Thanksgiving, In the Bag

How it's even possible that Thanksgiving's already here, is beyond me.  I think much of NYC, myself included, has been in a complete whirlwind the past 3 weeks since Sandy graced us with her not-so-lovely self.  With the hurricane's aftermath in mind, there's quite a bit to be thankful for this year.  For me, close friends and family who keep me going day after day.  It's gauranteed to be a crazy year ahead as Nourish Kitchen + Table gears up to open its doors in the West Village this coming spring (come see us at 95 Greenwich Ave)!  I'm grateful for the endless support and encouragement that surrounds me, I'll definitely need it in the coming months (in hopes of sparing myself of mental and physical collapse).  I'll also be thinking of those hit hardest by Sandy this Tgiving.  Volunteering in Staten Island a few weeks ago was incredibly eye-opening...and makes one realize the enormity of devastation and rebuild that's ahead. Incredible spirit remains strong though, as does the outpouring of support and fundraisers from various groups.  A good friend and fellow foodie, Allison Beale, and I hosted Drink.Donate. last week to raise funds ($7K!) for 3 causes close to our hearts and stomachs - Governor, Arcane and the Red Hook Initiative. A small contribution and we hope to continue building.  

Aaand...on to the turkey.  It's gonna be a good day of turkey and trimmings tomorrow.  My intended menu for a few friends and myself is below...we'll see what gold-star recipes come out of the feast.  For some quick tips on how to "healthify" your meal without sacrificing your taste buds and having the entire meal taste like cardboard, check out my article on

Here's this years menu, and below, a few favorites from Thanksgivings past. 


chili-herb roasted nuts

butternut squash bruschetta with rosemary, sour cherries and pine nuts

"rye's rain" cocktails (Bulleit rye, maple syrup, allspice dram, apple cider and champagne float)

the meal 

mesclun with pear, pomegranate, toasted pecans, goat cheese & champagne vinaigrette

herb-garlic heritage turkey with roasted carrots and onions

grandma bebe's time-honored stuffing with celery, mushrooms and walnuts (and maybe a chicken liver or two for flavor)

roasted cranberry sauce with clementines

roasted cauliflower with pomegranate (thanks to the healthy kitchen of the lovely Dana James)

the finish

chocolate-cranberry tart with cardamom-poached pears


A few favorites from the recipe files...

apple tart with spiced caramel sauce

butternut squash bruschetta with pine nuts and sour cherries

green beans with toasted breadcrumbs and lemon

pear and pomegranate fall salad with champagne vinaigrette

simple pear and pecorino salad

pear-caramel tart with almond crust

pumpkin risotto with grana padano


Happy, healthy and delicious thanksgiving!

photo via: Pinterest

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Sandy's Aftermath :: Regrouping, Relief and a Bit of Reading

I am finally back in front of my laptop this week, in my office that has heat and power, aiming to return to a semi-normal schedule after Sandy's wrath tore through NYC and surrounding areas.  Honestly, I don't think things will really return to "normal" for quite sometime.  My neighborhood, the East Village/Alphabet City, was hit hard -- businesses are slowly regrouping and rebuilding, friends are picking pieces up of flooded apartments.  Only through images and blog posts can I even begin to contemplate the damage incurred and lives displaced in areas like Staten Island, Red Hook, the Rockaways and Long Beach, LI.  A friend's restaurant in Dumbo, Governor, was completely washed out by Sandy, but I have no doubt will return and reopen stronger than ever.  A family member's medical practice gone, at least in the brick and mortar sense.  There are thousands of examples, and there are 40,000 New Yorkers without homes as the temperatures continue to drop.  And there are endless ways to give back and donate and volunteer, see below.  I've never seen New Yorkers as resilient and resourceful as I have in the past week.  It's heartwarming and heartbreaking all at once, but this city has insane heart and I'm grateful to call it home. All this said, the past week has got me thinking how food keeps us connected.  Sharing a meal is such a basic way of showing love, care and communicating.  Hot meals are an indulgence for many right now, and it makes me appreciate the act of cooking and eating together around a table, or a makeshift one, that much more.  

With that said, I turned to the Edible Selby, another Fall 2012 cookbook/food photography book I've been meaning to feature.  Now seems, in an odd way, the perfect time.  Flip through the gorgeously photographed and brightly illustrated pages and you'll see the life and atmosphere that food can create - it comes streaming through.  The book provides a beautiful sense of warmth and inspiration and intrigue in each subject/restaurant/shop that Todd Selby features.  I've been lucky enough to taste the craft of many of the subjects (like Occhipinti wine and Mast Brothers chocolate), and eat at a handful of the restaurants highlighted (like Ralae in Copenhagen and Le Chauteaubriand in Paris).  All of them remind me of a special place in time with friends -- old and new -- that are part of my extended family.  And if there's one positive that came out of Sandy, it's the reminder that there's few things more meaningful than sharing a meal with friends and family.

My good friend and colleague Allison and I are in the process of organizing a fundraiser, DRINK.DONATE.HELP BLACK OUT SANDY, next Thursday 11/15 to raise donations for food-related causes and those impacted by Sandy.  More info to come...keep an eye on our Twitter feed as well: @DrinkDonate

In the meantime, here are just a few ways to help relief efforts: 

Rockaway Waterfront Alliance

Occupy Sandy via Amazon

Red Hook Initiative

Kitchensurfing, Support Chefs for Sandy

Food Bank for New York City

GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side)


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