Monday, November 22, 2010


This is the time of year when we begin preparations for the holiday season, even if it is just a mental adjustment. The weather is changing, the light is changing, the time has changed, the colors are changing. That is a lot to adjust to.  It is no wonder many people feel especially stressed right now, as we stare down the home stretch of the biggest family meal of the year.
My approach is to go with the flow as much as possible by following the lead of the evolving colors outside my door.

 Like a small school girl, I can't resist picking up pretty colored leaves that I find carpeting the sidewalks these days.

The last of my crop of heirloom tomatoes. I think my total yield was about 10 tomatoes for the whole season. Pitiful, but proud. We just don't get enough sunshine in my backyard to support this crop, but I had fun visiting the plants each day with hope in my heart and will certainly give it another shot next summer.

 Time to bring some plants in from the garden. The coleus is from a cutting off a magnificently growing bush in my backyard that is now curled up and leafless. I managed to get the cuttings in the nick of time. We shall see if it survives the minimal sunlight on my windowsill over the winter.

Can you believe another crazy colored cauliflower? 
These butternut squashes came from a farm stand on the corner of Bleecker Street and Sixth Avenue, not exactly a rural area! They each weigh almost five pounds. Heavy lifting on the subway ride home.

To simplify Thanksgiving, go with the produce that looks best and has bright color. A basic roast vegetable dish will bring out maximum flavor. No need for elaborate cheese sauces. Throw a lot of peeled garlic on the roasting pan around the vegetables and drizzle olive oil over everything. A good hot 400 degree oven will get your vegetables golden and fork tender in as little as 30 minutes depending on how small you cut everything.
These roasted vegetables will make a magnificent display on the Thanksgiving table. Pictured here is the orange cauliflower, the butternut squash and a variety of an Asian yam.  Don't be afraid to keep things basic. No one wants a stressed out dinner. Let the ingredients do the work for you by showcasing what they have been working on all summer out there in the field absorbing all that sunshine and nutrients from the soil. The taste and color is a gift from nature! Thanks, nature!

Amanda, what should we be looking for to pair with our dinner this year? Thanksgiving tends to be a heavy meal with a lot of rich sauces so I will be looking for something crisp and light for the white and something smooth and fruity for the red. I can't wait to hear what you suggest!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!!!

The roasted vegetables look beautiful! And so easy! As for wine, this is one of those dinners where you don't have to look for the "perfect match" as there are so many different elements to the Thanksgiving dinner. Just look for those wines that are the most food friendly.

Every year, I choose a variety of wines to enjoy at the table - wines I know everyone will love. For those of you that will be enjoying Turkey with your feast, Riesling is a great match for white, and Pinot Noir is a great selection for red. (These are great choices for purely vegetarian fare as well...) This year, I am going to incorporate a sparkling Rose into the mix with my Thanksgiving meal. I love to enjoy Champagne or sparkling wine with my dinner, and Thanksgiving is just the opportune time to sip some bubbly with the main course. Many people think of Champagne as something to be poured for a toast, or to accompany hors d'oeurvres. But it is wonderful alongside entrees as well. It contributes a wonderful "vibe" to holiday dinners!

My selection will be as follows: I will bring some Prosecco, which is a big hit with my family, for the afternoon pre-dinner festivities. This includes a large variety of cheeses, dips, spreads, chips, veggies, etc. Prosecco is ideal. We sip it all afternoon. For the sit-down part of our meal, I will be enjoying Domaine Carneros Brut Rose (a delightful sparkler from California), Zind Humbrecht Pinot Blanc (a white from one of Alsace's greatest producers),and Georges Duboeuf Morgon Jean Descombes 2009. I highly recommend a Cru Beaujolais - these are wonderful accompaniments to Thanksgiving fare. Not your typical, run-of-the-mill Beaujolais - these are the "cream of the crop", the highest level of Beaujolais. To set these apart from the more mass-produced Beaujolais Villages and Beaujolais Nouveau, producers do not put the word " Beaujolais" on the label. These are spectacular, very affordable wines. The aforementioned Morgon, for example, retails for about $12.99. And, the 2009 vintage is one of the best ever, so now is the time to indulge in these gems. Look to Georges Duboeuf for consistently good quality wines.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

  1. I agree that a simple roasted root vegetable dish needs very little time to prep and cook yet tastes spectacular. I've been experimenting with celeriac and find that particular root needs a longer time to roast than other comparable veggies.


Thank you for your comment. Spammers have forced me to now review every comment before publishing. So please bear with me as I read through your comment. Thank you for visiting the blog!