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Here’s wishing you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the company of friends and loved ones that can be with you on this special day, as well as those we keep near and dear in our hearts. Blessings and joy to all.

Spicy Butternut Soup with Sage Leaves

1/4 cup butter

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup minced fresh-peeled ginger

2 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and seeds removed, cut into 1 inch cubes

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

Kosher salt black pepper, freshly ground 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 bunch fresh sage leaves, remove stems

Melt butter in a stockpot over medium heat. Sauté onion approximately 2 minutes (do not burn). Add garlic and ginger, and sauté for 30 seconds, then add butternut squash and curry powder. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Gently add in the 8 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until squash is tender.

Transfer half of soup to a blender and let cool down for a few minutes before blending. Purée soup, then stir in half of the juice and a teaspoon of salt. Repeat with remaining soup, then reheat in stockpot, if necessary. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add as many sage leaves as will comfortably fit in one layer, fry for 10 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining sage leaves, then sprinkle them all with a pinch of salt. Ladle the soup into individual bowls. Before serving, top each with fried sage leaves and freshly ground pepper, to taste. Yield: 12 servings.

Roast Turkey with Stuffing and Pan Gravy

15 to 18 pound fresh or frozen turkey, if frozen, thaw in refrigerator 3 days Save neck and giblets

Dash salt Freshly ground black pepper

1 stick butter, room temperature

Herb bread stuffing (recipe below)

Pan gravy (recipe below)

Remove fat from turkey. Sprinkle body cavity with salt and pepper. Loosen skin in breast area and spread 6 tablespoons butter under skin. Stuff neck cavity loosely with herb bread stuffing (or stuffing of your choice) and close with skewer. Stuff body cavity; cover opening of cavity with aluminum foil. Tie legs together; tuck wings under and rub remaining butter over turkey. Place turkey, breast side up, in a large roasting pan. (Some readers place turkey, breast side down, and instead, find breast meat juicier.) Roast at 325° for 4 to 5 hours, basting occasionally, with pan juices, until thermometer inserted in thick part of thigh registers 170°. Transfer turkey to cutting board. Cover turkey with aluminum foil; let stand 30 minutes. Remove stuffing to serving bowl; make gravy; carve turkey. Yield: 10 to 12 servings.

To make pan gravy:

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups cold water

Turkey neck and giblets; do not use liver

1 medium onion, chopped

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Pan drippings from turkey roasting pan

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup apple-cranberry cider

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine broth, water, neck and giblets to boil in medium saucepan. Skim foam off top and add onion, celery and garlic. Reduce heat, simmer covered, for 1 hour. Strain into 1-quart bowl; discard solids. You will need 3 cups for gravy. Strain drippings from roasting pan into 2-cup measure; skim off fat from surface and reserve 6 tablespoons; discard remaining fat. Place roasting pan on 2 stovetop burners over medium heat. Add reserved fat and whisk in flour, cook, stirring until smooth and bubbly. Whisk in 3 cups turkey broth, cider and drippings. Bring to boil; then lower heat to simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Yield: 4 cups.

Herb bread stuffing

(This recipe can be prepared 1 day ahead; just keep refrigerated!)

1 (1-pound) loaf each unsliced whole wheat and white bread, crusts removed, cut into 1-inch cubes (16 cups) 3/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley

2 teaspoons salt

1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter

2-1/2 cups each diced onions, carrots and celery

1 tablespoon each chopped garlic, fresh thyme and sage leaves

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1-1/2 cups chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350°. Place bread in 2 shallow roasting pans. Bake 20-25 minutes, tossing a few times until toasted. Place in bowl to cool. In a large skillet, melt butter; add onions, celery and carrots. Sauté for 10 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, sage and pepper; sauté 3 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add to bread mixture with 1/2 cup broth and toss with large spoon. Use enough to stuff turkey; place remaining stuffing in greased baking dish. Drizzle with remaining 1 cup broth. Cover with foil and bake at 325° for 35 minutes, uncovering after 20 minutes of baking. Yield: 12 servings.

Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Boats

8 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 teaspoons freshly grated orange peel

1/2 teaspoon salt

black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup miniature marshmallows

Bake sweet potatoes in preheated oven at 375° for 45 to 50 minutes until tender. Halve lengthwise; scoop out insides, leaving a 1/4-inch shell. Mash sweet potatoes; stir in butter, orange peel, salt and pepper; spoon into shells. Arrange in lightly greased baking dish. Press marshmallows gently into tops. Reheat in 350° oven 10 minutes or until marshmallows are melted and browned. Yield: 8 servings. (Note: If making ahead, bring chilled stuffed potatoes to room temperature; bake 10 minutes without marshmallows; then add marshmallows, and bake 10 minutes longer.) Yield: 8 servings.

Cranberry-Tangerine Relish

(This relish can be prepared 2 days ahead of time.)

3 medium tangerines or 2 large navel oranges

1 (12-ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries

1-1/2 cups sugar

Peel tangerines; reserve half of the peel. If using oranges, remove thick white pith from peel. Remove white membrane and seeds and discard. Coarsely chop tangerines. Wash and drain cranberries in colander; remove any stems. Put cranberries and reserved tangerine peel into food processor; pulse until finely chopped (or finely chop by hand with a chef’s knife.) Place in large bowl. Add chopped tangerine pieces and sugar; mix well. Refrigerate bowl, covered, up to 2 days before serving. Stir relish to remix just before serving.

Maple-Nut Shortbread Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup maple syrup, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup finely chopped nuts

Cream soft butter using an electric mixer. When somewhat fluffy, gradually add the maple syrup. Add salt, then flour, 1/2 cup at a time. If the mixture starts to clump too much in the beaters, switch to a wooden spoon. Mix in nuts. Divide dough into quarters. Shape each quarter into a log about 2 inches in diameter and 4-1/2 inches long. Wrap each log in plastic wrap; chill 3 hours. Preheat oven to 300°. Cut each log of chilled dough crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 20 minutes or until light golden. Remove to wire rack. Cool. Yield: 6 dozen cookies.

Kitchen Tip:

Save the ends of lemons and oranges in a plastic bag in the freezer. After cooking anything with a strong odor, put the ends in the garbage disposal and grind them up to leave a nice citrus aroma.

Please send your email requests to, and write “Helen’s Kitchen Request” or “Helen’s Kitchen Recipe Exchange” in the subject line to make sure that I receive and promptly respond to your email.


Pumpkin Tiramisu Layer Cake

For cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1 cup canola oil

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin pie filling with spices

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon grated orange peel

Cooking spray

For almond syrup:

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup amaretto

For filling:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Pinch of cream of tartar

2 cups mascarpone

2 vanilla beans, seeds only, pods reserved for another use

2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur

1 bag of amaretti cookies, crushed Preheat oven to 350°. Butter two 9-inch cake pans. Spray with cooking spray, then line bottom of pans with parchment paper; spray again, and dust pans with flour. Sift flour and next three ingredients into a bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat both sugars and oil in large bowl until combined. Gently add eggs one at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add pumpkin pie filling, vanilla and orange peel; beat until well blended. Add flour mixture; beat on low just until incorporated. Divide batter between prepared pans and smooth tops.

Bake cakes for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cakes completely in pans on rack. Run knife around cakes to loosen. Invert cakes onto racks; remove parchment paper. Turn cakes over, rounded-side up. Using serrated knife, trim rounded tops of cakes to level, then divide cakes in half horizontally to make 4 thin layers.

To make almond syrup:

Combine water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes. Strain into a sealable container, allow to cool, cover, and store in refrigerator. When ready to use, mix in amaretto.

To make filling:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and cream of tartar, then beat until stiff peaks form.

Meanwhile, combine mascarpone, vanilla beans and amaretto in a small bowl. Beat with a whisk to combine, then fold into whipped cream.

To assemble cake:

Brush a couple spoonfuls of amaretto syrup onto the cut side of each cake layer. Put the first layer, uncut-side down, on a cake stand and spoon a generous layer of mascarpone filling over the top. Sprinkle a layer of crushed amaretti cookies over the filling. Repeat this process until all cake layers are used, ending with a thick topping of mascarpone filling and a generous sprinkle of amaretti cookies. Drizzle a little extra syrup over the top of the cookies and serve. Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator. Yield: 12 servings.