Q: My friends are hosting a large "Friendsgiving" next weekend and asked me to bring a second turkey since they do not have the oven space. I would like to arrive in time for pre-dinner cocktails, but I also want my turkey to remain hot until everyone is ready to eat! What is the best way to transport the turkey to keep it moist and warm?
It's a common dilemma before a big party. Your refrigerator is stuffed with food for the gathering, which means there is no room for the drinks you need to chill before the guests arrive. Sure, you could fill a couple coolers with ice, but there's an even smarter place to chill your drinks, one that doesn't require any extra space or clean-up. Where is it?
Love the idea of hosting brunch, but begin to regret it the moment your friends are recalling their hilarious evening while you toil over a pan of bacon grease? Join the club. While I don't host brunch often, when I do, I frame my entire menu around the fact that I don't want to spend the whole morning in the kitchen. Sure, that chorizo and leek omelet is fantastic at your local eatery, but are you a short order cook? No. Skip the omelets and spend time with your friends.
Here are seven tips to host a brunch without stress, and without getting up at 5 am to prep.
Quince is the most luscious fall fruit, but not as widely known or easily found as it should be. It holds its secrets tightly inside; quince is very astringent and not pleasant to eat when raw, but when cooked with sugar it turns coral-pink and delicious. It's also very high in pectin, which means that it is practically perfect for sorbet. This fragrant sorbet, spiced with star anise and vanilla, is thick and smooth — more like a sherbet than an icy sorbet — and it makes a wonderful accompaniment to autumn gingerbread and apple cake.
For the Thanksgiving dinner I'm sharing with you this week, I wanted a really lush centerpiece, one that celebrated the beauty of the fall harvest but didn't cost me hundreds of dollars. So I turned to my favorite eco-friendly florist to help me create a beautiful, all-natural vegetable centerpiece that a real human (you know, homo sapiens, as opposed to marta stewartensis) could make with some seasonal vegetables, basic tools, and a little imagination.
But I didn't want to let all that beauty go to waste, after the meal. Since nothing is glued down or otherwise rendered inedible, you can eat nearly every piece of this arrangement — and I give you recipes to help you do just that.
Mashed potatoes are one of my favorite comfort foods, and it's not hard to make them taste amazing. The easy way, my friends, is fat. A lot of it. I used to work at a restaurant where the cooks dropped a brick of cream cheese, a long swig of cream, and unmentionable amounts of butter into the joint's famous smashed potatoes. So there's that approach.
But I like to taste the potatoes themselves, and to pump them up in fresh ways, so this year on Thanksgiving I am turning to this recipe — golden mashed potatoes with a secret ingredient to give them flavor and unexpected color.
Q: I love the idea of the after-dinner hot cranberry punch recipe on your Thanksgiving menu. I'm pregnant and won't be drinking this year. Do you have any suggestions for a non-alcoholic after-dinner drink?
Part of the fun for me of having a dinner party is setting a few pretty things on the table, and this DIY project from Design*Sponge proves that doesn't need to be an expensive endeavor. Plain ol' oyster shells painted with liquid gold leaf and a food-safe top coat make unique, lovely salt cellars. What a great idea!