Monday, November 21, 2011

Exploding Turkeys with William Shatner + Leftover Turkey Pot Pie from Cleo Coyle

A scene from Eat, Fry, Love: A Turkey Fryer Cautionary Tale
starring William Shatner.  Yes, that William Shatner.

Foodie trends are interesting, aren't they? Remember "blackened Cajun" everything? So big in the 1990s. Now? Not so much. High-end burgers will probably be next to go the way of fern bars, Chardonnay, and Green Beans Almondine. 

Deep fried turkeys were another big trend a few years back. The Food Network zealously presented this unique method of cooking your Thanksgiving bird, and America bought it, along with the fryers to crisp them up. The results were, well...explosive, as you will see in the video below...

There's a better way to
roast marshmallows. Really. 

Cleo Coyle, who has
New York City's Fire Department
on speed dial, is author of 

The Coffeehouse Mysteries
According to State Farm, these are the top ten states with the most "cooking-related claims" from 2005 to 2010:

 1. Texas (36) 
 2. Illinois (24)
 3. Ohio (21)
 4. New York (17)
 5. Pennsylvania (17)
 6. Michigan (15)
 7. Florida (14)
 8. Minnesota (14)
 9. Indiana (13)
10. Louisiana (12)

To help prevent future cooking-related fires, State Farm did something else (other than release the above stats). They hired William Shatner to tell his harrowing tale of nearly being immolated in a turkey frying incident. 

Yes, our beloved Captain Kirk, who has gone where no man has gone before, was jonesing for a fried turkey one Thanksgiving when he perilously neglected his dingle-dangle... (His what?) Watch the short video below (It's G-rated, I promise), and you will understand... 

So Tell Me...

Have you ever tried to fry a turkey? Or know anyone who has? This is certainly a cooking method I'd like to "boldly explore" one day...before I reach my final frontier. :) Have you wanted to try it? Leave a comment below. I'd love to know your turkey-fryer thoughts.

*   *   *   *   * 

As for today's recipe, I have two for you that might come in handy this week and (you'll be happy to know) neither one involves a fryer.

My first recipe is one I've shared before. It's in our Recipe Index, but many of our new followers may have missed it. 

I throw this pot pie together every year on the weekend after Thanksgiving. It's quick and easy, very delicious, and makes good use of your leftover turkey.

Cleo Coyle's Leftover Turkey Pot Pie with Cheddar Cheese Crust

To download this recipe
in a free 
PDF document that
you can print, 
save, or share,

*   *   *   *   *

If you're still looking for an impressive (yet easy) dessert to serve to guests or bring to a family gathering, here's one to consider. 

One cup of canned pumpkin, a little maple syrup, and some classic holiday spices convert an ordinary yellow cake mix into a delicious dessert. The "surprise" in this baby is a center swirl of sweetened cream cheese, the perfect flavor pairing for a spice cake. Serve it plain (or with a dusting of powdered sugar) for brunch or dress it up with a drizzle of white glaze for a holiday dessert table...

Cleo Coyle's 
"Surprise Swirl" Pumpkin-
Maple Bundt Cake

To download this recipeCLICK HERE.

*  *  *  *  *

Need more recipe ideas for the holiday
weekend? My November 
Newsletter has 8 recipes,
3 contests 
and some happy publishing news

To see my newsletter 
in your browser, 

My December Newsletter will be sent
out soon. 
To subscribe, send an e-mail to
that says
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are entered automatically in my
weekly drawings for a free package of my
monthly Coffee Picks.

Happy Thanksgiving, 

~ Cleo Coyle, author of  

To download more of my recipes 
or learn about my two national
bestselling mystery series, visit my
online coffeehouse at: 


  1. Ha! I'm shocked, *shocked*! that the South doesn't feature on that top 10 list more than it does. I talked to a man just Saturday who is deep frying his turkey!

    Thanks for sharing the Shatner (he always makes me laugh) and for this great pot pie recipe,'s a winner!

  2. Oh, my! I've never tried it because I have a morbid fear of hot oil (channeling a medieval ancestor?). That's for Fryolators in restaurants, thank you very much. But William Shatner is a national treasure (if Canada will let us borrow him).

    But the bundt cake looks great!

  3. I've never fried a turkey, but we are friends with a couple who never uses anything but a fryer for a turkey. They've had an incident or two involving the fryer and an inquisitive dog.

    The bundt cake looks wonderful. Maybe I'll try it and take it into school next week.

  4. Loooove the Shatner video. Thanks for making me smile!

  5. Cleo, I've heard about all these accidents, but wow! Fire, fire! Love the pumpkin dump cake. I love dump cake (I make it Gluten-free), but with the pumpkin for the moisture? Terrific!


  6. Avery - would you share your gluten free version? My principal's daughter has celiacs and I'm working on a basket of baked goods as a Christmas present and looking for gluten free recipes so that the whole family can enjoy.


    Beverly aka Booklady

  7. I actually went to Wally World and bought a bundt cake pan just to make this on Thursday!!!

    I have had friend turkey but I will stick with the one Les makes in his Weber grill...juicy, succulent and with lots of crispy skin!!!

    Kudos to William Shatner for always making me chuckle and you Cleo for always giving me a rumbly in my tumbly!!!

    Blessings to you and Marc this Thanksgiving!


  8. I have never fried a turkey, either. I'd like to try one once. People say it's the best! I'd like to try a Turducken one day, too.

    ~ Krista

  9. Thanks to everyone for your comments. This was a fun post to put together...

    @Elizabeth/Riley - LOL, I was surprised, too. But then the South has such a strong cooking tradition and much more experience with the whole turkey frying idea. My guess is, y'all know what you're doing! Everyone else is still on a "dingle-dangle" learning curve. :)

    @Sheila - Thx for the nice words and I couldn't agree more about our dear Bill Shatner. North America is not alone in adoring him. I think it's safe to say he's a global asset!

    More replies to come...

    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  10. Reply to...

    @Booklady - The "inquisitive dog" brings up an excellent (and very serious) point. My goodness, family pets should be kept far, far away from any outdoor turkey fryer. Good safety tip...and thx for the nice words on the pumpkin Bundt. If you try it, I hope you enjoy it. My husband does not like pumpkin but he loves this cake and that says a lot for its general appeal (I hope, anyway).

    More replies to come...

    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  11. Replies to...

    @Barb - Aw, you are very welcome! Mr. Bill has the greatest sense of humor--hard not to love the guy!

    @Avery - Pumpkin is a wonderful ingredient, isn't it? Just one more reason this is my favorite time of year. :)

    @Booklady - Avery has some wonderful gluten-free recipes in our index. Be sure to check those out, too.

    More replies to come...

    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  12. Replies to...

    @Nanc – Ha! Well, I have to say that I’m flattered, and I hope Les enjoys the cake as much as Marc and I do. In any event, Bundt cake pans are good to have in the ol’ baking arsenal. Blessings to you and your lovely family, too. We hope you have a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving! :)

    @Krista – Turducken! I forgot about that, and it’s a great culinary bucket list goal, too. Hmmm... Now I'm wondering who will be the first MLK cook to make one. (I’m fairly sure it won’t be me, but I would enjoy reading a post about it!)

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone...

    Eat with joy!
    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  13. Nothing but fried turkeys for us! It's a southern thang. ;-P

    I will say, however, that for the first time, we bought an indoor *electric* fryer. I just get so very freaked over safety every year, and thankfully this year Hubs agreed. We bought the Masterbuilt Butterball Indoor Fryer (just search for that on Amazon, didn't want to look spammy!!). I can't wait to see how it turns out.

    PS -- Learned a new word today LOL! Immolate. ::shudder::

  14. We have fried turkey and the hardest part is making sure you just the right amount of oil. Then we found out about a fryer that uses no oil. It is the Big Easy by Char-Broil. IT works great and no oil, love it. Still get nice fried turkey without the troubles of suing oil.

  15. Someone in my family had fried a turkey for a number of years now. It does make the turkey taste a bit differently and sometimes they inject the turkey (no idea how this works) with a flavor that really kicks it up a notch. It's always quite good, I'm just too accident prone to go too near it myself, let alone try it.

    Happy Thanksgiving Cleo!

  16. My son-in-law has deep fried their turkey foe several years. He's never had a mishap and the turkeys are really good with very moist breast and crackling, crispy skin.
    I would never so it, though.

    I love the recipe for pumpkin maple cake. I will be trying it very soon. Because, of course, I'll need more sweets after Thanksgiving is over. :-D

  17. I love now that William Shatner is older he will do anything , anywhere. And yet I stil love him! That was a very important and useful video. I have always wanted a turkey fryer and may still get one but DANG I will be careful and read all the directions and USE the dingle dangle too.
    thanks Cleo for this great post

  18. Reading Murder by Mocha and loving it. But on Thanksgiving I had to read with one eye on the book and the other on my son who was determined to fry a turkey. Fortunately, we had no disasters, and the turkey was great, even if the legs and wings were a bit burnt. See for results.