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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

A week from today, it will be all over. The turkey will be leftovers, the dishes will be back in the cupboard, but this weekend is when we get ready for Thanksgiving, do the marketing, count the glasses. Every Friday before Thanksgiving, NPR's special correspondent Susan Stamberg makes holiday preparations on MORNING EDITION. This year, Susan consults the most famous homemaking expert of them all.

SUSAN STAMBERG reporting

It's Martha Stewart. She got out of prison in March after five months. Then there was house arrest. She has a new book, "The Martha Rules." NBC just decided her new weekly TV show, "The Apprentice," will only last for this one season. She is starting a new 24-hour satellite radio show on SIRIUS, and that is just the short list. These days, Martha Stewart is busy getting ready for Thanksgiving, and that's what we're going to talk about, not jail, not high finance, not even turkey. Instead, vegetables, because Martha Stewart is just the kind of person who loves Brussels sprouts.

Ms. MARTHA STEWART: I do love Brussels sprouts. Actually, I grow both the green variety and the purple variety, and there are several ways to prepare Brussels sprouts that I like. One is, if they're extra large, I actually take them apart leaf by leaf, and then I steam the leaves and then toss those leaves with a brown butter and salt and pepper, and they are very good. That...

STAMBERG: Huh, it actually sounds almost bearable to me.

Ms. STEWART: Oh, it's delicious. And then another thing that's really good to do with Brussels sprouts is to puree them, and then fold them into a nice creamy smooth mashed potato. You have a very delicious dish.

STAMBERG: You do pumpkin recipes, too, and very kindly, because sometimes pumpkins are hard to work with or to find exactly the right kind. You have a gratin that I read about someplace in which you can substitute butternut squash.

Ms. STEWART: Oh, yeah. And that, too. I mean, you can substitute a very flavorful squash for any pumpkin recipe. It makes a beautiful gratin. I just take slivers of it, and I'll layer them with butter and salt and pepper and maybe sliced onions in a low casserole and then you roast those.

STAMBERG: Well, Martha Stewart, I would like to run something by you now for Thanksgiving, which, with us here at NPR, has become an annual tradition. I have recited my mother-in-law, Mama Stamberg's, recipe for cranberry relish. On this r...

Ms. STEWART: You know, I read the recipe.

STAMBERG: Oh, you did?

Ms. STEWART: Oh, I like it. I think it sounds really good. And actually, I'm going to try it. I know. Is it supposed to be a joke?

STAMBERG: It's not--I take it perfectly--I'm so glad you asked me.

Ms. STEWART: Yeah. Somebody said, `Oh, it's like a joke at NPR,' but actually, two cups of whole red cranberries washed--are you going to recite it or should I?

STAMBERG: Oh, I wish you would.

Ms. STEWART: Yeah. This is Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish. One small onion, three-quarters cup of sour cream, a half a cup of sugar and two tablespoons of horseradish from a jar.

STAMBERG: See, now, Martha Stewart, that is when they begin to think it may be a joke...

Ms. STEWART: No.

STAMBERG: ...because of that horseradish.

Ms. STEWART: No, because it's sweet and sour. Cranberries are so tart, the sour cream will cut the tartness. The sugar will sweeten it up, and the horseradish will add that zing that you have to have.

STAMBERG: Do you want to go on and tell people what they do with all...

Ms. STEWART: Yeah. You have to grind the raw berries and onion together and keep it kind of chunky, not a puree.

STAMBERG: Right. And then you put everything else in, you mix it up.

Ms. STEWART: Put it in a plastic container and freeze it. So this has to be done at least the night before Thanksgiving. And then on early Thanksgiving morning, move it from the freezer to the refrigerator compartment to thaw. It should still have little icy slivers left in it...

STAMBERG: Yeah.

Ms. STEWART: ...when you serve it.

STAMBERG: Well, someone wrote in once years ago and said, `Tell the truth, I made it. It's the color of Pepto-Bismol.'

Ms. STEWART: Oh.

STAMBERG: And it is. I do admit that. Martha, please continue, because you sound as if you've been doing this for years.

Ms. STEWART: I know. Tangy taste that cuts through and perks up the turkey and the gravy, and it makes one and a half pints.

STAMBERG: That's exactly correct. I'm thrilled to hear that you're going to try it, and I'm counting on you to get back to me and let me know how you like it.

Ms. STEWART: Oh, I will, and I'll let you know how my family likes it.

STAMBERG: Thank you so much. Martha Stewart of television, radio, magazines. Very happy Thanksgiving to you.

Ms. STEWART: Thank you very much.

STAMBERG: I'm Susan Stamberg, NPR News.

MONTAGNE: And you can find Mama Stamberg's recipe, plus download this interview, at npr.org.

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