For many people, especially liberal creatives and artists, Thanksgiving is a tricky time of year. The holidays can conjure up all sorts of uncomfortable situations, from fractious family discussions to kitchen mishaps. And who has the time or know-how to whip up a Martha Stewart-approved multi-course meal for their family and friends, anyway?
This year, THUMP rounded up five busy DJs and producers and asked them to share their last-minute Thanksgiving hacks. Ithaca-based rapper and producer SAMMUS and New York-based DJ GENG offered recipes are for those who want to cook up a culinary protest during the holiday, while Mikey Lion of Desert Hearts and Dirtybird founders DJ Worthy and Christian Martin put needed twists on old family staples. Check out the recipes below.
SAMMUS - Spinach and Ham Stew with Rice
My family has never really celebrated Thanksgiving in the traditional sense—neither of my parents are from the US (also now that I'm older, I think it's important to acknowledge Thanksgiving as a day of mourning for indigenous people in this country). So instead of enjoying turkey, our main dish is a spinach and ham stew served with rice. I think my dad made it one year, just experimenting, and since then it's become a tradition.
- 3 lbs honey-glazed ham
- 1 big white onion
- 1 big tomato
- Olive oil (4 tsps)
- ~12 medium mushrooms
- 4 bunches of uncooked spinach leaves
- 4 large carrots
- 3 stalks of scallion/green onion
- 1 cup water
- White rice (however much you want)
- Cut ham into bite-sized pieces
- Medium dice tomato
- Small dice the white onions
- Peel and medium dice the carrots
- Roughly chop the mushrooms
- Medium dice the scallions
- Put 4 tsp of olive oil into a saucepan and cook on a medium heat for two minutes
- Add the ham pieces into the saucepan and cover for five minutes
- Put the onions in the saucepan, alternating between covering and stirring for 5 minutes
- Put tomato in saucepan alternating between covering and stirring for 5 minutes
- Add the carrots, mushrooms, and a cup of water to the saucepan. Lower the heat and cook for approximately 20 minutes
- Wash the spinach leaves and put into the saucepan, cover and stir on low/medium heat for about 20 minutes
- Place scallion pieces in saucepan, salt to taste (ham is already salty); stir for 10 minutes
- Cook rice!
GENG - Pumpkin Smoothie
This pumpkin smoothie was made as a stand against the whole "holiday tradition" of October to December. It is anti-colonialism in liquid form. FUCK THANKSGIVING! Okay, I'm actually kidding, but yeah, fuck Thanksgiving and fuck (their) Black Friday.
In reality, other than my pops, my fam in NYC is Chinese, so we use most holidays as a social tool by which to apply any and all obligatory weight on getting everyone together—and fed—under a roof. Typically, the table looks features roasted duck, bok choy, sliced lap cheong (sausages), fried rice, maybe a fish, vegetarian dishes like mock duck and rice rolls from the Buddhist temple, and then a turkey by my pops, and I'll bring a side or dessert.
This smoothie recipe is something that could add a healthy element into the mix—more so for days before or after the feasting. It's quick and easy. It doesn't yield a walloping family-size serving of tasty pumpkin drink, but pass the recipe around to your loved ones and make this on a more daily frequency versus "around the holidays." You'll be a happier person.
- 1 cup almond or coconut milk, unsweetened
- ½ cup organic pumpkin puree
- 1 large banana, ripe and frozen (or you can use 2 small bananas—just make sure they're ripe when you freeze them)
- 2 tsp maca powder
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ceylon cinnamon
- 18 pecan halves, raw
- Much of this recipe is dependent on these particular ingredients. While substitutions aren't as easy here, you can swap the pecans for 14 walnuts (in which case, do not use the chia seeds since the Omega-3 content from the walnuts will already be over 100% of your daily requirement).
- For more added healthiness, throw in 3 tbsp of shelled hemp hearts. Maybe try a tsp of raw cacao powder.
- Make sure that the banana you're using is nice and ripe. That is where you will be getting the sweetness from. I try not to use any added honey or agave, so this is definitely a key element.
- Simply place contents in blender (almond/coconut milk first) and gradually go up from low to high setting to liquefy. Once on high, leave for at least 30-45 seconds. Stop. Pour. Enjoy.
- Makes 1 full serving for yourself, or you can split about 8 oz. servings for you and a loved one.
- Best to not eat anything else around it—give it at least 30 mins (before and after) to digest. Your body will thank you.
Mikey Lion of Desert Hearts - Thanksgiving Ramos Fizz Cocktail
This is our family's secret Ramos Fizz recipe that's been passed down from generation to generation. Currently my cousin and I are the Ramos Fizz batch makers of the family and every year we aim to get my Grandpa's nod of approval. If we get the nod, it's going to be a great Thanksgiving. Here's what you're going to need to get you and your family feeling bomb as fuck on Turkey Day.
- A Blender
- 8oz gin
- 8 spoonfuls of sugar
- 1 egg white
- 3 spoons of orange concentrate
- 2 spoons of lemonade concentrate
- Half & Half (probably 6-8 oz)
- 3 dashes of Peychaud's bitters
- Pour the Gin and sugar into the blender and stir it up. The longer you can wait for the sugar to dissolve the better.
- Crack an egg but only put the egg white in there.
- Add the frozen orange and lemonade concentrates.
- Fill the blender with ice to about an inch from the top.
- Fill the rest of the blender with the Half & Half
- For the first batch add 5 drops of Peychaud's bitters, for every batch after use 3 drops.
- Blend until it's nice and frothy.
- Now pour your relatives the best cocktail of their lives and pretend that you've finally got your shit together.
Worthy - Orange Duck Wraps
My Father makes this appetizer every year at Christmas, but when I moved out I decided to make it my Thanksgiving tradition since I usually would go home and have my Dad's at Christmas. This has been a hit at every Thanksgiving I have gone too or thrown, including many Dirtybird Thanksgivings. Claude VonStroke's mom still talks to me about the duck to this day.
Ingredients (Serves 12 people)
- 1 duck (5 lb bird)
- 1 orange, cubed, with skin still on.
- 1 can frozen orange juice concentrate
- 1 white onion, cubed.
- 1 bundle of green onions, diced
- Salt and pepper
- Hoisin sauce
- Flour tortillas
- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F
- Wash and prep the bird, place it on the cutting board.
- Mix together the white onion and the orange, then stuff the bird with the mixture.
- Place duck on a roasting rack, breast facing up
- Poke holes all over the duck's skin with a fork, rub that dirtybird down with salt and pepper, then slather the orange juice concentrate on and rub it down again.
- Bake the duck for 2-3 hours, basting the bird every 20 minutes to keep it moist and to infuse it with that orange-y goodness.
- Once fully cooked (internal temp is 165 F), cool the meat and carve it into wrap-ready pieces.
- Cut off the skin of the duck, and broil it to make it extra crisp.
- Warm the tortillas, prepare them with a dollop of hoisin sauce and chopped green onions, then add a small pile of duck meat and some crispy skin.
- Roll it all up and bam you'll be in heaven!
Christian Martin - Apple Betty From Heaven
My mom still makes this on occasion, but I can't be waiting around for that! Granny Smith apples bring a nice tart bite to the overwhelming sweetness of the topping. Also I switched out white sugar for brown because F white sugar!! Double the recipe to prevent any fistfights from breaking out between your cousins.
- 4 cups peeled and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- Preheat oven (or wood pellet grill if you're a boss) to 375 degrees F
- Pile apples into a lightly greased pie plate, no crust necessary.
- Pour the orange juice over the apples
- Mix all dry ingredients together into large bowl. Cut in small slices of butter and stir together with a fork until the mixture resembles large crumbs.
- Pack the topping over the apples—don't worry about it being a large mound, it will all melt into the nooks and crannies.
- Bake for 45 minutes until top is golden brown and sides are bubbling.
- Serve with ice cream and/or a huge cup of coffee with Bailey's.