It’s a dark and chilly December evening. You’re on your way to an Italian-American Christmas party, radio tuned to the station that plays Christmas music all month long….
My vegetarian friends and family have inspired me over the years to come up with tasty, satisfying alternatives to meat-centric dishes….
I’m at the stage in my life when the holiday traditions of my childhood are shifting. With three extended families and just a handful of holidays per year, it’s impossible to eat all of my favorite dishes with the people who make them best….
Feeding a crowd is as much about planning as it is about making delicious food. There’s fridge space, oven space and counter space to prioritize—along with food to keep warm, drinks to keep cold, and guests to keep happy.
In just a couple of weeks, many of you will be opening your homes to family and friends for Thanksgiving dinner. Even though I can’t help you keep your guests happy, I would love to lend a hand in getting organized for the big day.
[my Downloadable Thanksgiving Checklist enters the stage]
There’s a slight chill in the air these days, which affirms my suspicion that fall is here and there’s no turning back. It’s a beautiful season when we rely on warmth not so much from the sun, but from our sweaters, blankets, warm drinks and slow-cooked food. I’m feeling cozy just thinking about it….
Christmas is almost here! Though I hope your meal planning and grocery shopping are complete, I thought I’d send some last-minute inspiration your way. And because I want you to enjoy your festivities as much as possible, I’m even including a few make-ahead notes.
Merry Christmas, my friends!
Thanksgiving is a combination of magic and madness. It’s a day when many of us pour our love into one of the most elaborate meals we are likely to make all year. The reward is a beautiful spread of brown, orange and yellow foods that are best eaten in piles. The risk is preparing that spread against the pressures of time, hungry guests and multitasking.
Since I want you to enjoy your meal as much as possible, I’ve put together a little guide on how to make Thanksgiving planning as easy as (pumpkin) pie.
Study your Recipes
Once you’ve figured out which dishes you’re responsible for, make sure to read up on them. The last thing you want is to realize midway through a recipe, that your butter was supposed to have been at room temperature. Or that you actually should have baked that pumpkin pie yesterday because it needs to chill overnight, and it’s 10 am on Thanksgiving morning. Though it can’t prevent mishaps altogether, having knowledge of your recipes makes things a lot easier, especially when recreational eating is involved….
Pizza rustica is a rich Italian pie of cured meats, fresh cheeses and eggs baked in a slightly sweet pastry crust known as pasta frolla. With about as many variations as Italian families, pizza rustica is traditionally eaten on Easter. In fairness to Marcella, I have modified some equipment and techniques to fit the available tools in my kitchen. Her original recipe is worth a read and can be found in her book, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.