Table Talk: November 2014
The buzz on Tulsa’s tastiest products, restaurants and events
Antoinette's pecan pie
Our food expectations are never higher than at Thanksgiving.
Culinary experimentation is fine the rest of the year. But at Thanksgiving we expect tradition.
People who haven’t had a box of Jell-O in their pantry since 1980 compulsorily put it on their shopping lists in November; Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same without Grandma’s cold cranberry salad.
Even chefs who spend their days sourcing and braising might end up with a casserole of cornbread mix and cream cheese — all for the sake of tradition.
Beyond those ritual foods, we also have high taste expectations. Many of us have lost any fondness for canned vegetables and outdated chalky seasoning from the spice rack. We expect our food to be fresh and loaded with herbs and local vegetables.
I imagine my Thanksgiving table looks a lot like yours. We have a turkey (or two — sometimes three), potatoes, dressing, my mom’s homemade rolls and my cousin’s roasted Brussels sprouts. There also are the foods we only eat on Thanksgiving — green bean casserole, pumpkin pie and a weird Jell-O salad.
It’s a perfect amalgam I look forward to year after year.
Here’s a great semi-Southern-style dressing that’s always a crowd pleaser.
Cornbread Pecan Dressing
1 9-by-13-inch dish of baked cornbread (use your favorite recipe)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for finishing
5 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
2 large shallots, finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried sage
3 cups pecans, toasted
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup to 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 large eggs, beaten
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear cooked cornbread into big chunks over a large bowl. Set aside.
2. In a heavy sauté pan on medium- to medium-low heat, add butter and bacon. Brown slowly until bacon is crisp. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon. Leave the butter, bacon fat and caramelized bits in the pan.
3. Add onion, celery, shallots, thyme and sage. Sauté — stirring often — until the vegetables are just tender, 10-15 minutes.
4. Toss the vegetables and pecans with the cornbread. Adjust seasonings.
5. Combine the stock and eggs. Moisten the dressing with the egg mixture, stirring just until dressing holds together. Moisten with melted butter, starting with a tablespoon and adding more for taste.
6. Pour dressing into a buttered 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes. Baste dressing with a little chicken broth during cooking if it looks dry.
Pie is essential to Thanksgiving. And in Tulsa, Antoinette Baking Co. has become essential to pie.
Molly Martin, co-owner of Antoinette, might skip pie on Thanksgiving. Last year, she and her talented bakers made 200 pies leading up to the holiday. By Thursday, all she wanted were appetizers and cocktails. Martin saves her pie eating for the day after Thanksgiving.
“I love pie for breakfast the next day,” she says.
I agree. Turkey sandwiches are fine, but I’d rather have a slice of pie and a glass of milk for breakfast the day after all the turkey and dressing. Just imagine a slice of butterscotch pie — Martin’s personal favorite — with layers of piecrust, caramel, butterscotch cream and meringue.
If you’re not a great pie maker, order a pie or two for the holidays. Even if you do make a good pie, ordering one might take a little weight off your holiday to-do list. Five pies — bourbon pumpkin, classic pecan, caramel apple crumb, butterscotch brown sugar meringue and mile-high chocolate — will be available for the holiday. The deadline for ordering is a week before Thanksgiving.
Maybe you don’t need an entire pie. Antoinette’s much-loved pie night is from 7-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday nights. Slices cost $5.
Antoinette Baking Co., 3305 S. Peoria Ave., 918-764-8404
A bravo Benedict
You know about Yokozuna’s amazing sushi, but have you tried brunch?
Elliot Nelson’s Yokozuna might not be the first place you think of for brunch, but it’s one to put on your must-try list. The Pork Belly Benedict with Sriracha Cheese Grits wins for creativity alone.
Yokozuna Downtown, 309 E. Second St., 918-508-7676
Yokozuna Southside, 9146 S. Yale Ave., Suite 100, 918-619-6271