In America we kick off the holiday season with the most indulgent day we could possibly muster up. I can guarantee that the Pilgrims and Indians did not fill themselves to the brim with turkey, stuffing and alcohol. But I personally think it's a shame they missed all the fun of a modern day Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It trumps Christmas and New Year's and obviously, Halloween. Every year I spend it with the best people, eat the best food and drink more wine than most people find acceptable. However, there are a few rules that I try to maintain so I don't pack on 15 pounds in a single sitting. For the next few days leading up to the big celebration, I will share my tips and some recipes, for making your Thanksgiving a better one!
Turkey Tip #1: Cook real food and eat real food
I recently had the pleasure of listening to Anthony Bourdain speak and even though his points were many and his extreme humor distracting, he did share one particular point that stuck with me. He said:
"Food is personal. People are telling you something about themselves when they offer you food."
I think this message is extremely relevant, especially around the holidays. Aunt Sally's cheez whiz and crackers do not constitute real food. Do not be the person who shows up to a holiday gathering with a tin of processed popcorn or dips in containers. Send the message that you are happy to spend the holidays with people you care about; that you are happy to share real, delicious food. Savoring bites of food that were not only prepared from scratch but prepared with love will keep you more satiated than a box of Entenmann's. Likewise, put a little love into the dish you bring to your Thanksgiving table or share with your family. After all, you will be sending them a special message about what they mean to you during the holiday season.
This dish represents all the wonderful flavors of fall- walnuts, apples and cranberries. However, it is easy to prepare and can even be done in advanced. I used to bake this dish but the brie gets too oily and we all know how precious oven space is on Turkey Day. Now, instead I make it in a pot on the stove. If you are spending Thanksgiving in someone else's home you can just reheat it quickly when you arrive, without interfering in their kitchen. If you are the host, make the topping the day before and reheat quickly to serve the day of.
Brie with Apples, Walnuts and Cranberries
1 wheel of Brie
2 tbsp. honey
1 Golden delicious apple, 1/2 inch dice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup of water
pinch of salt
In a pot, add diced apples and honey. Heat over low. Add walnuts, cranberries, cinnamon and nutmeg. Increase the heat to medium-high stirring continuously for about 2-3 minutes. Then add 1/4 cup water. Return to a simmer and cook over low heat until the apples are soft and the water has evaporated. Place the brie on a serving dish or desired plate. Pour topping over the brie. Serve with crackers or toasted breads. Enjoy :)