25 French Recipes for Thanksgiving

Gorgeous stove photo courtesy of La Cornue.

Gorgeous stove photo courtesy of La Cornue.

Thanksgiving isn’t a thing in my own very French family, but I have many American friends in Paris who do celebrate it.

They usually host their special meal on the Saturday following the actual Thanksgiving Thursday, since French companies and schools don’t consider it a holiday (obv.).

A few years ago, it was a real challenge to find a whole turkey to roast in Paris in November — easier around Christmas — but Parisian butchers have gotten the memo, and have started advertising turkeys to their American customers, in varying levels of English. Ordering in advance is a must. (If you’re nervous about this, read my tips on Paris butcher shops.)

Through my extended family and friends, I have been fortunate to partake in a few Thanksgiving meals over the years, on both sides of the Atlantic. The feeling of warmth and the amazing food are not soon forgotten.

And when I am invited, I like to contribute dishes that are both French in spirit, but fit nicely into the Thanksgiving traditions.

So here are my suggestions of French recipes for Thanksgiving, if you want to add a little Gallic flair to your all-American celebration. Did you know French settlers actually preceded the Mayflower Pilgrims by several decades in holding the first Thanksgiving service in the New World?

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Goat Cheese and Herb Babka

Goat Cheese and Herb Babka

When I lived in California, Saturday mornings saw me driving to the farmers market as bright and early as I possibly could, to get my fill of gorgeous produce and crisp morning air.

I would stroll around from favorite stall to favorite stall, including the cornucopian mushroom stand we still talk about with stars in our eyes. And when I was done with my “need” purchases — you know, grownup stuff like fruits and vegetables and bread and eggs — I would start weighing my “want” options.

The market treat that most frequently got my vote came from the little Russian pastry table that stood in one corner of the market. The woman there sold a marvellous poppy seed pastry that was all dark swirls and golden, sticky crests. Back home, I would slice it thinly and eat it with tea, checking my teeth for stray poppy seeds when I was done.

Despite moving home to Paris, I never could get that pastry out of my head. Alas, I did not know the name for it — it was always a point-and-smile kind of transaction — and my research led me nowhere. It was not a rugelach, it was not a kolache, it was not a makovník… but what was it?

And then, our blessed Internet did its magic. Through its grapevine and Pinterest (follow me there!) I learned of something that was gaining incredible popularity: the chocolate babka or krantz cake, a yeasted cake of Eastern European Jewish origin that is rolled up and twisted to form multiple layers of attraction.

Goat Cheese and Herb Babka

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Cinnamon Recipes: 263 Things To Do With It, Part I

Cinnamon Sticks

Ahhh, fresh cinnamon, you amazing spice you.

Whether it’s used as a subtle accent or a more assertive note, cinnamon adds a one-of-a-kind layer of warmth to many preparations, sweet or savory. It can boost the taste of other ingredients and deepen the overall flavor of dishes, sometimes acting as a barely recognizable, “secret” ingredient.

A little while ago I asked you to share your best cinnamon recipes, and you submitted such brilliant, inspired cinnamon ideas that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to compile this rich list of suggested uses for this wonderful, versatile spice.

As we head into the holiday season, I give this list to you in two installments. Ideas from the realm of sweets below; savory, beverage, and non-food uses follow in Part II. Enjoy!

About the cinnamon I use

I am in love with the fresh cinnamon I order from Cinnamon Hill, a small company that specializes in sourcing and selling the highest-quality, freshest cinnamon from Sri Lanka and Vietnam (ordinary cinnamon usually comes from China or Indonesia). I get whole sticks, and grate them with the beautifully crafted (and highly giftable!) cinnamon grater that Cinnamon Hill has designed. Truly, you don’t know what cinnamon tastes like until you’ve tried freshly harvested, freshly grated, top-grade cinnamon, and it makes an amazing difference in this recipe.

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Cinnamon Recipes: 263 Things To Do With It, Part II

Ground Cinnamon

Continuing from 263 Things To Do With Cinnamon, Part I inspired by the Cinnamon Hill fresh cinnamon, here’s a whole new batch of ideas for savory dishes, all kinds of beverages, and non-food uses. Many thanks to all of you who contributed these wonderful ideas; I hope you find the list as inspiring as I do!

About the cinnamon I use

I am in love with the fresh cinnamon I order from Cinnamon Hill, a small company that specializes in sourcing and selling the highest-quality, freshest cinnamon from Sri Lanka and Vietnam (ordinary cinnamon usually comes from China or Indonesia). I get whole sticks, and grate them with the beautifully crafted (and highly giftable!) cinnamon grater that Cinnamon Hill has designed. Truly, you don’t know what cinnamon tastes like until you’ve tried freshly harvested, freshly grated, top-grade cinnamon, and it makes an amazing difference in this recipe.

Photo: Nargisse Benkabbou at My Moroccan Food.

Lamb tagine from Nargisse Benkabbou at My Moroccan Food.

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Stockholm Mini-Guide

The view from Djurgårdsbron

The view from Djurgårdsbron

I come to you with my biggest city crush in a really long time. I have just returned from a vacation in Stockholm with my family, and it was instant love between me and the Swedish capital.

It’s beautiful, it’s walkable, it’s elegant, it’s welcoming, it is perfectly clean, and exceptionally civilized. The colors and architecture are amazing, great design is everywhere, and there is no dearth of exciting eats.

If you follow me on Instagram, perhaps you were able to catch some of my Instagram Stories documenting my favorite eats and sights? In any case, this post is my mini-guide to Stockholm, for you to delve into if you’re planning (or dreaming of) a trip of your own.

I dedicate this with gratitude to the many readers and friends who passed along their best recommendations on Facebook in particular. You never steered me wrong and I credit you for the amazing time I had. If you missed the opportunity to share a favorite spot, please do so in the comments now.

All right, fasten your seatbelt, we’re off to Stockholm now!

Gamla Stan

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