Countdown to Thanksgiving 2

One of the great (and challenging)  things about television demos is that you have to make two of everything: one recipe a day earlier for the camera shot and the second live with the host of the show. It takes about a full day to get ready for about five minutes of television that involves a lot of prepping and staging. There are of course many rewards, including all the leftovers! It’s just like having company.  My family is having part of  the Thanksgiving meal every day (except poor Gabrielle who can’t stand hearing about the dishes from her dorm room!) leading up to the big day. Lucky Isabella has loved having fig goat cheese shallot squares for breakfast (yes, at 6:30 a.m.) for the past two mornings and butternut squash pumpkin soup for lunch.



Today, I made bourbon mashed sweet potatoes, our favorite boozy side dish, along with the pancetta cups with goat cheese, which are so easy, delicious and satisfying. I can’t wait to have them for dinner along with a turkey I made over the weekend so I could create some new leftover recipes.





Let us know if you are planning to make any of our recipes and if you come up with any interesting new ingredient additions. We can’t wait to hear from you.  And stay tuned for tomorrow’s segment on Mashed Potato variations!






Pancetta Cups with Goat Cheese and Grapes

From: Heide Lang


  • 16 thin to medium slices of pancetta
  • 16-20 teaspoons fresh goat cheese (room temperature)
  • 8 red grapes cut in half (you may also use ripe pears halved, cored, and cut into ¼ inch thick slices or a thin slice of a firm apple instead of grapes)
  • 2-3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme or rosemary (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place the pancetta slices snugly in mini cupcake muffin pan.
  2. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove pancetta from pan and place on paper towel to absorb the oil.  Remove the pancetta cups from the paper towel and on to an attractive serving platter.
  4. Top each with one with a heaping teaspoon of goat cheese and a half a grape. Sprinkle with thyme or rosemary (optional) and serve.

Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes

From: Heide Lang


  • 4 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup bourbon whiskey (We like to use Maker’s Mark bourbon. You may also reduce the bourbon to ¼ cup for milder taste.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional – adding cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg will give the potatoes more of an autumny taste, but will slightly take away from the pure sweet taste of the sweet potatoes and bourbon.
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional – see above)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Put the potatoes on foil or parchment paper and brush with olive oil.
  3. Bake until soft and the potatoes start to “ooze” syrup, approximately 45-60 minutes (depending on the size of the potatoes). Remove and let cool slightly.
  4. Remove the skin and put the contents of the sweet potatoes in a medium size bowl (if using a hand blender) or place in a food processor.
  5. Add salt, bourbon, heavy cream, brown sugar, and cinnamon (optional) and nutmeg (optional). Puree until smooth.
  6. Serve or cover and refrigerate overnight. This dish can me made the day before and re-heated in a microwave or oven at 350 degrees.

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