Nora Pouillon
Executive Chef/Owner Restaurant Nora/Asia Nora,
Author Cooking With Nora (Park Lane Press), Washington, D.C

"Why not give Thanksgiving an ethnic twist and try a Mexican-style Thanksgiving. Offer salsa and cornbread as side dishes. Why not try stuffing with chili and cilantro. Using tamales in stuffing accentuated with black olives, beans, corn and a spicy Mexican cheese is an idea.

How about Turkey Asian style with a soy sauce glaze. You could even add a little honey to the glaze. Another idea for a glaze could be made of honey, molasses and ginger. Pumpkin puree or a sweet potato puree might be nice additions to the stuffing. The se items would also be lovely as side dishes. I would also recommend that even if you try an ethnic slant on Thanksgiving that you still offer traditional items too.

An Asian of Thai twist on Thanksgiving would be very nice. For Chinese-style make a glaze of orange marmalade and ginger. You could make little pancakes Moo Shi-style to wrap up your sliced turkey. Bok choy would be a great side dish. Try a rice pudding with shitake mushrooms and lemongrass seasoning.

Another possibility might be Thanksgiving with a Mediterranean twist. Risotto is a wonderful side dish. Stuffing could be prepared with black olives, garlic and fennel.

I can not emphasize enough the importance of buying an organic or natural turkey. They are quite flavorful and contain no antibiotics or hormones.

It would be very tasty to lightly smoke the turkey or grill it in a closed grill. By adding flavored wood chips you vary the taste possibilities.

It would be delectable to place the turkey in a salt brine marinade overnight and smoke it the next day.

I suggest you try cooking the turkey on its side. By doing this there is less of a chance that your turkey will be dried out during the cooking process. Rotate the turkey from side to side for three quarter of the cooking time and finish cooking it breast side up.

Finally, if you can get some exercise in before you eat I think it is important. At my house, we take a long walk or hike outside while our food is cooking. I hope you will try one of these ideas."

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