SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW: Nope, we’re not talking about that old wedding custom … we’re referring to the idea of mixing it up a bit for Thanksgiving dinner. It’s hard to not get stuck in the beloved, same ol’, same ol’ routine when there are many menu favorites expected. However, some families have another tradition of introducing something new for every Thanksgiving dinner, just to prevent the holiday from sinking into auto-pilot (especially for the cook). One of the reasons that this is such a fantastic holiday – especially in New York – is because it’s only one day and in a city so varied, festive (more on the Parade, below) and bursting with visitors and where we have such great access to such amazing food – you can’t really go too wrong. As a nod to the spirit of experimentation, we thought it would be fun to share a recipe from Ruth Reichl’s first cookbook memoir Tender at the Bone in which she describes a lovely foodie commune of a Thanksgiving dinner in the early 1970’s when she, and we, were all young (or maybe not even born yet!) and she was preparing the holiday feast for her then family of choice – her friends. Her now famous PUMPKIN SOUP (perhaps via famous French chef, Paul Bocuse) follows:
RUTH REICHL’S PUMPKIN SOUP: Go out and buy a fairly small pumpkin with a flat bottom (or cut some off the bottom to make it flat – but be careful to not cut too deep.) Cut off the top, as if you were going to carve a jack-o-lantern, and hollow it out. Spread the seeds out and dry them to eat later. Now get a good loaf of French bread, slice it and toast it lightly. Grate a goodly amount of one of the Swiss cheeses (Emmenthaler, Gruyère or Appenzeller). Layer the toast and cheese inside the pumpkin until it’s almost full. Then fill the pumpkin up with a mixture of cream and chicken broth (roughly one-and-a-half cups of cream to one cup of chicken broth). Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg, replace the top of the pumpkin and bake in a 300 degree oven for about 2 hours. Another helpful hint: If you brush the outside of the pumpkin with oil, it will look better when it emerges. Bring the whole pumpkin to the table. When you serve it be sure to scoop out some pumpkin flesh with the cheese and the cream.
OK, this is more of a gratin than a soup and maybe a little too hearty with which to start off Thanksgiving dinner – but it’s fantastic for vegetarians, makes everyone swoon and makes for a gorgeous presentation. Just a spoonful is enough ….
But if you’re scratching your head for some new ideas, we’re trying something new …. send one of your tried-and-true, favorite Thanksgiving recipes to us (CLICK HERE) and we will collect them and send them all back out to you …. HAPPY THANKSGIVING !
GET PARADE-READY: Well, the new balloons were tested out at the Meadowlands recently and apparently passed with “flying” colors for parade-worthiness. This year has TWO brand new additions: SCRAT – the manic, acorn-chasing squirrel from ICE AGE and RED of Angry Birds fame. Being re-incarnated from prior appearances are RONALD McDONALD in a natty and quite grown-up sportcoat with nary a stripe to be seen and DINO THE DINOSAUR, first introduced in 1963, as the streamlined mascot of Sinclair Oil.