At this time of year, thoughts turn to all there is to be grateful for. For us, these include a growing business, supportive and loving friends and family, gifted and dedicated employees, and all of our supportive neighbors and guests in the Village of the Arts and the Bradenton area.
Arts & Eats has been in business just over two years now, and we continue to bring in new guests and create a fun and welcoming experience with the best food, music and service we can possibly offer.
My wife, Donna, and I are grateful that we found Bradenton, Anna Maria Island, and the Sarasota area for our home and business. It's wonderful to be surrounded, as we are, by bodies of water and the abundance of beauty that nature offers. We love to watch the great blue herons on the beach at sunset. They seem to be admiring the beauty of the moment, just as we are, as they stand on the beach observing it all.
We never tire of the ride to and from our home on Anna Maria Island. In the morning, the wide expanse of Perico Bay with its fishermen waist high in the blue-green waters helps to begin the day with serenity and peace.
After all, the restaurant business can and usually is far from peaceful. It's theater -- you're always "on" -- doing everything you can to entertain your guests.
But there's no better moment than when a guest says that they had one of the best meals they've ever had in your restaurant. It makes the long hours of work, planning, cleaning, shopping and budgeting worthwhile. That's why we're here.
Thanksgiving dinner is my favorite meal of the year.
So, I am sharing two Thanksgiving meal recipes that use autumn vegetables and fruit. They're simple to prepare and will enhance the table of any Thanksgiving dinner you attend or host.
Oven-roasted Fall Vegetables
1 pound Brussels sprouts, cut in half
1 pound ruttabaga, cubed
12-15 Cippolini or pearl onions
1 pound butternut squash, cubed
1 pound turnips, cubed
1 bunch sage leaves
Olive oil, to taste
Salt to taste
Fresh-ground pepper to taste
1 jar roasted chestnuts (or roast them yourself -- about 12)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place all vegetables, chestnuts and whole sage leaves in a large roasting pan. Coat with olive oil and toss with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until vegetables are light brown. Toss the mixture about halfway through roasting. Serves 6.
Chunky Cranberry Pear Sauce
2 bags raw cranberries
2 pears, cubed
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier liqueur
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
Sugar to taste
In a saucepan, combine all ingredients. Simmer uncovered until the cranberries pop. Stir occasionally. Chill and serve. Serves 6.
Chef Jim Copening, of Arts & Eats, can be reached at email@example.com. The restaurant is at 1114 12th St. W., Bradenton, in the Village of the Arts. Information: 941-201-6647 or artsandeatsfl.com.