New cookbooks, cooking classes offer ways to celebrate the holidays safely

Duck breast in plum sauce from Cuiline. / Courtesy of Cuiline
Duck breast in plum sauce from Cuiline. / Courtesy of Cuiline

With public health officials advising against large gatherings, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Thanksgiving will be different this year.

Culinarians have come to the rescue, with ideas for modifying the biggest food day of the year to fit the times. Between a couple cookbooks and a handful of cooking classes, there are plenty of ways to maintain holiday traditions — and perhaps start a few new ones.

ExploreRecipes: Southern traditions get a French twist in these Thanksgiving dishes

CLASSES

Online cooking class with Cozymeal. A professional chef will guide you through making a traditional Thanksgiving meal of vegetable and pumpkin stew, duck breast with cranberry relish and creamy corn pudding. The 75-minute class is fully interactive and provides a shopping list to shop for ingredients ahead of time or the option to get ingredients delivered to you.

Dates available from Nov. 12-Jan. 31. $39. cozymeal.com/online-cooking-class/14156/authentic-and-classic-thanksgiving-meal

Online Thanksgiving with Emeril through Sur la table. Join celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse as he teaches you to make turkey roulade, pan gravy and butternut squash soup in this class, with a moderator present to field questions. A prep packet provided ahead of time includes a shopping list for participants to buy their ingredients ahead of time. If one class isn’t enough, Sur la table offers a variety of other Thanksgiving-themed classes, including a turkey and gravy tutorial, vegetarian Thanksgiving feast and pie-baking tutorials,

4 p.m. Nov. 24. $49. surlatable.com/online-thanksgiving-with-emeril-et/6622476.html

Holiday pie baking with Pietisserie. The San Francisco-based bakery is offering a live pie-baking video presentation the day before Thanksgiving. BakerJaynelle St. Jean will walk viewers through each step of making a ginger citrus and cranberry pie. Ingredients will be provided in advance via next day shipping.

6-7 p.m. Nov. 25. $135. sweetthursday.eventbrite.com

Thanksgiving cook-along with Cuiline. Take atrip to the Irish countryside with Cuiline’s live and interactive Thanksgiving Day cook-along. Dublin chef Alix Gardner will lead the three-hour, three-course class with recipes for duck breast in plum sauce, colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale) and sticky toffee pudding.

3 p.m. Nov. 26. $185 for two meals with the option to purchase two additional for $45, including delivery of pre-measured ingredients and a shopping list to purchase meat and produce locally. There is also the option to have all ingredients delivered for an additional $60 for two meals and $50 for two additional meals. cuiline.com/cooking-classes/irish/irish-country-fare

Transforming Thanksgiving leftovers with the Seasoned Chef. Meet up on Black Friday as professional chefs guide you through transforming your Thanksgiving leftovers into ham and cheese melts on a croissant with cranberry, arugula and basil aioli, turkey empanadas with marsala gravy, fried cheese stuffing with spicy cranberry dipping sauce, garlic and rosemary mashed potato croquettes and a pumpkin pie martini. Seasoned Chef also offers pre-holiday Thanksgiving classes.

2-4 p.m. Nov. 27. $40. theseasonedchef.com/cooking-classes-calendar/blackfridaybites

ExploreGo beyond turkey with these metro Atlanta Thanksgiving alternatives
“Thanksgiving for Two (or Four)” by Cynthia Graubart offers comforting holiday dishes sized for small gatherings. Among the recipes is Cornish Hen Sheet Pan (pictured). 
Courtesy of Cynthia Graubart
“Thanksgiving for Two (or Four)” by Cynthia Graubart offers comforting holiday dishes sized for small gatherings. Among the recipes is Cornish Hen Sheet Pan (pictured). Courtesy of Cynthia Graubart

Credit: Cynthia Graubart

Credit: Cynthia Graubart

COOKBOOKS

“Thanksgiving for Two (or Four)” by Cynthia Graubart. James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and Atlanta resident Graubart has a new book out offering 20 downsized recipes for small Thanksgiving celebrations.

“At the end of August, I saw what was happening and, realizing that people were going to be cooking Thanksgiving, perhaps for the very first time, I wanted to help those people out,” said the author of 11 cookbooks. “People are used to carrying one big dish that serves a lot of people to a Thanksgiving gathering. It’s quite different to be at home, with just your family, and put a Thanksgiving meal on the table.”

“Thanksgiving for Two (or Four): 20 Easy Holiday Favorites" by Cynthia Graubart (Empire Press, 2020) is available as an ebook ($3.99) and paperback (9.99) on Amazon.
Courtesy of Cynthia Graubart
“Thanksgiving for Two (or Four): 20 Easy Holiday Favorites" by Cynthia Graubart (Empire Press, 2020) is available as an ebook ($3.99) and paperback (9.99) on Amazon. Courtesy of Cynthia Graubart

Credit: Cynthia Graubart

Credit: Cynthia Graubart

Released by Empire Press and available as an ebook ($3.99) and paperback (9.99) on Amazon, “Thanksgiving for Two (or Four)” offers scaled down versions of traditional favorites. There are meaty mains, like sheet pan Cornish hen and bone-in herbed turkey breast (with just enough for next-day leftovers); sides, like sweet potato souffle and skillet green beans with pecan brown butter; plus, individual mini pies and tarts for dessert.

The book can serve as a resource beyond Turkey Day, Graubart noted. “Many of these recipes, people will find equally useful for their Christmas table,” she said.

A portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the Frontline Workers Fund, which provides financial support to workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Quarantine Quisine" by Grace Ubben and Isabel Sanchez
"Quarantine Quisine" by Grace Ubben and Isabel Sanchez

“Quarantine Quisine” by Grace Ubben and Isabel Sanchez. Leave it to young people to turn lemons into lemonade during tough times.

When COVID-19 drove University of Florida friends Grace Ubben, 22, and Isabel Sanchez, 21, off campus and into isolation in their respective hometowns of Tallahassee and Port Charlotte, Florida, they devoted themselves to a project that combined Ubben’s passion for cooking with Sanchez’s love of photography. The result is “Quarantine Quisine,” a nearly 100-page cookbook filled with 35 recipes aimed at helping people enjoy healthy, home-cooked meals during the pandemic.

“Don’t let the quarantine blues get you down. Put on your apron, wash your hands, and let’s get cooking!” write the 2020 graduates in the introduction to their self-published book, which sells on Amazon for $19.99.

Recipes are presented in five categories — breakfast, smoothies and snacks, meals, salads and sides, and sweets — and use readily available pantry, fridge and freezer items.

The recipes are not super complicated, Sanchez said, and the cookbook is aimed “at college students who want to cook for themselves, but want to cook healthy.”

Sanchez said she thinks that small Friendsgiving gatherings will be popular this year among college-aged roommates who can’t celebrate with family due to the pandemic. For those open to a nontraditional spread, Sanchez’s favorite recipes include beetroot hummus, stuffed peppers, steak tacos and lemon pesto.

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