It’s become a tradition — or at least a habit — for Food Safety News to host virtual potlucks on holidays as a way to share our favorite recipes and love of food, and also to take a little break from writing about the potential risks in what we eat. Always, but especially at Thanksgiving, we’re grateful for the many people who work hard to provide us with fresh, wholesome and safe food. Just like last year, in addition to the turkey, our virtual Thanksgiving 2011 potluck includes a choice of two soup starters – Gretchen’s Thai Butternut Squash soup and Andy’s Gorgonzola and Celery Soup. Helena has contributed homemade herb chard stuffing., Dan is offering pumpkin applesauce muffins, Alli is bringing herb-roasted winter veggies, Suzanne has made apple-blackberry pies and Cookson has suggested coconut-milk pumpkin pie. Thank you for reading Food Safety News. Have a happy and food-safe Thanksgiving. Cookson’s Coconut-Milk Pumpkin Pie A delicious pie, one that’s especially appreciated by people who don’t want to consume milk or milk products Makes 2 9-inch pies Ingredients – 2 cups mashed pumpkin or 20 ounces of canned pumpkin — NOT pumpkin-pie mix (Note: pumpkin-pie pumpkins are smaller than Halloween jack-o-lanterns.) – coconut milk, light or regular, 12 ounces.  (Coconut milk usually comes in 13- or 14-ounce cans, so don’t use the whole can. ) – 3 large eggs, beaten – 1/3 cup brown sugar  (1/2 cup if you have a sweet tooth) – 1/2 teaspoon salt – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon – 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger – 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves – splash or 2 of rum, optional – chopped pecan or walnut pieces (smaller than halves) – optional  2 9-inch pie shells, homemade or “store-bought” Instructions: 1. Heat oven to 425 degrees and prepare pastry if you’re making your own pie crust. 2. Using a strong, sturdy knife, cut the pumpkin into 2 halves. This takes some muscle-power, so be very careful when you wield the knife. Or, if need be, ask someone “stronger” to do it for you. 3. With a large spoon, remove the pumpkin seeds and interior strands in the center of the pumpkin halves. 4. Place the two halves of the pumpkin upside down on top of 2 or 3 layers of paper towels in the microwave and cook for 15 to 25 minutes. The goal is to thoroughly cook the interior pulp. You’ll know it’s ready when the part next to the outside shell is soft when poked with a fork. 5. Remove the pumpkin halves from the microwave and let them cool. Then, with a fork, gently scrape off the remaining strands from the top of the pulp. 6. Using a large spoon, spoon out the interior pulp and mash it well with a potato masher. 7. Mix in remaining ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined. 8. To avoid a soggy crust, put the two pie pans with the pie shells in them in the oven for about 1 to 2 minutes. They’re ready to pull out when you see the shells  start to bubble up. Be careful not to overdo it. Make sure you use potholders to remove the pans from the oven since at that point, they’ll be hot. 9. Sprinkle the nut pieces into the bottom of the pie shells. (Optional) 10. Pour the mixture into the pie shells. (To avoid a burned pie crust, loosely place a band of aluminum foil over the outer crust of each pie. Remove the foil during the last 5 or so minutes of baking time.) 11. Put the pies in the oven, handling the pie pans carefully so you don’t spill any of the pumpkin mixture on the oven’s burners. 12. Cook at 425 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and cook for another 30 minutes or so. The pie is ready when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. 13. Refrigerate about 4 hours. (Put any pie that’s left over after serving in the refrigerator.) 14. For  a “lighter” dessert, without the pie crust, put the pumpkin mixture in a greased/oiled casserole dish and bake, following the same instructions as for the pies. 15. When ready to serve, top with a dollop of whipping cream or non-dairy topping, or serve it plain.