Every year I bring a stash to New Jersey for the holidays and ride the dreaded New Jersey Transit. This year, I will bear bags of NYC goodies to share with my family: The DiCarlo Girls
Clockwise form Top: Josie, Me, Antonete, Agata (Tina) and Carmelina (Baby Lina)
We are picky, boisterous cooks--each with our own specialties. Antonete brines the turkey and bakes pumpkin pies, Mom makes the stuffing and makes us feel guilty (add link to stuffing recipe), Tina does the appetizers and yells at me, Josie deals with the veggies and brings Tofurkey (she is a vegetarian and breaks my heart) and Lina cuts the cheese (she hates when I say that). She is the baby and is basically the sous chef.
I orchestrate the whole thing and by that I mean scream at everyone and really become a fascist about the table setting. In return, they yell back and tell me to get over myself. In addition, at some point someone cries, plates of food fall to the floor, mom wonders why there are no grand children and if we are lucky, no one goes to the emergency room (for a random cut or other such nonsense)--typical Italian Thanksgiving! We need sustenance to get through this, so I bring the following delicious meal enhancements:
1. Corn Bread, Whole Foods
We all love the Whole Foods made-in- house corn bread and they make me bring some home every year. It is moist and delicious--some of the best I have had! Choose the cuts without pan end like those in photos -they are the most moist. Put in an 350 degree oven for 6-8 min and smother with butter. Perfection.
2. Iggy's Cranberry Pecan Rolls, Whole Foods
You will eat these uncontrollably- toasted and buttered they are bliss (toasting it enhances the pecan flavors and who can resist a crisp outside?) Perfect as an updated roll and a great addition to any Thanksgiving bread basket. Works well accompanying a cheese plate as well.
3. Narragansett Creamery Hand Dipped Ricotta, Eataly
Discovered this fresh cow's milk ricotta last Christmas and now it must go on every cheese plate I make. Particularly stunning when dripping with Sicilian honey. Also goes very well smothered on Iggy's Pecan Cranberry Rolls or any crusty bread.
4. Pumpkin Walnut Cranberry Quickbread, Amy's Bread
Another great seasonal addition to a bread basket! I would spread whipped cream cheese on this bread at Thanksgiving dinner and at Black Friday Brunch. Moist and not too sweet--Amy is definitely a brunch and bread expert. For more delicious bread items watch our Bread Basket video at Amy's Bread!
5. Trio of Roasted Nut Oils, Trader Joe's
Found this nifty limited edition set on a recent trip and I imagined enhancing all of my Thanksgiving sides and breads with these oils. Great gift too-mom is getting one!
6. 365 Grated Parmesan, Whole Foods
Surprisingly good parmesan and I have tubs of it in my fridge at all times. Great nutty taste--sprinkle over your roasted vegetables and salads this Thanksgiving and if you are trying my Pesto recipe this is perfect! Watch my mom and I prepare my Pesto here!
7. Urbani White Truffle Butter, Eataly
For all those foodies who say truffles are passé, I say shut your holes! I love it and smother it on everything-perfect for mac and cheese recipes (Tina's recipe is the best), buttering bread, mashed potatoes, and roasted vegetables and anything else you can think of. There, how do you like them bag of truffles!
8. Pallini Raspicello, Pallini Limoncello
A twist on the classic after dinner liquor and perfect if you serve chilled after having a chocolate dessert!