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Seasonal food can bring comfort and joy

turkey day meal

While COVID-19 may alter our holiday gatherings this year, there is still joy to be found in enjoying favorite holiday foods, like turkey and all the trimmings. Chef David Warner prepares meals for patients and families at JourneyCare’s Marshak Family CareCenter in Glenview, and says he is committed to maintaining a clean, safe and sanitized kitchen while preparing delicious comfort foods every day. To bring some extra cheer this holiday season,

Chef David shares his recipe for deep-fried turkey and a side dish, which features great fall flavors and seasonal squash. These dishes are sure to bring a little bit of “normal” back to your winter celebrations.

Chef David also offers a critical reminder before deciding whether to gather with loved ones.

“Though this year may be a little different, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer a list of considerations for holiday celebrations to help protect you and your family from COVID-19,” he says.

Caramelized onion and winter squash tart recipe



• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 1 tsp. kosher salt
• 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
• 10 Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces


• 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 4 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
• Kosher salt
• 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
• 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
• Pinch of cayenne pepper
• 4 oz. coarsely grated sharp cheddar or Gruyère
• ½ small butternut squash (a lengthwise half, about 1¼ lb.), seeds removed
• 1 acorn squash (about 1 lb.), halved lengthwise, seeds removed
• 1 small sweet potato
• 1 small red onion
• 2 sprigs thyme
• 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
• Flaky sea salt

Special Equipment

• An 11″- or 12″- diameter fluted tart pan with removable bottom or a 9″-diameter springform pan

What to do:


1. Whisk whole wheat flour, salt, and 1 cup all-purpose flour in a large bowl to combine. Add butter and work into dry ingredients with your fingers, smashing between your palms to flatten, until largest pieces are the size of a nickel. Drizzle in 6 Tbsp. ice water and rake in with your fingers. Gently squeeze handfuls of mixture together until a shaggy dough forms. Turn out onto a work surface and knead until only a few dry spots remain. Pat into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill until very firm, at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.
2. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about ⅛” thick. Transfer to tart pan. Lift up edges and allow dough to slump down into pan. Gently press into corners and trim excess. (If using springform pan, trim dough to 1½” up sides of pan). Freeze until firm, 15–20 minutes, or cover and chill up to 12 hours.

Filling and assembly

3. Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 350°. Swirl 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet to coat bottom and add yellow onions; season with kosher salt. Set skillet over medium heat and cook onions, stirring occasionally and making sure to scrape bottom of pan, until very soft and deep golden brown, 15–20 minutes (DO NOT CHAR ONIONS). Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized and deeply browned, 25–30 minutes (if any pieces get super dark and stick to the pan, a few drops of water should dislodge them). Let cool.
4. Brush mustard over chilled dough, then sprinkle with cayenne. Stir cheese into caramelized onion mixture and spread across crust in an even layer.
5. Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, thinly slice both squashes crosswise. Cut sweet potato and red onion in half lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise with mandoline. Arrange vegetables in concentric circles, with rounded edges facing up, starting from the outside edge, leaning slices against the crust, and working your way inward. Drizzle remaining 2 Tbsp. oil over vegetables and season with kosher salt.
6. Bake tart until edges of vegetables are browned (a few spots may even get deeply browned) and crust is golden brown, 75-90 minutes.
7. Melt thyme and butter in a small saucepan and cook just until butter is bubbling. Brush over tart with a pastry brush and sprinkle with sea salt.

Deep fried turkey recipe

turkey day mealIngredients:
• 6 quarts hot water
• 1 pound kosher salt
• 1 pound dark brown sugar
• 5 pounds ice
• 1 (13 to 14-pound) turkey, with giblets removed
• Approximately 4 to 4 1/2 gallons peanut oil* (See Chef’s Tip)

What to do:
1. Place the hot water, kosher salt and brown sugar into a 5-gallon upright drink cooler and stir until the salt and sugar dissolve completely. Add the ice and stir until the mixture is cool. Gently lower the turkey into the container. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure that it is fully immersed in the brine. Cover and set in a cool dry place for 8 to 16 hours.
2. Remove the turkey from the brine, rinse and pat dry. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking.
3. Place the oil into a 28 to 30-quart pot and set over high heat on an outside propane burner with a sturdy structure. Bring the temperature of the oil to 250°. Once the temperature has reached 250, slowly lower the bird into the oil and bring the temperature to 350°. Once it has reached 350°, lower the heat in order to maintain 350°. After 35 minutes, check the temperature of the turkey using a probe thermometer. Once the breast reaches 150°, gently remove from the oil and allow to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes prior to carving. The bird will reach an internal temperature of 160° due to carry over cooking. Carve as desired.

Chef’s Tip

*In order to determine the correct amount of oil, place the turkey into the pot that you will be frying it in, add water just until it barely covers the top of the turkey and is at least 4 to 5 inches below the top of the pot. This will be the amount of oil you use for frying the turkey.