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The Scottsdale architectural firm of Candelaria Design Associates is one of the premier luxury residential architecture firms in the country. Enjoy our blog which features our work, our travel, our recipes, wines, tips on design and decorating, and the lives of our clients and employees, etc.....its all the ingredients for the Candelaria Design Lifestyle. Contact Candelaria Design to start your dream residence 602-604-2001!

Happy Thanksgiving - 2013

I flat out love Thanksgiving! First of all, who was so brilliant to have picked the last Thursday of the month of November giving us a four day weekend to get a start on our Christmas season!? Of course we all know about the first Thanksgiving, at least in this country, at Plymouth Rock in 1621. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660's. But it was our first President, George Washington, who proclaimed the first national holiday.

So, besides the holiday starting a 4 day weekend, I love the food and family aspect of the holiday and of course the underlying  reason for the holiday - giving thanks! We all have so much to be thankful for. First - we are so blessed to live in this country and live in Arizona! That's just the start….my list is long…my family, my new wife, my business, friends, clients, my ability to draw and design, my health….well I can go on for a long time. 
Candelaria Design - Rural Mediterranean Kitchen

Now, what does design and architecture have to do with Thanksgiving??? Well, how about the aesthetic aspect of Thanksgiving? Of course cooking Thanksgiving dinner in a Candelaria Design Kitchen would be fantastic, but we can't have it all. So, I think there are two things that can make a huge difference in how you enjoy the beauty of Thanksgiving….table dressing and plating! Just taking some time to amp up the table and then the way the dinner plate is plated can turn your Thanksgiving into a work of art and a memorable experience for your guests. 

Let's start with the table. I have assembled some of my favorite Thanksgiving table settings from some of my favorite designers and chefs. I think the Thanksgiving table has the real tendency to get hokey! The cornucopia and the comical turkey has to go! How about a Ralph Lauren table. Rich and elegant. Try a plaid tablecloth with a criss cross table runner! And Thanksgiving does not always have to be typical fall colors….try something different,mix in some blues and purples with deep colors, with the standard golds and oranges.  

Topiary is a nice touch as are candles in glass hurricanes filled with acorns or nuts. Natural botanicals, like this carried by Isabel at Earth and Images can add lovely color and texture to the table.  I also like the touch of the place card on the plate. How nice is this - a pheasant feather and a sprig of rosemary. Simple, elegant and quietly says Thanksgiving. 

Finally, you always need some bling - I love the silver dome available at Williams-Sonoma to cover the turkey until its time to unveil it at the table. Talk about something that can keep the turkey warm and add some bling and drama to the table. Basically, think out of the box but don't over do it. Keep it classy, elegant and most importantly - simple. 
Earth and Images - Natural Botanicals

Now plating! A minor detail but one that seems to be lost with Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving has kind of gone the way of the buffet dinner. Everything is pulled out of the oven and set out on the kitchen counter and the buffet line is set! Sometimes the serving dishes make it to the table but everyone helps themselves and the serving dishes get passed around. Nothing wrong with any of this and both of these common ways of serving the Thanksgiving dinner can still be made a bit more unique with some of the special touches to the table. But what about plating the dishes in the kitchen adding some special garnishes to make the Thanksgiving plate spectacular and then serving each party as you would in a restaurant! You can have a plate of slop or something with a little finesse! The Thanksgiving plate is the most neglected aesthetic plate of the year. Amp it up! Wow talk about something that would be out of the box. 


Ok now for a few recipes. Brining turkey is the best. It makes the meat juicy and tender. Michael Chiarello's Thanksgiving is amazing and it all starts with brining. Here is a link to an easy way to do it along with some amazing side dishes.
Yes it takes time but it is worth it. Brine it with the juniper berries and bay leaves for a great touch. There are plenty of recipes floating around out there so I am going to skip posting some here. But what about wines???? Here are some recommendations from some of my favorite chefs. Mario Batali suggests bottle of the Sangiovese-based red known as Morellino di Scansano or the medium bodied Friulano from northeast Italy. Both are reasonably priced under $20. Or go with one of my recommendations, a Spanish wine - Toro's full-bodied, dark wines from the Tinta de Toro clone of Tempranillo. Go with the 2010 Termes from Numanthia-Termes for $28. 92 points on this one - you will love it. 

Dinner is done and now its time for some football and a good snifter of Blanton's single barrel bourbon and a great cigar. Now the nice part - it's only Thursday and we have three more days to recover! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!