Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanksgiving on TV! To hell and back in the world of the most sought after Food Stylist in Hollywood...

By Rebecca Blasdel

"Castle" and "Last Man Standing"

THANKSGIVING. Everyone's favorite meal... unless you are a food stylist and are cooking anywhere from 10-25 turkeys in one season, six weeks before turkey day.

That's 25 turkeys, 10 pounds of stuffing, 15 vats of mashed potatoes, dozens of pans of candied yams, 50 pumpkin, pecan, and apple pies; cranberry sauce, the list goes on. Not to mention the "Martha Stewart" version with roasted brussels sprouts, sliced fresh yams with honey, farm to table organic free range turkeys and geese that run around the stage before they hit the oven. Also sometimes the disgusting - including tofurkey, turdukin, and anything deep fried.

Complaints aside, it's actually fun to get to do it way before anyone else. To power through Pinterest, Google images, and the Food Network in search of the latest, greatest, and prettiest versions of a wonderful traditional meal. No wonder it takes us only five minutes to carve up a bird compared to your Uncle Ralph who takes 40 minutes. The truth is, our feasts mostly look great.. unless of course a big shot actor is eating... then it needs to TASTE great too.

Recently, we were lucky enough to create a turkey dinner for everyone's moms favorite show, "Castle" as well as for Tim Allen's "Last Man Standing". Castle was traditional with a huge turkey, and Tim Allen was "smoking" his turkey. There were 'manly hors d'oeuvres for Tim Allen's show including smoked meats, nutty cheddar balls, and ritz crackers. And girly ones too - burrata with prosciutto and roasted peppers. There were pies, oh were there pies. Pies that had to be tossed, pies that didn't have the exact dough leaf pattern we were searching for, pies that were beautiful, and pies that just were so happy to be sprayed with pam and left alone to chill for a while.

We also had yams with marshmallows, yams without pecans, potatoes with skins, potatoes with chives, potatoes with yams, and yams with cranberries. Cranberries on pies and well... you get the picture.

Here are some pictures of what we do to the poor turkeys, once they are ready for cooking, to make them look perfect. And some more pictures of what is done to make the rest of it look great.


If you would like to learn more about Food Styling classes and how you can learn about the fine art of culinary design... write us at ediblestyl@aol.com

But since we are only human and we love thanksgiving food as much as anyone else... here are some wonderful, delicious recipes that are tried and true to make Thanksgiving a wonderful meal for our families as well.

This is the best recipe I have ever found for creamed onions - Adapted from Gourmet Magazine. By Shelly Wiseman.

Creamed Pearl Onions
Serves 8-10

3 lbs. white pearl onions
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
5 whole cloves
About 4 cups water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Blanch onions in a large pot of boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and peel. Heat butter in a deep 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until foam subsides, then cook onions, stirring occasionally, until they golden in patches, about 8 minutes. Add sugar, salt, cloves, and enough water to cover onions and simmer, covered, until onions are tender but not falling apart, 25 to 30 minutes. Boil onions, uncovered, until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 20 minutes more.
Stir in cream and simmer, stirring, until slightly thinkened, about 5 minutes. Discard cloves, then season with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley just before parsley.

Cook's Notes:
Onions can be blanched and peeled 2 days ahead and chill, covered.
creamed pearl onions can be made one day ahead and chilled, covered. Reheat in a heavy saucepan over low heat, or in a microwave, stirring occasionally. Optional: Can sprinkle with Parmesan toasted breadcrumbs before serving. 

Glazed Yams
Serves 4-6

4 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon for greasing
4 medium yams or sweet potatoes
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Cut each of the yams into 8 evenly shaped wedges. Lay them out in the prepared baking dish in an even layer. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and allow to dissolve. Mix in syrup and cook until smooth. Pour glaze over the yams. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until the yams are tender when pierced with a fork but they still hold their shape.


All this talk of Thanksgiving has us excited for the 28th! If your looking for a more low maintenance Thanksgiving, there are some great restaurants offering a fabulous holiday meal. Our favorite is served at JiRaffe Restaurant in Santa Monica. Their Thanksgiving "farmers market" 3-course menu includes your choice of roasted turkey with aged gouda, Reggiano, Gruyere Yukon gold mashed potatoes, candied yams, Tahitian vanilla bean and star anise cranberries, purse of apple and sausage counry-bread stuffing, white wine turkey gravy; Angus fillet of beef with blue cheese, potato and pear gratin; or all wild bouillabaisse as entrees and a choice of appetizer and dessert. Weather your eating your holiday meal at home or out at a fabulous restaurant, we hope you all have a delicious and happy Thanksgiving!

No comments:

Post a Comment