FAQs for the Holiday Chef
Each year I am asked many of the same questions during the holidays, so I thought I would put it out there for you all to read. Many people are surprised when I say I cook on Thanksgiving Day, but of course I do—cooking is my passion, and I enjoy indulging my family and friends during the holidays. For me, cooking is a gift to be shared with the people you care for the most.
Q: Do you do all the cooking yourself on Thanksgiving?
I sure do. During the year, I don’t always have an opportunity to cook at my leisure. Therefore, during the holiday season I cook all my favorite foods for the people I love. This year there were only six of us at the Thanksgiving table, but I still made three entrées, six sides, and four desserts.
Q: Do you cook a Thanksgiving turkey?
It may come as a surprise, but I do not. Nobody in my family enjoys it so there is no reason to spend hours preparing one. Instead, I served tea-smoked duck, braised grass-fed beef with star anise and daikon from our garden, and roast chicken with wild rice stuffing and a steak for Allie!
Q: What else goes with your Thanksgiving Dinner?
This Thanksgiving, my side dishes were fresh from the garden. We pickled beets with red tropea onions and Korean turnip (just picked). Wednesday, Luis and I picked Tuscan kale and red bore kale from our garden (the frosty weather makes them extra sweet). I braised the greens with tomato, vinegar, and duck fat-–delicious. I also made sweet corn from the frozen corn I stored from the farmer’s market this summer. I also love simmering root vegetables and tossing them with lots of butter; this year, we combined red turnips, sweet potato, parsnips, and potato from our garden. Then they are mashed lightly with a fork so they keep their individual textures and flavor and then folded in lots and lots of Kerrygold Irish Butter. It’s one of our fall specialties at home.
Q: What’s for dessert?
My favorite Thanksgiving recipe (this year) is Tarte Tartin found in, “The Way to Cook” by Julia Child. We buy a lot of apples in the fall, sometimes too many and we can’t eat them or preserve them fast enough. This year, I got brave and tried making this French classic for the first time. It was fairly simple and the results were spectacular. I found fresh pie dough at Whole Foods, which made it even easier.
But not everyone likes apple pie. So we had warm chocolate cake for Allie, chocolate pecan pie for Luis and Big Bowl’s Coconut Pumpkin Pie for Grace.
What a pleasure to prepare and share food my family and friends! And of course with this much food everyone goes home with leftovers for the next day.