Chef Tom’s Thanksgiving Feast 2011


Thanksgiving is always an amazing feast in our home, with a regular group of family and friends who have been joining us for over 20 years. In the leadup, my friend Chef Richard and I match minds over Mexican lunches at El Chubasco while paging through the Bon Appetit Thanksgiving issue, debating which turkey it will be. After many years of shoveling way too much food onto the table, we’ve tried to come to our senses as of late and keep it simple. Well, maybe a bit simpler. It’s hard to keep two passionate chefs tied down when it comes to Thanksgiving.

This year’s bird was a debate between the Cajun Spiced Turkey and the Cider Brined Turkey with Star Anise and Cinnamon. Cider brined it is!

It’s Thanksgiving Day and we’re all frantically prepping in the kitchen. Checkout the photos and full review later!

Happy Thanksgiving!

2011 Thanksgiving Menu

Appetizers and Salad
Selection of cheeses, crackers, salami
Roasted Beet Salad – Hostess Carole

Main Course
Cider Brined Turkey with Star Anise and Cinnamon
Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts Gratin – Chef Tom
Garlic mashed potatoes with apple cider gravy – Chef Richard (still King of Gravy)
Spinach, Fennel and Sausage Dressing (prepared gluten free and with vegetarian option) – Chef Tom
Gail’s Famous Cranberry Orange Relish

Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake – Chef Liza (veteran of Letty’s Deer Valley Resort bakery)
Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie – Chef Liza


It’s In the Sauce


I call it Italian season. When the leaves have fallen from the trees and the first snows are blanketing the mountains, it’s time to stock up on pastas and tomatoes, preparing for the hearty meals of winter. The storm windows are closed and the house takes on a wonderful aroma as the pasta sauce festers on the stove.

New Kitchen is Fabulous!


Twas the Night Before Kitchen …

It’s somewhat like Christmas Eve tonight. Santa arrives tomorrow in the form of Shamrock Plumbing and Mountainlands to install the sink, hook up the fridge and dishwasher and put the Wolf range in place. The kitchen is a dream of ours that is becoming a reality. Even with a few major items to go, it dazzles us. Carole did an incredible job in conceiving, designing, negotiating, assembling, cleaning and putting in place an amazing room. When your toes touch the cork floor every one of your senses is triggered. The floor is soft and creamy on your feet as your eyes are drawn to the mountains out the five windows with no cabinets to block your view. Your hand runs across the grain of the butcher block where drinks will be poured and turkeys will be carved. And you can almost smell the spaghetti sauce festering on the range on a winter evening. Tonight, a lone red halogen light shines from the ceiling track, anxious awaiting its brothers from eBay and Craig’s List to arrive.


In the Homestretch

When you enter the kitchen, your fleet glide over the cushiony cork floor, and your eyes gaze out the windows set against the dark brown cabinets, with the light reflecting off the new butcher block on the island. It’s beginning to look a lot like a kitchen! We’re in the homestretch now after Zach, Carole and I somehow moved the quarter ton Kitchenaid fridge into place without destroying anything. Now, it’s just a matter of getting the cabinet tops, dishwasher, sink and stove and we’re cookin’!

The first of the dishes are stacked in the new island drawers. Checkout the big pantry door in the background!

Chowder on the Walls!

It’s a veritable potpourri of delicacies on the walls of the remodeled kitchen. After long plans for brown, we’ve opted to lighten things up and go with a yellowy-creamy color – clam chowder, as it’s called, with brown accent similar to our bedroom upstairs (applesauce, keeping with the food theme). Carole primed all day Friday and finished it off that evening with the final coats of finish paint. Mark did a superb job with the window framing Saturday. And it’s starting really to look like a real room!



This was one of those portions of the project you almost thought would be fun – tearing it all apart to make way for the new kitchen. Well, it wasn’t much fun. The cabinets came out easily, as did the range, oven, dishwasher and the sink (kinda). But the floor, wow, that was a beast. Boy, did we do an awesome job of laying that ceramic tile 15+ years ago!


Watch for New Kitchen

After 16 years of hosting friends in our wonderful little kitchen, it’s all coming to a close. Don’t worry, it’s all good. We’re remodeling! Stay tuned for all the details as we rip out the cabinets and start the construction soon. With a bit of luck, we’ll be cooking again by late June.

Kitchen Today (May 6, 2008 – before demolition)