The holiday season often results in a few holiday freak-outs for those of us entertaining friends and family. Keep a cool head with these easy crowd-pleasing tips from James Liuzza, Di Bruno Bros. Catering Head Chef and cheese lover for life!
Tip #1. Keep everyone fed, all day. Preferably with cheese.
Snacks keep crowd happy all day long. A seasonal cheese plate is family-friendly and an exciting way to offer people tastes of different cheeses and condiments that they may never have tried before. Added bonus: a cheese plate requires no use of your oven and can be set up in minutes.
DIY Holiday Cheese Plate
Start with a large wooden or slate cutting board and a few bowls of crackers. Dress it up with fresh figs and cranberries, Black Lava Cashews, and Salty Date & Almond Crisps. Recommended Thanksgiving cheeses include woodsy spruce-bound Harbison, elusive Gruyere Alpage (both of these pair with Tisbi Onion Cabernet or Di Bruno Bros. Fig & Acacia Honey Jam), an aged cheddar such as Cabot Clothbound (pair with Fat Toad Farm Caramel Sauce), and an ode to truffle season with the decadently soft Truffle Tremor or the firm Cacio di Bosco al Tartufo.
Tip #2. Cook what you can beforehand to get ahead of the game.
● Chef James makes his own gravy a week before the holiday and freezes it, nixing one time–consuming item off the Thanksgiving checklist.
● Many other dishes can be prepared ahead of time as well, such as stuffing and roasted veggies.
● Have a heavy bottomed cast iron or enamel pan in your arsenal that will retain heat. You can reheat in the oven and keep food warm for up to several hours prior to meal time.
Tip 3. Brine Or Fry Your Turkey
We are big fans of the fried turkeys—they retain the ultimate juiciness and taste with an added bonus of fried skin crispiness. A deep fried turkey frees up your oven space for side dishes, and only takes 45 minutes to cook.
Do not attempt to fry any turkey over 14 pounds. The bigger the turkey, the faster the skin will burn before the inside has a chance to cook. If you are feeding a big crowd, we recommend cooking 2 smaller birds for the big day.
Tip 4. Kick Back & Let Di Bruno Bros. do the cooking
Wash fewer dishes and spend time relaxing with the family instead. Di Bruno Bros. Catering can do the whole traditional feast. Our gravy is homemade, our meats are brined in-house and even the stock is made from scratch. Pre-order from Di Bruno Bros. Catering for 6 or more and all you’ll have to do is stroll in and pick up a box bursting with Thanksgiving eats. Easy!
Looking for a little help but not the whole catered feast? Swing by prepared foods and scoop up your favorites. We love our Turkey Braciole—juicy turkey breast rolled with thigh meat and turkey sausage, wrapped in turkey skin and deep fried to crisp up. Other sides available include homemade stuffing and gravy, string beans almondine, roasted root vegetables, and both mashed potatoes and mashed cauliflower.
Tip 5. Bring the booze, but start light!
Celebrate all day with some boozy beverages, offering a fun variety for everyone. Our Franklin bottle shop sells both wine and beer, so you can do all of your shopping in one stop. Start with light beverages (dry ciders and white wines) and then work your way up to the heavier pumpkin beers, bold red wines and porters. End the meal with prosecco and panettone, or cordials. Or both!