We are looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving this year. As we think about this year we are reflecting on years past and how we can make it special.
We like to serve our Thanksgiving meal around 3pm especially when we celebrate as a big family in the Napa Valley at Caspar Estate. We seem to skip lunch and just nibble on our cheese and charcuterie board. Katie of @CatchingRadiance made this cheese and charcuterie board – including drizzling Caspar Estate wildflower honey on the burrata. We walk the dogs through the vineyard once the turkey is in the oven.
To keep the meal slightly healthy we make a salad with pomegranate and persimmon – both of which we grow at Caspar Estate. We love this recipe from Half Baked Harvest and it has avacodo and candied walnuts. This salad just look amazing with all the flavors of the season.
With all that is going on this year, many of us are having to rethink our travel plans and then of course our Thanksgiving menu as well. More than ever, comfort food is what we’re looking for, whether it comes from traditional family recipes or a modern twist on an old favorite.
Nothing is more traditional than a turkey dinner. Our family method was to put garlic, basil, lemon zest and other fresh herbs under the skin of the turkey. We used to use butter, but then with food allergies, we switched to using Caspar Olive Oil in the blender instead. Years ago, I read the Anthony Blue cookbook about Thanksgiving and I love cooking the bird upside down for the 1st 2/3 of cooking so the moisture stays in the breast. Turning over the hot bird is a challenge when you cook a big turkey and requires 2 people. Need to defrost a turkey – this is the fastest way to do it.
Thinking of going smaller? You can just get a turkey breast – and still prepare it the same way. The advantage is that you get all the flavor and less time cooking! My other tried and true trick is to put chicken broth and Cultivar Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay in the base of the pan. I use it to baste the bird and it keeps the meat very moist. Serve that Cultivar Sauvignon Blanc or Oak Knoll Chardonnay you used to baste your turkey, but don’t be afraid to pair red wines with this rich bird, such as our Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir.
Another option is to roast a chicken. You can use the same rub (or brine, if you like that method) and then place a cut lemon inside the chicken to keep it moist.
Brussel Sprouts are another favorite. We typically roast them in the oven but if the turkey is taking up too much space, we quickly sautee them using our Caspar Estate olive oil and Malden salt. The briney quality of Brussel Sprouts (especially with bacon!) pairs perfectly with our Cabernet Franc. Give it a try!
A classic comfort food that is perfect for Thanksgiving is mac & cheese. We like to start with a roux using the 4/4/2 method: 4 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons flour and two cups milk. Then just go crazy with the cheese. Gruyere and Cowgirl Creamery Wagon Wheel are family favorites, but this is where you bring the “comfort” to your comfort food. Regardless of how you make it, we think that nothing cuts through the rich gooeyness of cheese quite like our 2019 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.
No matter where you celebrate, what you eat or who you celebrate with, we hope you’re able to give thanks for the love, peace and happiness in your life. At Cultivar Wine, we are certainly thankful for the trust you’ve put in us, and for the honor of including our wine at your family table!
Photo by Lori Rice