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Thanksgiving recipes: Owners of Southold's Grace & Grit create farm-to-table holiday dinner

When it comes to farm-to-table cooking, chef Jennilee Morris literally walks the walk — right down the street to Deep Roots Farm, where she shops for (and in some cases actually harvests) sweet potatoes, leeks, garlic and onions to use in her Thanksgiving menu.

Morris and partner Stephanie Pincar-Coleman are co-owners of Grace & Grit, a Southold catering and event-planning business steeped in the food and hospitality culture of the North Fork. The two met at Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck, where Morris enlisted Pincar-Coleman, who has a certificate in restaurant entrepreneurship from the International Culinary Center in Manhattan, to help expand that restaurant’s catering company. In 2011, fully committed to being part of the farm and food community, they opened Grace & Grit. Direct access to farmers distinguishes their business from up-Island competitors. “It’s a unique situation to be in for a chef trying to do farm-to-table food,” says Morris. “You can just leave your kitchen and go talk to them.”

The Thanksgiving menu Morris designed for Newsday is simple and classic, relying on the freshest local ingredients to provide vibrant flavors. Creamy sweet potato soup gets some kick from curry powder, spices and chili oil drizzled on just before serving. The free-range turkey is brined to retain moisture; bread stuffing is aromatic from a combination of fresh parsley, sage, thyme and marjoram. For her green bean casserole, Morris eschews canned soup and processed onions for a homemade mushroom sauce and freshly fried shallots. Pots de crèmes are flavored with strong coffee from the North Fork Coffee Roasting Co., a second business Morris recently opened across the street with partner Jess Dunne.

Their wish: a bountiful Thanksgiving to all.

‘Smells Like Autumn’ Cocktail

Greet guests with this 
Photo Credit: Doug Young

Joe Coleman, husband of Stephanie Pincar-Coleman, created this cocktail to showcase the flavors of the season. To make bartending easy, premix larger batches of the mixture and refrigerate. Shake with ice, pour and garnish as needed. To make honey syrup, combine equal parts honey and hot water, stir to dissolve honey and refrigerate until chilled.

2 ounces Lairds’ Apple Brandy
1⁄4 ounce Finger Lakes Distilling maplejack liqueur
1⁄2 ounce Grand Marnier
1⁄2 ounce honey syrup (1:1 ratio)
1⁄2 ounce fresh lemon juice
2 dashes orange bitters
1⁄4 small apple, sliced thinly almost all the way through but still attached at one end


Combine the apple brandy, maplejack, Grand Marnier, honey syrup, lemon juice and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with fanned out apple slices. Makes one cocktail.

Curry and spice sweet potato soup

Curry and spice sweet potato soup is a
Photo Credit: Doug Young

4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled
3 quarts vegetable stock
2 tablespoons butter
2 shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin, toasted
2 teaspoons ground coriander, toasted
1⁄4 cup cider vinegar
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
Ground black pepper
4 ounces crème fraîche
1 tablespoon chili oil (optional)


1. In a medium pot, combine the sweet potatoes and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and cook until soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat and mash potatoes into the cooking liquid.

2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 4 minutes. Add the curry powder, cumin and coriander and sauté until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan. Reduce by half.

3. Add sweet potato puree with liquid into the saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer 15 minutes to let flavors meld. Add cream and simmer another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Push soup through a fine strainer and into another pot. Cover and keep warm.

4. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of crème fraîche and some chili oil, if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

Grace & Grit Brined Turkey

For Thanksgiving, Grace and Grit catering in Southold
Photo Credit: Doug Young

One 12- to 14-pound turkey, rinsed well
Turkey brine (see below for do-ahead instructions)
1⁄2 pound herb mustard butter (see recipe below)
Salt and pepper
2 carrots, cut into large chunks
2 ribs celery, cut into large chunks
3 shallots cut into quarters
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh sage


1. Pour chilled brine into a large stockpot or other large container. Submerge the turkey in the brine and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove turkey from brine. Drain the turkey well and blot with paper towels so the turkey is very dry.

3. Loosen turkey skin from the breast meat using your fingers, taking care not to tear the skin. Spread the herb mustard butter liberally under the skin and in all cavities, including on top of the turkey. Season the turkey liberally with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity of the bird with carrots, celery, shallots and herbs.

4. Place turkey, breast-side down, on a roasting rack set in a large roasting pan. Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Flip the turkey and continue to roast until the breast meat registers 160 on an instant-read thermometer, about 1  1⁄2 hours longer. Remove from the oven and let rest 20 minutes before carving.

Turkey brine:
1 gallon water
1 cup sugar
1 cup kosher salt
3 cloves garlic
4 to 5 black peppercorns
1 shallot
Sprig fresh thyme
Sprig fresh sage
1 bay leaf

Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Let cool completely. Refrigerate until chilled.

Herb mustard butter:
1 pound unsalted butter, softened
3 shallots, minced
2 table spoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons dried sage
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1⁄2 cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly until ingredients are evenly distributed. Reserve half the seasoned butter and refrigerate to serve with turkey. Use remaining half to prep the turkey for cooking.

4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
3 carrots, peeled and minced
3 ribs celery, minced
4 shallots, minced
1 bulb fennel, minced
3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium canned chicken broth
4 cups low-sodium canned beef broth
1 bay leaf
6 to 8 peppercorns
4 sprigs thyme
Ground black pepper

1. Melt butter over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, shallots and fennel, and cook until browned.

2. Add flour and cook until the roux is dark.

3. Add chicken broth and beef broth, and cook. Bring to a boil, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

4. Add bay leaf, peppercorns and thyme. Turn heat down and simmer until thickened, 25 to 30 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Herbed Bread Stuffing

Herbed bread stuffing uses stale potato bread and
Photo Credit: Doug Young

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 white onion, chopped
4 ribs celery, diced
1 sprig fresh sage, whole
1  1⁄2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
1 teaspoon fresh marjoram, minced
1⁄4 cup fresh parsley, minced
7 cups stale potato bread cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
7 cups (about 1 baguette) French bread cut into 1⁄2-inch cubes
2 cups low-sodium canned chicken broth
3 eggs, lightly beaten


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 4-quart baking dish.

2. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Stir in the sage, thyme, marjoram and parsley. Cook until fragrant. Remove the whole sage leaves and reserve for garnish.

3. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and add the bread, broth, eggs, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Scrape into the buttered baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil and continue to bake uncovered until golden brown, another 10 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

Cranberry Chutney

Cranberry chutney uses water, sugar, cranberries and grated
Photo Credit: Doug Young

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
4 cups fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon grated orange zest


In a saucepan, combine water and sugar, stirring to dissolve; bring to boil. Add cranberries and orange zest, reduce to a simmer and continue to cook until the cranberries pop, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, let cool slightly, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. Makes 8 servings.

Potato Leek Au Gratin

Among the ingredients in potato leek au gratin
Photo Credit: Doug Young

1 quart heavy cream
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek, white part only, cut into 1⁄4-inch slices
Black pepper
1 pound Gruyere cheese, shredded
6 potatoes, sliced 1⁄16 of an inch thick


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 4-quart casserole dish. In a saucepan, combine the heavy cream, garlic and thyme and bring just to a boil, watching carefully and reducing heat to simmer. Let simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Strain into a bowl, discarding garlic and thyme and set aside

2. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium. Add the leek and sauté until caramelized, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

3. In the greased baking dish, arrange 1⁄4 of the potatoes in a layer, overlapping each other. Season with salt and pepper. Pour 1⁄4 of the cream over the potatoes and sprinkle with 1⁄4 of the cheese and 1⁄3 of the leeks. Repeat with the remaining potatoes, cream, cheese and leeks, topping the fourth layer of potatoes with just cream and cheese.

4. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are easily pierced with a knife. Let stand to set and cool slightly before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Classic Green Bean Casserole With Cremini Mushrooms and Fried Shallots

This green bean casserole with cremini mushrooms and
Photo Credit: Doug Young


For sauce:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1⁄2 pounds cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 shallots, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup heavy cream

For the beans:

2 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 pounds green beans, trimmed

For the fried shallots:

1⁄4 cup flour
2 shallots, sliced
Vegetable oil (for frying)


1. Make the sauce: In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until a rich brown, about 5 minutes. Add shallots and garlic, and sauté until soft and fragrant.

2. Add flour and cook until it is golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce until the flavor of the mushrooms intensifies, 15 to 20 minutes. Add cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. Prepare the green beans: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 4-quart casserole dish. In a saute pan, heat olive oil over high heat. Sauté smashed garlic cloves for about a minute. Add green beans and sauté until they start to color, without cooking all the way through. In a bowl, combine green beans with mushroom sauce. Transfer mixture to the dish. Bake until mushroom sauce bubbles, about 30 minutes.

4. Fry the shallots: While the green beans bake, season the flour with salt and pepper. Toss the shallots with the seasoned flour. Heat about 1⁄2 inch vegetable oil in a skillet and fry the shallots until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

5. Remove the casserole from the oven, sprinkle with the fried shallots, and serve hot. Makes 8 servings.

Ginger- and Honey-Glazed Carrots

One of the side dishes for Grace and
Photo Credit: Doug Young

4 ounces unsalted butter
1 1⁄2 pounds baby carrots, halved
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1⁄4 cup honey
1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
Ground black pepper


1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the carrots and sauté 7 minutes. Add the ginger and cook until fragrant, another minute.

2. Stir in the honey and cook, stirring frequently, until the carrots are tender and caramelized. Season with cayenne, if desired, salt and pepper. Makes 8 servings.

Mocha Orange Pot De Creme

Mocha orange pot de creme  is a Thanksgiving
Photo Credit: Doug Young


For the pot de crème:

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pinch fine sea salt (or similar fine salt)
8 ounces very hot brewed coffee

For the whipped cream:

1⁄2 quart heavy cream
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier


1. Make the pot de crème: Place the chocolate chips in a blender and pulse until almost completely chopped. Add the eggs, Grand Marnier, vanilla and salt; blend until combined.

2. With the blender on, slowly and carefully pour the hot coffee in. Blend until very smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender 2 or 3 times to make sure everything is blended and no unmelted chunks of chocolate remain.

3. Pour the mixture into small, heat-proof containers of your choice. We recommend 4-ounce mason jars. Tap the filled jars on the counter so any air bubbles pop. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours — and up to 2 days — to set.

4. For whipped cream: Combine cream, sugar and Grand Marnier in a large bowl. Whip with an electric mixer until the cream holds soft peaks. Top each chilled pot de crème with whipped cream and serve. Makes 8 servings.

Pear and Hazelnut Tart

For Thanksgiving dessert, Grace and Grit catering in
Photo Credit: Doug Young


For the crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cloves
1⁄2 teaspoon allspice
1⁄2 pound unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
1 1⁄2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1⁄4 cup ice water

For the filling:

1⁄3 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
5 pears, peeled, cored and diced
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the topping:

3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


1. Make the crust: Combine the flour, hazelnuts, cinnamon, cloves and allspice in a food processor and process to mix. Add the butter and lemon zest and pulse until the butter pieces are pea-size. Add the water and continue to pulse until the dough comes together. Turn the crust mixture onto a floured surface. Form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour.

2. Make the filling: In a large bowl, mix all filling ingredients and set aside.

3. Make the topping: Combine the flour, brown sugar and butter in a bowl. Blend mixture using your fingers to pinch ingredients together until they form small crumbles and stick together.

4. Assemble the tart: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured countertop, roll the dough into a circle 1⁄2-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a nonstick, 10-inch tart pan. Use your fingertips to press dough into the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim away excess dough hanging over the sides. Pour filling into pan and spread evenly. Crumble topping evenly over the filling. Bake until the topping is brown, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let rest 10 minutes, slice and serve warm, or serve at room temperature. Makes 8 servings.

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