This Thanksgiving we know a lot of you will be gathering around food. Some of you will travel to others’ homes, but for those who plan to host a dinner, we want to share a strategy to stall your guests on their way to the kitchen. When you’re the host, you are like Don Corleone on the day of his daughter’s wedding. All of your guests woke up thinking about food and you. They are on the way, and you are still piecing together your plan. While you are checking the turkey temperature (165 is perfect – 200 is traditional) your guests are making their way towards the kitchen to unintentionally distract you. Hold them off at the pass by presenting them with a TASTE of our version of peas and carrots (recipe below) displayed as your centerpiece. This will buy you the extra time to make everything else perfect!
For our centerpiece we have chosen Milan based designer, Carlo Trevisani’s APPO collection for Seletti. This line of cork trays turn used glass bottles into clever risers. You can fill the empty bottles with water to add stability. Colored water, if the bottles are clear, can add a beautiful accent to your linens and tableware. Or just slip the cork trays into opened wine bottles for the cocktail portion and pull them out, once dinner and wine are served! We love the versatility of having bottles of different heights and colors mixed in with a few bud vases of flowers, or just cluster some acorns and candles down the center of your table.
\\\ PEAS AND CARROTS \\\
sociable garlic peas | parmigiano broth carrots | mint
Makes 24 portions
\\\ FOR THE CARROTS \\\
- 5 fat carrots, roughly 1” thick
- 1 small parmigiano reggiano rind
- Apple corer
- 1 inch biscuit cutter
Parmigiano rinds make a delicious stock, poaching them re-hydrates the rind and brings it back to the chewy cheese that it was before it got all dried out and since parmigiano does not congeal, it flavors the water with a pungent rich Holstein cow deliciousness. For this recipe, you need both the rind and the cheese, so buy a cheese with the rind and you are all set. In small saucepan with about 2 quarts of water add 1 or 2 rinds (any size) and simmer for about a half hour to an hour.
Meanwhile, cut the fat ends of the carrots in one-and-a-half inch pieces. Using an apple corer, drill all the way through the carrot centers. Put the cored carrots in the broth and summer until the carrots are cooked. Your goal is to fully cook the carrot and there is a wide time period between al dente and mushy, so they are pretty hard to overcook. Maybe 20 minutes, then they should be a little pliable. Remove the carrots and stand them on their ends.
The carrots are easier to cut while they are still warm. While they are cooling, cut with a biscuit cutter as close to the hole as possible, trying to make the walls as thin as possible. This all depends on the size of your corer and the size of your cutter.
\\\ FOR THE SOCIABLE GARLIC PEAS \\\
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup fresh English peas, frozen peas can be substituted
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- Fresh ground pepper
- Pastry bag with round tip
- Hand blender (or traditional blender)
The key to the making sociable garlic is that the garlic is blanched in fresh water 7 times. It might seem laborious, but it will be worth it. In a small saucepan, poach the garlic for 3-5 minutes in in a pint of boiling water. Strain, rinse, repeat. Six more times. You can cheat here if you want, 4-5 times will work. The garlic will be super soft when you are finished.
In the same saucepan, sans the water, cook the cream, peas and garlic for about 5 minutes. Use a hand blender to puree, and season to taste with salt and pepper. You can also use a traditional blender, but you will lose some of that precious garlic that you worked so hard to poach. The consistency should be that of a stiff mashed potatoes. Fill into a pastry bag with a round tip.
\\\ TO ASSEMBLE \\\
- Cooked carrot tubes
- Blended garlic peas in pastry bag
- A hunk of parmigiano reggiano
- 12 leaves fresh mint, fine julienne
- Micro plane
Re-warm the carrots in the microwave or oven, pipe the sociable garlic pea mixture into the carrots, micro plane the parmigiano on the top and liberally sprinkle the mint. Serve immediately.