Our annual Thanksgiving recipe round-up has a little twist of something special this year. We published our first cookbook, Cork and Knife, earlier in the year, and it celebrates cooking with alcohol. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, now’s the perfect time — and it’ll make a great holiday (or Thanksgiving host) gift. We’ll soon post an exclusive recipe from the book, but in the meantime, in the summaries below, we’ve marked recipes which contain booze in bold.
If one thing on this green earth is certain, it’s that in about a week and a half, 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 “Turkhuman” (unless you’re actually stuffing yourselves with a stuffed Turducken, in which case I don’t know what to call you. Answers on a postcard please.)
A simple, healthy Thai shrimp salad with an authentic sour-savory-spicy-sweet combination of fresh lime juice, fish sauce and chili paste, showered with fresh herbs and crunchy roasted peanuts.
Summer is almost done but we are officially in the middle of a heat wave. You know those shots in movies of a long, empty road, heat lines shimmering up from the pavement? Maybe a tumbleweed blows by, lazy and misshapen? That’s our living room right now. In this case the “tumbleweed” is Arya, our rescue dog who, for a pup who lived her first year on the streets of West Virginia, is hilariously particular about the range of temperatures she finds acceptable. 70º – 75ºF is fine, but a few degrees in either direction and get ready for dramatic sighs and woeful glances.
Crispy, crunchy oven-fried chicken tenders might look like kid food, but these are packed with enough flavor to keep the grown ups just as happy. We serve them with a garlicky, lemony, herb-packed yogurt dip.
If someone took a quick glance at our blog, they might get the impression that we’re fancy people. We are not. Prime example: Matt’s desert island dish is probably butterscotch pudding (the kind made from a packet, mind you). And mine is probably tater tots. Yes, frozen potato nuggets, baked on a tray. See? Not fancy.
Yes, we like to cook up some nice grub but it’s mostly simple stuff, just made (hopefully) with good ingredients and a little technique. Same goes for this recipe, our crispy, crunchy baked oven-fried chicken tenders.
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!
Sweet corn and smoky bacon make a delicious filling to this quick cooking frittata. Studded with cheesy nuggets of gruyere and spicy jalapeños, this is the type of quick dinner you’ll want to make all the time.
***Note: Matt and I are thrilled to announce that we are now contributors at one of our favorite food blogs of all time, Serious Eats! I’m sure most of you are familiar with them but if you’re not, definitely check them out. I love their approach to cooking because they question everything (and just because something is always done a certain way, doesn’t mean that it’s always the best way). They test and test to make sure that recipes result in the best tasting dishes, with the most efficient and fool-proof techniques.
TL;DR[note]”Too long; didn’t read”, grandpa[/note] They’re even nerdier about cooking than we are!
If the egg is the versatile gymnast of the culinary world, the star of a thousand different techniques and dishes, the frittata is probably its signature move. It’s quick, it’s easy, and you can throw almost anything into it and come up with a winning recipe. You can whip one up in under 20 minutes, so it’s ideal for a quick weekday breakfast or weekend brunch, but we’re betting it will score a place in your dinner rotation, too.
Fresh tomatoes, fried capers and butter-lemon flavors combine with chicken cutlets to create this perfect zingy summery piccata recipe. We served it over linguine, but grilled bread would also be a good option.
Very early summer can be frustrating for a cook. The garden beds are filled with all our favorite vegetables. We planted six different kinds of tomatoes, chard and kale, loads of garlic, eggplants, tomatillos, jalapeños, broccoli rabe.But nothing is even close to ready yet. They’re all just beginning to sprout and bloom, so it will be at least a month before anything can be harvested, except for the herbs which are happily taking over the back deck. So while our bounty is bounty-ing, it’s back to the grocery store to see what looks good.
We found pretty, if not very sweet, tomatoes, still on the vine and perfect for a quick roasting. Just 15 minutes in a hot oven concentrated the flavor and turns them jammy and soft. A perfect accompaniment to bright, zingy Chicken Piccata.