While the rest of America plans their Black Friday routes, you’re more worried about making an impression the day before. After all, you don’t do crowds; your family and friends are more important to have at around, even if you have to fly them down in a private charter jet to get them there! This year, skip the Michelin-rated restaurants and host Thanksgiving dinner in the comfort of your home.
Table Setting Ideas
Keep the tablecloth and runner simple so the food and small details pop. Accent a grey linen tablecloth with a muted celery-colored runner. During the cocktail hour, bring out elegant festive fall cocktail napkins like Fall Leaves or Turkey linen napkins from Sharyn Blond Linens (http://www.sharynblondlinens.com/). For the dinner hour, use large, monogrammed couture-quality dinner napkins, such as the linen options available from Grace Hayes Linens (http://www.taigan.com/shops/gracehayeslinens?gclid=CLC10ov4vbMCFQtxQgodhBsAyQ). Use the FarmStead charger designed by Bernardaud of France from Blackberry Farm to delicately frame your dinnerware with a Thanksgiving scene using the sketches of Master Gardner John Coykendall (http://www.blackberryfarm.com/shop/catalog/farm-life).
If you plan to use seating cards on the dinner table, the hand-painted chocolate turkey from Christophe Artisan Chocolates makes a perfectly clever place card (http://www.christophechocolatier.com/cart/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=96). Simply use edible ink to write the name of each guest onto the 7.5-inch confection that your guests can enjoy for dessert or as a treat to take home. For creative illumination, light the Owl Duo candles in the shape of antique bottles from Pollen Arts’ Beeswax Candle Collection (http://www.etsy.com/shop/pollenArts). The sweet honey scent is a perfect accent for your Thanksgiving fare.
Appetizers and Food for Grazing
Accent your crudités platter with a caviar bar that includes River Beluga, Imperial Russian Osetra caviar and Royal Sevruga caviar. To add a touch of autumn coloring, mix in 24-karat gold caviar. Serve the caviar on top of a sterling silver plate and a mother of pear spoon alongside mini-toasts, blinis and crème fraiche. Complement the caviar bar with steamed littleneck clams and apple-ginger mignonette over chilled oysters. Use a mix of hard, soft and semi-soft chesses to load your cheese platter. Good choices include morbier, Sainte-Maure Ash, Camembert le Châtelain and Humboldt Fog. Don’t forget to include crostinies with an array of dips such as a caramelized fennel and parmesan dip, vegetarian pate, roasted pumpkin dip and a flame-grilled eggplant dip.
The Main Course
For an alternative to the classic salt-seasoned roasted turkey, try seasoning it with rosemary and lemon, a dry brine, spice cure, herbed butter, maple glaze or a brown sugar and mustard glaze. Accompany the bird with a Swiss chard and leek tart or an onion and squash galette as part of the main course. Give your guests a good variety when it comes to side dishes. Gourmet choices can include:
- Glazed carrots with ginger and jalapeño
- Roasted beet salad with bleu cheese
- Shitake and truffle stuffing with sausage (look for the truffle selection offered by Maison de la Truffe) (http://www.maison-de-la-truffe.com/)
- Orange-scented cranberry sauce
- White wine or bourbon gravy
- Escarole with persimmons
- Green beans with Tasso ham
- Maple-whipped sweet potatoes
- Bourbon sweet potatoes (Glen Garioch bourbon is always a good choice)
After a short recovery period, dessert should be as memorable as the main course, but doesn’t have to be as extravagant. In addition to the classic selection of pies, consider adding a few of the following to your menu:
- Cinnamon custard pie
- Chocolate roulade
- Hazelnut meringues
- Pumpkin bread pudding with dulce de leche
- Pumpkin layer cake
Start your Thanksgiving celebration with a bottle of Winter Harvest from Neige. Its notes of home-baked apples and caramel are the perfect partners for your appetizers. You can never go wrong with a bottle of Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru from Leflaive to go with your meal. However, if you prefer red wine, pour a bottle of Pinot del Sebino from Ca ‘del Bosco because it’s mild taste and acidity works well with the turkey’s natural taste. For dessert, Vin Santo Pomino from Frescobaldi is a must as it succulence successfully complements sweet treats.
To make the Thanksgiving preparations simpler, hire your favorite catering service to help. There’s no need to feel overwhelmed about entertaining your guests. With staff on hand, you can enjoy the celebration without lifting a finger.
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?