Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Stress-free Thanksgiving

I love planning big meals like Thanksgiving dinner. I make spreadsheets for my grocery shopping and detailed prep timelines for the week before and day of. Organization excites me! And, otherwise, I know I'll never get the shopping list right, and the odds of all the dishes making it to the table at the same time are very slim.

I'm introducing a new class to share my tips, tricks, and shortcuts for pulling off a delicious, and less-stress, holiday meal. The 3-hour workshop is held in my clients' kitchens, so cooks can practice in their own space with their own equipment.

Together we will:

* Plan the menu - from family classics to new favorites
* Decide what to make and what to buy (and from where)
* Put together a comprehensive shopping list
* Pinpoint dishes that can be made ahead of the big day
* Create a detailed preparation timeline
* Practice the dishes that are particularly challenging to you, be it the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, or pumpkin pie

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! For more details send me an email at

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Vegetable Ambassador

By now, it must be only a cliché that people dislike Brussels sprouts. Most people know that these miniature green cabbages are one of fall’s most delicious vegetables. They realize that the reason Brussels sprouts get a bad rap is because too many generations of cooks boiled them to death, turning the sprouts into smelly mush. But sautéed or roasted these beauties are addictive, a delicious truth that has finally made its way into the mainstream. Right?

Well, based on the reactions of numerous passersby at the Tribeca Greenmarket today who were offered samples of my delicious Brussels sprouts I would sadly say no. Yes there were a few wonderful folks who proclaimed their love for Brussels sprouts, but most of their fellow shoppers were openly skeptical.

This particular Greenmarket draws an interesting mix of people – mostly office workers and moms/nannies with strollers. Unlike my neighborhood market, this one isn’t set apart from foot traffic. Instead, it occupies part of the sidewalk for an entire block, so a lot of people walking through aren’t necessarily interested in the Greenmarket per se; they’re just trying to get from Duane St. to Chambers St.

As the Greenmarket’s demo chef I consider myself an ambassador of sorts, someone who can introduce delicious vegetables to eaters, and encourage them to prepare the veggies themselves. I pushed hard on the Brussels sprouts today, cajoling people to try samples, and I think this simple recipe won a few converts.


Brussels sprouts often get a bad rap, but when cooked properly they are a savory, addictive fall and winter vegetable.

Ingredients: 2 TB butter
1 TB minced shallot
4 cups thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup water

1. Heat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted and the foam subsides add the shallot and cook for about a minute.
2. Add the Brussels sprouts and salt to the pan. Stir and continue to cook until the sprouts are bright green, about two minutes.
3. Add the water to the pan, cover and cook for three minutes. Test for tenderness; if sprouts are nearly tender uncover pan and continue to cook until remaining water evaporates, about two minutes. (If sprouts aren’t yet tender cover and continue to cook for another couple minutes.)
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Yield: 4 servings