Each meal upstate was a feast, as usual, but Thanksgiving dinner: especially so. The meal at our house is an increasingly a collaborative one, everyone chipping in a drink, a side dish, a dessert or tending the fireplace (important for keeping up warmth and morale!)
My mom is chief turkey officer, with supreme brining technique and always slow-roasts the turkey overnight (Weds to Thursday) which ingeniously frees up the oven all day on Thursday, so there's less fighting over the racks. Aside from her killer stuffing, mushroom gravy, and some straight up mashed potatoes, everything else on the menu seems to vary year to year. I lobbed up a bunch of suggestions (as the most enthusiastic recipe gatherer of the family). This is what else ended up on the table.
If it were up to me, I'd make every single one of these things again next year.
Oatmeal Molasses Rolls: These were amazing and I'd love to make them again immediately. They're a no-knead bread, and take as short as 4 hours, or as long as you pretty much want. I made the dough Wednesday, let it rise overnight, did a second rise for 4-5 hours on Thursday, then baked them so they were hot at dinner.
Shaved Fennel Salad: At thanksgivings passed, I've missed fresh greens, so we made this citrusy + light fennel, arugula, pine-nut, feta salad that has a bright lemon dressing. I also had some extra bosc pears left over from the cake I baked, so sliced that thinly and added it here. (Note: we didn't use dill or zucchini as the original recipe calls for)
Roasted sweet potatoes with sage, walnut pesto: I moderated my recipe from this one over at Food52 and substituted korean/japanese sweet potato wedges for the squash and toasted walnuts for the hazelnuts. So good. If you're also going to substitute, use 4-5 large sweet potatoes instead of 2 butternut squash, roast at 400, covered for 30 minutes, then 10 minutes more, uncovered.
Roasted Cauliflower with Raisins, Onions + Pine nuts: Another moderated dish based on Yotam Ottolenghi's Saffron Cauliflower recipe. Basically, follow the recipe, but double the amount of cauliflower, omit the olives / bay leaves, and add 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts. Make sure you absolutely blister the cauliflower to oblivion -- it's so much better when it's really, really roasted. Upside-down Pear Ginger Cake: My mom had gotten two pies from a local orchard, so I opted to make a cake for my dessert contribution. I found this via Molly, and love ginger-based desserts, so gave it a whirl. This was enormously successful, can be made up to a day ahead of time and is great with some fresh whipped cream. I didn't have a spring-form pan, so only made 2/3 of the batter (sufficient for a 9-inch cake pan). I also used 3 Tbsp of fresh grated ginger (I love ginger!). Awesome Cranberries: A family recipe passed down from Jacob's grandmother. Awesome cranberries are a multi-year tradition and Jacob requests cranberry sauce monopoly before embarking on this recipe. These are truly awesome: plenty tart, somewhat sweet, aromatic, spicy and great on everything for weeks after Thanksgiving.
Prep and cooking time (after assembling ingredients) about 45 min. (Makes about 3 cups)
3-inch piece of cinnamon stick
3-4 whole green cardamom pods, crushed open
1 teaspoon (5ml) whole cloves
1-2 hot green chilies, seeded
3 inch piece or orange zest
1 1/2 cups water (or some juice from an orange and some water)
3/4 cup (120 g) raw sugar
1/2 cup (80 g) pitted dates, sliced
1 pound (455 g)cranberries
1. Tie the cinnamon, cardamom pods, green chilies, and orange zest in a small piece of cheesecloth. Combine the juice or water, sweetener, dates, and spice bag in heavy bottomed, 2 quart saucepan over moderate heat and cook, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1/2 hour.
2. Remove the spice bag and pressing it to extract the flavor. Stir in the cranberries until the mixture thickens and the berries pop, about 15-20 minutes. Serve at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for as long as it lasts.
Party flare for my mother-in-law's birthday a few weeks back. We surprised her by decorating the house before she pulled up! The decorations were still up the next morning and all the neighbors came by to say happy birthday.
Two of mine + J's most frequent food cravings are noodle soups and bibimbap. There aren't really good options for either in North W'burg or Greenpoint (take note, biz people who want to open something in demand!), so on nights like last night we're left to our own devices. Google found me this Martha Stewart recipe and I adapted it for a late dinner. Note, the veggie selection is just what I had/could easily get. You could easily add/subtract other veggies to your liking.
Veggie Brown Rice Bowls w/Miso Ginger Sauce
1.5-2 cups brown rice (cook as many servings as you're making)
1 package extra firm tofu
1 large sweet potato or a few small ones (I like Japanese sweet potatoes)
Large bunch of greens (I used a bunch of baby bok choi, but you can use chard, kale or chinese broccoli as well)
1 cup chopped mushrooms (crimini, shitake, etc.)
1 large chopped carrot (I shave with a peeler)
1 can bamboo shoots
4 Tbsp Sesame oil
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Tamari or Soy Sauce
salt + pepper
2 tbsp white miso paste
large hunk of ginger - more than you think you'll need!
4 cloves garlic
honey (I like Mike's Hot Honey)
Sesame seeds (optional)
Roasted seaweed (optional)
This is going to seem labor intensive, but I promise, it's will be a lot of chopping up front but all in all is pretty easy. It does take some multi-tasking, but again: SUPER EASY.
Start by minicing all your garlic + ginger as they'll be used throughout. Then, start cooking your rice, with an eye on the time.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, dice the sweet potatoes, coat lightly with sesame oil and salt and roast for 30 minutes, covered.
Meanwhile, slice mushrooms and shave carrots into a bowl. Chiffonade greens into a separate bowl. Dice tofu into a third bowl.
Heat 1 tbsp sesame oil in a fry pan, add 1/4 ginger + garlic and saute. Add mushrooms, carrots and can of drained bamboo shoots. Salt + pepper to taste. Add 1 Tbsp soy sauce. Cook 5 minutes and return to bowl.
Using the same pan, heat another tbsp of sesame oil, add 1/4 ginger + garlic and saute. Add greens, salt + pepper to taste. Add soy sauce (Oyster sauce would also be good. I also added a squeeze of honey and a pinch of hot pepper). Cook 3-4 minutes and return to bowl.
Using the same pan, heat another tbsp of sesame oil, add 1/4 ginger + garlic and saute. Add tofu cubes and cook for 2 minutes, then shake pan and cook another 2-3 minutes. Return to bowl.
Make the sauce: combine final 1/4 ginger + garlic with 2 Tbsp miso paste, 1/4 cup tamari and a squeeze of honey or brown sugar to taste.
At this point, the rice and potatoes should be done, allow to cool a few minutes. Pull out big serving bowls and assemble. Put rice down first, then add greens, mushroom/carrot/bamboo shoot combination, tofu and potatoes. Top with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and crumbled roasted seaweed, if you have them. Add sauce to taste. Stir, eat, enjoy!
Last month, I had the chance to shoot a handful of NYC neighborhoods for a new project that launched on airbnb today: Neighborhoods. Neighborhoods helps contextualize those apartments you're renting--those homes away from home--with the look, feel, sense of dining options, transit, safety vs. danger, nightlife, boutiques, outdoor life and general vibe of the area that surrounds it. On a fundamental level, neighborhoods are crucial to your sense of comfort and community, and by extension, can have a huge impact on your experience when traveling -- whether for 1 night or a month.
Neighborhoods is live in 8 cities: Rio de Janeiro, New York, San Francisco, London, Berlin, Paris and Washington DC. Airbnb pulled together a global team of photographers to capture each of the neighborhoods that comprise these cities (including Jacob + friend Julia Robbs) here in NY. A few of my contributions are above, with more on the site. (Note: 1st image isn't mine, but the rest are.)