DIY: Thanksgiving Edition

If there is one holiday that is ALL about DIY, it’s Thanksgiving. A catered meal is certainly stress-free, but it surely doesn’t taste as good as a meal cooked meticulously over several dedicated hours in the kitchen, especially when said meal is cooked with family and friends.

As expert “at-home chefs” themselves, our clients have a few excellent DIY recipes to make your own Thanksgiving spread truly special!

Jack Gilmore: Sweet Potato Bourbon Casserole

This delicious side dish is easy to DIY

Photo Courtesy of Kenny Braun Photography

This rich and delicious side from Jack Gilmore of Jack Allen’s Kitchen and Salt Traders Coastal Cooking is bursting with fall flavor. Easy to DIY, this dish is sure to be a big crowd pleaser.


2 cups heavy cream

1/4 cup bourbon

1 ¼ tsp ground cinnamon

 ¼ tsp allspice

 ¼ tsp nutmeg

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp pepper

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced to 1/8 inch.

1 cup pecans, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Put heavy cream, bourbon and spices into a mixing bowl and using a wire whisk, mix well.
  3. In a 10 inch square buttered baking dish, arrange on layer of sweet potatoes on the bottom.
  4. Drizzle ¼ cup of liquid.
  5. Repeat another layer for potatoes and liquid, then press down.
  6. Repeat step 5 until the pan is full.
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  8. Remove cover and continue to bake until cream is absorbed and the potatoes are golden brown.
  9. Let rest 15-30 minutes before slicing.


John Lichtenberger: John and Carla’s Cranberry Sauce

This boozy cranberry sauce is a great DYI project

Image Courtesy of Epicurious

Each year, executive chef of Isla and Péché, John Lichtenberger, and his wife Carla make this boozy rendition of the classic cranberry sauce. Plan ahead because according to John, this sauce is best when made a day in advance.


1 cup port wine

2/3 cup Grand Marnier

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup brown sugar

 ¼ tsp ground black pepper

1 six inch sprig of rosemary

3/4 cup of white sugar

12 oz cranberries

2 pieces ginger

Rind of half of an orange


  1. Combine port wine, Grand Marnier, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, black pepper, rosemary, ginger and rind.
  2. Boil until the brown sugar dissolves.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Mix in sugar and cranberries and cook, stirring consistently, until berries burst.
  5. Place in a bowl to cool.


Dolce Neve: Butternut Squash and
Amaretti Cookie Gelato

I f you really want to wow your guests, DYI some delicious gelato

Photo Courtesy of Dolce Neve

Pumpkin pies and the like are a general standby on Thanksgiving spreads, but if you are feeling a little ambitious this year, we suggest you wow your guests with some DIY gelato.

Marco and Francesca Silvestrini and Leo Ferrarese of Dolce Neve Gelato are masters of crafting delicious and fresh seasonal flavors. This Butternut Squash and Amaretti Cookie gelato fits in perfectly with the classic Thanksgiving palette and, as an added bonus, you don’t need a gelato machine to make it!


1 cup whole milk

1 egg yolk

1 small butternut squash

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup sugar

5 Amaretti cookies


  1. Cut the butternut squash in half and remove the seeds. Place on a baking sheet and roast for approximately 30 minutes, until soft when pierced with a fork. Scoop the flesh into a food processor and puree until smooth. Measure out ¾ cup for the gelato and reserve the rest of the puree for another use.
  2. Mix together milk, egg yolks, and sugar.
  3. Pour the mixture into a large metal bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until it reaches the temperature of 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Then let it cool down until it reaches room temperature.
  4. Add the puree of butternut squash and then gently fold the whipped cream into the mixture. Then pour everything into a cold pan.
  5. Chill for about 20 minutes and check the gelato. As the edges start to freeze, stir the mixture with a whisk or a spatula to break up the partially frozen gelato.
  6. Stir the gelato every 30 minutes until it is firmly frozen, but also smooth and creamy (usually 4-5 times).
  7. Grind the Amaretti cookies into 1-inch crumbs. When the gelato is ready, add the crumbs of Amaretti cookies.




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