Last-Minute Thanksgiving Tips From Some of D.C.'s Top Chefs

Recipe suggestions and tips to get you through the big day

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    There's not much time left before the turkeys, tofurkeys and turduckens start hitting the table. Are you still trying to decide on your side dishes, though? We've got you covered.

    Whether you’re cooking for your S.O. for the first time, or it’s just another Thanksgiving at home with your family, some of Washington’s top chefs are looking out for you.

    Check out some easy ways to cut corners, see tips on how to survive the holiday, and -- of course -- get plenty of menu suggestions from them, too.

    And they didn't forget about leftovers.


    Spike Mendelsohn
    Chef & owner, Good Stuff Eatery & We the Pizza (303-305 Pennsylvania Ave. SE)

    Q: What special dish are you making this Thanksgiving for your family?

    I make a roasted butternut squash soup that my family loves. So that will definitely be on the menu. It tastes like fall. Use a homemade stock and put a lot of love into it. The key to really hearty, well-developed soups is to take your time and really put heart into it.

    Q: What are your two best tips when it comes to cooking a Thanksgiving meal?

    1. It's OK to cheat a little bit and cut down on your prep time. We all love the idea of a homemade Thanksgiving meal, but no one will know or mind that you ordered already-peeled chestnuts online rather than spend[ing] hours just peeling chestnuts. Your dish is still going to taste delicious and it will allow you more time to unwind and relax with family.

    2. Create your own traditions. Deep fry that turkey. Make a Turkey Day sangria with hard cider. You don't have to stick to those same recipes that Grandma used to make if you are yearning to reach outside the box.

     


    Mike Isabella
    Chef & owner, Graffiato (707 6th St. NW)

    Q: What special dish are you making this Thanksgiving for your family?

    I will be making a Brussels sprouts dish with pancetta and maple glaze.

    Q: What are your two best tips when it comes to cooking a Thanksgiving meal?

    1. If you are using a frozen turkey, plan ahead to thaw it out, and give it time to rest at room temp before cooking. Prep the day before, clean/cut items and store in plastic bags; then you will be ready day to cook the day of.

    2. If using a base ingredient in multiple dishes, such as onions or garlic, mince it all at same time. Consider using a food processor to dice or mince your ingredients all at once.

     


    Chef Huda
    owner, Pretty & Delicious LLC

    Q: What special dish are you making this Thanksgiving for your family?

    This year -- in addition to my family's favorite signature dishes like my jerk turkey with pineapple and vidalia onion stuffing, and my Cognac apple and pear pie -- I will also be making some simple yet healthy dishes like roasted sweet potatoes with agave-glazed and crispy garlic Brussels sprouts. These dishes are pretty and delicious and guaranteed to help you find a happy food place this holiday season. Recipes are available on www.chefhuda.com.

    Q: What are your two best tips when it comes to cooking a Thanksgiving meal?

    1. Do not stress! Cooking should be fun. Planning your menu a day ahead of time will save you time and stress!

    2. Remember the holidays are about being with the ones you love. So put love in everything you do. Whether your dishes are traditional or daring, make them with love.

     


    Michelle Capuno
    Kitchen manager, Dangerously Delicious Pies (1339 H St. NE)

    Q: What special dish are you making this Thanksgiving for your family?

    Now that I am at the pie shop, they expect me to bring something always! They love anything with chocolate, so the Baltimore Bomb would be expected. [That's] Dangerously Delicious Pie's signature pie -- it's [made of] Berger cookies (vanilla wafers hand-dipped in chocolate fudge) crumbled up and baked into a vanilla chess.

    Q: What are your two best tips when it comes to cooking a Thanksgiving meal?

    1. Don't be afraid to try something new! Try out that new recipe or idea you've had your eye on. It's your family, after all! They're the best test subjects!

    2. Don't stress. Take some shortcuts, if you need to. If you're enjoying preparing the food, the food will come out great and the good cheer will be shared by all!

     


    Brian Voltaggio
    Chef & owner, Volt (228 N. Market St., Frederick, Md.)

    Q: What special dish are you making this Thanksgiving for your family?

    A family favorite: sausage and cheddar afternoon bites. Breakfast sausage, sharp cheddar cheese and sage.

    Q: What's your best tip when it comes to cooking a Thanksgiving meal?

    When you've got your leftovers and are making a day-after sandwich with your turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and more, try sprinkling on a turkey sandwich [a mixture of] one cup of maldon sea salt, three juniper berries and the zest of one orange. You can blend these in a spice grinder and also use a mortar and pestle.

     


    Check Out the Scene: Keep up with what's happening in the D.C. area anytime, anywhere. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Sign up for our e-mail newsletters.