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Insights, tips, and restaurant reports from CHOW editors and Chowhound.

Limas, Dandelions, and Other Neglected Veg

What vegetables have been unjustly absent from restaurant menus and home kitchens? Caroline1 loves dandelion. "Dandelion is an incredibly nutritious vegetable/salad green that also makes a nice homemade wine and/or coffee substitute," she says. "If you don't believe me, look it up! A REALLY underappreciated vegetable! When's the last time you saw a recipe for it! Our loss, and no, I'm NOT kidding!"

"I'd nominate daikon, a.k.a. Chinese radish, which is underutilized in Western cooking," says tastesgoodwhatisit. "I'm used to seeing it raw, like you would use regular radish, but it's amazingly good in cooked dishes, and stews very well with pork. Finely grated with a bit of soy sauce it's an excellent accompaniment to grilled fish or white rice."

And onceadaylily thinks fat, buttery-tasting lima beans are unjustly forgotten. "We love them," says onceadaylily. "I usually have a bag of frozen and dried on hand. I've never seen them fresh. The boyfriend likes them cooked in milk, but we also use them in a warm pasta salad with sautéed tomatoes and orzo, and they are lovely mashed, with a bit of butter, or a drizzle of sage 'pesto' (thyme works too)."

Discuss: The forgotten Veg

Rethinking Thanksgiving

Chowhounds who don't have a natural affinity for turkey are trying new things for Thanksgiving—or using turkey in unexpected ways. "One year when the kids were little, I made a turkey and stuffing ... and found out that I love turkey broth made from the roasted carcass, the pan drippings, and all the overdone bits of wings and legs that stuck out," says jmcarthur8. "I make chicken broth regularly, and finally noticed that turkey broth has such a rich flavor in comparison. So I make a turkey every year mostly for the soup afterward."

"I cooked a batch of quail for Thanksgiving a few years ago and put everyone into a state of shock," says Leper. "However, they were converts by the end of the dinner. A fun, tasty alternative to a giant bird filled with chemicals."

jmcarthur8's mother had a novel solution to keeping a turkey basted. "My mother used to cover the top of the whole turkey with a carefully draped remnant of my father's worn-out and extremely washed boxers, soaked in butter," says jmcarthur8. "She basted it every half hour with butter, then with drippings once there were enough to squirt over the bird. Her bacon, mushroom, and turkey liver stuffing was the bomb! I still do mine the same way, EXCEPT that I use a couple layers of cheesecloth instead of anyone's boxers!"

"I'm sticking with spaghetti alla carbonara, in solidarity with Calvin Trillin," says greygarious.

Discuss: Rethinking bird day

Tawakal Halal, Brand-New and Worth a Shot

Tawakal Halal Cuisine is in its infancy, having just opened in October, but StevieC says the East African spot is worth some CHOW-ish attention.

There are sambusas (much like Indian samosas), stuffed with meat, fish, or vegetables, with a coconut-curry flavor. "The meat sambusas were great, the fish less so due to overseasoning," says StevieC. At $1.50 a pop they are an insane bargain.

StevieC didn't try the other appetizers, kebabs and bajiya—black-eyed pea fritters served with basbaas, zippy chile-lemon sauce—focusing instead on the chicken and beef biryani ("nice flavor profile, though the meat of both was overcooked"). He also ordered chapati, which was disappointing—"super-thin, greasy, and too chewy." Somali chapati, by the way, is more like Indian paratha, flaky and layered, than Indian chapati, which is a flatbread. But the muufo baraawe, a classic Somali bread made from corn flour, was unique and wonderful: "I haven't had anything quite like it," says StevieC. The breads are another bargain at $1.50 to $2 apiece, and each of the biryanis was around $10.

judej, another early adopter, tried the chapati fish wrap, which turned out to be "a puffy wheat bread seasoned with cumin, two pieces of fried fish (probably tilapia) and corn ... carrots, and raisins with curry spices and served with coconut hot sauce for $3.99."

Tawakal Halal Cuisine [East Boston]
1004 Bennington Street, Boston
617-863-6667

Discuss: September Openings and Closings
Addition to East Boston: Tawakal Halal Cuisine

Overheard on the General Topics Board

"I wouldn't compare it to French toast unless you make rubbery French toast. It's very clean, smooth, and a bit squeaky. It does not melt but softens when heated. Similar to queso para frier. I am actually going to try to pair frying cheese with honey and preserves as the cost is much much cheaper!" – jennybee, on "bread cheese"

"Wrap the log in wax paper and then in heavy paper or cardstock. Put in the fridge to firm up. When you cut the cookies use dental floss so you don't squish the dough. Works like a charm!" – iluvcookies, on keeping cookie dough logs round

"My brother-in-law is a professional chef, so he often gets a delicious mixture of fancy food gifts from his distributors, etc. ... This time, we got three links of dry sausage made by Creminelli. OMG, these are the best-tasting dry sausages we've ever had. I've had some good sausages in France (at a much lower price), but these are close to the ones that we had in France." – Monica, on Creminelli salame

What Will You Carve Next Week?

Time is running out for those who want to pick up a turkey that's a little fancier than your average supermarket Butterball, but there are still options available if you act fast fast fast.

Stillman's Farm is sold out of heritage turkeys, but traditional (and wonderful) turkeys are still available for $65 to $120. Customers can drive out to the farm through Wednesday for pickup, or arrange to get the birds at one of several local farmers' markets on Sunday or Tuesday.

teezeetoo says Whole Foods carries "humongously expensive but very good heirloom birds" and Mayflower has "reasonable, excellent, antibiotic/hormone-free birds but neither organic nor local." Ordering ahead at Mayflower is encouraged, but itaunas has bought last-minute, and has also found capons, "which aren't the traditional turkey but are a nice size for a smaller group of people."

And for rock-bottom prices, Spike notes that Trader Joe's has hormone/antibiotic-free turkeys for a mere $2.30 a pound.

Stillman's Farm [MetroWest]
1205 Barre Road, New Braintree
508-867-7193

Mayflower [Cambridge]
621 Cambridge Street, Cambridge
617-547-9191

Discuss: Almost Turkey Time

Government Cheese Pushers Plot to Make You Fat

For numerous decades, if you said dairy, you may as well have said "government" in the next breath—from direct subsidies to dairy farmers to marketing assistance to the distribution of cheese to the poor in the '80s and '90s, dairy and government have walked hand in hand. Sometimes for the better (witness the surging artisan cheese movement in Wisconsin, spurred in part by assistance and coordination from the University of Wisconsin) and sometimes for the worse (pictured: a cheese sculptor).

READ MORE

Incredible Bargain at Technique

Like many cooking schools, Cambridge's Cordon Bleu has its own restaurant, where the students get to try out their new skills, and patrons forgive some sloppiness for the privilege of getting a great meal at a good price. But Technique's prices, which formerly hovered around the $15 to $18 mark for mains and $8 to $10 for appetizers, weren't all that great.

Now, however, the menu has undergone a renovation, and the prix fixe menus might just be the best deal in town. There are five courses available, and you can choose three for $12 and five for a gobsmacking $15, an even more jaw-dropping $10 at lunch. Jpan99 and friends chose the three-course option. The meal started with brioche rolls and butter, and then salad: "The salads were fine, just enough. The shrimp app had two nice-sized shrimp with sauce on a toast circle. The filet mignon was probably a 4- or 5-ounce piece served on mashed potatoes with vegetables. The cod was in a broth with some fava beans and pearl potatoes. Probably a 5-ounce piece of fish."

For dessert, the apple pie was "like a small tart served warm with ice cream." All in all, quite worth it, insists Jpan99: "It's not the best restaurant you'll eat in, but the food was perfectly fine and the idea is to support the students in the kitchen and the dining room." And get a good bargain while you're at it.

Technique [Cambridge]
215 First Street, Cambridge
617-218-8000

Discuss: Technique, Le Cordon Bleu, Cambridge

Overheard on the Boston Board

"Best I've had around these parts is Nappi's in Medford. Old school place on Salem Street—the meatballs are just great. One size, full of meatballs and their very good sauce. Get it with provolone if you like a sharp tang." – yumyum on where to find a great meatball sub

"One of the reasons hounds are drawn to divey places is the expectations game: They promise little and over-deliver, which creates not only a sense of value but of worthwhile experience." – lergnom on the subjectiveness of any dining experience

"Barmy and I have been getting Crescent Ridge milk delivered for about six months now and are extremely happy with the service and the product." – Allstonian on the pleasures of home milk delivery

Watch CHOW on NY1!

We're very excited to announce that New Yorkers will be able to turn on the television and absorb CHOW's local coverage starting this week on NY1. Our New York contributing editor, Alex Van Buren, is taking to the airwaves weekly, reporting on what's new, delicious, and noteworthy across the five boroughs. READ MORE

Turkey, Start to Finish

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Raw turkey becomes bacon-wrapped turkey. ... WATCH THE VIDEO