My Thanksgiving menu


Thanksgiving really is the best holiday. While I do love Christmas, Thanksgiving is wonderful in that you’re around friends and family and the centerpiece is food. And not just any level of eating; completely gorging yourself on food to incapacitation. And then you nap. Glorious. Here is what’s new to my Thanksgiving menu this year:

-Herbed Roast Turkey with Lardo – You heard me: Lardo. The fatty and unctuous cured fatback of pork will be used to add flavor and richness to the turkey. How so? You know how it’s suggested to add butter between the layer of skin and the breast meat? Why don’t we do our best Emeril and kick it up a notch with lardo? Butter melts so quickly while lardo will render slowly releasing its fat into the turkey. Yeah, it’s not really French to mix protein sources, but I’m not French. And neither is Thanksgiving. This lardo idea is a tweak from the sausage -laced turkey idea I did last year that I learnt from Michael Symon during an episode of The Chew. We loved this. But the sausage gave up so much of itself during the long cooking process that while the turkey was great, the sausage was less so. Lardo to the rescue.

-Rotisserie Turkey – Yup, another turkey. We’re feeding 12, another turkey is a must. The property where we spend Thanksgiving has a huge outdoor grill with a rotisserie. We’ve never used the rotisserie and figure no time is like the present. I’m looking forward to tending the bird as it does its slow rotation to deliciousness over heat and smoke. Thanks goes to the folks at Serious Eats for the guidance.

-Gluten-free dinner rolls – My friend, the Gluten-Free Girl, recently had this post on Food52 about a gluten-free dinner roll that also happened to be dairy-free and egg-free. I’ve taken this for a spin and it turned out great. Look forward to adding this to Thanksgiving dinner as there are members of our group that have allergies. But we’ll be subbing the almond flour for millet flour as there is also a nut allergy in our numbers.

-Fried crescent rolls – You heard me: fried crescent rolls. The tableside favorite, but with a twist. The inspiration behind this was the famed Cronut ™ (trademarked name to Dominique Ansel) from New York City that was explosively popular when it was first introduced in the spring. The idea for the cronut was to have a croissant-donut hybrid. Take the best of both worlds for each and voila; the Cronut™. But I’m not about to make a laminated dough, so I’m going to take Pillsbury crescent rolls and reshape those to my leisure. Here’s how to do it; par-bake the crescent rolls for six minutes at 375. Pull them out of the oven and drop them into frying oil that’s been heated to 350. Make sure they are golden, brown, and delicious (about 2-3 minutes total) pull them onto a plate lined with a paper towel and there you have it. Feel free to drizzle chocolate, a glaze, or decorate with powdered sugar or a cinnamon sugar sprinkle. You’re welcome.

The menu is still being finalized, but these are the dishes I’m excited about this Thanksgiving. What’s on your menu that you can’t wait start cooking? Happy Thanksgiving, enjoy the company of whomever you’re with, and see you around the table.

Thanksgiving leftovers, courtesy of David Chang

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A holiday that is centered around food. And this is the reason why I feel that Thanksgiving is pretty awesome. It’s the start of the holiday season, you’re around friends and family, and you can stuff yourself silly with food; all together it’s a winning combination. But amongst the volume of eating you’ll find yourself with a mountain of leftovers. Unless you can go through a 14 lb turkey, several side dishes, and pumpkin pie, chances are you’ll need to find something to do with them. Have no fear, David Chang has ideas for Thanksgiving leftovers. And they sound amazing.

David Chang is the brightest culinary star of the moment. An opinionated and supremely talented chef who has been a game changer in the restaurant world. His Momofuku restaurants are considered some of the best in New York and his style of food is utterly unique and blow-your-mind delicious. Recently, he and Peter Meehan released an amazing cookbook, Momofuku, that tells the story of Chef Chang and his restaurants. Needless to say, David Chang knows how to make enticingly tasty food.

Last year, I wrote a couple of short posts about Thanksgiving; one was about what wine to have with the dinner, the other was what to do with the leftovers. Chef Chang has taken what to do with those leftovers to another level. In a recent article in Food & Wine magazine, Peter Meehan did a short feature on what David Chang would do with Thanksgiving leftovers. And the results sound amazing. For example:

What’s really cool about some of these recipes is that they aren’t too ‘chefy,’ – recipes that are crazy complicated with obscure ingredients and technique most home cooks don’t have. Most of these recipes are straightforward and use the leftovers that stick around from Thanksgiving. I’m already looking forward to trying some of them.

Enjoy this Thanksgiving! Take in the moment, exhale, eat up, and most of all have fun!

Photo courtesy of Food & Wine

Tips for turkey leftover hangovers

Much like the rest of the country, I indulged and gorged yesterday on Thanksgiving. My mother did an excellent job with our turkey – she brined it, roasted it with a generous butter smear and added oranges, apples, and onions for aromatics. Delicious. But much like everyone else, we’ve got a ton of leftover turkey and need to find a few ideas for what to do with it.

What I like to do with mine (outside of reheated leftovers) is to get a fresh baguette, slice it up, put gravy on one side of bread, cranberry sauce on the other and turkey to separate the two. Heat up the gravy so you have this nice ying-yang with the warm, savory gravy and the tart, cool sauce. And add the stuffing if you want to end up on the couch afterwards. Simple, quick and easy; I love this.

Other folks on the internet have weighed in with some ideas. The team at Serious Eats made an entire list of sandwich ideas for their leftovers. Tom Douglas has recipes for turkey pot pie and turkey pho (as we know pho is usually made with beef, this is more like a turkey noodle soup). There are a ton of recipes out there for leftover Thanksgiving eats, but remember the advice that the Chicago Sun-Times has; keep things simple!

Enjoy the leftovers and get ready for the holiday shopping season!

Toasting to Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving upon us, many of us will be in the festive mood. You could be festive for holidays, football, food, or family. Maybe all those things! And celebrating the holidays is a perfect chance to enjoy a great bottle of wine with friends and family. But the tricky part is trying to make a sense of what wine to have with Thanksgiving dinner.

Sparkling wine

Beth in the Wedge, this section is for you. Sparkling wine is one of the most underrated of all wines. Sparklers are perfectly suited to match with a ton of food. An apertif? A good way to start the meal. Because Thanksgiving menus are so diverse, a sparkling wine would be perfect to pair. The bubbles and acidity refresh your tastebuds and palate. This is a good thing! And don’t hold yourself to just champagne! Prosecco (Italian) and Cava (Spanish) would be an excellent change of pace.

First off, not all sparkling wines are Champagne. This designation only exists for wines made in the Champagne region in France. Everything else is sparkling wine. Sparklers are a great way to make any moment special, the bubbles (the ‘mousse’) create a visual story. And good sparklers will have a complex flavor that is pretty close to magical. Cheers to that.

Alcohol levels

Alcohol levels are tricky, but there aren’t that many hard and fast rules. One Syrah could be at 13% while another could be at 15% – this happens across other varietals too. High alcohol occurs from leaving the grapes on the vine longer so the fruit gets more ripe and the sugar levels rise to create high alcohol levels.

The dilemma. High alcohol levels in wine (>14% alcohol) can get you a bit tipsy quickly. This could a be a good thing if alcohol is the only way for you to make it through a long dinner with your family, then imbibe indeed. At least indulge in good wine – just don’t drive home.

Low alcohol wines (<14%) are good to pair with Thanksgiving dinner because your palate won’t be fatigued and you’ll still be able to actively participate in the family festivities. Heaven forbid palate fatigue from too much alcohol – your mouth could get overwhelmed by a high volume of alcohol. Don’t you want to taste both the food and wine you’ll be enjoying? Palate fatigue is the moment when alcohol has bombarded your senses and your sense of taste has gone haywire. To lessen it’s impact, pace yourself. Enjoy your entrees, be patient. Everything will still be there – even your family.

Wine pairing

Like roast chicken, turkey can play nice with almost any type of wine. Full-bodied (rich, complex) is a way to go, but take care not to get anything that is too bold (strong flavors that lean one way too heavily). The subtleties of Pinot Noir or Viognier would be excellent. The tricky thing with Thanksgiving dinner are the sides; so many divergent flavors that could overpower the nuances of wine. Sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberries all make for a tough match. That’s why it would be a good idea to have a handful of bottles at the ready. Riesling is an awesome match; it’s bracing acidity and easy drinkability would be perfect for a rich meal like Thanksgiving.

Basically, have fun with dinner! Bask in the glow of the occasion and enjoy each moment with those around you. Happy Thanksgiving from Going for Seconds!