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The Wind Attack

Made by Danny

Part 1: Fresh Inspiration

Whimsical Gourds!

I love mounds of spinach, but I wanted something more interesting for T-Gives.

I made several rounds around the sprawling Santa Monica Farmer’s Market in the pouring rain early Wednesday morning. My shopping list was getting perpetually more soaked, but it was a glorious treat to experience weather in Los Angeles.

I trudged on through the rain, picking out flowers and gourds for decorating the T-Gives table and slowly checking off my list. I was delighted when I found a pomegranate vendor with the white variety as well as the red, an extra special treat for my menu.

Eventually, I stumbled upon a vendor who had an exotic looking green vegetable that fulfilled my vision. Curly mustard greens with a hint of purple to them, how visually stimulating! I grabbed a leaf and tasted it. It had a nice bit of peppery spice to it. Two dollars for a big bunch: sold!

Part 2: Designing the Table

For the centerpiece of my table, I filled the bottom of my fruit bowl with crumpled newspaper to support the gourds and pieces of fruit. The gaps were filled with short stemmed flowers, topped with a few dried chilies for an extra splash of color.

Setting the T-Gives Table

Part 3: They Drank, I Cooked

They Drank, I Cooked

About mid-afternoon, the guests started arriving, bringing with them booze. In typical Thanksgiving fashion, no one had eaten all day. As intoxication set in around the table, I rushed to the rescue with:


Pistachios, Cashews, Raisins, Dried Cherries.

Part 4: Salad

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Pomegranate, Toasted Hazelnuts, Cocktail Grapefruit, Raw Sunflower Dressing, Purple Carrot Ribbon, Edible Flowers.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

This was an unexpected twist on the typical preparation of brussels sprouts. I shaved all the sprouts through the shredding disc of my food processor and made a dressing of soaked raw sunflower seeds, olive oil, ginger and meyer lemon. Each serving was formed into a cake by dropping them on a plate from a small bowl, then garnished with a ribbon of purple carrot and edible flowers.

Despite several attempts to explain “edible flowers,” a few guests refused to budge. Their loss, as these flowers had a playful texture and spicy flavor.

Part 5: Appetizer

Socca Cornbread with Fresh Sage and Agave.

Originally the plan was to move from the salad to to the main course, but with so much left to prepare and hungry, restless guests waiting, I brought in Plan B: The Appetizer.

Cornbread Socca Slice

A twist on the classic skillet cornbread. After pouring a batter of chickpea four and cornmeal into the hot pan, I topped it with onions, corn, paprika and pepitas. Upon serving, each slice was dressed with fresh sage, dried thyme and savory, a sprinkle of sea salt and a drizzle of agave nectar.

Part 6: Main Course

Fried Cranberries

The pearl onions I had been slowly caramelizing for the last half hour got deglazed with a splash of white wine, then I threw the mustard greens on top to let them steam, figuring they would pick up some extra flavor by hanging out with the onions.

The phyllo purses went from the freezer to the oven and the lentils went back to the stove for a reheating. Sweet potatoes were mashed with coconut milk and garam masala. Last to go were to go were cranberries, deep-fried in pancake batter.

This was the climax of the cooking extravaganza. Batches of cranberries frying… lentils simmering… greens steaming… reheating sweet potatoes… burning hands… smoke in my eyes… plating phyllo purses…

And finally, seven plates to the table!


Black Lentils in Mushroom-Zinfandel Sauce, Sweet Potato Mash with Coconut Milk and Garam Masala, Trio of Phyllo Purses (Pumpkin-Walnut, Truffled Sunchoke, Christmas Lima), Mashed Potatoes, Steamed Mustard Greens, Caramelized Pearl Onions, Deep Fried Cranberries.

T-gives 2008 Main Plate

Small serving sizes made for an exciting variety of textures and flavors without the side affect of feeling stuffed. Regardless, afterwards we needed a bit of an…

INTERMISSIONWash some of those dishes!

Part 7: Dessert

Of course no T-Gives would be complete without pie, and in my book pecan pie > pumpkin pie.

Vegan Maple Pecan Pie in Almond-Corn-Flax Crust.
Homemade Vanilla Bean Organic Grass-Fed Ice Cream.
Homemade Vegan Cashew Based Maple Sweetened Pumpkin Ice Cream.

Vegan Pumpkin Ice Cream Pecan Pie

Far removed from a “Traditional Thanksgiving”, I felt pretty good about making a successful menu that was 100% vegetarian and 90% vegan, yet it still had a T-Gives feel to it.

Please check out some of the recipes that I have provided. Feedback is always welcome. They make a good meal for any holiday, so don’t feel like you have to wait until next T-Gives to try them out!

The Pecan Pie is Dead T-gives is Over

7 Responses to “Thanksgiving 2008”

  1. Foodeater says:

    What an incredibly beautiful (and I’m sure delicious) meal!

  2. Dana Zia says:

    Holy uncow Batwoman! This is a feast that I would of LOVED to be at. Oh and I would’ve eaten my flowers! I love the brussel sprout salad idea, but I couldn’t find the rest of the ingredients to the dressing. Am I missing something or could you email them to me.
    Beautiful! Drop on by to visit my blog about eating and walking lighter on the earth. Thanks!
    Dana Zia

  3. veggiebelly says:

    oh my! that looks like a heavenly thanksgiving. I’d love to try your lentils and phyllo purses.

  4. David Stewart says:

    This (I found it by searching “cornbread agave nectar”) looks wonderful! What a creative menu, what sumptuous, savory foods. I am going to have to try each of these out. And the cornbread appetizer first of all. Thanks!

  5. Hungry Grace says:

    Centerpiece? Edible flowers? What type of amazing [male] foodie are you?! This is quite an unexpected [and exquisite] Thanksgiving meal.

    If our Food League ever invited guest appearances, I think I’d invite you first. That said, would you ever be interested in joining our multicourse meals? :)

  6. […] would say It feels like just yesterday that I was prepping for T-gives 2008, but really it feels like it was forever ago. Yet at the same time, the past year has gone by so […]

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