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brunch at the tavern  

Dedicated to the notion that one of the things that’s wrong with the world is that there aren’t enough waffles in it and everyone should sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes order “one for the table”.

-Amy Ephron

 
 

Beautify the Bird: Perfect Roast Turkey

by Lisa McRee
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russparsons.jpgI’m grateful for many things at Thanksgiving– family, friends, health, light traffic on the 405…all the usual suspects.  But as the person who hosts that gathering year after year, I am also grateful for this technique for a perfect dry-brine roast turkey that makes my old wet-brine birds seem spongy, bland and far too much work by comparison.

The method was developed by one of my favorite San Francisco chefs, Judy Rodgers. In her 2002 The Zuni Cafe Cookbook, Rodgers goes into great detail on why salting meats and poultry days ahead of the actual cooking promotes juiciness, texture and enhances flavor…flying in the face of what, until then, had been the conventional wisdom that the salting of meats should be done only at the last minute. Per her instruction, I tried it with dozens of dishes–from chickens to chops to pot roasts–and, in every instance, the technique worked beautifully.  But it never occurred to me to use it on the all important Thanksgiving turkey until The Los Angeles Times’ Russ Parson, one of my favorite food writers, declared it the definitive way to beautify the bird. And, boy, was Russ right.

World's Best Pumpkin Pie

by James Moore
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bestpumpkinpie2There are tons of pumpkin pie recipes, and in November all of the food shows and magazines are filled with both classic and innovative recipes. I think I’ve tried all of them – most started with canned pumpkin, and then the ingredients vary - some use heavy cream, others swear by evaporated milk, some are heavily spiced with cinnamon and cloves.

I love pumpkin pie, but have never found what I would call the BEST pumpkin pie until recently. I was watching an episode of America’s Test Kitchen (the leader in test perfected recipes) called “An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving”. The ingredients and the method were quite original and I couldn’t wait to try it.

There are a few extra steps, but well worth it. If you don’t want to make your own crust, you can use a Pillsbury Ready Made crust. Feel free to alter the amount of cinnamon (I used Penzey's Extra Fancy Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon Click here for Penzey's), but the fresh ginger is key to the pie’s flavor.

One for the Table's Stuffing Extravaganza

by The Editors
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Stuffing

by  Katherine Reback

nyc_1900.jpg My grandfather and several of my great uncles had a fur store in N.Y.  It was called Windsor Furs (to indicate, one can only guess, a regal presence previously unknown to 14th Street and 7th Avenue). Uncle Simon and Uncle Harry kept Windsor Furs well into their 90’s. And I would like to tell you all the funny, memorable stories I know about them and the shop.  But the thing that springs to mind at this moment is their business card. 

“Windsor Furs - Shop Here! Soon you will know the reason why.”

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Apple and Walnut Cornbread Stuffing

Aunt Lovey’s Turkey Stuffing Recipe

Bob Willett's Stuffing

Bruce Aidells' Cornbread Stuffing

Felicity's Oyster Stuffing

Lori's Thanksgiving Stuffing

Mama Montgomery's Rice Stuffing

Mom's French Meat Stuffing

Sausage, Dried Cranberry and Apple Stuffing

Flourless Pumpkin Cake

by Jessica Harper
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pumpkincakeSo you're preparing for Thanksgiving and you’re already irritable just thinking about the cooking tasks that lie ahead of you. You wish that it was your sister-in-law who was the one cooking, as usual, but she is bailing this year and going to Paris (where they have lousy pumpkin pie, by the way).

So there you are with the piles of sweet potatoes and cranberries, getting crabbier by the minute. Then you find out that two of your guests are non-dairy and two are gluten-free.

Before you have a nervous breakdown, try this dessert. It’s so easy you can make it plus a pie (for those who are gluten-gobblers and live for butterfat) and still not lose your mind.

Also, you will like it–it’s delicious, especially with a little whipped cream which your dairy-phones won’t like, but, hey, let ‘em eat cake.

Recipe of the Week: Cranberry Chutney Recipe

by Marie Coolman
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cranberry-apple-chutney.jpg2 golden delicious apples chopped (2 1/2 cups)
1½ cups cranberries, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 medium onion, minced
1 tablespoon crystalized ginger
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients in medium saucepan.  Bring to boil. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until apples tender and most liquid absorbed (about 30 minutes).

Cool to room temperature. Jar, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

 

Classic Sage Bread Stuffing for a Crowd

by James Moore
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classicstuffingThis recipe is a combination of technique and ingredients from Cook’s Illustrated and Joy of Cooking, which I suppose now makes it my own. There are tons of recipes with exotic flavors and ingredients, but if you’re looking for that classic Thanksgiving stuffing, this is the recipe to use. Drying the bread before making the stuffing is an important step for texture and flavor.

If you plan ahead, you can just leave the bread cubes out on the counter for a few days to become stale. I usually just spread them out on baking sheets and dry in a 300-degree oven for 30 to 60 minutes. Let the bread cool before using in the stuffing. You can substitute three 14-ounce bags of plain dried bread cubes for the homemade dried bread cubes, but you'll need to increase the amount of broth to 7-8 cups.

This recipe can easily be halved and baked in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish for a smaller crowd.

The Best Post-Thanksgiving Comfort Food: Turkey Dumpling Stew

by David Latt
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turkeystew.jpgUsually on Thanksgiving between 20-25 people come over for dinner. This year we had a smaller group. With 10, we had time to talk and there wasn't quite as much work getting the meal ready. Out of habit, though, we bought the same size turkey we always buy, a 25 pounder. So we assumed we'd have a lot of food left over, enough for several days of sandwiches.

When we looked in the refrigerator on Friday, we were surprised that we had very little cranberry sauce, almost no stuffing, and only enough white meat for a couple of sandwiches. But, happily, we did have a lot of dark meat and almost a gallon of turkey stock we'd made Thanksgiving night.

For our day after Thanksgiving dinner, I didn't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and I wanted a good comfort meal. Dumplings with anything is always great, but with richly flavored turkey stew, there's nothing more satisfying.

Moist 7-Up Pound Cake

by James Moore
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7upcake.jpgYears ago, when I was living on Beacon Street in Boston’s Back Bay, I was invited to a rooftop barbecue by my neighbor. Everyone was bringing something, so I thought a pound cake with fresh strawberries would be nice. It was a great party, and the host, who was raised in North Carolina, prepared an elaborate feast of primarily Southern Cuisine – ribs, chicken, baked beans, succotash, corn bread, etc.

When it came time for dessert, everyone seemed to enjoy the pound cake and berries and I asked our host if he liked the cake. He said it was good and asked if I made it with 7UP. When I said that I had NOT, he replied, “then this is pound cake’s cousin – a real pound cake has 7UP in it!” When I saw this recipe in the Summer Entertaining issue of Cook’s Illustrated, I decided to try it. It’s a great buttery cake with a delicious lemon-lime flavor. I guess my neighbor knew what he was talking about!

Mail-Order BBQ

by Amy Ephron
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porkbutt.jpgConfession: I love food that comes in the mail.

I, also love having something in the freezer just in case we decide on a whim to have eight people for dinner tomorrow night. Or tonight for that matter, but this only works if you decide this early enough in the day to defrost whatever it is you have in the freezer just in case you’re entertaining on a whim.

A few weeks ago, I was sent samples from Edwards & Sons Virginia Traditions BBQ. It was summer and I was really excited to get them, especially since the samples included an entire pork roast butt (completely suitable for a dinner party of eight or more).

I don’t write about things that are sent to me unless I love them. Those “crabcakes” from Baltimore come to mind, the ones that sort of resembled a baseball. We tried everything – we even put them in a tomato sauce and put them on top of spaghetti – no luck. A crabcake should not resemble a meatball!

The Herb Brush: A Great Summer BBQ Tool

by Adam Perry Lang
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herb-brush.jpgAny night this summer, you’ll find me hanging with friends, raising a frosty one in the backyard, while the kiddies run around and the guys flip steaks, burgers and chops. Is there anything better?

I’ll be using one of my favorite grilling tools, a do-it-yourself “herb brush” which I use to baste the meat while it cooks. Besides looking cool, it lets you slowly, steadily and subtly layer on the aromatic oils in those herbs, while keeping the meat moist. Using kitchen twine just tie a bunch of fresh herbs (any of your favorites will work: thyme, rosemary, sage, …) to the end of a wooden kitchen spoon. I like a really long spoon and it will make it easier to baste with.

And when you are done basting, you can chop up the herbs and add them to baked beans or sprinkle over grilled vegetables—you can’t do that with a regular basting brush! Herb brushes are great on beef, and on Fourth of July there's nothing I like more than an over 1-inch Rib Eye. Here's how you do it:

Lobster Pot Pie

by Nancy Ellison
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lobster pot pieWhether you choose individual ramekins or create a large pie, this recipe is meant to be general in its directions. Since I have no pastry skills, I will choose what seems the simplest way to make the pastry. Surely you will do better left to your own cleverness.

 

 

 

Amazing Waves

by Clark Little

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