• This is the sixth year in a row that I’ve organized a non-traditional Thanksgiving. After the whole brine bag explosion debacle I didn’t have it in me to do turkey any more. I therefore have decreed that each year be a different nationality of food. The first year we did Chinese food complete with six mushroom egg rolls and dim sum. The second year was Lebanese with lots of dips and an interesting steak tartare. Year three was Bhurmize with a Tongan influence. This was a tricky year trying to incorporate the two together, let alone trying to find Tongan recipes. Most of the recipes I found were a cup of this some of that and cook it till its done. They produced some intriguing dishes to say the least. Then there was French and German which I still happen to have the menu for:

    Kumamoto Oysters with Deutz Champagne (one of  favorite moderately priced Champagnes)

    2nd Course:
    -Red Beet Salad with haricot vert and imported goat cheese dressed with shallot infused EVO

    3rd Course:
    -Potato Rosti w/ duarte loch smoked salmon, salmon roe, creme fraiche and chives with a mixed whole grain and dijon mustard vinigrette

    Pan-seared scallops with a ruby red port (fonseca 27 bin, sicilian) reduction with shaved Burgundian black truffles

    4th Course:
    Roasted Sonoma foie gras with a cherry port reduction

    5th Course:
    TURF AND TURF: Oven roasted whole duck & 8hr Slow roasted Veal Shank with drizzled duck jus

    Red Cabbage caramelized with port, onion, and lemon
    Crimini Mushroom risotto finished with duck fat and mascarpone cheese

    Frozen German Chocolate Pie (a guilty childhood favorite of mine)

    Chateauneuf du Pape
    Burgundian Pinots

    It was delicious. After the French and Germans left we had Piemontese cuisine from Italy. The kitchen was unruly with all the flour everywhere..

    We made a charcuterie plate.

    as well as chicken liver pate..

    ..hand stuffed sausage..

    ..a mushroom risotto with shaved white alba truffle..

    but we had plenty of Barbera, Nebbiolo and Arneis to keep us busy.

    Which brings us to this year’s Thanksgiving.

    This year it was all Puerto Rican and Brazilian.

    The menu was as follows:


    Puerto Rican

    Mofongo – Veggie/Meat/Shrimp/ (options)
    Empanaditas – Same options


    Pernil al Horno
    Arroz con Habichuelas

    Dessert : Arroz con Leche (Dulce)

    Bevs: Coquito-Rum
    Piña Colada-Rum


    Churrasco – Meat and Veggie

    Bev: Caipirinha-Cachaça

    So we get to the reason why there was no wine served this year. When I think of Brazil I think of Cachaça and when I think of Puerto Rico I think of Rum. Wine just didn’t seem to factor in, and I thought it might be nice to try something different. Well, next year has been decided as Austrailia so the wine will be back in full force.

    Shaking the holiday traditions up by making new ones is a ton of fun (but a lot of work.)  I enjoy cooking, and since pairing wine and food and friends is always a good time. I try to make every excuse for it.

    – Jonathan Hood