Tuesday, November 17, 2015

10 Ways to be a Great Thanksgiving Guest

Thanksgiving Table Decor
Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. I love cooking with family all day in the kitchen, a table full of family and friends, and so many of my favorite foods in one meal (gravy! roasted green beans! stuffing!).

That being said, hosting Thanksgiving won't be in my future anytime soon, and I'm more than happy visiting family and pitching in with their traditions. Given that most of us will be traveling the country and being guests for the holiday, it's worth sharing some etiquette tips to keep in mind.

Here are my top 10 tips for being a great Thanksgiving guest...

1. Arrive relatively on-time.

No need to be perfectly on time. A spare 5-15 minutes can be a blessing for the host who is rushing to put on nice clothes after a long day of cooking. Any longer than 15 minutes though and you're officially late. 

2. Dress for the occasion.

It's a holiday...dress like it! Jerseys are great pre-dinner, but make sure you bring a blazer and button-down shirt to change into. 

3. Never show up empty-handed.

Even if your host tells you to just bring yourself, you should bring a lovely gift for your host/hostess. I love the idea of bringing a great homemade pancake mix or muffins for a post-Thanksgiving breakfast, but a lovely olive oil or vinegar is a welcome treat as well.

4. Do not take oven real estate.

The oven is a precious resource on Thanksgiving, and your host has likely planned out each oven time for each and every item. This means you showing up with a carrot dish that needs "just 15 just as delicious at room temperature.

5. No phones during dinner.

Before and after the meal, feel free to Snapchat and Instagram away. As soon as you sit down to dinner, your phone should be turned off and away!

6. Offer to help the host.

Ask the host if you can stop by early to help set the table or chop vegetables. Sign up for dish washing after dinner! Any extra steps you take show the hostess you appreciate all of her work.

7. Ask before you buy wine.

A great host will tell you what type of wine to bring, so that your job is easier and so that the wine goes with the food. If your host doesn't specify, ask what type of wine they want to serve at dinner.

8. Inform your host of any dietary restrictions.

As a guest, it is your responsibility to let the host know if you have any dietary restrictions. Z and I always try to give friends plenty of heads-up about our no pork/shellfish rule. You should let the host know as soon as possible, ideally when you accept the invite. 

9. Behave at the table.

I'm not against talking about politics or religion at the table, but as a guest, you should be on best behavior and not engage in any heated discussions.

10. Send an immediate thank you; follow up with a handwritten note.

A quick thank you text the night of will let the host know you had a great time. A handwritten thank you note the following week is still the best gesture of appreciation. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Crustless Quiches

Crustless Quiche
Lazy weekend mornings are the best. I'm an early riser; while Z can sleep well past noon, I'm often up around 8am, even on weekends. I make a cup of coffee or tea (Irish Breakfast is my current favorite), and sit on the couch reading or catching up on a show. 

I unabashedly love breakfast, and within a half hour or so of waking up I'm in need of food. While our fridge can get pretty sparse during the week, there are some staples I like to keep on hand. Eggs, cream (for coffee/tea), and cheese are three of them, along with frozen fruit and almond milk for smoothies. Crustless Quiche
This brunch recipe creates a crustless quiche--a custardy and savory egg dish that comes together really easily with basic kitchen staples. While I do love flaky pastry dough, this crustless quiche is healthier, easier, and quicker to prepare.  
This genius recipe comes from Mark Bittman of the New York Times. You can add in chopped up roasted vegetables for a dressier look, particularly if you are serving this at brunch with friends. 

I'm out in New York right now (will be for ~10 more days or so), and I'm dying for a home cooked meal. DC is on the agenda for the weekend, and I'm hoping I can convince my friends to cook at home for at least one meal. Crustless quiche in pajamas on my own couch sounds pretty great right now. 

More brunch recipes: Blueberry muffins and shirred eggs

Crustless Quiche Recipe

From Mark Bittman

1 cup cream, half-and-half, or whole milk, gently heated until just warm
3 eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup grated Emmenthal or Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup grated pecorino ro Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well blended. 
Crustless Quiche
Butter 4 to 6 ramekins, and pour egg/cream/cheese mixture evenly into ramekins. Bake in oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until almost firm. It should jiggle just a little in the middle.

Serve warm or at room temperature. 


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