Healdsburg Shed in Northern California is famous for its fermentation bar, where Gillian Helquist creates seasonal shrubs (fruit-based vinegar drinks). Try the strained fruit in a salad or dessert crisp, or serve it on a cheese plate.
Refreshing with fruit and layers of botanicals, this low-alcohol cocktail from Gillian Helquist of Healdsburg Shed in Northern California features a local wine-based apéritif called Jardesca added to the basic shrub.
Dry-Cured Roasted Turkey with Herb Butter
Cindy Daniel of Healdsburg Shed in Northern California rubs her turkey with salt 2 days before roasting to season it beautifully without the messiness of a brine. A flavorful herb butter adds juiciness. Daniel likes the free-range turkeys from Northern California BN Ranch (eatlikeitmatters.com). As for wine, she pours local Pinot Noirs from DuMol and Copain Trousseau and the dry Radio-Coteau Platt Riesling.
Roasted Turkey Gravy
Roasted vegetables and drippings from the turkey pan, plus toasted roux for thickening, make for a deeply flavored gravy. The hard-cooked eggs are a touch from Cindy Daniel's childhood Thanksgivings in Louisiana.
Blenheim Apricot Liqueur
This year, we're vowing to start early on our holiday gifts. First up is dried apricot liqueur with a delicious bonus: soused fruit to dunk in chocolate. Five minutes now, and we'll be golden come December. Be sure to get California-grown apricots, especially the Blenheim variety, which are head and shoulders above imported for flavor and color.
You'll need to wait at least 2 weeks after starting the Blenheim Apricot Liqueur to make this boozy bonus from the strained fruit. If the apricots you use are on the small side, you'll need another half recipe of the chocolate mixture for dunking.
Aatxe Allioli (Spanish-style Garlic Mayonnaise)
In France, it's called aioli; in Spain, allioli. This version of allioli comes from chef Ryan Pollnow of San Francisco's Aatxe ("Ah-chay") restaurant. It's delicious with patatas bravas (fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce) and seafood.
Chorizo Deviled Eggs
Ryan Pollnow, the chef at the San Francisco Spanish restaurant Aatxe ("Ah-chay"), always has hard-cooked eggs on his tapas menu. This version--with its smoky, creamy filling and crunchy topping of fried chorizo sausage--is especially delicious.
Crunchy Potatoes with Spicy Tomato Sauce
A classic Spanish bar snack, patatas bravas are fried twice: The first fry is meant to rid the potatoes of most of their moisture so they'll form a crisp crust when fried the second time. The good news is, you don't have to actually deep-fry them right before serving. They get just as crisp oven-roasted in a healthy drizzle of oil. We especially like this version, from chef Ryan Pollnow of San Francisco's Aatxe ("Ah-chay") restaurant, because the potatoes stay crunchy after they're mixed with the sauce.
Cindy Daniel of Healdsburg Shed in Northern California learned how to make this moist cornbread from her mom while she was growing up in Louisiana.
Buttermilk Cornbread Stuffing
This buttery, moist stuffing is based on a recipe Cindy Daniel of Healdsburg Shed in Northern California got from her mom. If you're juggling turkey and stuffing in one (smaller) oven, make the stuffing first, then reheat it while the turkey rests before carving.
Pepper, Olive, and Anchovy Skewers (Pintxos Gilda)
Pintxo means "spike" in the Basque language and refers to a wide variety of little snacks from that region. The Gilda gets its name--and its flavor inspiration--from the Rita Hayworth movie, in which the Spanish-descended actress plays a bold and saucy femme fatale. This recipe, from chef Ryan Pollnow of Aatxe ("Ah-chay") restaurant in San Francisco, requires sixteen 4-inch wooden skewers.
Aatxe Aperitivo (Sparkling Cava Cocktail)
Morgan Schick of San Francisco's Bon Vivants cocktail consultants created this cocktail for Aatxe ("Ah-chay") restaurant, also in San Francisco. A twist on the classic Champagne cocktail, it's made with cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and pacharán liqueur. Pacharán (spelled "patxaran" in the Basque language) is similar to sloe gin--both are made from sloe berries, the dime-size fruit of the blackthorn shrub--but it's less sweet, and is usually made with anise liqueur rather than gin.
Three-Spice Apple Pie
An early version of this pie once won Sunset reader Elaine E. Johnson of McKinleyville, California, an apple tree in a local contest. She's still baking for her pie-loving husband, and this version, with cardamom and candied ginger as well as the usual cinnamon, is one of their favorites.
Homemade Crème Fraîche
Silky, tangy crème fraîche can get pricey used in quantity. Luckily, making your own is a snap, and about half the price.
Bok Choy and Chicken Stir-Fry over Noodle Pancake
Tender chicken tops a crisp pancake for a dinner that's better than takeout, and just as fast.
Pan-Roasted Pork Chops with Quick Pickled Greens
We've taken a slow-cook classic--pork and greens--and sped it up while retaining lots of flavor. Leftovers are great the next day, layered on rye bread.
Kale Salad with Red Quinoa, Fennel, and Carrots
This fresh, satisfying salad makes a welcome break from rich holiday foods.
Although you can fry these little fritters a few hours ahead and reheat them for 10 minutes in a 350° oven, they're crunchiest and taste freshest when deep-fried closer to serving. They'll retain their crunch and flavor for about an hour. Chef Ryan Pollnow, of San Francisco's Aatxe ("Ah-chay") restaurant, gave us the recipe.
The Spanish excel at preserving food, and chef Ryan Pollnow always has several conservas on the menu at Aatxe ("Ah-chay") restaurant in San Francisco. These lightly pickled mussels are surprisingly easy to make, yet taste as though you spent hours on them. Serve with hunks of warm baguette to soak up the spicy, delicious oil.
Arugula Pear Salad
A dinner party of bold, salty tapas (Spanish-style small plates) gains an element of freshness from this slightly sweet, crunchy salad, created for us by chef Ryan Pollnow of Aatxe ("Ah-chay") restaurant in San Francisco. You'll have a bit of leftover vinaigrette for your next salad.
Small, juicy shrimp in plenty of garlicky olive oil show up on countless tapas menus across Spain. Chef Ryan Pollnow, of Aatxe ("Ah-chay") restaurant in San Francisco, seasons his gambas with mild, smoky dried ñora chiles from Spain; easier-to-find cascabel, ancho, or pasilla chiles (all also dried) are great substitutes but slightly spicier.
Roasted Fall Vegetables with Lentils and Spices
This vegetarian dish is fragrant with garam masala, an Indian spice blend that typically includes black pepper and a mix of sweet and savory spices.
Creamy Squash Soup with Salad Topping
Some butternut squash soups can be too sweet; here, almond butter, lime juice, and slightly spicy salad mix-ins keep the flavors lively. For a heartier dish, add a few cooked medium shrimp (warmed first in a little hot water) to each bowl.
Butternut Squash Spice Cake
Watch out, carrot cake. An intriguing mix of spices, plus coconut sugar for subtle sweetness, put this butternut squash cake over the top. (And did we mention the bourbon?) You'll need 3 round cake pans (8 in. each).
Poached Pears in Muscat Wine
Cooking the pears in delicately floral Muscat wine makes for a light, elegant dessert--and leaves plenty of room for friends' pies, says Cindy Daniel of Healdsburg Shed in Northern California.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes
This dish hints at Cindy Daniel's Southern roots without the usual candied syrup. If you have only one oven and are roasting a turkey, use a microwave-safe dish in step 3 and microwave the sweet potatoes, covered with waxed paper, in step 4 until hot. Finish the dish in the regular oven while the turkey rests.
Spiced Pickled Quinces
Bright but not too sweet, this relish from Cindy Daniel of Healdsburg Shed in Northern California is great with turkey as an alternative--or addition--to cranberry relish. You'll need 3 pt.-size canning jars.
Chicory Salad with Persimmons, Pomegranates, and Walnuts
Fruits, nuts, Fuyu persimmons, and two kinds of chicory (frisée and radicchio) go into Lipton and Daniel's generous but light salad. Toss it at the last minute so it stays crisp.
Roasted Beet Hummus
In addition to the stunning color, beets give this hummus a gentle sweetness and earthiness. It's a favorite on the cafe menu at Healdsburg Shed in Northern California.
Garden Vegetable Platter
For color, Doug Lipton and Cindy Daniel of Healdsburg Shed in Northern California like to keep a little of the tops on the homegrown vegetables they serve as an appetizer for Thanksgiving alongside Roasted Beet Hummus and freshly pressed olive oil (olio nuovo). Soaking the vegetables in ice water makes them crisp and they last longer on the table.
Oysters with Verjus Mignonette
Doug Lipton of Healdsburg Shed in Northern California shucks local Hog Island oysters to order for guests at Thanksgiving, serving them with this bright sauce and a French Champagne like Larmandier-Bernier "Longitude." If you don't want to shuck oysters yourself, order them on the half-shell from a fish market. The mignonette makes enough for about 4 dozen oysters.
What could be more fun than a cauldron full of seething, smoking sangria? It's delicious and wickedly strong (use more sparkling water if you want to dilute it a little). Although dry ice is not toxic, it's dangerous to swallow chips because of the extremely low temperature. Using a chunk of the ice, and wrapping it in cheesecloth, avoids that problem.
Emoji Meringue Ghosts
These expressive little ghosts are made of French meringue--egg whites beaten with sugar until stiff and then baked. It's similar to but not the same as marshmallow (made with egg whites, hot sugar syrup, and gelatin) and harder to shape. Extra-fine sugar creates a slightly smoother meringue.
Easy-to-Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs
For eggs that peel easily and cleanly, we've found no better method than this one, from chef Ryan Pollnow of Aatxe ("Ah-chay") restaurant in San Francisco.