volume 3 issue 11
pumpkins BEYOND DESSERT
HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING ISSUE eat locally tips, TRICKS & Hot-Spot Guides seasonal favorites & holiday go-tos
$5.99 US/$7.99 CAN
CONTEMPORARYclassics There’s nothing the BiteBoston kitchen loves more than a twist on a classic. Here are some updated twists on three tried-and-true Thanksgiving essentials
cranberry sauce with port and cinnamon
what’s in season
Sugary sweet port wine isn’t just for dessert anymore. Paired with deep spiced cinnamon and tangy cranberries, these ingredients come together for a new take on an old favorite Thanksgiving side.
FLAVORS a peek @ web recipes
cornbread, sausage, and pecan stuffing Use store-bought cornbread to make this ultra flavorful stuffing extra easy. The sweetness of the candied pecans will offset the buttery cornbread and the savory sausage.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
Find these recipes at TheBite.com/Boston
pomegranate and mushroom orichiette butternut squash and gruyere casserole red and white grapefruit tart grape and marscapone pie apple crisp pomegranate and fennel salad pumpkin spice pancakes pear and cranberry compote pear pandoudy swiss chard and italian sausage lasagna
citrus pumpkin pie with grand marnier cream Orange and lemon peel add a bright note to this Grand-Marnier-Cream-topped Thanksgiving pie. Use your faorite classic pumpkin pie recipe with a hint of citrus extracts and zest.
prix fixe two chefs. three courses. one price. endless possibilities.
the prix-fixe concept actually originated as a deal. At Cambridge bistro T. W. Food, tradition prevails: Sunday through Thursday, $49 gets you your pick of CHEF TIM AND BRONWYN WIECHMANN’s starters, Entrees, and dessert — leaving enough in your wallet for a bottle of good wine.
WRITTEN BY craig lambert
he charmingly small, civilly quiet T.W. Food, in the Huron Village area of Cambridge, seems to have arrived in the right place at the right time, and with the right philosophy of dining. The owners, chef Tim Wiechmann (T.W. to you) and his wife, Bronwn Wiechmann, espouse the grassroots principle – “eat local”that is the current rage among foodies. T.W. Food not only buys regional ingredients – butter from Vermont Butter and Cheese, beef from Concord’s Big Ox Farm, bread from B & R Artisan Bread in Framingham – but stresses organic and minimally processed foods, even tilting its wine list to organic and biodynamic vintners. It’s all about “getting the sourcing to the plate,” as T. W. puts it; those sources are so fresh that the menu changes daily. If you see something you like, well, carpe diem, or perhaps carpe plat, because it might not be offered tomorrow. The kitchen treats these local morsels with high French style: T.W. trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and apprenticed at top restaurants there: Taillevent and L’Arpege. He met his wife while working at Ten Tables in Jamaica Plain; they then spent a year in Paris before opening their own place. Wiechmann, though born in Massachusetts, grew up in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and France, and spent time in South America and Asia (his father, Ulrich Wiechmann, was a globetrotting academic affiliated with Harvard Business School), so his “Slow Food” blend of highend cuisine with local produce admirably reflects his background.
AT FIRST GLANCE We settled ourselves at one of only 12 tables – minimalism is a theme here; the menu offers four starters, four main courses, and no hefty portions – to enjoy a
complimentary amuse-bouche: a pork terrine with red peppercorn and rosemary garnish, served in a delicious buttery puff pastry. A scrambled (local) egg with chestnuts and wild black trumpet mushrooms imaginatively served in a martini glass, presented an offbeat mix of flavors, the woodsy, potent mushroom playing off against the mild egg. The boudin blanc sausage of pork with bread crumbs was a trifle bland, despite a perfume of black Perigord truffle and a potato mousseline accompaniment. Yet a salad of simple, clean flavors – razor thin slices of local apples, Main heirloom yellow-eye beansdelighted the palate with its variety of farm vegetables and the eye with a spectacular geometric presentation. The roasted wild monkfish with black trumpet mushrooms
and a sugar pumpkin sauce, had a delicious buttery flavor and a firm texture. Its somewhat Asian presentation embraced a delicate white daikon radish. Winter root vegetables including salsify, parsnip, potato, and baby leek, cooked to a textural perfection and served in a creamy gratin of blue cheese, rebutted superbly the notion that you can’t eat “locally” in cold months. We ended with a few crisp, dainty profiteroles in a light orange crème anglaise and tried ‘Scotch and cigars’ a chocolate mousse cake with a single-malt Scotch syrup and another crème anglaise, this one infused
with flavor from tobacco leavesgiven city ordinances, perhaps the only legal way to consume tobacco in a Cambridge restaurant. We preferred the profiteroles, but our local consciousness had been raised.
Influence of Foreign Flavors Noma has been named
the best restaurant in the world three years in a row by Restaurant magazine. It also happens to be located in Copenhagen, and it is currently booked through September. In other words, you are probably not going to be eating there any time soon. But you can taste the influence of Noma — and many more of the world’s finest restaurants — here in Boston. This is thanks to the stage, a culinary apprenticeship that can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. (The French word is pronounced “staahj.”) Generally unpaid, these stints give young cooks an opportunity to practice their craft in the kitchens of masters. Learning how many employees of local restaurants have spent time at prestigious establishments — Daniel and Per Se in New York, the French Laundry and Chez Panisse in California, Arzak in Spain, and the Fat Duck in England, to name just a few — gives one a sense of the depth of knowledge in Boston’s culinary community. “It’s priceless. It cannot be measured,” says chef Tim Wiechmann of the value of the stage.
with A TASTE OF LOCAL FARE There are two great things
about eating at T.W. Food. One: They seek out naturally raised foods, so you can order anything you want without worrying about it. And two: Everything they make is delicious, so you can order anything you want without worrying about it.
the BITE BOSTON’S TASTE OF T.W. FOOD Red potato soup with local onions, savoy cabbage, and black pepper While the soup was not red, it was surprisingly bright for a potato soup. It tasted fresh and springy, not coat-yourtongue heavy like the chowders we’ve gotten used to over the winter. The onions and cabbage were served in a cold island in the center of the bowl, and though I found the temperature contrast distracting, the flavors were beautifully complementary. Pearlbarleyrisottowithmushroomcream, wild mushrooms, and blood orange I am not a mushroom fan, but I can say that the barley was a perfect texture, asserting itself with just enough bite, then dissolving into creaminess on the tongue. This plate was licked clean before any of the others on the table.
of the grains was perfect, and the grapefruit and hummus sauce lent the cous-cous a delicate citrus and oil flavor. The fennel was a perfect complement to the rest of the flavors. A lovely entrée, but it had a hard time competing with the robustness of the other dishes we ate.
the show: giant, tender rounds that provided no resistance to the fork and practically melted in the mouth, perfectly sweet with just a touch of darkness where the edges were seared. We gorged ourselves and wished for more.
Paella with Spanish rice, saffron, farm chicken, sea scallops, smoked sausage, littleneck clams, grassfed Vermont beef, and local onions Three of us chose this entrée, and I was delighted that it was served family-style, in a giant dish straight from the oven. Where the rice touched the sides of the dish, it had gotten a bit crispy for my taste, but in the center it was perfectly
Soufflé glace of chilled meringue with orange blossom, dark valrhona chocolate, and candied grapefruit We ordered two of these, and it was worth it! “Dark” barely begins to describe the heavenly chocolate, which was layered like a thin pudding on top of a very creamy meringue in a wine glass. I would almost call the dish orange blossom scented rather than flavored, the blossoms adding a subtle note that I would have had trouble naming on my own. Both glasses were quickly licked clean.
Chip-In Farm egg, scrambled, with French cheese “époisses” and brioche croutons Served in a martini glass, the eggs were thick, creamy, and cheesy, and wonderfully stinky from the époisses, which lent a tang and an earthiness to the dish. The brioche croutons were crunchy on the outside and soft in the center, little pillows of buttery delight. Beef tartare from Boyden Farm in Vermont, with aged scotch whiskey, capers, and shallots The meat was bright red and glistening, incredibly silky and tender. The scotch was a faint enhancement, giving just a bit of an edge to the flavor, while the capers and shallots added some salt and texture to the dish. Even my husband, who eschews raw meat, declared it to be “pretty tasty.” Israeli cous-cous with marinated heirloom peppers, grapefruit, paprika, fennel salad, and hummus sauce The cous-cous was by far the most subtle dish we were served. The texture
T.W. FOOD 377 WALDEN STREET, CAMBRIDGE, MA 02138 DINNER SERVED 5 - 10PM, SUNDAY & MONDAY 5 - 9PM SUNDAY BRUNCH 10AM2PM cooked. I would’ve liked more saffron to give it the characteristic color and flavor of traditional paella, but the bits of ground beef mixed in added interest, if not quite enough salt. I’m not a clam fan, and found this one a bit tough, but the sausage, chicken, and scallops more than made up for any other shortcomings. The sausage was spicy-sweet and juicy, and the woman who didn’t order the paella gleefully took a “sausage tax” from our platter. The chicken was crusted in what I took to be smoked paprika, very flavorful and moist. But it was the scallops that stole
To make reservations, please call (617) 864-4745 For more information on T.W. Food, visit their website at www.twfoodrestaurant.com
In cooking, most things have been done before, but believing in them at that moment, brings fresh life to the craft. - chef tIm Wiechmann
To many Americans
Thanksgiving dinner is the most important holiday for food. The day defined by a familial gathering around that infamous poultry and all the fixings. This year, The Bite’s staffed have picked their Turkey Day favorites and combined them into one fool-proof guide for you to bring to your very own dining room table, from appetizers to dessert, and the star bird himself. For recipe ingredient lists, visit TheBite.com/Boston
No matter how large the meal, no holiday gathering should go without appetizers. The secret is to keep them light— and to a minimum— so they don’t interfere with the dinner to come. Use fresh, seasonal ingredients to match the main course.
Butternut Squash Tart with Fried Sage Brush one sheet of pastry with beaten egg and a teaspoon of water. Arrange twelve 1/8-inchthick rounds peeled butternut squash (cut from squash’s neck) over pastry, overlapping as needed and leaving a 1/2-inch border. Place another sheet of parchment paper over squash. Set another large rimmed baking sheet over the tart. (This will weigh down the pastry dough and steam the squash slices.) Bake until bottom of pastry begins to brown and top begins to puff, about 10 minutes. Remove top baking sheet and discard top sheet of parchment paper. Brush squash slices with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with kosher salt. Return tart, uncovered, to oven and bake until pastry is deep golden brown and cooked through, 25–30 minutes longer.
a field guide text by Anita Lo photographs by Marcus Nilsson
Meanwhile, combine honey, hot pepper (thinly sliced), and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat (add another thinly sliced chile if more heat is desired). Boil until thickened slightly and syrupy, about 6 minutes. Line a plate with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet until just beginning to smoke. Add 12 fresh sage leaves; fry until crisp, about 30 seconds. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Slice tart. Garnish with sage leaves, parmesean, and a few grinds of black pepper.
sides & veggies
Let’s face it; Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the turkey. This sacred bird doesn’t have much zest on it’s own, so the taste rests all in the preparation. Brine, marinate, or rub your turkey in your favorite blend of wintery herbs and flavors.
Brussel Sprouts with Shallots and Salted Pork
Citrus and Sage Butter-Roasted Turkey with Cider Gravy Turkey Rub salt and dried sage together in small bowl. Place turkey in roasting pan; sprinkle all over with sage salt. Stir together butter, sage, lemon zest, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Grate enough zest from orange to measure 1 teaspoon and add to butter mixture. Quarter orange lengthwise and reserve. Cover pan with plastic wrap; chill turkey overnight. Starting at (smaller) neck cavity, gently slide an index finger between skin and flesh of breast to loosen skin (be careful not to tear skin). Push butter mixture evenly under skin on both sides of breast, and rub skin from outside to distribute butter evenly. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in turkey cavities. Stuff neck cavity (smaller cavity) with a few orange and onion wedges, then fold neck skin under body and secure with metal skewers. Stuff larger cavity with onion and orange wedges, then tie drumsticks together with kitchen string and tuck wings under body. Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 375°F. Pat turkey dry. Tuck wing tips under; tie legs together loosely. Stir butter and chopped sage in small saucepan over low heat until butter melts. Brush all over turkey; sprinkle with pepper. Roast turkey 1 hour; baste with any pan juices.
Everyone knows the turkey can’t stand alone on this big day. Keep your sides simple but elegant. Veggies and stuffings that pick up on hints of the turkey’s marinade or rub pair nicely for a cohesive meal.
Blanch salt pork in a large saucepan of boiling water for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer salt pork to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Set aside. Cover and chill.
Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Roast turkey 45 minutes. Pour 3/4 cup apple cider over; turn pan around. Continue to roast turkey until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 165°F, basting and turning pan occasionally for even cooking, about 1 1/4 hours longer. Transfer turkey to platter; tent loosely with foil and let rest 30 to 45 minutes (internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees). Gravy Pour all pan juices into large measuring cup. Spoon off fat that rises to surface. Transfer 2 tablespoons fat to heavy large saucepan; discard remaining fat. Place turkey roasting pan over 2 burners. Add 2 cups stock or broth and 3/4 cup cider. Bring to boil over high heat, scraping up browned bits. Boil liquid until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 6 minutes. Add mixture from roasting pan to degreased pan juices. If necessary, add enough stock to measure 3 1/2 cups stock mixture.Place saucepan with turkey fat over medium-high heat. Add flour; whisk 2 minutes. Whisk in stock mixture. Boil until gravy thickens enough to coat spoon thinly, about 6 minutes. Whisk in 2 tablespoons Calvados, or more to taste, and sage. Season with salt and pepper. Serve turkey after resting with gravy and remaining orange wedges.
Cook salt pork in a large heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until about 3/4 cup fat is rendered, 1012 minutes. Carefully strain drippings into a small bowl; return 2 tablespoons drippings and pork to pan.Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until salt pork is browned and crisp, 5-6 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Reduce heat to medium. Add 2 tablespoons drippings to skillet; add shallots, cut sides down. Cook, turning once or twice, until tender and browned, 10-12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer shallots to a serving platter. Increase heat to medium-high.
Add 2 tablespoons more salt pork drippings to skillet. Working in 2 batches and adding 2 more tablespoons drippings between batches, cook brussels sprouts, turning occasionally, until tender and browned. Transfer brussels sprouts to platter with shallots. DO AHEAD Shallots and brussels sprouts can be made 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm shallots and brussels sprouts together in same skillet over medium heat before continuing. Drizzle shallots and brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon pickle juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon more pickle juice, if desired. Scatter salt pork over.
Spinach, Fennel, and Sausage Stuffing with Toasted Brioche Preheat to 350°. Scatter bread on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until golden brown, tossing once, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely. Bread can be toasted 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking up into smaller pieces with the back of a spoon, until browned and cooked through, 8–10 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate; let cool. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in the same skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 10–12 minutes. Let cool; cover and chill. Butter a 3-qt. shallow baking dish. Whisk eggs to blend in a large bowel; whisk in broth. Stir in sausage, the onion-fennel mixture, spinach, salt, pepper, and fennel seeds. Add bread; toss until evenly distributed and bread has absorbed the liquid. Transfer to prepared dish; dot with remaining 2 Tbsp butter. Bake until top is golden brown, about 40 minutes.
There is no love sincerer than the love of food.
- playwright george bernard shaw
The Bite / Local Flavors at Your Fingertips