New This Month

A Maine Couple's Fabulous First Thanksgiving Menu

  • Photos by Paola + Murray
  • Recipes by Greg Lofts

A young couple celebrate their first Thanksgiving with good friends and a great feast.

The Maine Event

For a young couple, Sarah Storms and Greg Greenwald, who made the leap from New York City to coastal New England, life is much quieter than before, but also far richer. Their first time hosting Thanksgiving is a glowing example. It’s a chance to welcome close friends, prepare a feast inspired by local fare, and establish holiday rituals of their very own, starting with a blazing fire and blankets on the beach.

Brine and Butter

Guests enjoy a spread of flash-grilled oysters, which pop open after just minutes on the fire, revealing creamy, still-briny oysters that everyone devours straight from the shells. Brown butter is gilded with red onion, lemon, and fresh herbs for the topping.

Birds of a Feather

Stalks of wheat, figs, and wild rosehip berries garnish the regal roasted turkey holding court at the gathering. A Dijon-and-maple syrup glaze yields a super-flavorful bird with golden, perfectly burnished skin. Sweet-tart wild Maine blueberries amp up the cranberry sauce served alongside, as do the fresh ginger, orange, and sage.

Sides Galore

A little fat goes a long way in these two side dishes: crisp bacon enriches Brussels sprouts glazed with brown sugar and turkey stock, while hazelnuts give the earthy sourdough stuffing a satisfying crunch.

Greens and Spuds

Pickled red onion, sautéed shiitake mushrooms, and toasted sesame seeds lend color and texture to a warm spinach salad. Potatoes are baked until tender, then mashed with butter, sour cream, cream cheese, milk, and in a fondue-inspired twist, raclette, then baked again under another layer of cheese. Roasted potato skins and snipped chives top off the indulgent casserole.

Sweet Memories

For the meal’s finale, Storms offers a deep-dish apple-and-wild-blueberry pie and a flourless chocolate-almond cake, served with whipped crème fraîche and raspberries. “Greg’s a chocolate fanatic, so I always like to have a chocolate dessert for him,” she says.

A Wonderful Warmer

Using the aperitif wine Lillet Blanc makes mulled wine feel fresh again. Here, it's brightened with orange and lemon, and spiced with black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom.

Meet the Hosts

As newly minted Mainers, Sarah Storms and Greg Greenwald experienced a real rite of passage this year: picking a freezerful of blueberries while batting away ferocious mosquitoes in August, then putting the hard-won fruit to delicious use on their Thanksgiving table three months later. The sweet possibilities of smalltown life were exactly what spurred Storms, an interiors stylist and writer; and Greenwald, a construction manager, to pull up stakes from Brooklyn in 2016 and move to this former flower farm on eight forested acres, 20 miles south of Portland.

“We love the outdoors and the quiet, and we both grew up worshipping the woods and the ocean,” says Greenwald. An avid outdoorsman, he often hunts for a few hours before heading to work; Storms tends to her garden or explores local flea markets when she isn’t focusing on SGBMade, the digital brand consultancy she recently launched. This year’s Thanksgiving—a small gathering of dear friends and Storms’s younger sister, Meg—is a celebration of their new surroundings. “Buying this house felt like the first really adult thing we’ve ever done,” says Storms, whose 2015 wedding was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings. “It gave us the courage to start our own traditions.”

An Autumn Table

Storms chose a palette of brick red, scarlet, and rust to contrast with her blue walls. She put out her own glasses and vintage silverware and inaugurated new plates that she’d been eyeing for years.

Let's Coast

Once guests arrive, everyone pitches in with the meal. Alex Boutin, a Portland native who now lives in New York City, pours drinks. Kerry Hanney, a local baker known for her naturally leavened breads, preps sourdough stuffing, while Storms dishes out a wild-blueberry-and-cranberry chutney. And Meg helps make a potato-and-raclette casserole, similar to the fondues Storms ate during childhood years spent in Luxembourg, where their dad worked for a time. Then the gang throw on coats and walk to a nearby beach for oysters grilled over an open fire, complete with warm blankets and ice-cold Maine-brewed OxBow Farmhouse pale ale. “It’s pretty easy to pull off—you don’t need much more than oysters and the grate from your grill,” Storms says.

Back home, the feast continues. There’s just one hitch to the day: Greenwald wanted to harvest a wild turkey for the meal, but came up short in the hunt. “I see big ones right in our woods all the time,” he marvels. “Next year, I’ll get one for sure.”

Party Snapshots

  • women stand beneath wreath on green barn door

    Friends—and florists—Meghan Hunter (left) and Molly O’Rourke of the local One & Supp design studio stand in front of the barn, under a dried wreath that they designed for the day.

  • man setting up bon fire on beach

    Greenwald lays down wood for a fire on the beach.

  • woman looks out window while drinking glass of wine in blue room

    Kerry Hanney, founder of Night Moves Bread + Pie, in Biddeford.

  • couple greeting and presenting wine to a guest

    Storms and Greenwald welcome their friend Daniel Filson before changing and heading to the shore.

  • woman sitting in chair holding glass of mulled wine

    Storms’s younger sister, Meg, sits in front of an ornate screen (a flea-market find!) with a glass of mulled Lillet wine.

  • man pouring wine for woman

    Friend and self-appointed wine server Alex Boutin.

  • women stand beneath wreath on green barn door

    Friends—and florists—Meghan Hunter (left) and Molly O’Rourke of the local One & Supp design studio stand in front of the barn, under a dried wreath that they designed for the day.

  • couple greeting and presenting wine to a guest

    Storms and Greenwald welcome their friend Daniel Filson before changing and heading to the shore.

  • man setting up bon fire on beach

    Greenwald lays down wood for a fire on the beach.

  • woman sitting in chair holding glass of mulled wine

    Storms’s younger sister, Meg, sits in front of an ornate screen (a flea-market find!) with a glass of mulled Lillet wine.

  • woman looks out window while drinking glass of wine in blue room

    Kerry Hanney, founder of Night Moves Bread + Pie, in Biddeford.

  • man pouring wine for woman

    Friend and self-appointed wine server Alex Boutin.