popular alternative to using the oven, but you need to avoid serious fire. It's important to put a pan beneath the bird to catch the drippings, otherwise you could end up with turkey conflagration for Thanksgiving.

Detailed information about Grilling A Turkey on the Barbecue. They recommend a gas grill because the author's not sure how to get the coals to last. That's silly, add more charcoal as it's going! My uncle does a turkey on my grandparents' charcoal grill every year, and it's delicious.

The perfect pie crust smells…

The perfect pie crust smells like pig. That is, if it's made with rendered leaf lard. This New York Times article looks at various fats you can use to make a great pie crust, and not surprisingly, a combo of animal fat and butter comes out on top. I've used lard, butter, and shortening, and butter is my favorite, but it's more difficult to work with. This year I'll probably do a combo, and maybe even an animal fat combo after reading this.

More about Martha's unstinky horses…

More about Martha's unstinky horses (okay, so this isn't Thanksgiving-related…). Via email from reader MaryLynn:

When she was profiled in Vanity Fair (about a year ago?) you may recall, if you read it, that she keeps her black Friesen's inside during the day and they only graze at night so their coats are not bleached by the sun and are, thus, impeccably maintained as a glossy black that matches the rest of her estate. Quite possibly the best thing I've ever seen in print. So sure, I can see that she's probably had a team of scientists working on making great strides in the area of horse excrement. Hell, I think SHE thinks her shit smells like roses, why shouldn't theirs?!

I couldn't possibly add anything more to this.