BUT...I wanted to write a bit about our Thanksgiving menu. I am not big turkey fan and have manufactured many creative alternatives to turkey over the years: pheasant (eh), deep fried turkey (good but still turkey), beef Wellington (shit-ton of work) and many more bird variations.
However, we are in year three of a new tradition. My son Noah makes a Turducken (a Cajun specialty).
Besides this monstrous set of birds, we will also be having some traditional sides like creamed onions and string beans almondine (French), which my friend Julie Schirmer is making and bringing. I, on the other hand, am making Momofuku's Roasted Brussels Sprouts, among other things (Japanese). Momofuku is a fantastic restaurant in NYC which does not take reservations and there is always a long line to get in...but the wait it completely worth it. They make an amazing dish that makes life worth living when you are having "one of those days". I consider myself very fortunate to have the recipe. I will share it with you.
· 2 tablespoons very thinly sliced cilantro stems, plus 1/2 cup leaves
· 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
· 2 pounds brussels sprouts (smaller ones are better)
· Grapeseed or other neutral oil as needed,
1. Combine the vinaigrette (below), cilantro stems, and mint in a bowl, and set aside.
2. Peel away any loose or discolored outer leaves, trim the dry end of the stems with a knife, and cut the sprouts in half. Cut any especially large ones in quarters. You must make sure the sprouts are very dry.
3. To roast the brussels sprouts : Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or just enough to evenly coat the bottom of the pan) in 2 oven-safe wide skillets (12 to 14 inches) over medium heat. When the oil slides easily from side to side of the pan, add the brussels sprouts cut side down. When the cut faces of the sprouts begin to brown, transfer the pan to the oven to finish cooking, about 15 minutes. Alternately, if you don't have 2 large skillets or are cooking more sprouts for a larger crowd, roast them in the oven: toss them with 1 tablespoon of oil per pound and spread them on a baking sheet, cut sides down. Roast in the oven, checking for browning every 10-15 minutes, tossing them around with a spatula only once they start to brown nicely.The sprouts are ready when they are tender but not soft, with nice, dark brown color.
4. Serve warm or at room temperature. When ready to serve, divide the brussels sprouts among four bowls (or serve it all out of one big bowl), top with the dressing to taste and cilantro leaves, and toss once or twice to coat.
Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
· 1/2 cup fish sauce (only use Three Crabs brand of fish sauce. It is available in Portland Maine at the Sun Oriental Market- see picture below)
· 1/4 cup water
· 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
· Juice of 1 lime
· 1/4 cup sugar
· 1 garlic clove, minced
· 1 to 3 red birds-eye chiles, thinly sliced, seeds intact. (I use jalapeno)
1. Combine the fish sauce, water, vinegar, lime juice, sugar, garlic, and chiles in a jar. Taste; If too salty, add more water and/or lime juice. This vinaigrette will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.
- port glazed mushrooms with black truffle oil(France)
- Susan Stanberg's Grandmother's cranberry sauce (Brooklyn)
- Green Tomato chutney (India)
- Garlic mashed potatoes (Maine)
- Norwegian pies (our friends the Ortengren's are bringing those)
- pumpkin chiffon pies that my mom is bringing and is the best pumpkin pie I have ever had.
I hope your holiday is full of friends, family, rich traditions and new surprises.