Before I begin this post, can I just say OMG?! I can’t believe it’s already Thanksgiving week!! This week, all over the USA people will be getting on planes, loading up cars, setting tables and gathering with family to celebrate over football and the annual, traditional feast. This year I will be celebrating in St. Louis with my husband, at the home of my brother in law Patrick (who, by the way, created and runs STL’s coolest photo booth service. Check out Escape The Booth if you’re looking for a super fun addition to your wedding or event). Between me, my mother in law and my sister in law, I’m sure the kitchen will be busy (not to be cliche but its inevitable that the men will wind up watching football while we cook).

This year, I wanted to contribute something delicious and different, but not TOO different. I reached out to my favorite Chicago chef, Chef Julius Russell of A Tale Of Two Chefs, for guidance. I got him to give up one of my favorite items he makes, his infamous goat cheese cornbread! AND it’s a version that’s super super easy to make.

Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving dinner photo via Shutterstock.

Chicago bellas and fellas who want to just roll up to the Thanksgiving Day feast fully prepared, you can order full meals or delicious side dishes directly from Chef Julius — he has extended the Thanksgiving order deadline to this Wednesday at Noon! Click here to check out the full menu, which is available for the rest of the 2013 holiday season. For those not in the Chicago area, check out Chef Julius’s incredible recipes for Goat Cheese Cornbread (the quick, easy home cook version), and Cauliflower Supreme. Bon appetite and Happy Thanksgiving!

Goat Cheese Cornbread (The Home Cook Version)

Typically, Chef Julius makes cornbread from scratch. To save time and effort, he recommends the following for novice cooks like myself.

2 boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
2 eggs (beaten)
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup water*
4-8 oz plain or herb goat cheese (softened)
2 tsp garlic salt (McCormick California Style or Lawry’s)
2 oz Roasted Garlic Butter (melted). Epicurean Butter is my preferred choice
2 toothpicks (optional)


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Pour the corn muffin mix into a bowl, add the goat cheese and mix together with your hands

The goat cheese should become crumbly

Pour in the eggs and cream. Stir until the mixture is fully incorporated. It should still be a little thick

Add the water in small amounts until it loosens up a bit. The consistency you are looking for is like cake batter. *You may even need a little bit more water.* Just remember to add in small amounts.

Lightly brush the muffin pan(s) or a baking dish(es) with half of the melted butter

Evenly pour the batter between the pans and bake 15-20 minutes

To check for doneness insert a toothpick in the center of the pan or muffin and it should come out clean

When the cornbread is done, let it rest for at least 5-8 minutes. While resting, brush it with the remaining butter

Sprinkle with a dash of the garlic salt, right before serving.

Cauliflower Supreme

1 head of cauliflower (removed from the base and broken up)
1TB fresh ginger (diced)
2 cloves garlic (diced)
1tsp red chili flakes
½ cup vegetable stock
1TB honey
2TB Chilean Olive Oil
2 oz Epicurean Butter Tuscan Herb Butter-chilled
Chef Julius’ Salt Blend and Pepper Blend

Place a large sauté pan on high heat for 3-5 minutes. And preheat your oven to 400 degrees

In a plastic bowl, toss the cauliflower with ginger, garlic and olive oil.

When you see smoke start to rise from the pan, add the cauliflower

Let the cauliflower sit in the hot pan for 1 minute before moving. The florets will start to char.

Sprinkle a little salt, pepper and chili flakes. Sauté for 2-3 minutes more

Add the vegetable stock and stir in the honey

Once the vegetable stock starts to boil, place in the oven for 10-12 minutes

Using a very good oven mitt, remove the pan from the oven and add the Epicurean Butter Tuscan Herb Butter

Stir the butter until melted, taste and adjust the seasoning and serve hot!

To save calories, remove the butter step, the dish is still great but it won’t be SUPREME!

*For a real kick, you can substitute Epicurean Butter Sun-dried Tomato Chipotle Butter.

FYI, Epicurean Butter is one of Chef Julius’s go to brands and there is currently a chance to win yummy products from them this holiday! Check out their Facebook page to enter, and click here for contest details.

And don’t forget, Chef Julius’s Thanksgiving order deadline is this Wednesday at 12 noon. Here is the full menu, which is available for the rest of the 2013 holiday season.

For tips on frying your turkey, check out Chef’s appearance on WGN where he offers tips and a delicious recipe!

No matter how you celebrate, I hope your Thanksgiving is festive and fun. Happy Thanksgiving, bellas!



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