“Anthony Bourdain always invites a ‘Stunt Turkey’ to his Thanksgiving Dinner. How about you?”
There is a question often asked, especially among Chefs. You might hear the words when you’re planning a holiday dinner, a birthday party or a really special event. The question may often sound like this: ‘if this were your last dinner party, who would be on your guest list?’ The ensuing answer results in a litany of the famous and infamous alike. I would like to rephrase the question, to your benefit of course.
My version: If you were planning ’The Last Dinner Party’ who would you choose to stand by your side in the kitchen? Who would be the members of your kitchen brigade? No rules and no guidelines, just pick your “dream team’. They may be media stars, or chefs who shun the limelight. Some will be household names and others not so much. One thing is for sure you must make your choice and stand by your brigade. It is ‘one for all and all for one’ until long after the last turkey has met his demise. After that a dose of tryptophan will morph itself into serotonin, resulting in happy dinner guests. That is – until they drift into a blissful holiday nap after dinner! If you must know who is on my team scroll on down, but do pour yourself a glass of Roman Roth’s Merlot!
Thanksgiving in the Hamptons Part II
- Thanksgiving is a big Holiday, with big food and even bigger crowds, so I did two big posts.
- My last post, Thanksgiving in the Hamptons 2019, was about a shopping trip Out East. How to do your holiday shopping in the Hamptons and indulge yourself before the big day.
- This week is Part II, and we talk about traveling East to visit family and friends for the Holiday or simply escaping to the East End for a very intimate long weekend for two!
Wine, Spirits, and Sparkling
First let’s set a few priorities and go wine shopping on the South Fork, have a look a Sylvia’s post – Exploring The South Fork Wineries – what are you bringing to dinner? A case of wine, a few special bottles of sparkling, and maybe a Spirit or two will assure you are fondly remembered all winter long!
Since 1988, Wölffer Estate Vineyards has been committed to producing premium distinctive wines, ciders and spirits through a dedication to quality, a penchant for style, and celebration of place.
- Grapes of Roth Merlot 2015: ‘Black in color with a dark red brick rim. Beautiful classic aromas of cassis, fine sandalwood, iodine, and leather fill the glass. The mouth-feel is rich and soft with amazing concentration and layers. Ripe fruit and dark chocolate are balanced with fine toasted oak notes, loads of velvet tannins and wonderful mushroom and earthy character. The finish is big and has great minerality and warmth and goes on for a long time. There is an overall intensity and dynamic that makes this Merlot very special and food friendly.’ -Roman Roth
- Wolffer Classic Red Blend 2015. 62% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc
- Christian’s Cuvee Merlot 2013 Velvety tannins and notes of licorice, leather, toasted oak’ and dark chocolate
‘Atlantic breezes at Channing Daughters Winery cool our vineyards creating a climate hospitable to a wide array of fascinating grape varieties. At Channing Daughters, we grow and create wines from over two dozen varieties. We are the only winery on the East End growing and producing wines from many of these grapes. Our home is a beautiful plot of land in Bridgehampton that contains twenty-eight acres of vines, our small winery and tasting room. We source about fifty percent of our grapes from special sites and people on the North Fork.’
- 2018 Sauvignon Blanc – Mudd Vineyard, North Fork of LI – 100% Sauvignon Blanc. This is a dynamic wine exhibiting medium body, moderate alcohol, juicy acidity and a long lasting, persistent finish with beautiful subtlety and delicacy. The 2018 Mudd Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc is fresh, vibrant, precise and alive! It possesses flavors and aromas of white grapefruit, lime, herbs, cut grass, talc, tangy white peach, a chalky, salty minerality and even some hints of tropical fruits and white flowers – just plain delicious! Don’t wait this year as yields were down a bit in 2018 and we only made 348 cases. 1 case max per customer.
- Rosato Cabernet Sauvignon Petillant Naturel 2018 – Made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon this bubbly has a gorgeous pale pink-salmony orange color and intoxicating aromas and flavors of sour cherry, sugar plums, yellow plums and watermelon accompanied by our telltale minerality. Dry and delicious with great texture and balance as well as luxurious feeling bubbles. Super versatile and can go with just about anything. Make sure to ice it down for thirty minutes before opening as it enhances this delectable sparkler to drink and open…and have your glasses and your senses ready! 1 case max per customer.
‘Today Duck Walk Vineyards encompasses 140 scenic acres. We produce some 5,000 cases of wine a year, and our wines have been repeatedly recognized for excellence in national competitions. From our Vidal Ice Wine made with grapes actually frozen on the vine, to our Blueberry Port crafted from wild Maine blueberries, to our unique Pinot Meunier, we strive to create wines that are distinctive and exceptional. At heart, we are still a family with a personal touch in every aspect of our business.’
- Malbec 2015 – Here on Long Island, as in France, we use Malbec as a blending grape to add fruit and color to other wines. However, in 2015, we have a Malbec we feel is a standalone wine that shows what a true Malbec can be. Aged in small oak barrels for 18 months, and left on secondary lees to aid in the softening of the wine’s big tannins and to add complexity.
- Pinot Noir 2013 – Shows lots of wild berries, raspberries, violet and a touch of cedar on the nose. On the pallet you get hints of darker fruit, cedar and dried cherries. This would pair wonderfully with lean pork, duck breast and hard aged cheese.
- Blueberry Port 2016 – Made with wild blueberries which are small, concentrated and brimming with flavor. Blueberries are slowly fermented then the wine is fortified and allowed to age for a year or more. 19% alcohol. Best served with anything chocolate.
Shopping for Dinner
Sometimes you need to bring dinner with you when visiting friends or family. Maybe it’s just a special part of the meal you want the way you want it! Or you are set on designing dinner yourself – because we all know someone who believes they can cook. And life is too short to have a bad meal, much less a terrible holiday dinner!
Here are a few choices for everything it takes to make a great Thanksgiving Dinner. Remember we covered some great choices in our last column Thanksgiving in the Hamptons 2019, as well.
- Cavaniola’s Gourmet in Sag Harbor and other Hamptons Locations, They have an entire Holiday Menu ready for you!
- Hampton’s Aristocrat does just about everything, have a look at the food pics and it all started with their Food Truck! Maybe they do have everything…
- The Art of Eating, more appropriately referred to as “The Art of the Party,” has a unique insight into event planning. Intimate dinner party or extravagant wedding, they have it down!
Who I want to cook with… I should be so lucky!
Pardon my references to Anthony Bourdain in the current tense; in the past decades my chefs have shared their stoves with more than a few spirits. It seems that a brigade of ghosts have rescued us from the weeds more times than we care to admit!!
Mr. Bourdain is a man of many appetites. For years, first as a chef, later as a world-traveling chronicler of food and culture on his CNN series Parts Unknown, he has made a profession of understanding the appetites of others. These days, however, if he’s cooking, it’s for family and friends. What about the Stunt Turkey? You must buy a copy of Tony’s new book to learn the secret. Appetites, Tony’s first cookbook in more than ten years, boils down forty-plus years of professional cooking and globe-trotting to a tight repertoire of personal favorites—dishes that everyone should (at least in Mr. Bourdain’s opinion) know how to cook. Once the supposed “bad boy” of cooking, Mr. Bourdain has, in recent years, become the father of a little girl—a role he has embraced with enthusiasm. After years of traveling more than 200 days a year, he now enjoys entertaining at home. The result is a home-cooking, home-entertaining cookbook like no other, with personal favorites from his own kitchen and from his travels, translated into an effective battle plan that will help you terrify your guests with your breathtaking efficiency.
‘Kitchen Science’ was an obscure term when I stepped into my first professional kitchen over 50 years ago. Today the work of J. Kenji López-Alt has been instrumental in making food better for everyone through science.
Ever wondered how to pan-fry a steak with a charred crust and an interior that’s perfectly medium-rare from edge to edge when you cut into it? How to make homemade mac ‘n’ cheese that is as satisfyingly gooey and velvety-smooth as the blue box stuff, but far tastier – and more nutritious? How to roast a succulent, moist turkey (forget about brining!)—and use a foolproof method that works every time? As Serious Eats‘ culinary nerd-in-residence, Kenji has pondered all these questions and more. In The Food Lab, he focuses on the science behind beloved American dishes, delving into the interactions between heat, energy, and molecules that create great food. Kenji shows that, often, conventional methods don’t work that well, and home cooks can achieve far better results using new—but simple—techniques. In hundreds of easy-to-make recipes with over 1,000 full-color images, you will find out how to make foolproof Hollandaise sauce in just two minutes, how to transform one simple tomato sauce into a half dozen dishes, how to make the crispiest, creamiest potato casserole ever conceived, and much more. On cooking for Thanksgiving, Kenji talks crispy skin, sous vide, traditional turkey. My practice turkey just flew out of the oven – see Kenji’s take on crispy turkey skin. Kind of like turkey potato chips! When I find myself lost in the sauce I want this ‘Nerd Chef’ in my kitchen.
I have been in the kitchen at Per Se, sneaked a peek at the TV screen that showed The Laundry’s kitchen prepping their Mise en Place for service. Ad Hoc is where these chefs want to eat dinner – me too!
Thomas Keller, in his new cookbook Ad Hoc at Home, details his casual restaurant Ad Hoc in Yountville, California. He showcases more than 200 recipes for family-style meals. This is Keller at his most playful, serving up such truck-stop classics as Potato Hash with Bacon and Melted Onions, grilled-cheese sandwiches, and heartier fare including beef Stroganoff and roasted spring leg of lamb. In fun, full-color photographs, the great chef gives step-by-step lessons in kitchen basics— here is Keller teaching how to perfectly shape a basic hamburger, truss a chicken, or dress a salad. Best of all, where Keller’s previous best-selling cookbooks were for the ambitious advanced cook, Ad Hoc at Home is filled with quicker and easier recipes that will be embraced by both kitchen novices and more experienced cooks who want the ultimate recipes for American comfort-food classics. Check out TK’s juicy crispy Thanksgiving Bird and his Thanksgiving Feast. Beyond my Brigade, I want to cook at Ad Hoc next to TK when it’s time for ‘Family Meal’
So what does a Scottish Chef hailing from Stratford-Upon-Avon know about the most American of Holidays? Apparently his newest book Cooking at Home might easily suffice as the bible on everything a proper Thanksgiving should be!
Gordon Ramsay says ‘My rules are simple. Home cooking has to be easy. It’s got to be fast. It’s got to be delicious. If you think you can’t cook amazing food at home, think again. I’m going to prove that however busy you are it’s still possible to cook stunning food. These are the only recipes you’ll ever need.’ In Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking, Gordon does Thanksgiving! Gordon trained with Albert Roux and Marco Pierre White in London, and Guy Savoy and Joël Robuchon in France. That says it all, well almost all, now for the rest of the story.
- From the New York Times: My Thanksgiving – Behind the collective feast and public ritual lies a personal dimension: the holiday as each of us has lived it, laughed about it, imagined it or reinvented it. Nine accomplished writers share their stories of the holiday.
- How to Be the Perfect Thanksgiving Guest – A Script to Play the Role of Guest Star by Pete Wells
- Seth Godin… A Thanksgiving celebration Full Vs. Enough A very special classic from Seth – check out his Thanksgiving Reader.
- A Guide By The NY Times – How to Plan & Cook Thanksgiving & The NYT Menu Planner.
Guess who’s open for Turkey Dinner
- The Palm – Pre Fixe & Regular menu
- Pre Fixe Menu: $65 per person $24 for kids under 12 yrs old | Open earlier: Noon or 1pm
- The 1770 House – 2pm – 8pm ~ $95 for Adults | $40 for Kids under 12 years old
- Page – 3pm – 9pm $59 pre-fixe & a la carte menu
- Maidstone $90 for Adults | $40 for Kids – 12- 8pm
- Pierres – 11am – 9pm Thanksgiving menu
Our Thanksgiving Tradition
- our wish is that you enjoy the very best Thanksgiving
- share this holiday with family, friends, a new co-worker or neighbor down the hall
- think about those that have less, but always make it feel like more
- talk to an old friend who you have not spoken to in forever for a reason you no longer remember
- help someone in need, someone special, someone you love
- spend the holiday sharing and giving, food, wine, music, friendship, love
- make this the very best Thanksgiving ever, because it matters