Here in LA, the weather has dipped to a chilly 60 degrees, and we all know what that means: it’s almost Thanksgiving. (And that we have to start ordering hot coffees instead of iced.) With all that 2020 has wrought, I hope we all get what we need from Thanksgiving and the holiday season ahead. If that’s comfort, I hope it’s there in the form of mashed potatoes or stuffing or hugs from your “pod”. If that’s joy and light, I hope it’s there in absolutely nailing the turkey, perfecting the pumpkin pie, or setting a beautiful table.
If that’s a stiff drink, well, I hope you’ve been practicing your home bartending.
I posted a video to Instagram recently asking for your questions about what to make a little differently on Thanksgiving this year. Not trying to mess with the heavy-hitters, but what can we do with the sides and starters and such? Below, you’ll find my answers to your questions complete with recipes, as well as links to my favorite recipes for the rest of the meal.
Some light housekeeping—
First and foremost, a new playlist for Thanksgiving cooking… Golden oldies and bouncy remixes, just hit play and let it ride while you cook. Plus, Thanksgiving isn’t over until Mariah’s “All I Want for Christmas” plays, so I’ve capped the playlist with it.
Still need to pre-order your turkey? Check out Porter Road: pasture-raised, free-to-roam, antibiotic and hormone-free, game-changer turkeys raised at Jolly Barnyard that’ll ship the week before Thanksgiving. They serve up to 12.
As for the rest of the stuff? Food52 did an incredibly helpful list of things you can get at Costco for Thanksgiving, like deals on heavy whipping cream, Brussels sprouts, and bulk-buy potatoes.
And now… the recipes you’ve been waiting for.
The question posed was for some greens to serve that aren’t salad. My top picks:
Brussels sprouts with Fresno chili. And I prefer roasting them at 425F for 20-25 minutes, as the oven seems to produce more of those caramelized bits.
Shredded Brussels sprouts with nuts. Gorgeous and incredibly simple side dish.
Roasted broccolini with lemon and garlic. A classic hit of crunchy greens for any big meal, including this one.
Cauliflower with brown butter and parsley. This…needs no explanation, right?
Honorary mention: golden beet and pomegranate salad, a bright and delicious side dish for those who aren’t salad-averse.
Honorary mention, number two: curried roasted carrots. They’re not green, they’re not classic, but they are delicious.
For a Thanksgiving mainstay, stuffing has many many variations. Here are my favorites:
I use this recipe for my leek and kale stuffing, caramelizing leeks instead of onions and otherwise keeping the rest as-written. Made this last year, making it again this year.
Shiitake mushroom and sage stuffing. Earthy, warming mushrooms and buttery, herby sage mixed with really good bread? Yeah, yes.
Sausage and apple stuffing. Ina’s salty, sweet stuffing with tons of fall flavors.
Always the biggest conundrum, in my book. We don’t want anyone filling up on snacks and we don’t want anyone getting too drunk before we even sit down. Some ideas:
Broiled persimmon with prosciutto. It’s the autumnal version of summery prosciutto with cantaloupe and I’m all in for this.
Union Square Cafe spiced nuts. They’re a classic at NYC’s iconic Union Square Cafe for a reason and, what’s more, they’re dead-easy to make. You’ll scoff at plain salted nuts after you try these.
The crostini I’ll be making are from Elizabeth Minchilli’s book, The Italian Table, but here’s another (close) version. Add a pinch of cinnamon and some freshly grated Parmesan to that recipe and you’ll be quite close to Minchilli’s.
A butternut squash soup is a starter, not a snack. But worth mentioning because it’s a lovely way to open the meal and this recipe is excellent.
Negroni sbagliato. A Negroni, but with sparkling wine instead of gin. Otherwise known as easing into Thanksgiving.
Manhattan. The opposite of easing into Thanksgiving, but a perfect cocktail nonetheless.
Champagne cocktail. Celebratory drink to set the tone for the rest of the meal.
Green beans gremolata. They seem to appear on the table whether or not anyone’s made them. So… may as well.
Cranberry sauce. Make it yourself, don’t buy it. I beg of you.
Signing off until next week (when I come at you with gift guide pt 1).