Anyone who participates in Thanksgiving preparations will tell you it’s akin to running a marathon, not to say I’ve ever knowingly participated in a marathon. Lists have to be made, grocery shopping done, turkeys thawed and for the love of God, if you can prep it the day ahead – prep it the day ahead. This year, I admittedly bit off more than I can chew (my mother says it’s a bad habit of mine) and, so, I was spotted leaning against the radiator, head back, mouth gaping and dangerously close to snoring at the tender hour of 10pm.
I’m not going to bore you with a sentimental monologue or give you a recipe rundown of all the dishes created. Hell, I don’t even have half the recipes involved. So, let’s get to it.
If there’s anything my aunt is insistent upon, it’s an elegant and well-executed table setting. She’s got a knack for it.
Sorry, bird, I know this isn’t your best side, but I was just too excited to be bothered to let you do the sorority squat or cheerleader arm. I took responsibility for the turkey last Thanksgiving and have yet to give it back. I like the idea of brining my bird, and, this year, I adapted this recipe from Food & Wine. Bacon was eliminated, although the idea was interesting. I only used 32oz of Guiness, not 72 – with a turkey seeping in brine overnight, I was a bit concerned of an overly stout-flavored main course. And the gravy? Here’s the recipe for that bad boy. I’ve never made a gravy before, but you say porcini and chanterelles, and this girl goes weak in the knees.
In the course of discussing our Thanksgiving menu, Paula had excitedly mentioned Daniel Boulud’s Gruyère popovers she had read about. Cheese? Baked? All over it! The recipe I used is here and this video demonstration of Boulud on the Martha Stewart Show helped. I made my gougères golf ball sized for optimal shoving-into-gob action.
As you can see, this is a family that focuses on appetizers. I’ve never made latkes before, and these were a exercise in pure love. I used an adaption of this recipe from the lovely folks at White On Rice, eliminating the garlic cloves and using a minimal amount of salt. The crème fraîche was loaded with horseradish, and no one likes conflicting strong flavors. Add a little smoked salmon and chives, and that’s a happy plate.
If dinner at the Nomad hotel taught me anything, it’s that I really, really, like turnips dipped in butter with a sprinkling of fleur de sel. In the future, I would definitely use a higher quality of butter and not double dip in the tempered dairy. Duly noted, self.
An early evening cocktail of vodka, prosecco, grapefruit juice and a little fresh lavender.
Stuffed grapeleaves, a staple at any Egyptian feast.
And the same goes for this amazing macaroni bechamel.
Roast vegetables of any variety are a favorite for me. I was never too keen on brussel sprouts, but halved, roasted, and crisped on the edges have resulted in some dinnertime fights.
Have we ever discussed my feelings on caramel? No? Because I freakin’ love caramel. One of the guests at our dinnertable has a gift for dessert creations. These chocolate and original caramels were such a treat.
Just kidding, no I don’t.
Let’s keep on enjoying this holiday season.