A Very Simple Thread Thanksgiving 2023

A Very Simple Thread Thanksgiving 2023

As the leaves turn and the air grows crisp, it’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. It’s that special time of year when we gather to celebrate the blessings of the past year with our loved ones, feasting and sharing stories around the table.

At Simple Thread, we’re excited to continue our cherished tradition, now in its fifth year [2019, 2020, 2021, 2022], of sharing our team’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes. From savory to sweet, each dish reflects the unique flavors and stories of our diverse team, bringing a taste of our homes to yours.

We believe that great software, much like great food, is made better when created with passion and shared with others. That’s why, alongside our technological pursuits, we enjoy showcasing the culinary talents and diverse palates of our team members. This year, we’ve gathered an array of delightful recipes that promise to add a special touch to your Thanksgiving feast.

From all of us at Simple Thread, we wish you a heartwarming, delicious, and memorable Thanksgiving!


Flannel Shirt Cocktail

Team Member: Evan Rupert

The Flannel Shirt is an autumn themed cocktail created by Jeffrey Morgenthaler of the Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon. To me it is a perfect expression of the Thanksgiving season with warm earthy spices and sweet apple flavors. A perfect drink for Thanksgiving evening as the sun goes down.


1 ¾ oz Scotch whisky

1 ½ oz Apple cider (non-alcoholic)

½ oz Amaro Averna

¼ oz Lemon juice

1 tsp Simple syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water)

½ tsp Allspice dram

2 dash Angostura bitters



  1. Shake all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Strain into a rocks glass over ice.
  3. Garnish with an orange peel.

If that ingredient list looks intimidating I would also recommend mixing a dry hard cider with Amaro Averna at a 3:1 ratio. The result is a simple and light drink that keeps the spirit of fall.

Japanese Milk Bread Rolls

Team Member: Joseph Glass

When I want soft, pull-apart bread, I go to the King Arthur Flour Japanese Milk Bread recipe. These rolls use tangzhong, a gelatinous precooked slurry of flour and water that makes bread pillowy soft and delicious. I’ve made some adjustments for ease and speed of baking. I recommend eating them as soon as possible after they come out of the oven. They’re fine the next day, but nothing compared to those first few hours of fresh-baked tender roll heaven.



3 tablespoons (43g) water

3 tablespoons (43g) whole milk

2 tablespoons (14g) flour



Microwave on high three times for 25 seconds each, whisking in between.



Combine: Prepared tangzhong

2 1/2 cups (300g) Flour

2 tablespoons dry milk (optional)

1/4 cup (50g) sugar

1 teaspoon (6g) salt

1 tablespoon instant yeast

1/2 cup (113g) whole milk

1 egg

1/4 cup unsalted butter (melted)



  1. Mix in a stand mixer for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Let rise for 60-90 minutes.
  3. Cut into 12 pieces, turn each roll inside out and pinching to form a taut ball.
  4. Place in a greased 10-inch springform pan and let rise again until puffy, anywhere from 30 minutes to 60 depending on the temperature.
  5. Brush with milk and bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

Roasted Delicata Squash and Apples

Team Member: Bert Beatty

Are you like me, wondering each fall what to do with the bags of apples you picked while out at a pick-your-own orchard on crisp fall day? Well have no fear, because apple season coincides with squash season and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. This is a great, easy side dish that helps tie together all of the flavors I associate with autumn.


2 Medium sized delicata squash

4 Medium sized apples (I like to use a nice tart, firm variety like Pink Lady)

1 Medium size yellow onion

Salt and pepper to taste

4 tbsp vegetable oil

½ tsp of ground cinnamon

1 tsp of paprika


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. Cut delicata squash in half lengthwise. This can be tricky – the squash is dense and thick. Take your time! Once cut in half, scoop out all seeds with a large spoon.
  3. Cut squash into ½-inch half moon slices, the onions into slices, and the apples into  ½-inch slices. Drizzle with vegetable oil and season with salt, pepper, paprika, and cinnamon. Toss everything together to coat
  4. Place squash and apples on a baking sheet in a single layer, using multiple baking sheets to avoid overcrowding. Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until squash are tender and everything is slightly browned

Caramelized Fennel

Team Member: Al Tenhundfeld

Roasting fennel is easy, but getting it just right takes some practice. So you might want to try this recipe before the big day. The good news is that it’s delicious even when it’s not perfect and it does not need to be served hot out of the oven. You can make the night before and briefly reheat. Wait to dress with the vinegar/OJ until just before serving.


2 large fennel bulbs, trimmed

2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons neutral oil (or  melted butter)

1/2 teaspoon table salt

Heavy pinch black pepper

Aged balsamic vinegar (or orange juice or any acid with some sweetness)


  1. Preheat oven to 450º. Grease a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Cut each fennel bulb into 8 wedges – from top to bottom through the core, keeping core intact.
  3. Combine water, salt, pepper, and oil in large bowl. Add fennel wedges and toss to coat.
  4. Arrange fennel wedges flat side down on baking sheet. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove foil to uncover and continue roasting until the fennel is browned on the side against the sheet, 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Flip each fennel wedge to the other flat side. Continue roasting until that side is browned, about 5 more minutes.
  7. Remove fennel from heat and plate on a serving platter. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Probably needs a pinch more salt.

Sweet Potato Pie with Zest – 2023 Virginia State Fair Blue Ribbon Winner

Team Member: Greg Kontos


3 eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1 cooked sweet potato, mashed

3/4 cup evaporated milk

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup melted butter

2 tsp vanilla

zest of 1 orange

1/4 tsp ginger

1 tsp cardamom

9″ pie crust


  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Beat together the eggs and sugar until the eggs turn a light yellow color.
  3. Add the mashed sweet potato and beat to a smooth consistency.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until combined.
  5. Pour mix into pastry shell. Bake at 400 for 10 mins. Then bake at 325 for about 40 mins more. When a knife comes out clean, the pie is done. The cooking time will overly brown the crust, so protect it with aluminum foil or a pie crust shield.

Apple (Full) Stack Cake

Team Member: Brian Bassett

Pecan pie? Boring.
Apple pie? BORING.
Pumpkin pie? BOOOOOO-RING!!!!!!!!

While this cake has many names, one thing you cannot call it is boring. My first experience with this cake was at the hands of the acclaimed Appalachian chef Travis Milton. This cake is probably the most turbo charged “fall flavor” dessert I have ever tasted. If you have a good Apple Stack Cake, the end result is a thin slice of rich and funky autumnal heaven.

While the foodways of this dessert are not entirely clear, one could presume that it came out of the Germanic traditions of thin layer cakes that moved their way down the Shenandoah Valley during the 19th century and used the ingredients at hand thanks to Johnny Appleseed and the invention of baking powder. What my Appalachian friends tell me is that these cakes often made appearances at family and other social gatherings. One tradition holds that in the leanest of times, women from mountain communities would band together for an upcoming wedding in the creation of the cake. Each would contribute one layer of the stack to share the burden of the celebration across the families and that “the higher the stack” the more blessed the marriage would be.


  • Make this two days before whenever you want to serve it. The extra time will allow for the layers to meld and for the apple butter to get absorbed into the layers of the cake.
  • No normal human being has six springform pans. The layers of the cake can also be baked one at a time but it will just take longer. Binge some shows and make a night of it.
  • Spreading the dough onto the pan might be anxiety inducing. It was for me! It is more like cookie dough than cake batter. Do your best to spread it evenly and thinly as possible because it won’t redistribute much during cooking.
  • Better to have more apple butter than not enough! 1.5 to 2 quarts is sufficient and any extra spreads well on toast.
  • For the most dazzling display, use the cloche which is collecting dust in the back of your cabinet or borrow a friend’s.


Stand mixer or hand mixer and bowl

Bowl scraper

Up to six 8” or 9” springform pans

Cutting board

Sharp kitchen knife

Cake stand or cloche


¾  cup softened butter

½  cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup sorghum molasses

¼  teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon cloves

¾ teaspoon allspice

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

3 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup buttermilk



2 quarts of apple butter


  1. In a mixer, cream butter and sugar together. With the mixer on medium, add all other ingredients one at a time to the bowl, lowering the speed once you get to the flour and saving the buttermilk as the last added ingredient.
  2. Roll out the dough and cut it into six equal portions. Chill the dough for at least an hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  4. Divide dough between six 9-inch springform cake pans. Use silicon spatula to guide the spreading, or press cooled dough with hands making sure the layers are even and thin. (see the visual guides from this recipe)
  5. Bake the six pans of cake for 15-20 minutes in the oven at 350º F, rotating the pans halfway through.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least an hour.
  7. Once cooled, place the first layer on a cake plate. Spread apple butter over the top of the layer and place the next layer of cake on top and repeat until all layers are stacked.
  8. Take the remaining apple butter and coat the exterior of the cake.
  9. Add the cloche to cover the cake and refrigerate for 1-2 days before serving.
  10. Warm up to room temperature before service and cut into thin slices and serve alone or with whipped cream.

Day After – Leftover Turkey Casserole

Team Member: Derek Heilmann


8 to 10 slices of turkey or enough to cover dish
2 cans (10 3/4oz) Cream of Chicken soup
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1/4 cup water
Approximately 4 cups dressing, enough to cover bottom of dish.


  1. Spray an 8 X 9 inch casserole dish with Pam.
  2. Moisten dressing with water, spread over entire bottom of casserole dish.
  3. Gently spread 1 can of soup on top of dressing.
  4. Add turkey slices/pieces; spread the rest of the soup on top of turkey.
  5. Cover with breadcrumbs.
  6. Bake at 350* for 1 hour, to heat through.

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