Friday, November 29, 2019

Thanksgiving 2019

Time for a breather amid my tales of our trip to Japan . . .

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and, as always, our family met at our apartment. This year we had fourteen, and I decided to repeat my menu of 2018 with few changes. Why argue with success? Here's what I made:

For hors d'oeuvres, I made Michael Romano's great bar nuts from the Union Square Cafe Cookbook, roasted with an inspired combination of rosemary, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, butter and salt,

Union Square Cafe bar nuts
as well as Whipped Feta Dip, from Milk Street, served with fresh pita chips.

Whipped Feta Dip from Milk Street
For some reason, I have been craving tonnato (tuna) sauce lately, the kind used in vitello tonnato. I turned to Marcella Hazan's iconic Essentials of Italian Cooking for her recipe, but altered it greatly to make it into a stand-alone dip, served with little endive leaves for dipping.

Tonnato dip with endive leaves
This was accompanied by Dorie Greenspan's simple but delicious mustard batons and my hors d'oeuve de résistence, Shrimp with Toasted Garlic (Camerones de Ajo) from Tyler Florence.

Tyler Florence's Shrimp with Toasted Garlic (Camerones de Ajo)
This is always a huge hit, especially with my seve year-old great nice and her grandfather (my brother).

For me the actual dinner is less interesting. I made my usual turkey, a version of Julia Childs' deconstructed turkey (which Michael Chiarello's fennel seed rub) cooked over sausage stuffing from The Food Lab (also the source of my gravy recipe),

Deconstructed and carved turkey
accompanied by hashed Brussels sprouts quickly sauteed with lemon and poppy seeds, also from the Union Square Cafe Cookbook (I added toasted pine nuts, which I love, but found they offered little to this dish),

Union Square Cafe's Hashed Brussels Sprouts
and Sweet Potato Gratin from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook,

Ottolenghi's Sweet Potato Gratin
together with my fiery cranberry mostarda, a confit of dried cranberries and cranberry juice, mustard seeds soaked in wine, mustard powder, orange zest, cinnamon and lots of Champagne vinegar, a recipe from Food and Wine.

Cranberry mostarda
For dessert, guests were kind enough to bring a pumpkin pie, a chocolate cake and (yes, it's true) a peppermint cake, but I had to make at least one, in this case Clotile Dusoulier's Flourless Orange and Ginger Cake, a moist masterpiece of a cake suitable for serving friends with celiac disease (my celiac-afflicted friend has become addicted) and for Passover. This is one of my best recipes: it's easy, can be made a day or two in advance and never ceases to please. By the way, I use clementines rather than oranges.

Clotilde Dusoulier's Orange and Ginger Cake
So there it is, a large meal, followed by a good night's sleep and thoughts of what to do next year.

Bobby Jay

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