Thanksgiving is all about pie. But if you can believe it, there are people out in the world that dislike pie. I know many of them; they’re prefer cake or cookies or ice cream. While part of me would like to talk all sorts of trash on them, I sort of get it.
I used to dislike fruit pies and would skip the fruit part all together and just dip the crust in whipped cream. That was before I learned that there are apples in the world that should be baked and others that should never ever be touched with heat. This made the world of difference.
Because these people who hate pie exist, I wanted to give you an alternative. This persimmon pudding is like a spongy cake with hot salty and sticky toffee sauce poured on top. It’s warm and soft and salty and sweet and ahhh! I made this a couple times and each time I was like, This might be better than apple pie!
Are you a corn syrup hater? You probably are. Everyone is and I get it. I do.
Since I use it so sparingly, I’m not that weird about it. There are some instances when it offers results that are pitch perfect. Examples: Fudge sauce (the sheen that corn syrup provides is dreamy) and marshmallows (man, oh man, it’s just a must).
I do hate corn syrup in ice cream. Oh good gracious. I can actually taste the acid in the corn syrup in the back of my throat. It’s awful. A lot of ice cream makers have started to include corn syrup because it provides such a glorious and smooth texture to ice cream. I get it. I do.
But there are other instances where corn syrup can easily be swapped out and I take those opportunities any chance I get. Namely, pecan pie. And in this case, walnut pie…with bitters because YAAASSSS!
Gravy is my everything. While I love it on everything from stuffing to slices of turkey to mashed potatoes, I REALLY love it the day after Thanksgiving. You know, when things have dried up a bit and really need that dreaded word we all hate: moisture. Cranberry sauce helps too and so does mayonnaise, which is actually foreshadowing as to what’s to come next week, but for now, GRAVY!
This gravy is thick and smooth and delicious. It starts by using the drippings from yesterday’s turkey. And I’ll say that the drippings from that turkey and its dry brine are VERY salty drippings. But I added a few things to combat that saltiness so no need to not get on this lil’ gravy train (do you see what I did there?).
Isn’t Thanksgiving the best? Even planning Thanksgiving excites me so very much.
For years and years and years, I dunked a raw bird in a wet brine and called it a day. Last year Josh spiced the brine with persimmons and quince and fall stuff like all-spice and cloves. I loved it. But, I also was curious if this was really even needed. I mean, it was kind of a pain. There was a trash bag involved and there’s something inherently weird about putting food you’re going to eat into a garbage bag, even if it’s clean.
So, I did some research. And turns out a lot of people we’re a million light years ahead of me with their hatred toward the wet brine. And some of the science behind why dry brines are best, made complete sense to me. (Serious Eats’ experimentation is super awesome.)
I decided to give the dry-brine a go this year and I’m so glad I did. This year it’s all ’bout the dry brine. Says who? Just me.
The brine I made consisted of salt, ground coriander, minced herbs like sage, rosemary and thyme, and zest from a lemon and orange. It’s really actually quite simple. The bird is rubbed with it the day before and the entire bird dry-brines for a good 24 hours.
There’s nothing fancy or weird or particularly unusual about this. I mean, it kinda reminds of how I like to roast a chicken. This recipe yielded the crispiest skin I’ve ever had on a turkey, which in my book immediately makes it a complete keeper. I would be completely content if someone served me crispy turkey skin ONLY. Of course, that’d be insane and v Paula Deen of me; not a cute look for me.
For the whole recipe and more pictures and a longer tirade about my love for this recipe and turkey, go to PBS Food!
Twice-baked potatoes are kinda basic, aren’t they? They are in an endearing way, of course. They’re simple and adorable and I kinda have the urge to pat them on the head and tell them they’re cute. But for this Thanksgiving, I wanted a side dish with a bit of class, so I decided that old favorite of ours needed a bit of a makeover.
This is its classier bigger sister; less cheese, less carbs yet still indulgent and delicious. Also, this is definitely the first time where I’m saying less cheese/less carbs and meaning it as a good thing.
The big T-Day is next Thursday and if you’re the organized cute person I know you are, you’re probably in big time planning mode. This week is Thanksgiving week on this lil’ blog. There will be sides. There will be a big bird. And of course, PIE will make an appearance!
To kick things off, we’re starting with the most important cooking aide: wine. Cooking is so much better, albeit a little more dangerous, when there’s a glass of wine in everyone’s hands. Wine has the ability to iron out all of the inevitable Thanksgiving woes like fun family tension, messing up the pie crust and maybe making the bird a bit too toasty.
I know most of you aren’t in Los Angeles, so I’m approaching this a few different ways. Two of these wines are available via Domaine LA and they can be shipped to you. If you’re in LA, you can obviously just stop in and pick them up.
We’re also providing tasting notes for each of these wines. The idea behind this is that you can go into your local wine shop and request a wine that tastes similarly.
So, for instance, with the wine just below, you can drop into a wine shop and say you’re looking for an orange wine that’s bright, a little chewy, and under $20-$25. And lastly, if the wine shop doesn’t have an orange wine, there are other alternatives listed that might be a good replacement.
2013 Folk Machine Jeanne d’Arc – (Chenin Blanc from California) Skin contact white wine, or “orange” wine, is so versatile with food because of its savory edge. A little chewy, golden and delicious.
Alternatives: Sherry, Chardonnay or Savagnin from the Jura, Bottle fermented beers, Cider.
NV Provenza Spumante Rosato ‘Turbian’ – (Gropello and Marzemino blend from Lombardy, Italy) Fruity but bone dry, refreshing and gulp-able. And a perfect example of why you shouldn’t buy wine based on how the bottle looks : \
Alternatives: Lambrusco, dry Italian or French rosé, Txakolina, Pink Petillant Naturel
It’s not every weekend when I get the opportunity to gather my friends together and host a dinner party, so when I was invited to be a part of the #BertolliGoldLabel Italian Progressive Dinner Party, I said a-ok!
I’m a pretty casual person; this means I like my dinner parties to feel very fuss-free. Here are some guidelines I like to follow:
1. I kinda start to stress out when I see the host get up a million times. I feel like I should help! I don’t want my friends to feel like this so I make sure everything is ready (entree included), on the table, served family-style. This means from the time they arrive everything is very laid back.
2. At least one course is completely store-bought. In this case it was the sauce from Bertolli (more on that later), cheeses, charcuterie, figs and grapes and olives. Easy breezy!
3. Wine matches the food. My friend Whitney helped with this, selecting the perfect, super affordable Italian wines to go with our Italian-inspired dinner.
I grew up eating renditions of this recipe. Every couple of years, as I got older, the recipe’s identity evolved from crazy plain to what you see now. I guess you could say I went from super picky, pain in the ass eater to normal human and this recipe was along for the ride during that entire journey.
When I was a teeny kid, my mother would make picadillo and it’d simply be fried diced potato with ground beef over rice. (I hated raisins, boiled eggs and olives…and tomatoes.)
During my preteen years, I warmed up to boiled eggs so that was added, along with the tomato base that is so well known in picadillo and honestly essential.
In my late teen years, I became ok with the addition of olives. But it wasn’t until my twenties when I fully embraced the raisins, which now I think are crucial.
The version you see is what my adult self LOVES. And it’s probably the closest to the authentic original that is so popular in Cuban restaurants.
Today we’re talking about fall dinner party inspo. I’m exploring the world of plates and linens and flowers and color schemes. This weekend I teamed up with Bertolli to throw a dinner party, as a larger part of their #Bertolli Gold Label Progressive Italian Dinner Party with a few other food bloggers (like Tracy, Beth, Carrian and Kristen).
While the virtual dinner party plays out with fantastic recipes (see menu below), I’m also taking this opportunity to get my friends together in a backyard and eat fancy cheese, stuff our faces with a persimmon galette (recipe coming soon!) and delicious porchini mushroom lasagna featuring a new Bertolli Gold Label sauce. But more on the food next week! When people think of Italy, the first thing they think of is food, but details are in the table setting, too. So today is all about the pretty images I’ve been hoarding on Pinterest as inspiration for a fall table.
I love the idea of having a fall table with absolutely zero orange. I personally adore the color orange, but isn’t it refreshing to see fall tables with other color schemes? For this particular table I wanted the color palette to be a cool blue, baby green and beige. It’s a lil’ bit California meets Italy, a little cozy and a whole lot of cute.
Do you have a food blog? I feel like many of you do. Or at the very least, you like to take photos of your food. We’re all weird, aren’t we?!
Last Friday, when I made this recipe, it was rainy and windy and a little cold. I was excited to cook and have the oven going, but I wasn’t in the mood to set things up, arrange forks on plates, pour a fake beer or style anything, even in a small way. I just wanted to cook and then eat. JUST LIKE A NORMAL PERSON.
So, I didn’t. At all. And this is what we get. No plates that match, no perfectly diced avocado, no homemade enchilada sauce and I even…wait for it, bought the cheese pre-shredded. I always, ALWAYS buy the blocks and grate it myself. Not last Friday!