Thanksgiving in our apartment is normally a time when Elizabeth and I form a cooking superteam, turn out an incredible feast, regale our guests with our wit, and end the day by making a good dent in the stacks of dishes. But for much of last Thursday, I was a man alone in the kitchen. Not alone exactly. A man watching two children and putting together a Thanksgiving feast until our first guest, our dear friend Lily, arrived and helped with the child care while I cooked. As trying as managing Thanksgiving on my own was, I was actually the better off of the two of us. read more »
The great challenge in roasting a whole turkey–the challenge that leads people to fashion aluminum foil shields for cooking their turkeys, that leads to a spate of tedious posts and articles every November about the best way to brine a turkey, that leads people to burn down their houses using turkey fryers, that leads me to nearly scald or actually scald myself with hot turkey juices as I flip it mid-roast with dish towels every Thanksgiving–is the challenge of fully cooking the dark meat without drying out the breast. The simple solution to this problem is to cook them separately. Apart from that brief interlude between roasting and carving when everyone can admire what a beautiful bird you have, there’s no real advantage to cooking a turkey in one piece. You’re going to serve it in many pieces. And by separating the dark meat from the white, you can give each part the time it needs. read more »
We take Thanksgiving pretty seriously here at Brooklyn Supper. For the past 6 years Brian and I have stayed put and invited friends and family to cram into our one-bedroom apartment for a giant feast. I love every part of Thanksgiving, getting ready in the weeks before, frantic Wednesday before prep, waking up at 6am and dealing with the turkey, and then, the big moment. Guests arrive and, it’s Thanksgiving!
Whether you’re hosting a celebration of your own this year, or just bring a dish or two, we’ve got you covered. Over on Babble.com’s Family Kitchen, we’ve been in the Thanksgiving spirit for weeks. Here are some of the Thanksgiving-friendly recipes we posted this week:
Mark Bittman’s Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon and Apples
4 Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes (more work now = more relaxing when it counts)
Lemony Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Classic Herbed Stuffed Mushrooms
And for some ideas from Brooklyn Supper Thanksgivings past, try these: read more »
At Brooklyn Supper, we make an effort to keep things local and organic, but we try not to go crazy about it. Sometimes you need a banana or a lemon. Or sugar or coffee. And around mid-March, you think you’re going to go crazy if you eat another root vegetable. But when we have a choice, we like to get things at the farmers’ market or one of the local butchers, which I know comes off to some people as something snobby and even silly.
The topic of food snobbery came up at Thanksgiving. One of our many fantastic guests was our friend Patrick who owns the Hamdingers cart (check it out if you’re ever in Charlottesville, Va.) which focuses on local, organic street food. Patrick was saying that a lot of times people come up to the cart and ask what’s with all the organic food and why doesn’t he just sell “normal food,” which got us to talking about what “normal food” is.
It’s a weird thing that a fast food burger, full of hormones and cows who were fed cows, served on a bun with all kinds of weird ingredients is normal, but the kind of food that almost everyone ate for centuries is some kind of fancy-pants thing. But that’s how it is, so this Thanksgiving, we put on our loosest-fitting fancy pants and dug in.
To begin, we had fresh apple butter (made by our youngest guest), goat cheese, pate that Patrick picked up at Marlow and Daughters, and brie. Then we moved on to home-made pickles–kohlrabi, grape, and carrot. We also had grape salsa with brie on crostini. Then we sat down for soup, an amazing turkey, and a rainbow of sides. And finally, we ended with fresh pumpkin pie and real ginger ice cream.
The bird was perfect. When I ordered it, the butcher thought they would top out at 16 lbs., so I put on my request form that I wanted the biggest one I could get. I ended up with a 21 lb. bird that we could barely get into the oven, but that was ok since we had a little help from our wonderful neighbors, and a large toaster oven. Our hearts were certainly warmed by the company (mostly old friends, and some new ones), which was good because the turkey cooked a lot faster than expected and was lukewarm by the time we sat down. But it was alright, gravy fixes everything, we had each other, and all the dishes our friends brought- squash soup, potato gratin, roasted root vegetables, stuffing, and green salad- were fantastic. It was really, really great to share such a delicious meal with so many dear friends, and the potluck atmosphere was just right for the evening.
We had a long, borrowed table set up diagonally to fit in the room, and with a couple of tablecloths and candles it was just right. By the end of the evening, we even had a father and son passed out on the sofa with the football game on.
p.s. Why don’t we eat gravy more often? Expect to see a lot more dishes with gravy on Brooklyn Supper in the coming year.
(Toast with gravy the morning after–sublime)