Zen and the Art of Sausage and Polenta Stuffing by Elizabeth The Intern

Our interns are cooking up a storm this Thanksgiving, all for your benefit. Earlier this week we had Kathryn’s Cauliflower Gratin and now, on the other end of the spectrum, we have Elizabeth with her Sausage and Polenta Stuffing. Please don’t judge her for her mistakes: remember, I built my fortune on incompetence! Without further ado, I present to you Elizabeth the Intern.


Two years ago I cohosted a Thanksgiving dinner. Most of the food turned out well, but one dish was by far the best, a sausage and polenta stuffing we had adapted from Gourmet’s 2005 Thanksgiving issue.

I did not make the stuffing that year.

Today I tried to make the stuffing. I will say I’ve had better ideas.

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Thanksgiving Recipe Testing: Pear & Beet Salad, Freezable Biscuits, and Pumpkin Mousse Parfait


This year, I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner for sixteen people. Let me say that again. This year, I am cooking Thanksgiving dinner for sixteen people. Pardon my French, but holy s**t what the f**k am I thinking?

Sorry for cursing (do you say cursing or cussing? I say cursing) but this is a bit scary. Last year was the first time I ever cooked a Thanksgiving dinner (remember?) and this year the guests have TRIPLED. It’s as if I wrote a book on food or something and all of a sudden people expect me to know what I’m doing. Hello! Did you read the title? Amateur Gourmet… not Competent Gourmet. Not “Cooks For 16 People” Gourmet.

Ok, ok, so it’s not all that bad. I leave for Florida on Saturday (this dinner will take place in Boca Raton, where my parents live) and I have five whole days to get things ready before the big night on Thursday. I’m already coordinating a game plan, a carefully scheduled program that I plan to follow to the letter in order to get things done ahead of time. When I finish it, I’ll post it as a PDF to the site: it’ll have a full menu and all the recipes typed out. My strategy is to do as much ahead as possible so that the only thing I’ll have to do on Thursday is cook the turkey, heat up the soup and side dishes and prepare a salad.

In anticipation of all this, I’ve started testing recipes here in Brooklyn to see how they’ll fare next week. Tonight I share with you my conclusions and seek your feedback on my plan thus far.

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A Healthy Thanksgiving Dish by Kathryn The Intern [Cauliflower Gratin]


Recently, reader Amy from Madison, WI wrote me the following in an e-mail:

It’s November, and the rest of the month revolves around just one meal: Thanksgiving.

But I have a quandry. Every year, I try to contribute something that is NOT fat laden and IS full of veggies and anything else good-for-you . .and my steamed broccoli with lemon zest or roasted asparagus gets rather sadly overlooked for the (classic, and admittedly tasty, though completely devoid of nutrients!) green bean casserole.

Can you and my fellow readers help suggest something that will be enjoyed by all and will not leave me feeling bloated and guilty at the end of the meal?

Since I, myself, plan to use half a ton of butter in the Thanksgiving dinner I’m going to cook (and I’m cooking for 16 people! more on that later) I decided to send this question to our brand new interns to see who was up to the task. Intern Kathryn (who’s soon to attend the French Culinary Institute in New York) leapt at the opportunity and here’s her happy, healthy Thanksgiving solution.

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