Welcome to my Blog... and thanks for reading...

First... welcome! And thanks for visiting my website!

I get lots of questions when people discover that I am a cookbook author, but the most common by far is, "How did you get into the business?" I think most people wonder solely because it sounds like a fun job. And, it can be. But, with two books under my belt (Houston Classic Desserts, Pelican 2010 and Houston Classic Mexican, Pelican 2011) I have to tell you - the 'how' is not so important as the 'why'. I got into the cookbook business because I have a sincere love for food, a great support system of friends, family and fellow 'foodies', a husband that's really good with a camera and... a bit of luck.

I hope this blog will serve as inspiration to those of you with a passion for beautiful and tasty food, cooking, dining out, kitchen gadgetry, kitchen goofs and the musings of a girl that's discovering new things about herself and her passions... one delicious recipe at a time.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tuesday, October 25 • 5:00 - 8:00pm
Houston Classic Seafood Launch Party
2600 Travis @ McGowen• Houston, TX 77006-3540

Saturday, October 29 • 1:00 - 3:00pm
Book Signing
Costco - Houston
3836 Richmond Avenue (Galleria Area) • Houston, TX 77027

Saturday, November 12 • 10:00 - 12:00pm
Book Signing
Sam's Club
5310 S. Rice • Houston, TX 77081

Saturday, November 26 • 2:00pm
Book Signing
Barnes & Noble
Corpus Christi
5129 Blanche Moore Drive • Corpus Christi, TX 78411

Saturday, December 3 • 1:00 - 3:00pm
Book Signing
Barnes & Noble
Town & Country
12850 Memorial Drive, Ste. 1600 • Houston, TX 77024

Sunday, December 11 • 2:00 - 4:00pm
Book Signing
Barnes & Noble
The Woodlands
1201 Lake Woodlands Drive • The Woodlands, TX 77380

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Great Day Houston Appearance with Deborah Duncan

Watch Erin prepare 1308 Cantina's Mango Jicama Salad on 'Great Day Houston' with Deborah Duncan (She follows HHCC President, Dr. Laura G. Murillo).

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cochinita Pibil... Makes Me Want To Squeal!!! BONUS BLOG RECIPE

In the movie Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Johnny Depp's character is an obsessed fan of Cochinita Pibil, a dish of suckling pig, marinated in fruit juices and roasted underground in a cocoon of banana leaves. Director Robert Rodriguez even includes a recipe for the dish in the bonus features on the DVD.

My own obsession for this Yucatan-born sensation began at The Original Ninfa's, where I tasted it for the first time. It immediately became one of those dishes that I HAD to include in the Houston Classic Mexican Recipes cookbook. Thankfully, Chef Alex Padilla was willing to share his recipe.

(And don't worry about the suckling pig - pork shoulder works great. Billy and I have been cooking our way through the freezer so the last time I made this using pork loin from Costco. It turned out beautifully and was much more lean than the shoulder. Be sure to decrease the cooking time to about 2-2 1/2 hours.)

If the celebration of Cinco de Mayo this week inspires you, I hope you'll enjoy the opportunity to prepare this amazing dish and get a glimpse into my Houston Classic Mexican Recipes cookbook - filled with everything from appetizers to desserts to cocktails.

Comer, beber y estar bien!
Eat, drink and be well!

5 pounds pork shoulder or butt (or loin-be sure to decrease cooking time)
2 tablespoons salt
11/2 tablespoons black pepper, ground
1 tablespoon cumin, ground
1/2 pound roma tomatoes, whole
3 banana leaves
1/4 cup garlic cloves
1/2 cup achiote paste
11/2 grapefruits, juiced
2 oranges, juiced
3 limes, juiced
3 lemons, juiced
11/2 cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons oregano, dried
11/2 bay leaves
1 habanero pepper, sliced
1/2 pound roma tomatoes, sliced
2 pounds yellow onions, sliced

Slice the pork shoulder into half pound slices. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper and cumin. Grill
the whole tomatoes for just a few minutes to start the caramelization process. Grill the pork lightly for 2 minutes per side to caramelize the meat. Grill the banana leaves for just a few seconds and then place them in the bottom of a roasting pan lined with enough foil to later enclose the pork in the banana leaves. Place the meat on top of the banana leaves. In a small saute pan, lightly fry the garlic cloves in a small amount of olive oil, just until they start to brown. Remove the garlic cloves from the pan immediately or they will continue to cook.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Blend the garlic, achiote paste, citrus juices, vinegar, oregano, bay leaves, and habanero. Cover the meat with the blended mixture. Slice the grilled tomat
oes. Put the fresh sliced tomatoes, the grilled tomatoes and the onions on top of the pork. Wrap in banana leaves, then double wrap in foil. Make sure it's airtight. Bake for 3 1/2 hours. Serve with pickled onions, crema fresca in soft corn or flour tortillas. Garnish with cilantro leaves.


1/4 cup grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lime juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 each habanero pepper, sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch black pepper
2 each red onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil

Slice the red onions very thinly. Bring the citrus juices, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper
and sugar to a boil.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Toss onions and olive oil together and cover with the cooled pickling liquid.

Cover and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ice Ice, Baby...

I have always contended that good lighting and good ice can make a difference in an evening. I think it's common knowledge that everyone looks better in soft, golden, flickering candlelight, but what is it about certain types of ice that can make or break a cocktail or a glass of lemonade? A little investigation into the history and production of this tinkling 'wonder' revealed some surprising answers.

It turns out, we humans have been fans of the ice cube for quite awhile. By 400BC, those crafty Persians had developed the Yachchal, a conical structure in which they stored blocks of ice harvested from nearby mountains in Winter. The 
blocks were stored in a subterranean basin, insulated with straw and surrounded by walls of mud, ash and goat hair (uh... gross). Condensation would collect at the top of the structure and spiral down the cone-shaped ceiling, creating a passive cooling system that kept the ice frozen throughout the arrid, desert Summer.

Clever as the Persian system was, American Physician John Gorrie is credited with the actual invention of the ice cube - but, he wasn't trying to cool drinks when he devised the first commercial machine to make ice in 1844. He used the ice to cool the ambient room temperature in hospitals because he believed that warm, humid air encouraged the transmission of disease. But the real hero in the history of ice is a gentleman named Guy L. Tinkham. In 1933, the prolific inventor fabricated and patented the very first flexible, stainless steel, ice cube tray - affording the world the convenience of making ice at home. Surely the invention of 'happy hour' quickly followed suit.

There are many theories on what shape of ice cube is best suited for cooling drinks.

Most competitive Mixologists (surprisingly, it's the Japanese that take the most top honors at such contests) favor seamless, spherical ice cubes for cocktails served on the rocks, because the surface area to volume ratio is highest on a perfectly round object. That translates to less water melting into your drink. Unfortunately, making a seamless, spherical ice cube is harder than it sounds and molds designed to make them can cost well over $1,000. The truth is, if you are trying to chill a drink with the least amount of melting, your best bet is to use the largest SINGLE piece of ice that your vessel will hold. Crushed and pellet ice, though rightly preferred by some for making frozen drinks (and chewing), will leave less room for the beverage (which is why it is used so predominantly in the fast food industry) and create the most 'melt'.


• If you want crystal-clear cubes, without the traditional cloudy center, fill your trays with super-hot, filtered or distilled water. The ice will form more slowly and evenly allowing the tiny air bubbles to be released.

• When filming Summer scenes in Winter, actors suck on ice cubes just before the camera rolls - it cools their mouths so their breath doesn't condense in the cold air and appear 'foggy'.

• Author Ernest Hemingway favored sterilized, frozen, steel ball-bearings, instead of ice, to chill his liquor.

• Salted ice melts more slowly because it lowers the freezing point of the water. Many restaurants and caterers add rock salt to iced displays to diminish melting.

• In the play "The Tea Leaf" by Edgar Jepson & Robert Eustace (1925) the murderer uses an icicle as a murder weapon. It melts, leaving no evidentiary weapon or finger prints.

• 'Ice cream headache' or 'brain freeze' is the direct result of the rapid cooling and rewarming of the capillaries in the sinuses. To relieve pain, some doctors suggest pressing the tongue against the roof of the mouth to warm the area.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Love Your Leftovers

My husband Billy's favorite dinner menu from the Houston Classic Mexican Recipes cookbook is:
• Real Guacamole from Yelapa (pg. 11)
• Mango Jicama Salad from 1308 Cantina (pg.23)
• Chipotle Costillas - BBQ Pork Ribs from Lupe Tortilla (pg. 75)
• Mexican Rice from Teotihuacan (pg. 92)
• Borracho Beans from El Tiempo (pg.63)
Admittedly, it is a phenomenal menu and one that you could ONLY get at home if you were determined to eat it all together. (I suppose you could race from restaurant to restaurant for each course, but that would be one loooooong evening and you'd STILL have to make dessert.) When I've prepared this dinner in the past, I've almost always had leftover rice, beans and the kicky barbecue sauce that coats the amazing ribs. Should you find yourself in the same enviable predicament, try this recipe for just about the most 'blow-your-skirt-up good' barbecue baked beans... ever.

Houston Classic Mexican Leftover Barbecue Baked Beans

For each 4C measurement of El Tiempo's Borracho Beans, add 1C of the Chipotle BBQ Sauce from the Chipotle Costillas recipe and mix well. Pour into an appropriately sized casserole or baking dish. Sprinkle with 1T agave nectar and top with 3-5 strips of nitrite-free bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces. Bake at 350º for 30-45 minutes - until beans are bubbling and bacon has crisped. Serve alone, or over single servings of re-warmed Teotihuacan Mexican Rice.

This is a Mexican food trifecta that will make you the hero of your next cookout. There is almost no possibility, at least not in my house, that you will have any ribs leftover - but If you do - adding the shredded leftover pork rib meat to these beans makes them sinful.

Monday, March 21, 2011

You Oughta Be In Pictures

NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: An oldie but a goodie... we are re-running this post from September of 2010 wherein Erin and the Houston Classics team 'talk shop' about food photography, lighting and styling. It's kind of cool to see the behind-the-scenes shot now that the Houston Classic Mexican book is in print... we think the shot that appears inside the front cover of HCM is the shot that Billy was taking at this exact moment!

Food photos are tough. There are so many variables going on - location, scheduling, styling the food, dressing the set, lighting - things can get a little hectic and a lot can go awry. Even tougher are the shots that I have to be in for the interior of the book. I don't love being in staged photos because I always feel so awkward and dorky and it becomes just an extra bit of pressure to look my best with everything else that's going on. But one of the best parts of producing cookbooks is the great fun we have behind the scenes.

With the popularity of websites like tastespotting.com and foodgawker.com, (my Editor Jeffrey refers to these sites as food zoos or food porn... as they are sites that feature amazing pictures of mouthwatering food, but no source or recipe for them) I thought it might be helpful to the home cook to offer some advice, from the professionals that help ME, on how to take great shots of food in your own kitchen.
(Photo Above, Left)

This morning, we were lucky enough to be on location at the home of Jay and Barbara Tomek, who were gracious enough to let us invade their beautiful Houston residence and shoot the cover for my forthcoming cookbook, Houston Classic Mexican (Pelican, Spring 2011).

My husband William "Billy" Jones Miller is an outstanding photographer and videographer and he produces all of the photos that appear in my books. My friend and Editor Jeffrey Linthicum is also a spot-on food stylist and set decorator. Here are some pearls of wisdom from these pros on how to get that perfect shot...

Jeffrey: "Be mindful of three things - texture, contrast and color. A creamy smooth soup will look a lot better in a rough-hewn bowl with a sprinkling of something textural like a few pine nuts, some little shards of fresh dill or a punch of rough-chopped cilantro. Food will 'pop' more if you contrast the dish on which it is presented. Put darker foods on lighter plates and lighter foods on dark ones. Lastly, remember that color wheel you made in 3rd grade art class? (shown left) Use complimentary shades for the best effect. Find the color of your food on this wheel... and offset it with a background or dish of the color directly opposite it. For instance, a bright yellow-green leafy salad will really stand out on a violet-red plate."

Billy: "Natural light is your friend. Take your dish outside or bend the light to where you need it by using a reflector. Professional ones are best of course, but in a pinch you can cover a pizza pan with aluminum foil. And get in close! The best food shots are tight enough that you can actually see the pores of the food and the individual grains of salt and pepper. Remember the food is the star... let it shine."

Lots of folks have been asking about the apron I am wearing in this behind-the-scenes shot. Yoli, 'The Apron Senorita', is such a sweet lady... and she sent me a box FULL of the cutest kitchen towels and aprons EVER. I love them. Get yours by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Houston Classic Mexican Recipes serves a very vital purpose: chronicling and cataloging Houston tastes and recipes like a time capsule." -Houston Press

"These pictures are so hot the recipes cook themselves.  Not only the best-looking food ever, but this cookbook can turn a non cook into the best chef on the block."
-Pepe Serna • acclaimed veteran television and film actor

"Miller has stuck her fork firmly in the recipes behind the beloved classic restaurants of Houston.  From desserts to traditional Mexican, she celebrates the recipes that make Houston a melting pot of cuisine."
-Taylor Byrne Dodge-Ray • Assoc. Publisher, My Table Magazine

"WARNING: DON'T READ THIS WHEN YOU'RE HUNGRY.  Take your appetite on an adventure with an amazing collection of must-have recipes from the extraordinarily talented Erin Miller.  The delicious diva has stirred up yet another winning book."
 -Kit Wohl • author, New Orleans Classic Seafood

Blogs & Independent Reviewers

Reader Reviews Houston Classic Mexican Recipes by Irene Watson

Amazon.com Reviewer

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Turkey Bourgonion Meatballs

Traditionally made with ground beef, these turkey meatballs are a great low-fat alternative. This is an adaptation of a recipe I found in Neiman Marcus' Pure & Simple cookbook.
1 pound ground turkey - i used 97% extra lean
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs - i used panko
1/2 cup milk- i used almond milk
1/3 cup grated onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp seasoned salt - i used montreal steak seasoning
to taste salt & pepper
2 tbs oil
2 tbs flour - i used whole wheat
1 tbs chicken bouillon paste
2 cups boiling water
1 cup dry red wine

In a medium bowl, combine the meat, bread crumbs, milk, onion, garlic, seasoned salt and pepper to taste. Shape into medium-sized meatballs.
Heat oil in a skillet and brown the meatballs. Remove from skillet.
Add the flour to the skillet and blend with the oil. Dissolve bouillon paste in boiling water. Stirring constantly, gradually add to the flour mixture.
Next, add the wine and more salt and pepper, to taste. Continue to stir and cook until smooth. Add the meatballs, cover and continue to simmer for 30 minutes.

I caramelized some red onions and serrano chiles, then added a tablespoon of bacon marmalade (www.baconmarmalade.com) to the mix and it was very tasty!

The meatballs can be served over noodles or on their own. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanks, Katharine, for including me in this article!

Welcome to blogs.houstonpress.com

What Are Houston Chefs Cooking This Thanksgiving?

Categories: Chef Chat

Thanksgiving: A day to gather with your loved ones and give thanks? Or a day to display your culinary prowess to friends and family? Increasingly, the emphasis has been on the latter in the past few years, as people try to dress up the traditional Thanksgiving spread and impress their guests.

But if you cook for a living, Thanksgiving is that one day a year when maybe -- just maybe -- you get the day off and are allowed to enjoy the luxury of having others cook for you for a change. We polled Houston chefs and food personalities to see what their plans were for this year's Thanksgiving and found a common thread between all of them: Thanksgiving is all about the traditions, dressed up or not.

Robert Del Grande, executive chef and owner of RDG + Bar Annie: Traditions -- fall foods like squash and corn -- which can be hard to break away from. I tried to do turkey with mole one year, and I was almost un-invited from my own house. Normally the turkey is best done simply, although I will sometimes make French-type turkey sauce (don't call it gravy) and try to capture some things from the season. Everyone wants mashed potatoes, but sometimes I cook sweet potatoes in banana leaves or some crisp persimmon salad. I don't really see it as a "shock you with creativity" kind of meal. The strategy for me always is: How can I make it the best and work the least? Why would I want to work so hard on a day off? Then you truthfully find that if you do it simply and very well, it's better than making it complicated. Thanksgiving is more about getting together over simple things that remind us to be thankful than a some kind of "culinary daredevil meal." So stick with things like cranberry, brussels sprouts, and maybe a ham for back-up in case the turkey's dry.

Chip Hight, chef and owner of Blue Apron Catering: My family sort of hates anything non-traditional. Cranberry sauce does in fact come out of a can. I will be preparing my grandmother's deviled eggs as well as a pear tart tatin. Who could hate that? Mom always bakes pumpkin pies, which are great. Broccoli, rice and cheese casserole is by far the only Thanksgiving food that I long to eat.

Erin Smith, executive chef at Plonk: My grandmother's Italian, so the tradition in our family is to serve homemade meat ravioli in a light broth. I also like to incorporate nontraditional produce when I make traditional dishes, like celery root gratin, salsify and Hen-of-the-Woods mushroom risotto, and a sweet caramelized fennel sauce instead of cranberry sauce.

Carlos Rodriguez, executive chef at Vic & Anthony's: My family has always been fairly traditional and straightforward, with a couple of exceptions. You will always find fresh made tortillas, beans and Mexican rice at our table with any meal. So we kind of fuse tradition with our Mexican heritage. We usually have a salad of tomato, avocado and fresh heart of palm as well. And generally, I make gumbo out of the leftovers the next day to get us through the weekend.

Rebecca Masson, pastry chef: We always have deep fried turkey and 24-hour smoked brisket. My mom also makes my great grandma's yeast rolls. It's the best Thanksgiving meal ever. We usually have pie -- apple or pecan -- and this godawful pumpkin banana mousse torte that my stepdad, John, makes. He loves it. I hate it.

Jason Gould, executive chef at Cyclone Anaya's: The last few years, Gravitas has done Thanksgiving dinner, so now I'm free to cook. We have a unique setup, being as I'm not from America. My aunt, her husband of 40 years is Bolivian, her best friend is Chilean and her other best friend is Swedish. So we all get together and do a potluck, and over the years traditional dishes -- that have to be brought every year -- have come out of that. No one is allowed to duplicate; there's a lot of coordinating beforehand. Everyone does their own interpretation of what Americans eat for Thanksgiving. The Swedish woman does a squash casserole that's so good, people beg her for the recipe each year, and she won't give it out. We also do a roasted or fried turkey, and this year I'm doing tenderloins and green beans, the traditional trimmings.

Tracy Vaught, owner of Backstreet Cafe and Hugo's: I always cook Thanksgiving. Hugo [Ortega] watches sports on TV. I can't change it much; the family would miss the old stand-bys. Our menu:

Potted blue cheese with Port jelly
Dad's crab dip
Autumn salad with poached pears and toasted pecans
A 13 to 14-pound turkey
Cornbread dressing with sage and wild mushrooms
Sweet potatoes with marshmallows
Cranberry-orange chutney
Collard greens with bacon
Baked stuffed onions
Parker House rolls
Pumpkin cheesecake
Coconut cream pie

It was only recently we stopped serving asparagus mold with almonds (Hugo really didn't like that one), tomato aspic and pickled peaches. We always used to have a relish tray and no one ever ate any of it. That finally died too.

Ricky Craig, owner of Hubcap Grill: Well, I'm half Italian, so basically what we do is take my mom's heritage and do an Italian/American feast. We keep it simple 'cause I think when it comes to cooking, simple is best. For apps, I'll do my homemade pino cheese spread with an assortment of crackers. Also, deviled eggs and stuffed artichokes. For the meal, meat and cheese lasagna with homemade Italian sausage, Italian baked chicken and then throw in the basics: turkey, honey-baked ham. For sides, mac and cheese is a must! Italian baked green beans, corn on the cob, grilled asparagus. Crusty bread and salty butter! And dessert tradition: my Aunt Jennie's chocolate cake with a butter white icing and Blue Bell vanilla ice cream. Yup, that's correct -- you heard me -- Blue Bell. When it comes to cooking, I like to keep it simple and let the dish shine for itself, let it be fun.

Erin Hicks Miller, author of Houston's Classic Desserts: My husband and I are spending Thanksgiving at his family ranch in Encino, Texas, so I'm preparing a holiday meal with a bit of a Mexican twist. We'll be dining on chipotle sweet potatoes, a smoky Gouda and spinach soufflé, a green bean casserole (I make a lighter version using Greek yogurt, caramelized onions and panko bread crumbs) and a jalapeno-and-orange cranberry sauce. Once again, we're entrusting the bird to Char Broil's "The Big Easy" Oil-less Infrared Turkey Fryer (love this cooker...we have two!) and finishing it up with a recipe from Chef Stacey Crowe at Chez Nous that I was lucky enough to get my hands on while compiling recipes for my Houston Classic Desserts cookbook: Walnut tart with Jack Daniels ice cream. Yumba!

Justin Turner, chef and owner of Bernie's Burger Bus: I'm going totally Cajun. I'm rubbing the bird down and brining it. I make this really good oyster and andouille stuffing. I'll probably do some sweet potato casserole with tasso ham in it. I've got a freezer full of great Louisiana products and I'm using them! I love that kind of stuff. And then I turn my leftover turkey into gumbo. I actually get to cook something besides cheeseburgers, which is great.

Juan Carlos Gonzalez, executive chef at Bistro Alex: We're having Thanksgiving dinner at the restaurant, it's a three-course package deal. And then after that, I plan on being at my favorite bar, watching the Saints kick the Cowyboys' asses. Cooking, eating and then drinking!

David Luna, executive chef at Flora & Muse: Me and my girlfriend are preparing an organic turkey this year. And you know chefs, we eat what's put in front of us. We're doing a roasted cranberry sauce that we've done for the last three years; it comes out like jam. We're making her grandma's pecan pie and her pumpkin squares. She got the recipes from her mom in Tulsa, so we're making those in honor of her grandma. And then, of course, cornbread stuffing. And we just got back from Sonoma, so we have a slew of wines we're bringing. It's my only day off that week, so I'm not gonna go crazy.

Kenny Gruber, owner of Kenny & Ziggy's: I'm making a butternut squash kugel soufflé as a side dish.

L.J. Wiley: Here's the Thanksgiving Menu at Casa de Wiley:

I - Grilled Beet Salad, Pumpkin Seed Crusted Goat Cheese, Pumpkin Vinaigrette

II - Giant Mac & Cheese Filled Ravioli, Raw Green Bean Slaw

III - Cornbread Crusted Turkey Roulade, Mushroom Duxelles, Bacon Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Garlic Mash, Giblet Gravy

IV - Sweet Potato Confit, Marshmellow Fluff Brulee, Cranberry-Pecan Conserve

V - Buttermilk Pie

VI - Joyous hours of napping

Jason Hauck, executive chef at Soma Sushi: He approaches cooking his Thanksgiving feast by preparing all the beloved comfort foods, but just done really well. Starting with the protein, he brines his turkey and serves a braised turkey roulade with a brioche herb stuffing. Hauck also always cooks up wild game: roasted duck with a cranberry-champagne jam. Accompanying the meats are dishes such as sweet potatoes topped with an apple and banana crème or marshmallow gratin. Hauck's homemade fresh stock gravy is made from the roasted turkey stock, and mixed with herbs and spices. For dessert, he bakes a homemade pumpkin and pecan pie and also loves to serve a homemade custard: Grand Mariner crème brulee.

Sylvia Casares, chef and owner of Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen: I'm going to smoke a turkey and prepare the traditonal sides: cornbread dressing, sweet potatoes, nothing terribly exciting...just the smoked turkey and a mole sauce for those who do not want gravy.

Ozzie Rogers, executive chef at III Forks: Rogers serves a juicy turkey on Thanksgiving, but it's definitely not the traditional turkey. He prepares a roasted beer-battered turkey for his family. He also makes a roasted ham with freshly crushed pineapple in a special Coke and brown sugar mixture. In addition to his homemade mashed potatoes with cheddar cheese, he loves serving a cranberry dish -- not crushed, but whole cranberries. To end on a sweet note, Rogers bakes a homemade pecan and pumpkin pie and also a New York-style cheesecake.

John Watt, executive chef at Prego: Susan, Nick and I are going to eat with friends. I'm going to bring scalloped potatoes made with sharp Vermont cheddar, roasted butternut squash puree and haricot beans. Everything else will be pretty traditional.

Dylan Murray, executive chef at benjy's: Murray will not be cooking for his family this year, as he will be in the kitchen at benjy's preparing a delicious Thanksgiving feast for all the guests dining at benjy's to enjoy. His Thanksgiving menu includes turkey, short ribs, farm-raised Scottish salmon and for the vegetarian, a hearty butternut squash crepe. Classic dishes such as green bean casserole and corn bread stuffing will be served. Murray ends the meal with dessert options including benjy's infamous Mom's Chocolate Cake and a bourbon pecan pie.

Napoleon Palacios, executive chef at Damian's Cucina Italiana: I'll be cooking a brisket and traditional tamales!

Greg Lowry, executive chef at Voice: We kinda do a potluck. We've got about 25 people coming over to my house. I'll be at the restaurant, but my wife is gonna be cooking; she's gonna do a brined and smoked turkey breast. We're keeping it pretty traditional this year, you know. People bring drinks and things like potato salad and Waldorf salad. My uncle makes a pretty good crab dip. Everybody just brings everything in. I'll be done at the restaurant by 2 o'clock, and we don't eat until around 6. I was gonna do two turkeys, but my dad is gonna fry up some turkeys with his friends; it makes it much easier on me.