We are very excited to introduce our 2015 "ITK First Timer"
We selected Devin out of several very good cantidates.
We hope that you will be following her, as she prepares her very
first Thanksgiving dinner!
Hi everyone! My name
is Devin and this year I’m the lucky person you get to follow
through a series
on ‘First Timers Hosting’ and Thanksgiving! Before getting into the
gritty of exactly what I’ll be plating up to serve on Thanksgiving, I wanted to
you get to know me.
As I already told you
I’m Devin. I’m 26 years old and grew up
in Pittsburgh, spending
nearly every weekend in the Strip District for as long
as I can remember. With familial
in Lawrenceville and coming from a big Polish family I grew up with the Strip
my backyard. From Saturday mass at
St. Stanislaus to my Saturday shift waitressing
at Café on the Strip through high school, and now my Saturday mornings
my family getting pizza and coffee from Colangelo’s and La Prima,
this little piece of
Pittsburgh has a big piece of my heart.
When I started working
full time in Washington, DC I started baking as a form of mental
mostly because I love cakes and cookies - and practically everything
in it. The feeling from baking slowly overflowed into other aspects of cooking
and it began to be about how many new things I can learn to make, be it dips,
Fast forward to 26 and
I packed my bags to spend time between Copenhagen, with my
boyfriend Ulrik, and
Pittsburgh. While I love learning and
exploring a new culture there
are some things I refuse to leave behind and
Thanksgiving is one. This year I decided
to host Thanksgiving in Denmark with/for our closest friends. The goal is to give our
friends a truly
American Thanksgiving but there are many challenges to tackle in the next
days. To start, our close group of
friends consists of at minimum 18 people, excluding
ourselves. But people, this is Denmark, and space is
limited. I’ll be spending part of my
weekend figuring out how exactly to seat 18 people in our cozy apartment while
simultaneously planning and prepping for Thursday. Second, this is not America where
you can buy
anything and everything and things like pumpkin puree and cranberry sauce
sometimes impossible to find. As a
result, everything will be homemade and from
scratch from the dinner rolls to
the cranberry sauce and everything in between
(well except maybe I might buy
bread for stuffing! And the can of pumpkin puree
I had my mom bring me from
I’m over the moon
excited to be hosting Thanksgiving and I expect not everything
to go as
planned, like for instance the caramel vanilla swirl ice cream chilling long
enough before churning. Or, the
possibility that Ulrik and I may be sitting on the
floor eating since we ran
out of chairs. But between facetime and
my two trusty women (mom and older sister) have helped me plan a
meal I love,
with some flares, Danish taste and American traditions, that is
simple – the theme
this year is ‘Keep it Simple Stupid’
Blog post #2
20 hours until our cozy
apartment is filled with friends and food. Stressed? I can't decide.
was to get a big head start on the meal by doing a little bit every night
until tomorrow. First up a look at our menu:
1. Buffalo Chicken Dip cups and Whiskey Sours (
this is Ulriks favorite dip/snack/game day
treat so it was one of his few
requests for tomorrow- this also became a fun thing to serve
sauce is a rare find here...one of the bigger downsides in my home away from
home :) )
2. Brussel Sprout Salad with Pomegranate and
Parmesan Crisps and a citrus,
shallot vinaigrette - playing into the veggies
really in season right now and a fun night of
making homemade cheese crisps
1. Turkey - the most interesting challenge as of
now, when we picked it up it was
two times the size it was supposed to be and we
have a little oven!
2. Mashed Potatoes
4. Roasted Root Vegetables - a major Danish side
5. Steamed Green Beans
6. Romaine salad with toasted pine nuts and shaved
1. Homemade Italian bread with an herb butter
2. Homemade Cranberry sauce
1. Chocolate Mousse served with a pear-sauce and
mint ( recently we had this for
dessert at our favorite restaurant and so I had
2. Mini Apple Pies - Bourbon infused whipped cream
3. Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl tart
1. Wine and a Cranberry Mojito Mocktail
We have so much planned so as of tonight I've
prepared my Chocolate Mousse,
Brussel sprouts, stuffing, salad dressings,
cranberry sauce, bread, Parmesan crisps and
chicken for the buffalo chicken
dip. After a lot of research I've opted
to use a dry rub on
my turkey in the morning rather than a water brine.
I've pulled recipes from Martha Stewart, Ina
Garten, Alton Brown and of course my mom.
I even got my sister to let me in on
her stuffing tips!
Ok, back to the kitchen!
Blog Post 3
survived! Last nights dinner went off...but not completely
without a hitch!
Yesterday I woke up early and started cooking...but let
me be clear when I say
early I mean; I unwillingly dragged myself half
asleep into the kitchen at 830.
Once I was managed to keep my eyes
open I got started on the most important
part of the meal- my pies!
Since I knew I wanted to serve my experimental
and pear purée as a sit down and more formal dessert, I opted
mini Apple hand-pies and regular, no fancy add-ons, pumpkin pie.
were done with with ease and meant I could nibble on sweets all morning.
I had been
avoiding addressing the bird in the room but I got over it and
decided to take
a stab at a garlic and herb butter rub- it was the best decision
of the morning
and gave us a flavorful crispy skin that I wish I had more to eat.
the bird with lemons, garlic, sage and thyme and set it aside until it was
time. The next thing to tackle was the stuffing. Remember I mentioned
made it the night before? Well it was a flop. I pulled it out Wednesday
and it was too mushy and had too much chicken stock in it so I had to
it. So a quick side story. To me there are two types of eaters.
refuses to combine fruit with anything other than itself and the second
one who loves it in salads, breads, desserts, sauces, meats you name it.
the second but Ulrik well he's the first. The good thing though about Denmark
is that Thanksgiving doesn't equal a day off, so while I took the day off Ulrik
for work giving me full control over the stuffing. Naturally it meant I
pear and an apple to add into the Ulrik 'planned' onions, celery and
Once I popped that in the oven I felt a bit more in control of the
The rest of
the afternoon was filled with prepping buffalo chicken dip, setting the table,
cutting bread, popping the bird into the oven and prepping the vegetables. By
girlfriend came to help with last minute things and Ulrik was back in the
whiskey sours. The rest of the night was a blur but a few
things won our guests over:
Buffalo Chicken dip cups, the gravy, the stuffing (
even Ulrik told me he loved it