Thanksgiving Recipes

From Executive Chef Glenn Noffsinger

Make it a Thanksgiving to remember with friends, family, and these three holiday-themed recipes from Executive Chef, Glenn Noffsinger.

Cherry-Almond Rice Pilaf

Yield: 15-20 servings

 • 2 oz, olive oil
 • 8 garlic cloves, minced
 • 5 shallots, minced
 • 8 cups, wild rice blend
 • 2 cups, dried local cherries
 • 1 cup, sliced almonds
 • 1 cinnamon stick
 • 1/2 teaspoon, ground cloves
 • 1/2 teaspoon, ground cardamom
 • 1 bay leaf
 • 1/2 teaspoon, ground allspice
 • 1 gal, hearty vegetable stock

Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat and sauté garlic and shallots until translucent and slightly caramelized. Add wild rice blend, cherries and almonds and cook while stirring until evenly toasted. Add cinnamon stick, ground cloves, ground cardamom, bay leaf and ground allspice. Continue stirring and cooking until spices have toasted and are very aromatic. Be careful not to burn the spices and rice.

Add the vegetable stock and bring to simmer. Cover, turn down heat to low and cook according to wild rice blend direction on package. Some wild rice can take up to 50 minutes or more to cook. Remove from heat and let pilaf rest for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve while hot.

1. This recipe has many applications and works great as a rice stuffing for the holidays. You can add virtually any cooked sausage or other meats for a heartier recipe.
2. Almost any combination of dried fruit and nuts can be used in this recipe and the addition of a little honey helps bring out the sweetness in the dried fruit and compliments the aromatic spices.

Sweet Potato Chestnut Casserole

This recipe is gluten-free and easily adaptable to vegetarian, vegan or other dietary specifications.

Yield: 6 servings

 • 1/2 lb, fresh local chestnuts
 • 1 cup, Cream Cup Dairy 2% milk
 • 2 oz, local maple syrup
 • 3 garlic cloves, minced
 • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced, 1/4" thick
 • 1 teaspoon, kosher salt
 • As needed, pan spray

Bring 1 gallon of water to a rolling boil in a heavy stock pot. With a sharp knife score an X on the flat side of each chestnut. Put chestnuts in the pot of boiling water making sure they are completely covered. Return the water to a boil and cook for 5-6 minutes. Remove chestnuts from water and let cool until you can handle them. Bring a second pot of fresh water and a teaspoon of salt to a boil. Peel shells off of chestnuts.

Add chestnuts to the second pot of boiling salted water and return to a simmer. Cook chestnuts for 30 minutes or until tender when pierced with the tip of a pairing knife. Drain chestnuts completely and let cool. Coarsely chop chestnuts and cook in a 350 degree oven until toasted. Be careful not to burn the chestnuts. Set aside and let cool completely on wire baking rack.

Lightly spray or oil a casserole dish. Bring the milk, maple syrup, garlic and a pinch of salt to a simmer in a small saucepan and cook for 10 minutes on medium-low heat, set aside.

Layer 1/3 of the sweet potato slices in a shingled pattern in the casserole dish. Sprinkle with toasted chestnuts and top with 1/3 of the milk mixture. Season each layer with salt and pepper. Repeat this process until 3 full layers are completed. Drizzle the whole casserole with a little extra maple syrup. Save the last layer of toasted chestnuts for sprinkling on top as a garnish once the casserole is completely cooked.

Cover the casserole with a lid or foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove casserole from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes to firm up before serving. Sprinkle with the last of the toasted chestnuts.

1. Alternate layers of cheese such as Monterey Jack or grated Parmesan in between the layers of sweet potatoes.
2. Season each layer with ground chipotle chili powder and substitute local honey for the maple syrup. This would be great with a Mexican-style Queso Fresco cheese in between each layer.
3. For a dairy-free version use almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, hemp milk or any other vegetarian-based milk.

Vanilla Heaven Poached Pears with Almond Oolong Shortbread Cookies

 • 3 cups water
 • 2 tablespoons Light of Day Organic Vanilla Heaven Tea (in a tea bag)
 • 3/4 cup Brown's local honey
 • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 • 3 ripe but firm pears peeled, halved & cored

In a medium saucepan bring water, tea, vanilla and honey to a simmer for 5 minutes. Place pears in a single layer in poaching liquid and simmer covered for 10-20 minutes until just tender. Let pears cool in the poaching liquid to absorb as much of the cooking fragrance as possible.

Almond Oolong Shortbread Cookies
 • ½ cup butter, softened
 • 1 tablespoon Light of Day Organic Almond Oolong tea, finely ground (I use a coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices and teas)
 • 1/3 cup sugar
 • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
 • 1 cup all purpose flour
 • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch square baking pan with butter and set it aside.

Whip butter and tea with an electric mixer until fluffy, approximately 3 min. Add sugar and continue beating until creamy. Add flour and salt and mix in by hand with a wooden spoon until just combined. Wrap dough in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator for 5 min to allow moisture to disperse evenly. Press dough into 8 inch square baking pan evenly with finger tips. Bake until edges are golden brown about 20-25 minutes. Cut cookies into squares while they are still warm.

This dough can also work well for cutting out shapes with a cookie cutter.

To serve, place pears in serving bowls with poaching liquid and serve with warm cookies and a cup of tea.

Bon Appétit!