It’s #tbt. I can’t believe we are already approaching the end of the year and that just two weeks ago we were just carving a turkey to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is Dad Vivant’s favorite holiday and we have been hosting it at our Brooklyn-sized abode for years. Obviously, he cooks and I taste 😉. Not having been brought up with this celebration, I appreciate a moment to reflect on the year coming to an end, along with family and friends, and to be thankful for all the blessings we have been bestowed upon. I realize that not everyone is as lucky as we are.
This has been, no doubt, a very unusual (to put it mildly) year. Lots of people have moved on this year and have left a void in our collective soul (for me, it was starting the year without David Bowie and ending it without Leonard Cohen and Sharon Jones); there have been a number of harrowing attacks in Brussels, Lahore and Istanbul; Olympics and Zika; we have had a very aggressive election year that ended with unexpected results and that will start a new era in the domestic and international history of this beautiful country; we have also witnessed one of the deadliest international refugee crisis, which we shouldn’t forget: there are lots of people who are still being persecuted and displaced because they were at the wrong place in the wrong time; and we have lived very sad and stressful moments at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation with both Native nations and non-native people defending their land, their right to have clean water and their sacred sites. Happily, as of this past week it has had a happy (but maybe temporary) outcome.
Reflecting on these events makes me realize how lucky and blessed we are to have a healthy family; that, although some of our family members have left this world and some are in different time zones, we are surrounded by a group of generous and supportive friends; that we live in a city with genuinely nice people and that we get to enjoy what our fair city has to offer; that we have a nice and comfortable roof over our heads and food on our table; and that we have the luxury to be able to try a myriad of different places with the girls and share our adventures with you. For all of this and much more I am deeply grateful.
Thanksgiving has been celebrated at our place since we got married with an array of friends coming at different times; copious amounts of food and wine; interesting conversations; and borrowed china along with mismatched chairs to fit all the family and friends who join us every year. Dad Vivant loves cooking and has perfected a number of dishes that are now the traditional fare at our home. This year he had the help of Little Sous Chef, who was really excited to be able to help her dad prepare two pretty impressive chickens, while whipping up an astonishing amount of sides and appetizers for 11, including, among others, Southern mashed potatoes, and a kale and manchego salad.
One of my favorites is this spiced cranberry sauce with Zinfandel that he meticulously replicates from the November 2001 issue of Bon Appétit. Not only does it goes perfectly with any type of poultry but it’s also delicious the following morning with some biscuits or scones and a cup of coffee.
This recipe asks for the following:
-1 3/4 cups red Zinfandel (we usually get a non expensive bottle that we get to taste while we cook)
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
-6 whole cloves
-6 whole allspice
-2 cinnamon sticks
-1 3×1-inch strip orange peel
-1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
-Combine all ingredients except the cranberries in a medium saucepan.
-Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
-Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 1 3/4 cups, for about 10 minutes.
-Strain the syrup into large saucepan. Add the cranberries to the syrup and cook over medium heat until the berries burst, about 6 minutes.
-Cool and transfer sauce to a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until cold.
Part of the beauty of this sauce is that it can be made one week ahead, as long as it is refrigerated. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do here in Brooklyn and that you get to share it many times with friends and family. You know it doesn’t have to be just for Thanksgiving, right?