Holiday, Fall, Dinner

Thanksgiving 2009 Part 1


The biggest American gustatory holiday.


So what happens when we take Renegade Kitchen out of Colorado and drop it in New York?

This is what happens.

Now in addition to making everything free of gluten, dairy and processed sugar, this meal had to be prepped between two different kitchens. Yeah. And we’re not talking large, modern, crisp kitchens.

These are New York kitchens.

Small, cramped, old appliances, older smells.

But that’s what makes this a Renegade Thanksgiving, right?

The prep. began in Manhattan, where my parents have a place. I tried to get as much done there as possible, because the final destination (my sister’s apt.) is even smaller in the kitchen. Working in a different kitchen was like wearing someone else’s dress to prom. Everything turned out fine, but “getting dressed” was a trip.

With the prep. list split between two kitchens (one in Brooklyn, one in Manhattan), my sister and I had the Herculean task of synchronizing shopping lists.

Which mostly worked.

And also made for days of two and three trips to Fairway.


Plan of action?

Anything that can be made ahead of time MUST be made ahead of time.

I started with dessert (it should always come first). Our menu planning had determined we’d definitely be needing multiples of everything. 13 people were coming to this feast. With that in mind I knew one tart would never be enough (is it ever?). The Caramelized Apple Tart would be lovely and seasonal and someone was bringing a pumpkin pie, which really just left a gaping hole in the dessert train that could only be plugged with chocolate.

Thinking it would be easiest to double the tart crust recipe and figure out another fruit filling, I set to work.

And this is what happens when you work in a tiny kitchen with ovens made in 1965.

Everything started out perfectly.

And then the crusts went in the oven.

It seems that the oven in my parent’s apartment is fueled by neither electricity nor gas, but rather, the raging fires of Hades. The tart shells burned from raw to ash in about 7 minutes (they normally cook for 15-20).

Obviously there was no way I could serve tart crusts forged in the Inferno, so I started over, scrapping the ash and moving forward with a wary eye on my new friend, the ancient, uncalibrated oven. Next up? Duh. Filling. The apple tart was set, frangipane, caramelized apples, beautiful.

But what to do with the other tart shell?

Obviously it needed chocolate, but what else?

I pretended I’d be seasonal for a hot second and then, after debates with my mother, realized that I wanted little more than chocolate and bananas (dressed up of course, this is a holiday). So, I took my regular frangipane recipe and replaced the almonds with hazelnuts, and added dark chocolate to the mix, blending together a heavenly spread to fill the other tart shell.

I topped the chocolate hazelnut tart with sauteed bananas. It was spectacular. You’ll get the recipe soon enough.

Want to see more? Check back for the next installation of our Thanksgiving Special. I’m hungry now. So I’m turning off the computer and turning on the stove.

I’ll try not to burn anything.