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the pressure’s on. menus and an apricot tart.

Today’s the day. Relatives arrive and will move into the guest room for four days. Thanksgiving isn’t just the big dinner on Thursday. It’s meal after meal after meal. In the spirit of the last few posts, here it is. The List – menus, with links where possible. Often, I’m just making it up – or combining techniques, recipes and ideas. And finally – the perfect recipe for a little tart. Something sweet that serves as dessert, breakfast or a teatime treat. Back in July, I canned apricot halves in vanilla syrup. (And yes, I already knew I would make this very tart on this very day.) If you didn’t can this summer, look around for excellent jars of fruit – I love apricots, but […]

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more thanksgiving preparations and a quick crab dip

It’s Sunday night before Thanksgiving. This morning, we went to the market and picked up all the vegetables, fish, herbs and whatnot. I’ll have one quick, not too complicated trip to Whole Foods, another to Trader Joe’s and a Tuesday market pick up of the two fresh turkeys. Yes, we get two turkeys – because I don’t want a huge bird. I think 12-15# turkeys cook better. But that’s just me. There are a million opinions on turkey. I’ve been trying to sort them out this week. There’s dry-brining. Mix up about 4T of kosher salt with some fresh herbs. Rub it all over the outside of your turkey the night before roasting. Let it sit, uncovered, in the refrigerator, overnight. Rinse well, dry and […]

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the perfect cheese platter

It seems to me that throughout the holidays, often and at the last minute, we decide to have some people over. The cheese platter is such an easy idea, but the cheese counter always baffles me. Cow? Goat? Sheep? Yikes. Soft? Ripe? Hard? What’s best? Turns out, it’s not about any of those things. On a crystal clear fall day, I drove to Washington, Virginia, the first town surveyed by George Washington. It’s a charming village (pop. 187,) perhaps best known to food folk for the Inn at Little Washington, Chef Patrick O’Connell in residence. This ‘other’ Washington is in a valley between the two ridges of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In this valley, the rich soil and green grass produce exceptional livestock, small grains, […]

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condiments & cranberry sauce

Let’s face it, turkey isn’t the tastiest of the proteins we serve. Compared to something like lamb or even roast chicken, turkey pales. But it does serve one fantastic purpose – it’s a great foil for condiments. That’s why I like to have several different sauces and chutneys on the Thanksgiving table, and especially, available the day after for leftover sandwiches. Oh, those sandwiches. My mouth is watering. While I have some chutneys canned, there are others that I make fresh for the occasion. I look for condiments that can be made ahead and held for a few days. I made three of those condiments today – tapenade, onion confit and cranberry sauce. I’ll look around the refrigerator for stray containers of olives and make […]

Errands and Lists on the way to Thanksgiving

I wrote this post 14 hours ago, went to NYC on the Vamoose Bus, expecting wifi and intending to get this out to you this morning. No wifi. None. Until this moment. Amazing how dependent I’ve become on technology. Have to say, it was kind of refreshing to daydream (and watch Season 1 of Dexter!) for a few hours. It’s two weeks until the Dead Poultry party, and just ten days until our houseguests arrive, expecting dinner, drinks and a warm bed. As part of my plan for Thanksgiving, I took yesterday to run some errands and take care of other business. It’s a stroll, not a sprint, remember? Getting a great massage (ask for Dana) may have been the best thing I did for […]

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appetizers to have on hand – gravlax

I had a busy day and could only get one small task accomplished on the road to Thanksgiving. I started curing gravlax. Once it’s finished, in 2 days, I’ll pop it in the freezer until Tuesday before Thanksgiving, when houseguests arrive, and this gravlax will be an elegant, simple appetizer to offer up with cocktails that first night. Gravlax is delicious for appetizers, but also perfect for breakfast. Or even seductively draped over a beet salad, as I recently tasted at a thrilling Artisa Kitchen dinner.