A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending Wayfair and Boston Bloggers Home For The Holidays event in Boston. The whole day was amazing, comprised of a key note session with Christiane Lemieux and Heather Armstrong (Dooce.com), as well as a banner session with my bestie Lindsey (who had a huge hand in plannning the whole event,) a crafting session with Kate (Domestikated Life,) and a holiday strategy session with Alison (Long Distance Loving.)All of the sessions were inspiring and practical, but the one that did the most to banish my mild holiday anxiety was the session on holiday cooking and entertaining, led by Chef Jeremy Sewell of Boston's Island Creek Oyseter Bar, Lineage, and the new Row 34.
If you know me than you know that I love to cook and entertain. This year we are hosting Thanksgiving for fifteen friends though, and I have been feeling just a hint of trepidation. I have always helped out at Thanksgiving, but never have I cooked a turkey alone or overseen the whole operation...and there is just a bit of pressure associated with the whole ordeal! As soon as Jeremy started speaking, though, I knew that he was the one to emulate as I prepared for our Thanksgiving feast--He was approachable and down to earth, and placed an emphasis on fresh and local ingrediants. (Not mention he is one of Boston's best chefs, and has overseen his fair share of holiday meals...) No sweat, just a plan. Any other holiday hosting newbies out there? Read on for my favorite tid bits of advice from Jeremy's session.
Chef Jeremy Sewall's Tips for Holiday cooking:
- Keep it simple: Don't do anything that stresses you out, like something you have never cooked before, or something that you know is tough.
- Use the microwave to your advantage! The micro is a great place to warm up sauces and gravy, melt chocolate, or reheat that desperately needed cup of coffee ten minutes before your guests arrive.
- Get as much done ahead as you can: Ie. Roast veggies for crudite. ("Who really eats raw celery anymore?", make sides and pies.
- Find a place that does a couple things really well, like pies or fresh bread, and let them do those for you.
- Practice: We have run out of time for Thanksgiving, but there is still time before Christmas! Why not try out a few dishes that look yummy so that you can have them totally down pact by the time the holiday rolls around?
- Read your recipes thoroughly.
- On timing: Cook Turkey early in the morning so that is it done an hour ahead (at least-- you can always throw it back in to warm it up.)
- Be savvy with your appetizers: Throw together plates of amazing cheese, bread, jam, and other appetizers that you don't have to manage.
Finally, Jeremy's Turkey tip: Brine, and then brush w/butter using a bundle of fresh thyme as a brush!
Jeremy just published his first cookbook, The New England Kitchen, and it is available for purchase now! I grabbed one for both myself and my parents, and we love it. All of the recipes are classic New England fare, elevated by Jeremy's signature style, with an emphasis on seasonal cooking. I already made the apple cider donuts and they were to die for...A New England Kitchen would make a perfect Christmas or Thanksgiving hostess gift for the foodie in your life, and I made it so easy for you...just click the picture at the beginning of this post and purchase today!
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