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Upcoming Food Events

Thanksgiving is a time for celebrating with family and friends while taking in all that we are grateful for…like not having to do the dishes!  If you are thinking of going out this year, here are some fabulous options:

1789 in Georgetown will be featuring delicious options on their seasonal a la carte menu including oyster and applewood-smoked bacon gratin with braised salsify, aged Gruyere and brioche croutons; sweet potato gnocchi with toasted walnuts and much more. There will also be a 3-course menu at $50 if you prefer.  Thanksgiving hours will be 12:00 Noon until 9:00pm.  Call 202.965.1789 for reservations or visit their website for more information.

Buddha Bar will have its famous Peking-Style Peking Duck Dinner in addition to its regular menu.  Call 202.377.5555 for reservations or visit their site.

BGR (The Burger Joint) has a bit more casual fare including their Thanksgiving on a Bun; a turkey burger topped with cranberry sauce, turkey gravy, and cornbread stuffing.  Delicious, right?  Made better only by pairing it with their Pumpkin Pie Shake.  BGR has locations in Old Town Alexandria, Arlington and Dupont Circle.

Darlington House in Dupont Circle will be offering a 3-course Thanksgiving Dinner with a Prosecco toast for $40 per person.  A kid’s version will be available for $20.  For reservations call 202.332.3722

Bibiana has a 3-course menu for $45.  Beautiful items like Juniper crusted Heritage Turkey, Butternut Squash Tortellini, and Apple Financier.  For Reservations call 202.216.9550 or visit their site.

The Bombay Club will see the return of Chef Nilesh Singhvi’s Tandoori Turkey; boneless chunks of white meat, marinated with yogurt, ginger, garlic and fenugreek leaves. The Thanksgiving turkey is offered on Thanksgiving Day 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and for dinner from 5:30 PM to
10:00 PM.  Call 202.659.3727 for reservations.

Cleveland Park’s Ardeo+Bardeo will complete their extensive renovations just in time for their annual Thanksgiving Feast!  This 3-course meal, priced at $45 per person, includes traditional favorites like Hearth Oven Roasted Turkey with chestnut and sage stuffing, mashed potatoes and dried cranberry gravy as well as autumn harvest specialties like Smoked Tea Crusted Domestic Lamb Loin Carpaccio and Roasted Scottish Salmon with sunchoke and butternut squash hash.  For reservations call 202.244.6750

Commonwealth Gastropub in Columbia Heights will offer a family-style Thanksgiving roast from 1 p.m.-8 p.m. for $35 per person.  Dishes include roast turkey with cranberry sauce, roast beef with shallot au jus, and sides such as winter squash gratin, collard greens, and stuffing.  For reservations call 202.265.1400 or visit their site.
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**Pricing quoted do not include beverages, tax nor gratuity. Contact each individual establishment for precise details.

Now, if you would like to entertain in your home but want serve your favorite restaurant dishes, we have something for you, too.  Many area restaurants will make large portions of Thanksgiving favorites that you can take home to heat and serve.  Here a just a few examples:

RIS in the West End will be making side items by the quart to be picked up the Wednesday before our wonderful, gastronomic, national holiday.  Your favorite holiday side items will be available in quart-size containers.  Exact items will be determined in the first few weeks of November…once Chef sees what the farmers have to offer at the market.  For details call 202.730.2500 or visit their website.

The Washington, DC locations of Ruth’s Chris Steak House will also offer large sizes of some of their famous side dishes.  Select from Broccoli au Gratin, Sweet Potato Casserole, Bread Pudding with Whiskey Cream Sauce or their famous Creamed Spinach.  Call ahead for orders to be picked up on Wednesday the 24th  Dupont Circle 202.797.0033 or 9th Street 202.393.4488

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We’re Grateful!

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In Print: Clips from Food Sections

5. – The Chicago Tribune Turkey Tips: What the Pros Know Can Help You “Holidays can be a hassle for everyone, even the pros. The difference is the pros all have worked out little tricks — what the French call trucs — to make feasts like Thanksgiving a little saner. These tips are so simple you can easily adopt them in your kitchen.”

4. – The Boston Globe A $100 Thanksgiving Menu for Eight “For hosts, Thanksgiving often means spending half the month’s food budget on a single meal, this despite the fact that the traditional ingredients – turkey, potatoes, root vegetables, squashes – aren’t all that expensive. What jacks up the bill is the abundance guests have come to expect: a big bird, an elaborate array of sides, pies galore, and, most flamboyant or silly or obnoxious of all, leftovers packed up in Tupperware.”

3. – The LA Times A More Flavorful Dry-Brined Turkey “At first glance, the recipe is so simple it’s hard to believe there could be anything to add, but it’s in the nature of cooking (or at least of recipe tinkering) to always move forward. We’re like great white sharks that way — that and the whole eating-just-for-recreation thing.”

2. – The NY Times 101 Head Starts on the Day “FOR cooks, most Thanksgiving problems are brought about by the sheer number of dishes competing for the stove: It’s not easy to roast a turkey and sweet potatoes for 20 at the same time. The best solution is to make food in advance, like one of the dishes that follow.”

1. – The Washington Post Guess Who’s Coming to Thanksgiving Dinner “And what a table that would be, as illustrated above. When the Food section pulled together its favorite traditional dishes for ’09, we found that the collection represented significant figures of American cookery, Julia Child, James Beard and Edna Lewis among them. Then we compared notes about how we had updated their recipes. Mostly we had made subtle changes, such as employing newfangled gadgets or shortcuts. Sometimes it was just reducing fat or calories without sacrificing flavor, or using a spice that wasn’t widely available three decades ago.”

photo from The NY Times

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37 Things to do with Leftover Turkey

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Thanksgiving dinner is over and you have a mountainous heap of leftover turkey. What can you do with it? After all, you couldn’t possibly eat turkey sandwiches for two weeks straight. McCormick & Schmick’s serves more than 37,000 pounds of turkey nationwide, posing the inevitable post-Thanksgiving question,” What do I do with all this leftover turkey?” McCormick & Schmick’s regional chef Tony Marcello has done the thinking for you and come up with 37 creative uses for the rest of your bird.   

  1.  Thanksgiving dinner, take 2 – throw the previous evening’s turkey, stuffing and veggies in the broiling pan.
  2.  Divide the leftovers with your guests as a take home gift.
  3. Use it in lasagna for a healthy alternative to ground beef or sausage.
  4.  Hide it in chili.
  5.  Make a good old-fashioned comfort-food hot dish, complete with cream of something soup.
  6. Make a turkey pot pie.
  7.  Boil the bones to make a delicious turkey stock to use later for soups and stews.
  8.  Use the turkey stock for turkey soup.
  9. Create turkey omelets.
  10. Use it as a topping on bruschetta. Continue reading

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Turkey Day Countdown: Gobble Gobble

With just a week until the big day, if you haven’t reserved a turkey yet, you better get on it!  Here are a few local places that still had turkeys available as of Wednesday afternoon:

  • Briars Farmstead – Pasture-raised Broad-Breasted Whites, 10-25 pounds, $5.25/lb, Pickup at the farm Nov. 25-26, 9 a.m.-6 p.m, 2535 Pyletown Rd., Boyce, Virginia, 540-837-2554
  • Maple Lawn Farms – Free-range Broad-Breasted Whites, 10-45 pounds, $1.75-$1.95/lb, Pickup at the farm Nov. 22-26, 11788 Route 216, Fulton, 301-725-2074, http://www.maplelawn.com
  • Smith Meadows Meats – Pasture-raised American Bronze heritage breed, 10-14 pounds, $4.25/lb, Pickup: Nov. 22 at the Arlington Courthouse, Chevy Chase, Del Ray and Falls Church markets; Nov. 23 at the Dupont Circle, Columbia Pike and Takoma Park markets, 568 Smithfield Lane, Berryville, Virginia, 877-955-4389, http://www.smithmeadows.com
  • BlackSalt Fish Market – Fresh (never frozen), hormone/antibiotic free, no preservatives, and “certified Humanely raised”, $3.99-$4.99/lb, Pick up at BlackSalt on Nov. 26, 202-342-9101, http://www.blacksaltrestaurant.com
  • Whitmore Farm –  Pasture-raised heritage breeds and Broad-Breasted Bronzes, 15-25 pounds, $4.50/lb, Pickup at the farm; call to arrange time, 10720 Dern Rd., Emmitsburg, Md. (north of Frederick), 301-447-3611, http://www.whitmorefarm.com

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In Print: Clips from Food Sections

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5. – The Boston Globe Kitchen Rookie’s Playbook “A quick-prep Thanksgiving may sound risky, but it’s well within reach, even for holiday-hosting newbies. Choose your tasks wisely. Pick an approachable menu. Call on a few shortcuts that don’t involve compromises. (Put down that box of powdered mashed potatoes!) And get the grocery shopping done two days in advance so you feel rested. Head straight for the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning and roll out this four-hour menu for 10, with leftovers, in a breeze (almost).”

4. – The Chicago Tribune A Feasible Feast “You don’t have to splurge on a fancy dinner to evoke the true spirit and foods of Thanksgiving past. You can still gather the family, however nuclear, around the table and give thanks for what you have and for being together and for pulling a wonderful meal together without getting crazed.”

3. – The LA Times How to Host a Successful Holiday Meal “Whenever I read one of those Thanksgiving stories about how wonderful it is to cook a fabulous meal for a huge crowd of friends and family, the first thing I think is, ‘How heartwarming! How generous!’ And then I wonder, ‘Don’t those people have jobs?’ “

2. – The NY Times Flavorful Gravy Makes Thanksgiving ” ‘People must understand, that is a labor of love,’ she said about boning turkeys and tending stockpots. ‘Flour, salt, pepper, love; those are the ingredients you need for gravy.’ “

1. – The Washington Post The Blended, Bountiful Table “Leaves swirl, ovens warm the kitchens and jewel-toned produce swells the farmers markets. Home cooks take it all in each fall . . . and start to fret. · Angst creeps into Food section readers’ calls and queries weeks before Thanksgiving. We understand, mostly. The holiday table can be too beige, brown and bland. It is an unwieldy roster of family favorites that don’t quite fit together or an overwhelming ode to carbohydrates. Vegetarians go on the defensive.”

photo from The NY Times

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Turkey Day Countdown: The Timeline

turkeyIn most families, there’s no diverging from the classic Thanksgiving menu of turkey and all the trimmings.  And we say cheers to that!  With many of the beloved foods gracing the table just once a year with this sort of fanfare, replacing them with untried and newfangled creations could be a disaster.  In our family, it’s the recipes that have been passed down for ages that tend to be the biggest crowd-pleasers.  And with just over a week to go until the much anticipated turkey day, we’re hoping to help you out with some of our best tips and tricks for a delicious and enjoyable day of giving thanks!

It’s not to early to start on the preparations for the big day.  Now’s the time to get your timeline in place and plan the menu.  Here’s our rough overview for planning out the days until Thanksgiving.

T-Minus 7-10 Days

  • Plan the menu – Put together your list of what you’ll be serving along with any dishes that other guests have offered to bring.  And hopefully, you’ve already ordered the turkey, but if you haven’t yet, hurry!!!
  • Purchase the non-perishables – if you buy them now, they’ll be in your pantry and if you forget something, you can still pick it up when getting the last minute items.
  • Make pie dough – If you’re making pies, it’s a great time to make the dough.  Roll it out, put it in the pie dish, wrap well and freeze.  For slabs of dough to top a pie, perhaps apple, press into a 1″ thick round disk and wrap well in plastic wrap then freeze.

T-Minus 4-6 Days

  • Purchase any alcohol – Might as well stock the wine shelves and liquor cabinet now.  It’s one less stress for later.
  • Polish silver – If it doesn’t get much use, chances are your silverware is in need a little buffering.  Don’t leave it until the last minute or it won’t happen.
  • Begin defrosting the turkey – Depending on the weight of your bird, if it is frozen, it’s best to allow 4-5 days to let it defrost in the fridge.  You’ll need to allot 5 hours for every pound of turkey.

T-Minus 3 Days

  • Cranberry sauce – Go ahead and make this.  It keeps well in the fridge and if you’re including other flavors, such as orange zest, the flavors will meld better after sitting a couple of days.

T-Minus 2 Days

  • Iron the linens – Wash and press your linens.
  • Set the table – It’s a good idea to begin to set the table a couple of days before.  Whether it’s locating your missing crystal vase or purchasing an extra set of China, don’t leave it to the last minute.

T-Minus 1 Day

  • Flowers – Pick up or put together your table arrangements.  One day of sitting out will allow the flowers to open to be a little fuller.  Be sure to water them well as flowers are always thirsty after changes in temperature.
  • Give the turkey some attention – Prep the turkey (but do not stuff), and store in the refrigerator. If brining, begin the process this morning.
  • Shopping – Pick up all perishables and any other products from the grocery store… Chances are the later you go the more madness you’ll encounter!
  • Desserts –  Defrost pie dough; assemble and bake pies along with preparing any other desserts.
  • Potatoes – If mashing, peel and store in a large pot of cold water in the fridge.
  • Salad – Clean and dry salad greens, and store in a resealable plastic bag.
  • Wine – Put in the fridge or wine cellar to chill.
  • Side dishes – Prepare anything that can be put together and chilled in the fridge until baking tomorrow.

Thanksgiving Day!!!

  • Breads – Start the day by whipping up your bread dough.  Bake by lunchtime and then just warm while making the gravy.
  • Turkey – Remove turkey from fridge 2 hours before putting in the oven to bring to room temperature.  Bake until the temperature of the turkey at the thigh, which is the thickest part. If the thermometer reads 180 degree.  After removing from oven the turkey will need to sit for 30 minutes (just enough time to make gravy) to let the juices settle into the meat.
  • Stuffing – Prepare and put in turkey immediately before putting turkey in the oven.
  • Side dishes – Prepare anything that couldn’t be prepared the day before.  Bake and keep warm until the turkey is ready.  This includes cooking and mashing the potatoes.
  • Gravy – Prepare while turkey is resting.
  • Enjoy!  Grab a glass of wine and enjoy dinner with your family and friends!

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