ONE MORE BITE
SIMON SAYS: CULINARY CONVERSATION PIECES
I don't know about you, but after hosting 25 Thanksgiving dinners, “help” isn’t necessarily wanted. So, when my out-of-town cousins offer to come early and lend a hand, I find it more helpful to have delicious decoys at the ready!
Here are a few fun and easy solutions to feed and entertain guests who arrive early—so you can maintain your carefully honed rhythm without losing a beat.
Butternut Bisque Bar
There’s usually a football game available to watch on Thanksgiving, so setting appetizers out early will help keep guests out of the kitchen. Introduce a self-serve “Bisque Bar” for guests to gather around and create DIY soup concoctions using an array of tempting gourmet toppings— Vermont Creamery Crème Fraîche, toasted hazelnuts, shredded cave-aged Gruyère, crispy bacon and Mike's Hot Honey (chili-infused honey with a nice sweet kick). Whether you make the butternut squash bisque yourself or pick up a few heat-and-serve quarts from our kitchen, you can keep it warmed in a slow cooker and open a bottle of Chène Bleu 2018 Rosé Vaucluse to go along. (Incidentally, mini turkey sliders dipped in butternut bisque is a dreamy way to enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers after a day of Black Friday shopping.)
For a spread bursting with color, crunch and creativity that will still feel fresh after eight days and nights, go the small-plates route with a spread of bite-sized Hanukkah favorites and a dose of whimsy: Start with a basket of sliced Rosendorff's challah, Rubschlager cocktail pumpernickel, and a platter of warm latkes (with 75 years under our belt, no need to make your own). Next, add an assortment of small dishes, brimming with European applesauce, sour cream, whitefish salad, chopped liver, Ducktrap Pastrami-Style Smoked Salmon, olive tapenade from Eddie’s olive bar, and Shpickles (a delicious line of pickled veggies—carrots, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and beets—bottled in Brooklyn, NY). Provide appetizer-sized plates and mini-forks for your guests, along with a chilled bottle of Mount Nelson 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, and voila!
Tinsel & Tapas
The small plates style works perfectly for Christmas, too, whether you’re feeding a crowd or celebrating (wait for it) “home alone”: Keep the Bisol Crede Valdobbiadene Prosecco flowing as you set out small plates of assorted olives, Marcona almonds, Serrano ham, and Manchego from Eddie’s cheese department. Bring out steamed shrimp and crab balls for the second wave, adding a few fresh additions beyond the standard cocktail sauce—Braswell's Remoulade Sauce and Woeber's Champagne Dill Mustard are two of my current favorites from our grocery shelves. For your next round, serve our chef-made Italian Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms and Baby Lamb Chops with chimichurri sauce, alongside a bottle of Domaine de Beaurenard 2018 Côtes du Rhône Rouge, one of our Top Ten Holiday Wines. Then, finish with holiday cut-out cookies and our showstopping Chocolate-Dipped Poached Pears for a memorable last hurrah.
— Amy Simon