11.14.14 November Hot Links & Thanksgiving Recipes

Cranberries 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

Nothing says Thanksgiving quite like a sheet pan full of scarlet cranberries, richly spiced and roasted to caramelized perfection. Unless perhaps it's that tidal wave of panic that starts to consume you when you realize hordes of relatives will be descending on your home with all their neuroses and dysfunctions fully primed. I'd be curious to know how many of you are cooking the feast this year and how many will be dining elsewhere. Leave a comment below and let me know, and you just may get a jar of my favorite St. John chutney in time to slather on your slice of (hideously dried-out) turkey breast. For now, I've compiled some tried-&-true recipes to get you started thinking about a menu. As I think you know, I am a steadfast advocate of planning ahead. It decreases stress exponentially and helps you budget your time and energy so you're not utterly depleted when the day is over (or just beginning).

Spicy yams 790 xxx
yam what I yam

Those cranberries? Here is a simple recipe that calls for some bright spices and a little oven time. You can make this days ahead and chill it, bringing it back to room temperature before serving. The yams, above, are perhaps my favorite side dish, involving nothing more than maple syrup, olive oil, red chile flakes and a hot oven. You can whip them up while the turkey is resting.

Radish 790 xxx
clean break

Most people spend the whole day gorging and then sit down to a big meal already feeling full. This is due, in no small part, to the amount of cheese that is foisted upon us. Not to mention the various chips and bready things. I know you can't just deprive the people of their snacks, but try to offer something fresh and crisp that doesn't involve corn or wheat. Like these gorgeous hot pink watermelon radishes sprinkled with a little Hawaiian black sea salt. They're a winter staple and they are delicious.

Cheesecake 790 xxx
say cheesecake

Especially if you're going out on a note like this! Remember my foray into pumpkin-ginger cheesecake last year? It was divinely decadent, but I still prefer my yearly rendez-vous with this simple pumpkin custard. Just as sexy, much less work.

Poached pears 790 xxx
poacher's bounty

The season's fruit—apples, pears, pomegranates, citrus—also makes a slightly lighter but equally lovely finish to a big meal. Consider these beautiful pears poached in red wine. Or these apples in a similar preparation. Or these amazing poached quinces. Or this caramelized winter fruit.

Pear dessert 790 xxx
half time

They can all be gussied up with a dollop of crème fraîche, or even a smear of pungent Roquefort that's been whipped and lightened with a little fresh cream. And for a bit of crunch, I like to garnish the plate with some candied pumpkin seeds or a crumbled nut brittle. It is, after all, a special occasion.

For more relevant recipes, just enter "Thanksgiving" into the search function at the top of the blog. Or visit The New York Times' new Food section, which has excellent guides, step-by-step tutorials and videos on creating the Thanksgiving of your dreams. Other good online resources include Food52, The Splendid Table and Martha Stewart, of course.

This week, when that "break the internet" photo of Kim Kardashian's oversized asset forced us all to shield our eyes from the glare of her desperate need to be noticed, I confess I began fantasizing about what would happen if the internet really broke. For good. I have become nostalgic for a time when we met face to face for coffee, or chatted on the phone for long stretches. When the dim glow of light in the bedroom came from candles and not from small screens.

But we never go back, do we? The texture of life has changed and we have to adapt and find the good in what we've got. Without the internet, you and I would not be here right now. And I would not be able to share with you all these interesting tidbits I have unearthed in the last few weeks...

Like this one, that addresses this very phenomenon

Love an infographic? This one's for you

Natural cosmetics, no longer just for hippies

A pretty intense glimpse into another culture's death rituals

Low maintenance plants that keep on giving

Read this and be sure to watch this

Watch Super Venus

Helen Mirren is different kind of super Venus

Another of my heroes, an adventurous mind and spirit

A peek into a fridge (not like Prince's at all!)

Very excited to find this journal dedicated to natural dyes

And, to end with a laugh, watch this

Have a beautiful weekend (and get that Thanksgiving planning going)! xo



we are spending the holiday at our home on Cape Cod. Some of our family will be coming as well as my kids. I am very excited to be cooking. We have a lot of diverse likes/dislikes in our group - my son doesn't eat turkey and my brother in law and sister in law are on a macro-biotic diet. So there will be lots of challenges. I will make all of the traditional dishes and my favorite sweet potato and pear gratin and lots of veggies/grains/greens. My sweet potato rolls are always requested. I will have very traditional apple, pumpkin and pecan pies for dessert. Can't stray from them on this day. Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!
Marianne Hanley on November 14, 2014 at 5:44 pm —
Sounds complicated and wonderful!
laura on November 14, 2014 at 7:07 pm —
Those maple-chili sweet potatoes are now a staple in my kitchen. I make them at every opportunity!
Laurie on November 14, 2014 at 5:52 pm —
I never tire of hearing that, Laurie! This year I am making a chipotle version - will let you know if they're as good.
laura on November 14, 2014 at 7:08 pm —
Oh, your thoughts on the internet really struck a chord this morning. Last night I hit on-screen, online overload. Turned off the computer at 5, soaked in a long hot bath, cooked a bit and then stared at the fire all evening. Wish that was my routine every night, but this work that we do sometimes precludes "turning off."
Prairie on November 15, 2014 at 12:33 am —
I have the pleasure of preparing the Thanksgiving feast. There are only three of us, so I keep it simple.
diane on November 15, 2014 at 9:56 am —
I have new plans this years and am joining some good friends. I am bringing stuffing and Moosewood's Enchanted Broccoli Forrest, which I've always wanted to make.
Mary on November 15, 2014 at 5:27 pm —
This is getting so inspired and excited for the holidays! Happy Nesting!
thefolia on November 15, 2014 at 7:20 pm —
The Lied Lodge in Nebraska City, Nebraska (affiliated with the Arbor Day Foundation) has a spectacular Thanksgiving Feast, not to be missed.
Conrad Zutavern on November 16, 2014 at 7:12 pm —
I checked out the menu and it sounds sumptuous! And the price is so reasonable. Looks like a special place.
laura on November 16, 2014 at 10:43 pm —
Going to friends' annual feast. I will bring something savory and something sweet. Thanks for the inspiring post. Xo
Maria on November 16, 2014 at 11:46 pm —