Our Thanksgiving Tradition

November 24, 2015

Rose 4

My family has a few Thanksgiving traditions, but the one that stands out the most is that we have lunch, not dinner. We generally eat between noon and 1pm.  This was my dad's idea after his girls got married.  He didn't want any of us to have time conflicts with our in-laws, so he decided that we would have our meal early.  He didn't care what time we ate, he just wanted to make sure we all had time to be together for the holiday.  This was so indicative of how my dad thought and operated.  Being accommodating and not getting attached to small, insignificant details are a couple of many important life lessons he taught me.  Focus on the big picture, focus on being good to each other; these are two more that resonated deeper with me the older I get.  So simple but so profound.  My father passed away two years ago right before Thanksgiving.  I miss him very much, think about him every day, but feel his presence in my life when recalling and living the many lessons he lived and taught me.  I am so thankful to have been his daughter and feel so lucky that he was my dad. I pray that I am the parent to my children that he was to me.  I am so very thankful and grateful for everyday I get to live this life he was so instrumental in creating for me and my whole family.

To celebrate the arrival of the holidays, below you will find our Small Plates and Tapas Menu for this Fall and Winter, as well as a recipe for one of our favorite fall bites!  There's also the recipe for my twist on the traditional Thanksgiving cranberry sauce.  Read on and don't forget to become an LAFW Facebook Fan. Click Here to get daily updates from our kitchen, along with inspiration, tips and tricks to use in yours.

We still have a couple of dates open on our holiday schedule, so if you're still looking for something to do, let me know. We would love to cook and celebrate with you!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I am grateful to all of you for letting me share my love of all things in the kitchen!  You give me purpose :).


LA Food Works
Holiday Small Plate and Tapas Menu

LA Food Works presents its new Small Plates and Tapas Menu for this Fall and Winter When you host A Small Plates Event with LAFW, you and your guests will work with our chefs on a multiple cooking stations creating these fun and filling bites!  A perfect way to celebrate the holidays and learn something new! This event is great for larger groups and we have venues that can accommodate up to 150 guests!



An LA Food Works Event Includes

* Hors d'oeuvre and beverage reception on arrival

* Fun and knowledgeable chef instructors to guide you
   through your recipes

* Private cooking and dining experience at our charming

* Seasonal gourmet menu selections
* Chef aprons to use while you are cooking

* Recipe packets for everyone to take home 


Savory Selections

Baked Brie and Cranberry Cups
Albondigas (Spanish Meatballs) Topped with Tomato Sauce
Kimchi Pancakes with Sesame-Soy Dipping Sauce
Julia Child’s Stuffed Mushrooms
Herb-Marinated Chicken Skewers with Homemade Harissa
Beef Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Mashed Potato Croquettes with Sour Cream and Chives
Gorgonzola and Prosciutto Pastry Twists with Romanesco Sauce
Caesar Salad Spears
Scallion Turkey Meatballs with Soy-Ginger Glaze
Pumpkin Curry Empanadas
Spicy Tuna and Vegetable Sushi Rolls
Turkey Tartlets with Cranberry Salsa
Grilled Miso Shrimp

Sweet Selections

Waffle Brownies with Whipped Cream and Hot Fudge
Churros with Boozy Fudge and Salted Caramel Dipping Sauce
Whiskey Cherry Cheesecake Shooters


Pumpkin Empanadas with Cilantro Dipping Sauce

This delicious recipe may not scream Thanksgiving, but it's an exotic yet comforting fall appetizer that can carry you through many holiday events.  My daughter Sarah loves to make these savory little turnovers, and her friends love to eat them.  If you've got lots of parties on the horizon, make a bunch and freeze them before baking.  When your next event rolls around, pop them on a baking sheet (frozen, no need to thaw) and brush with the egg wash.  Bake a few extra minutes to make up for their starting temp.  We've made them at many of our team building events over the past few years and there are NEVER any left over.  Featured on our Fall-Winter Small Plates Menu, I have a feeling that these little bites will be a favorite for many years to come!

For Empanadas


tablespoon olive oil


small onion, finely chopped
teaspoon ground ginger
teaspoon ground cloves
teaspoon ground cinnamon
teaspoon ground cumin
teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup currants, softened 10 minutes in hot water
15 ounce can pumpkin puree
teaspoon salt
sheets pre-made pie dough, brought to room temperature
egg, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon currant soaking water

Pumpkin Empanadas

For the empanadas. Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in spices and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Transfer onion to a medium mixing bowl. Drain currants and stir into bowl. Add pumpkin and salt and mix well.

Working with one pie-dough disk at a time, roll dough on a lightly floured surface into a 1/8-in.-thick round. Using a 3 inch ring cutter, cut out 24 circles, rerolling scraps.

Mix water into egg. Spoon 1 heaping teaspoon of pumpkin mixture into center of each round, fold over, and seal edges with tines of a fork.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Arrange empanadas on sheets, spaced slightly apart. Brush the side facing up with the egg mixture. Repeat with other pie dough sheets while other batches are cooking.

Bake until golden brown, 17 to 20 minutes, rotating 1/2 way through the cooking time. Serve with dipping sauce.

Cilantro Mint Dipping Sauce
2 serrano chiles -- stems removed from both, one seeded and both roughly chopped
2 bunches cilantro -- stems removed
24 large mint leaves
2 tablespoons fresh ginger -- peeled and minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 lemon -- juiced
2 tablespoons water -- plus more if needed
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a food processor, pulse chile, cilantro, mint and ginger until reduced in volume by half. Add 2 tbsp. water, the oil, lemon juice, and salt. Whirl until smooth, adding 1 more tbsp. water if needed.

Source: Sunset Magazine, October 2012
Yield: 72 empanadas bite sized empanadas or 36 6" empanadas

2 Bite Sized Empanadas per serving: 107 Calories; 7g Fat (59.9% calories from fat); 1g Protein; 9g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 16mg Cholesterol; 90mg Sodium. 

Cranberry Pear Chutney

I've been making this cranberry sauce for years and my family looks forward to it every Thanksgiving.  And why not?  The ingredients are fabulous.  Cranberries, very festive! Pears and fresh orange juice, very seasonal.  Sugar, dates and raisins, very sweet.  Throw in the tartness of lemon and ginger to balance it all out, and this dish is just perfect.  Every time I make it I toy with the idea of adding a few of whole cloves or some star anise while cooking the cranberries, but I'm afraid it will ruffle some family feathers.  Maybe I'll make two batches this year.  One with and one without and see how that plays out!  Oh, and by the way, this also freezes fabulously.  So make some extra for your other holiday dinners.  It's also an amazing topping for baked brie...should you have any leftovers ;).

Cranberry Pear Chutney

3 cups cranberries, fresh or fresh frozen
1 cup sugar
3 firm pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2" dice

1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried and pitted dates (about 5),
      coarsely chopped

Combine cranberries and sugar in saucepan; cook over medium-low heat until berries release juices, about 8 minutes.

Place pears a medium bowl, and toss with lemon zest and juice.

Add orange juice, ginger, raisins, and dates to cranberries. Raise heat to medium-high. Stir occasionally, adding pears when mixture begins to bubble.

Cook, stirring, until mixture thickens and pears turn red and are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Let cool or refrigerate.

Yield: 4 cups

Serves 12.  Serving size: about 1/3 cup.  Per Serving: 115 Calories; trace Fat; trace Protein; 29g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 1mg Sodium.

Adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart.

WANT TO USE THESE TIPS AND RECIPES IN YOUR E-ZINE, BLOG OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you do not alter the information in any way and include a credit that reads "by Rose LeBoeuf, www.lafoodworks.com, Interactive Cooking Classes, Parties, and Corporate Team Building Events for Groups Looking for a Fun and Unique Dinning Experience." 

 LA Food Works Events 

Ideal for Team Building, Summer Outings, Client Entertaining, Birthday Parties, Showers and Private Gatherings. 
Let LA Food Works make your party one which your guests will not soon forget!
No previous cooking experience required!
Just willingness to put on an apron,
get your hands a little messy,
indulge in some great food
and have lots of fun playing in the kitchen!
We also happily design Custom Cooking Parties. If you have a group of 10 or more foodies who love great food and playing together in the kitchen, contact us and we will design a custom menu or theme class for you and your group.

Our interactive cooking parties both unify and entertain...perfect for any occasion that requires great food, interesting activities and lots of fun!


For information or to book your event, contact Rose LeBoeuf at 310-288-0100 for an event planning kit, pricing and availability.