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There are many suggestions flying around for grand meat centerpieces and hearty stews for these holidays, but it seems to me that we just did the big sit-down-dinner thing. And many of those turkey eaters will be back for seconds. I lean more towards the latke crowd, oh, and thanks New York Times for the obvious brilliant idea for blini and caviar. We’ll be doing both of those, but first a dinner that’s a bit of a throwback.
Let’s be frank: Turkey doesn’t hit you over the head with its flavor. It’s subtle, fragrant, earthy, fresh even. So, as you dress it up in its many iterations this year, you might want to keep some of these flavor enhancers in mind. Of course, they are good to have on hand year round. You’ll use them again and again.
I’ve made my lists and shopping has begin. Cooking for Thanksgiving is my favorite food event of the year. My turkey’s pretty standard with the olive oil and dried herbs, and my stuffing’s the same each year: with ground pork, onions, and apple. The gravy’s always made from the innards; the potatoes are always mashed. Mid-day the cooks feast on slivers of the turkey’s heart with salt and a bit of the liver seared with the leftover apple bits. Oh, and a bottle of the good bubbles gets popped.
The buzz of the week has certainly gone to Pete Wells for his “Dear Guy Fieri, how does your restaurant blow? Let me count the ways” review in the New York Times. That said, while a pan is always worth a read, the only line that made me laugh out loud: “And when we hear the words Donkey Sauce, which part of the donkey are we supposed to think about?” The Onion’s piece about the owner of Bubba Gump Shrimp sending his sympathies is funny. But since few of us were going to be eating at Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar (I don’t even know who this Guy is) in Times Square, the article on Jacques Pepin’s steamed turkey is a more pressing read. The technique seems pretty straight-forward and absolutely worth trying. 30 minutes of steaming means the bird only roasts in the oven for two hours.
Thank you, Washington Post for at least giving readers a guide to buying fresh turkeys in the area this week. Not one mention of the most important food holiday of the year in the New York Times though it is only a month away now. The cooking magazines have been rolling in, a bird perched on each cover. Let the planning begin!
I come up rather short when brainstorming romantic dining spots in D.C. Little Serow has certainly joined the ranks with BlackSalt and maybe Sushi Taro or the bar at Cashion’s. Oh, too tough? It’s more about whom you are with, you might say? Yes, but it’s hard to be romantic in a place that seems to channel all its effort into being unsexy.
It was about a year ago that Melissa Clark wrote in the New York Times dining section about her yearly latke–er, Hanukkah–party. I found it inspiring indeed, so I’m happy to pull it out of the archives. I had a …
The New York Times, after weeks of heated turkey talk, comes today with a caveat. The cover story about the perils of overeating gets input from a competitive eater, a bulky professional football player, and an eating disorder specialist. This piece will just make you sad, so focus instead on pie baking and cocktail mixing.
I guess Dana Cowin, editor of Food & Wine, has done her share of Thanksgiving issues. Where Bon Appetit and its new editor embrace the holiday, F&W give it the required cover spot and then about 10 pages at the back of the book. The F&W editors may be over the ultimate food holiday, but I think they made a miscalculation. I’d assume that a lot of the readers of food magazines are also the people who put together Thanksgiving menus, and this is prime planning time. Rigatoni with sea bass and tomatoes or a ground bison stir-fry may be swell (though I’m skeptical), but they jar like a wine glass tipped in the sink right now.
In my house, the Thanksgiving menu doesn’t get a lot of revisions. This doesn’t mean there’s no room for change, but a pretty compelling argument needs to be made to warrant it. Mostly, I like it pretty traditional: bird, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, salad, and a couple vegetable sides. My stuffing made a big shift about six years ago, adding ground pork and apples and tarragon, but that’s pretty much locked in at this point. The salad is occasionally a Waldorf, but more often an odd family recipe of chopped raw broccoli, bacon, raisins, onion, and a sweet mayo dressing. That leaves the vegetable sides for all the improvisation.