When the weather turns cold, you want a salad that brightens your table and can stand up to all those stews and roasts you’ll be serving.
Note: This recipe is part of our series for Serious Eats. You can also find the recipe and many others on their site.
Once the weather turns cold it becomes harder and harder to keep salads interesting. Most of our favorite add-ins are a distant memory (I’m looking at you, glorious heirloom tomato). A trip down the produce aisle, or even the farmer’s market, can feel more like a challenge than an inspiration. But this is when, with a little creative thinking, great combinations are born.
It may seem as though there’s even less certainty than usual in the world at the moment. If one thing is certain, though, it’s that this time next week, most of the US will be engaged in stuffing a turkey and then stuffing themselves, with the turkey, like some kind of human Turducken – let’s call it a “Turstuffan” (unless you’re actually stuffing yourselves with a stuffed Turducken, in which case I don’t know what to call you).
It’s also the biggest cooking occasion at Nerds HQ – generally we cook for ourselves and then say “hey look internet, we made a thing, ok thx bai” – but this day, of all days, we’re committed to cooking for a large group who aren’t afraid to give their instant feedback. It’s intimidating! We couldn’t do it without a set of tried-and-tested Thanksgiving recipes that we have tweaked over the years to make them really tasty and, just as importantly, to keep preparation and cooking as stress-free as possible. (We’ll never forget the year we accidentally brined the kitchen floor with about 10 gallons of spiced saltwater.)
So here are our dishes. Appetizers, entree and sides, the all-important gravy (you don’t have to make your own stock, but if you can swing it, it adds amazing flavor), sides that’ll knock your socks off, desserts, and some great ways to use up the inevitable leftovers. We hope you find these Thanksgiving recipes as enjoyable to make and eat as we do.
Finally, and most importantly, this holiday is about gratitude, so we want to take the opportunity to say thank you. Specifically, thank you, you reader there, you. We started this blog as a way to get our recipes down in writing where we’d be able to find them again. It has grown in ways we never expected, and it has become a springboard for our cooking, writing and food photography.
Your encouragement, positive comments, ideas and adaptations are what keep us coming back week after week to make something new that you might like. Most of all, seeing you cook, enjoy, adapt, and document your own versions means more to us than we can say. Please keep letting us know how the recipes worked for you, and send us your pictures! You can always tag us on Instagram (@nerdswithknives) or just comment under a recipe post. We always appreciate it.
From us, Matt and Emily, to you, your families, your kitchen and table, we wish you the very best and we can’t wait to show you what we have planned next! Happy Thanksgiving!
Mushrooms are incredibly versatile. Here, we sauté them until deeply golden brown, then pair their savory flavor with hearty kale leaves and a nutty sherry vinegar dressing. It’s an easy vegetarian meal in a bowl.
Note: This article is from our series on Serious Eats. You can find this salad, and other great recipes there as well.
When you cook as a couple, you have to constantly deal with what each person does and doesn’t like to eat. One of us (Matt) loves mushrooms, though, admittedly, mostly fried up English-style for breakfast; the other (Emily) used to dislike them, finding them to be either chewy, slimy, rubbery, or otherwise unappetizing.
We eventually realized that the problem wasn’t with the mushrooms, it was how we’d been cooking them. We’d been treating mushrooms like most other vegetables, when we really should’ve been cooking them like meat. By searing mushrooms until deeply browned, you can bring out their earthy, meaty, umami-packed flavor, while their interiors remain tender and juicy. Now, we have no conflict—we both love mushrooms and work them into our meals all the time. Here, we toss them with baby kale and a flavorful sherry vinaigrette to make an easy, filling salad.
These deceptively simple shortbread rounds are so rustic, you’ll think you’ve time-travelled to 1740.
We’ve recently been doing some behind-the-scenes overhauling of the site, cleaning up old links, testing a new recipe plugin, that sort of thing, and I found myself looking at one of the first articles I ever wrote for the blog, in 2013. In it I talk about finding three wooden biscuit stamps at my grandmother’s house after she died. Her kitchen cupboards were seemingly endless and there was always something at the back that you never knew was there. Into the 90s I swear we were still finding foodstuffs at the very back of the larder with halfpence prices (which were phased out in 1983). Certainly I don’t remember ever seeing, let alone Nan ever using, these stamps.
So, just to recap, the stamps are, at first glance, a shamrock, a thistle, and a dragon. If you’re British, you’ll be saying “yes of course, that makes total sense”; if you’re not, you will probably be singing the “One of these things is not like the other” song from Sesame Street.
Tender, thin-cut pork chops smothered in a rich, savory sauce, with sweet cipollini onions and grapes. This is a dinner party-worthy dish quick enough to whip up after work.
Is it just me or has 2016 been a beast? Maybe it’s only pre-election madness but lately everything seems just a wee bit more stressful than usual. I look around and all signs seem to point to YEP, TIME TO PANIC. Not that I’m turning into a crazy survivalist or anything (surreptitiously steps in front of industrial-sized case of organic ketchup). What? That was on sale at Costco.
Now that I think about it, if the apocalypse really is coming I want to have lots of condiments on hand to mask the flavor of boiled weeds and roadkill. I’d probably be the Walking Dead zombie that sprinkles fancy salt and a splash of vinegar on my victims before I chew their faces off. There’s really no excuse for bland brains, m’right?
Okay, I seem to have strayed raaaaather far off topic. What I mean to say is, even during stressful times, nay, especially during stressful times, it’s important to take an hour out every once in a while and make a nice dinner.
A farro salad is the perfect way to extend salad season into the fall. This combination has great intense flavors and only a little preparation.
[Matt says: We’re reposting this popular recipe from the first year of the blog. The evenings are colder in these parts but we’re still getting warm sunny days; even though there’s nothing fresh in the garden, I still want a healthy green lunch, and this does the job. A good boxed baby kale or even baby spinach is perfect here.]
A long, long time ago, on my first “grown-up” trip, I was at a tiny little restaurant in Florence, Italy, when a waiter asked me if I was a fan of “Farrah”. “Um, huh?” I asked, eloquent as always. “Farrah, you like?”. “She’s… ok, I guess”. I was very confused as to what a 70’s sex symbol had to do with Italian food but was too embarrassed to ask. The waiter, befuddled by my response, wandered away, I’m sure annoyed that he ended up with the table of weird Americans.
Later I noticed a special on the menu, “Farro con Pomodori Arrostiti” (Farro with roasted tomatoes). Aha! Farro, not Farrah! Farro, of course. Farro… I had no idea what Farro was. I didn’t order it.