My favorite day of Thanksgiving break is the day before the holiday, when work ends early, and we spend the rest of the day cooking. The annoying housecleaning headaches are trumped by the aromas that begin to waft from frying pans and inside the oven as the feast starts to form. This year, I took the whole day off, ironing, dusting and polishing all morning, but the cookbooks were open and dotted with drips and drops by noon. Bertrand was stuck at the office longer than expected, but I didn’t mind. I was in my cooking zen.
I turned off the mindless TV chatter and plugged in my favorite podcasts. After a few Alec Baldwin’s “Here’s the Thing” interviews, Cherry Bombe Radio kept me company.
(http://heritageradionetwork.org/series/radio-cherry-bombe/) It’s hosted by my friends Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu, who get great guests and the conversation is lively, thougthful and organic. I delighted in the guileless sincerity of fashion blogger (and author) Garance Dore (http://www.garancedore.fr/en/), nodded in agreement to Dominique Crenn’s no-bully-in-the-kitchen policy. When Dom spoke of how competitive the cooking world is, especially for a woman, I smiled to myself at the memory of the first time I’d heard about Cherry Bombe. “Did you see that Time magazine article ‘Gods of Food’?” Kerry asked me one evening as we walked along Park Avenue one night. Uh, I had not. “Not one female chef,” she smirked in disbelief. “It’s ridiculous. And completely unfair. Do you know Claudia Wu?” I did not. “We worked together at [Harper’s] Bazaar. We want to do a magazine that celebrates female chefs, and women and food in general. We’re going to call it Cherry Bombe, with an ‘e.’ Wanna write for us?”
Three years later, the magazine is a hit and I brag about my friends every chance I get (I now know Claudia). Having collaborated with everyone from Ruth Reichl to Christina Tossi to Mimi Sheridan to April Bloomfield to Ina Garten, I am so proud of what these gals have done for female chefs.
They made an exception to their female-only radio show roster when Yotam Ottolenghi and his cookbook partner Ramael Scully showed up. To quote Kerry (I think it was her), what they’ve done for vegetables is amazing. I had a meta moment when I realized that one of the dishes I was in the process of making was from their cookbook, Plenty More. A few days ago, I wrote in a post that we were trying the butternut squash and ginger tomatoes from their new cookbook Nopi, but we actually prefer this one (https://www.washingtonpost.com/pb/recipes/squash-chili-yogurt-and-cilantro-sauce/14304/). As they say, If it ain’t broke…And it’s worth reposting since it’s one of those recipes whose impressive flavor and presentation belies its low degree of difficulty.
While I did miss Bertrand not chopping away beside me, having the kitchen to myself allowed for juggling four recipes at once. The stuffing took the longest (so much chopping! So worth it! http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/cornbread-dressing-with-sausage-and-fennel), while the dry brine took about ten minutes (God bless ya, Melissa Clark. http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1015474-simple-roast-turkey). The other two–David Chang Brussels Sprouts (http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/spicy-brussels-sprouts-with-mint) and roasted potatoes with rosemary–I’ve made so often, I could do it blindfolded if knives weren’t involved.
It’s nearly 11pm now, and I’m wiped. B got home before dinner time and took over, first cleaning my mess up, god bless him, including the impressive feat of managing to fit everything into the fridge.
He’s currently whipping up his olive oil cake (http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Blood-Orange-_-Almond-Flour-Cake-1126313), and once it’s cooling on the trivet, we’ll be fast asleep. Lots to do tomorrow.
When I was a kid, I’d wake up early on Thanksgiving morning for the Ragamuffin Parade. All the kids in town dressed up in costume (who cares if Halloween was just a mere month ago??) and paraded down our main street. My mother, ever the magician, came up with some doozies for me, but none topped the year she dressed me as a Christmas tree. She’d bought dozens of garland branches and attached them and their ornaments to my limbs and on top of my head. I can remember smelling the turkey crackling in the oven as she patiently attached branch after itchy branch. How she managed to costume me up and still not dry out the turkey beats me. Maybe I should attach some branches to my arms so I’ll have an excuse should I need one…
Jeanne’s Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary* (serves 6)
- 2 lbs yukon, red or multi-colored potatoes
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 T rosemary, roughly chopped
- 3 T olive oil
- sea salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Boil potatoes in large pan or dutch oven for 10-15 minutes. Drain potatoes, and let cool. Slice potatoes in halves, and transfer back to Dutch oven. Add onion, olive oil and rosemary. Stir well. Place in oven for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove, then serve.
*I like to cook these the day before the meal, then recook at a lower temperature (250-300) for a few hours before the meal the next day. This allows for extra crispness and flavor.