Category Archives: Thanksgiving

‘Tis the Season for Seasonal Salad: Spinach, Endive and Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Maple Vinaigrette

When it comes to food and the holidays, I have a weakness for tradition. And even though I am the kind of person who will eat anything and everything you put in front of me anytime of day (as long as there is some hope of it being delicious), for the holidays I like to stick with tradition. Because, after all, that’s what the holidays are all about; doing the same rituals year after year after year so that in an ever changing world we at least can rely on turkey on Thanksgiving, prime rib for Christmas and potato latkes for Hannukah. I find comfort in this. For Christmas dinner, which I have made every year for my entire family for the past five years, I always start with a seasonal salad. In my opinion, every elegant holiday meal should start with some hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and conversation, followed by a seasonal salad, a hearty main course and something special for dessert. This spinach and endive salad is the perfect salad for your holiday meal. It’s the ideal combination of this season’s flavors and is so easy it won’t take time away from the the rest of the meal you’ll be perfecting this holiday season.



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Filed under Appetizer, Christmas, Dinner, Fall, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, In Season, Lunch, Salad, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian, Winter

Eat, Drink, and Be Thankful: Thanksgiving Menu 2011

Thanksgiving is next week. I’m not going to be in charge of cooking this year. For that, I am thrilled and thankful. However,  I am in full anticipation of the holiday anyway because I’ve had more than a few conversations with friends who are suffering from Thanksgiving dread.  And I’m not talking about Thanksgiving food dread. I’m talking about Thanksgiving awkward-family-time dread.

One of my friends asked me the other day, “Why do I have to go to my brother’s in-law’s ranch in Texas?  I’m going to be forced to watch football and talk about investment banking. I hate both of those things.”

“Maybe you’ll get to ride a horse?” I shrugged. His eyebrows lifted and I saw a glimmer of hope in his eye and his crest-fallen demeanor shift for a moment.

“Maybe.” he whispered to himself, already lost in the daydream of horseback riding somewhere in the Lone Star state.

Another friend told me that Thanksgiving is always depressing for her because the average age at her family’s gathering is about seventy-nine-years-old and she feels like she’s eating in a nursing home cafeteria. Then there’s my friend who has given up on the holiday entirely, and uses it as an excuse to go to Cabo every year with his girlfriend. Then there are my doctor friends who are on-call through the holiday but have confided in me that they secretly couldn’t be more thankful for this excuse, as their “tolerance” for their extended family has become lower every year.

But the truth is, if you don’t have to cook Thanksgiving dinner than you’ve got it easy. Just relax and enjoy. It’s the one day of the year, when that’s all you’re supposed to do; eat, do nothing and be thankful for it. Because someone has to do the cooking. So for those of you who do have to do the real hard part, I’ve compiled a list of Thanksgiving menu options from the 3mbb archive to help you out. So whatever your plans are, eat, drink and be thankful that someone is cooking for you.

Hors d’oeuvres

When I was a kid, the hors d’oeuvres at Thanksgiving always stole the show. I remember often being full by the time we sat down to eat turkey because there’s only so much brie an eight-year-old can eat. So if you want to do more than a cheese plate for cocktail hour this year, here are a few appetizers to throw in to the mix.


We always had Nana’s Limpa Bread at our Thanksgiving table. I think you should too.


Soup is an elegant way to start the Thanksgiving meal. And the best part is that this impressive first course can be made ahead of time which will save you time and stress on Thanksgiving day.


There’s no better way to enjoy the Fall harvest than with a salad of seasonal fruit, cheese and nuts. All three of these will do the trick.

Vegetables and Sides

Who needs plain-old mashed potatoes? Mix it up this year with these exciting side dishes.


There are no recipes for Thanksgiving turkey on So here is a link to the turkey recipe I love to use on Thanksgiving. It’s always a huge hit.


Tired of pie? Add some variety to the dessert table this year with some of these festive fall desserts. (My favorite is the date cake!!)


Filed under Heather Platt, Thanksgiving

Cookbooks: Thomas Keller’s Smashed Roasted Marbled Potatoes with Garlic Confit

This cookbook is really big. Not just big as in famous, but in actual size. It’s a BIG book. It looks marvelous and handsome on a coffee table. In fact, I’ve pined after this book for quite a while.  I’ve found myself, on more than one occasion, in someone’s living room, surrounded by politely mingling well-dressed party guests, siting on a sofa hunched over the coffee table, happily flipping through the pages of this giant book. Only to realize, abruptly, thirty minutes later that I have rudely ignored everyone in the room and failed miserably at any potential networking opportunity that may have presented itself to me. I then rationalize this loss with the fact that I now have Thomas Keller’s recipe for roasted marbled potatoes with garlic confit  memorized. And quite frankly, I can’t wait to go home and make it.

I recently got my hands on my very own copy of this enormous book. My boyfriend is either really sweet, or really hungry for French food. But in any case, I was charmed when I took a closer look and found that this compilation of family-style recipes from his restaurant Ad Hoc was inspired by the kind of meals he makes for his staff to eat at the restaurant. Hearty, classic, delicious feasts for a family, or a family of friends to share together.



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Filed under Dinner, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, Side, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian

Countdown to Thanksgiving T-Minus 2 Days: Thomas Keller’s Leek Bread Pudding

I’ll admit it: I’m a sucker for any recipe with a fancy chef’s name attached. And now that I think about it, I’m a sucker for bread pudding of any kind, sweet or savory. And, I love leeks. I think it’s because they’re common in French cooking and I cling to anything that makes me feel French. So you can only imagine how excited I was to find this Thanksgiving recipe from Thomas Keller’s cookbook Ad Hoc at Home. If you’re feeling a little squashed- and potatoed-out this year, the bread pudding is a perfect savory Thanksgiving side alternative. And if you can’t imagine it this week with turkey, save it for the Christmas dinner table. I served it with roast beef tenderloin for my friend’s birthday and it was a huge hit. And despite the fancy chef’s name attached, it’s actually quite easy and fun to make.



Leek Bread Pudding

  • 2 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices leeks (white and light green parts only)
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 cups 1-inch cubes crustless Brioche (I used Challah)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup shredded Comté or Emmentaler

    Filed under Fall, Heather Platt, In Season, Side, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized, Winter

    Countdown to Thanksgiving T-Minus 2 Days: Truffled Whipped Cauliflower

    There are so many classic Thanksgiving dishes that are starchy and carby and overload you before the real reward of Thanksgiving: the pie! To help you save a little more room for dessert, make this elegant, easy, and healthier whipped alternative to mashed potatoes.

    Cauliflower already tastes great with just butter and cream and salt, but the truffle oil brings out the nuttiness of the vegetable in a truly special way. To amp up your presentation, serve this puree inside a whole roasted pumpkin. (I’ll be stuffing a whole roasted pumpkin with yams and other orange foods this Thanksgiving for my potluck dish. Look out for photos after!) Please also feel free to add roasted garlic or parmesan to make the puree taste even richer.

    This dish can be made a couple of hours ahead and reheated before serving.



    Truffled Whipped Cauliflower

    Serves 4

    • 1 cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
    • 1 1/2 tsp. truffle oil
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 4 tbsp. heavy cream
    • salt
    • pepper

    Bring a large pot of water to boil. When water reaches a rolling boil, add salt. Cook the cauliflower in boiling water until soft, then drain cauliflower and transfer to a blender or food processor. Add butter, truffle oil, cream, and blend until very smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return to a dry saucepan, and simmer for a few minutes until slightly thickened. Serve hot.


    Filed under Fall, Gluten-free, In Season, Side, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian, Winter

    Countdown to Thanksgiving T-Minus 3 Days: Green Beans with Carmelized Shallots

    Green beans are the classic Thanksgiving vegetable. They are often the only green thing on the table. This year, I encourage you to make as many green things as you’d like. I also recommend that when it comes to the vegetables: keep it simple!

    Last year, I was told by the most qualified chef I know the single most important piece of Thanksgiving cooking advice: Make as much ahead of time as you can. The vegetables are one of those things that usually need to be cooked last since they don’t take long to cook. And no matter how much cooking I tried to do in advance, that last hour or two before serving feels like utter chaos. You’re going to be busy making gravy, stuffing and trying to talk to your lovely guests you’ve invited. So trust me, you’ll want the veggies to be pretty simple. And when I say simple, I don’t mean boring.

    Carmelizing some shallots to toss in with your green beans gives them a fancy kick that everyone will gobble down. And most importantly, most of it can be prepped well in advance. The green beans can be boiled a day in advance and stored chilled, and the shallots can be made up to 2 hours ahead of time and left covered at room temperature, which I highly recommend. All you have to do is toss them together in a skillet for a few minutes before serving. This recipe is based on a recipe from Bon Appetit, Decemeber 2006.



    Green Beans with Carmelized Shallots

    Serves 8

    • 1 1/2 lbs green beans, ends trimmed
    • 3/4  lb shallots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

    Cook green  in boiling salted water until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain well and transfer to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well. 

    Melt butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low; sauté until shallots are browned and tender, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Add green beans to shallots in skillet and stir over medium-high heat until heated through, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.

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    Filed under Fall, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, In Season, Side, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized, Vegetarian, Winter

    Countdown to Thanksgiving, T-Minus 7 Days: Sweet Potato Purée with Brown Butter

    I’ve already made this beautiful bright orange purée three times this fall. (It also happens to be fantastic with pork.) I honestly think it should be on everyone’s must-make Thanksgiving side list because it’s so easy and seriously delicious.  It takes very little time. Just think about all of the things you can be peeling, stirring and chopping while those sweet potatoes roast!



    Sweet Potato Purée with Brown Butter

    Serves 8

    • 6 large red-skinned sweet potatoes (also known as yams)
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
    • salt, to taste

    Preheat oven to 400°F. Roast yams for one hour. When yams are tender, remove from oven and let cool slightly.

    While yams are cooling, make brown butter. Place butter in a skillet over medium heat and cook until butter turns light brown, approximately 4 minutes.

    When yams are cool enough to handle, remove the skins and place in food processor. It should be easy to peel the skin off, as it will be loose from roasting.  Another technique is to cut the yams lengthwise and scoop the yam flesh out and into the processor.  Add the brown butter and purée until very smooth. Season to taste with salt.


    Filed under Fall, Gluten-free, Heather Platt, Side, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized