Thanksgiving Recipes Round-Up!

Whipped Rutabaga with Crispy Shallots
Whipped Rutabaga with Crispy Shallots

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!

Thanksgiving recipes: Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy with Calvados (Apple Brandy)
Make Ahead Turkey Gravy with Calvados (Apple Brandy)

 

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Lemon and Black Sesame Buttermilk Pound Cake

lemon sesame seed pound cake

Lemon Sesame Seed Pound Cake! An unconventional combination which really works. Buttermilk keeps the cake tender, and lemon in the cake, syrup and glaze gives it a triple lemon tang.

I discovered this afternoon why I love buttermilk.

At my grandparents’ house, the small conservatory at the back was where we’d hang out on a summer’s day. It was walled with mismatched sofas, chairs and cabinets, and held their vinyl collection and record player. At the age of 10, I didn’t have any interest in most of the music, but they also had some comedy records — daft 1950s British singles by Peter Sellers, Bernard Cribbins and Terry Scott — and a couple of American albums, one of which was Bob Newhart’s one-sided telephone conversations. In retrospect, it was probably the first time I’d heard a genuine American accent other than on the occasional episode of Dallas or Dynasty. The last joke on the Bob Newhart* album was just called “Buttermilk” and was about 20 seconds long and went like this:

“I discovered this afternoon … (pause) … why … (pause) … I don’t like … buttermilk.” (Really long pause for audience laughter) ” … It’s the way the glass looks when you’re through drinking it.”

Lemon and Black Sesame Buttermilk Pound Cake
A quarter cup of seeds give the batter a little crunch.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake

Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake

A gorgeous and rich, cheesecake, flavored with rum and vanilla and topped with a summery compote of strawberries and rhubarb.

Hello Nerdlings!

Sometimes I wonder if we’re quite nerdy enough on this blog. I worry that our readers, steeped as are Westerosian Meisters in the lore of SF and fantasy, will flit from recipe to recipe, searching in vain for just the right clue that, yes, we too know the exact galactic co-ordinates of Gallifrey[efn_note]10-0-11-00 by 02[/efn_note],  we have read The Silmarillion[efn_note]Needed more dragons and fewer diacritics.[/efn_note] and we have a perfect theory to reconcile, entirely within the Blake’s Seven mythos, Stephen Greif’s depiction of Travis vs Brian Croucher’s[efn_note]I have discovered a truly remarkable proof which this blog is too small to contain.[/efn_note].

Is it not enough to show you our collection of Alan Moore’s 2000AD, DC Comics and Vertigo works, including not only the obvious Swamp ThingPromethea and Ballad of Halo Jones but early Doctor Who Weekly? Must we dig out our Battlestar Galactica DVDs? Have we not mentioned that we named one of our pets (Arya) after a Game of Thrones character, and another (Bascule the Rascule) after the protagonist in the best of darling Iain M. Banks’ SF (although non-Culture) books, Feersum Enjinn?

Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake
Don’t worry. We WILL be talking about strawberries and rhubarb soon. Promise.

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Vanilla Custard Tart with Berries

Vanilla custard tart with berries

Vanilla custard tart made from homemade pastry cream and an easy graham cracker crust, topped with fresh summer berries. Perfect for summer parties!

If there’s one challenge to keeping chickens – there aren’t, of course, there are dozens: keeping the dog out of the chicken pellets and poop, keeping the chickens out of the vegetable patch and flower border; keeping Bernie Sanders, our runty salmon favarolle, from being bullied by the other, bigger, chickens – but if there were only one challenge, it would be: what the hell do we do with all these eggs?

With seven hens, even giving them away to our friends and neighbors, we’re never shy of around six dozen eggs on the counter at any one moment, with five or six being added to the stock every day. Yes, there are worse problems to have, and most of the solutions are pretty delicious.

Vanilla Custard Tart with Berries
We topped our tart with strawberries, blackberries. golden berries and fresh mint.

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Unbelievably Delicious Chocolate Babka

Unbelievably Delicious Chocolate Babka

Chocolate babka: a sweet bread treat made with enriched dough and layered with chocolate – a weekend project you’ll be glad you made.

Greetings, Easter (and Passover***) bunnies!

***This babka is leavened and therefore not suitable for Passover, if your family, unlike ours, cares about such things. Read Matt’s full, sincere and amusing apology at the bottom of the post.

It may have slipped out in the course of this blog that one of us is Jewish, and the other of us is English. These are not, frankly, genres that strike awe into the hearts of home chefs (although Nigella Lawson does pretty well for herself) . When our best friends in town got married, they catered the reception with dishes from Italy (his family heritage), and soul food from New Orleans (hers). It was awesome. A Jewish-British catered wedding? Maybe not so much.

An Easter/(not)Passover*** dessert option, though? Now you’re talking.

Unbelievably Delicious Chocolate Babka
This Babka is filled with rich, dark chocolate with just a hint of cinnamon.

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Easy Candied Pecans

Candied Pecans We made these candied pecans to top our Bourbon-Pumpkin Mousse Pie but luckily I made double the recipe because they are delicious. They’d be great in a fall salad, or sprinkled over Butterscotch Pudding, or just as a snack. They’d be delicious served with blue cheese along with sliced apples and pears.

Bourbon Pumpkin-Mousse Pie with Candied Pecans
Bourbon Pumpkin-Mousse Pie with Candied Pecans

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