Thanksgiving draws near. Five days remain before the annual family and friend gatherings in homes and restaurants across the country.

This weekend people around Grand Forks are talking turkey and watching hockey, football and basketball. They are checking the weather reports and the roads that bring people together.

The Eatbeat this week has been talking turkey with Kim Holmes, a retired chef who formerly owned and operated Sanders Restaurant in Grand Forks.

There’s no way of counting how many turkeys he has roasted. Hundreds. He talks of first soaking them in brine to tenderize them.

He prefers to prepare his own cranberries by boiling them with sugar and water and perhaps adding golden raisins.

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“Some people like to use canned cranberry – by putting it out on a plate with parsley around it,” he said.

Through the years, Holmes has had his favorite stuffing. It’s made with celery, onion and shredded carrots. He says it’s simple to assemble a day ahead and put in a baking dish – or stuff the bird with it.

During the years Holmes operated his Sanders 1907 restaurant, he had the help of his wife, Beth. Her recipes complemented his work as a chef.

Turkey and pickled grape salad

Once the main show is over, there often is leftover turkey. This recipe from a "Cooking with Sanders" book seems like a good answer.

1 lb turkey breast, cubed small

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 apple, peeled and cubed

1 lemon, juiced

1 rib of celery, sliced

½ cup pecans

12 gourmet grapes, or more

Lettuce greens

Heat oil in a skillet and add cubed turkey and garlic. Saute until turkey has cooked through. Set aside. Cube the apple and squeeze lemon juice over cubes to prevent browning. Slice celery and clean and tear the lettuce greens. You can toss all ingredients into a large glass bowl and invite guests to help themselves. Or for individual salad plates, start with lettuce then add cubed turkey, apples, celery, grapes and pecans. Dazzle curry dressing over salad or serve in separate bowl.

Bread crumbs

Cooking tips from Beth Holmes in a book about Sanders sauces published in 1993 include:

-- For mixing bowls, always use stainless steel or glass. Plastic holds oils and food odors that will hinder emulsifying eggs, whipped cream or other foods.

-- For bread crumbs, the better the bread, the better the bread crumb. So try to grind your own. Use leftover hard rolls, French or Italian bread.

Reach Marilyn Hagerty at mhagerty@gra.midco.net or by telephone at (701) 772-1055.