Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Way back in March, Jennifer Jasinski, executive chef at Rioja in Lo Do, was searching for traditional Thanksgiving ingredients to prepare dishes for a Food Network challenge, the Ultimate Thanksgiving Feast.
She was one of four top chefs tapped to cook their hearts out for a shot at a $10,000 prize. The chefs were asked to put their own creative spin on such classic ingredients as sweet potatoes, cranberries and butternut squash. They each had five hours to show his or her signature turkey plus five side dishes to a panel of tough judges.

The winner will be revealed on the Food Network at 7 p.m. Wednesday evening.

We got the scoop about Jasinski's turkey recipe: She prepared it two ways. One is a turkey breast that is brined, butterflied and stuffed with apricot dressing then roasted. Another is turkey sausage stuffed inside a boned and roasted turkey thigh and leg. Her side dishes include fennel, apple and pomegranate salad; moscato and rosemary glazed veggies; potato quince gratin; and pinenut sage stuffing baked into muffins.

Judges were Jill Davie of Josie Restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif., Mark Miller of Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, N.M. and John Besh of Restaurant August & Besh Steakhouse in New Orleans, La.

If you can't catch tomorrow's airing, it will air again Nov. 16 at 10 a.m.; Nov. 18 at 5 p.m., Nov. 19 at 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Nov. 20 at 11 p.m.; Nov.22 at 6 p.m.; and Nov. 23 at 1 a.m.