To Brine or Not To Brine?

By: Keir DeFonzo

We all have our uncompromising ways of just how to prepare a Turkey for the big Thanksgiving feast. Some pride themselves on generations of family secrets to get their birds just to the right desire of crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. There are lots of different ways to handle the main attraction on our dinner table. But one question to ask as we kickoff the holiday season is whether or not to brine your turkey.

Brine is a salt solution in which the turkey is submerged and kept chilled, in the refrigerator or a cooler, overnight, before being cooked. Some may argue brining a turkey is the only way to guarantee the juiciest meat. This especially occurs in the turkey breast which is notorious for being dry if over-cooked. Others feel that the brine will compromise the flavor since the ones we buy from the store already are high in sodium and have been pre-treated with brine before being sold.

With salt as the main ingredient, the solution will allow the salt to transfer into the meat overnight and act as a sponge to retain the juices and moisture. The bird will lose some of its water when cooking off in the heat; brine will prevent the bird from losing too much. The fun part of preparing the brine is that you can add herbs and aromatics to give the flavor a twist that will enhance the meal. For example, some people add bay leaves, rosemary or peppercorns. The options are endless. Having experience with the brine myself, I will say that once I started the tradition, I find there is no other way to go. Where I keep perfecting my technique is in the ingredients of the brine. One thing is for sure; my days of serving turkey that needs to be drowned in gravy are over! Turkey can now stand alone on the plate and compete with its rivals (the potato, the stuffing and the cranberry) for your taste buds attention.
One last tip I will share that I picked up along my cooking travels: place the bird breast down. The majority of the fat is actually in the back. By cooking your turkey face down, the fat will naturally create an additional baste for the white meat and create perfection!

Executive Chef Nino LaCasio’s Turkey Brine Recipe For an 8lb Turkey:
2-1/2 gallons cold water
2 cups kosher salt
11/2 cup sugar
2 bay leaves, torn into pieces
4 tablespoons dried thyme
1 whole head of garlic, peeled
1 cup of pickling spice
2 tbsp Ground pepper

Whisk sugar and salt in water till it dissolves. Stir in other ingredients. Pour over turkey in a plastic bag and tightly seal the bag before refrigerating. Make sure turkey is fully submerged in the solution and let soak overnight. Drain Turkey and pat dry. Allow to sit one hour before roasting.

Pregnant in Princeton


By: Jaime Wess

Being pregnant in the summer has its major downfalls; especially being eight months pregnant! Any woman who has experienced this, can and will, back me up. However, I could not have picked a better location to work for convenience and relief from the summer heat and from the discomforts that come along with it.

First, let us focus on a pregnant woman’s favorite pastime. It isn’t a bottle of wine, nor lounging and relaxing in a hot tub; and it certainly isn’t high heel shopping … its Food!!! The only indulgence she gets to have anymore. But as great as it is to give in to a strong craving for something very, very bad for yourself, sometimes you have to rein it in a little. Princeton is perfect for finding a variety of delicious treats and lunches! My favorite, on days when it has been 100 degrees outside and far too humid to walk for a half hour, is Twist – the well known frozen yogurt shop located on Nassau Street. The offerings of different flavors, nonfat or low fat options and the variety of toppings keep me coming back! Continue reading

Behind the Red Door – A Haunting Nassau Inn Tradition

This post is co-written by Ashley Comaites

The annual Nassau Inn staff pumpkin carving contest is always a big hit. As the staff members ready themselves to gear up for the holiday season; they take a step back to enjoy a Halloween tradition shared by many.

Traditions are, and always will be, the forefront of team stability. Traditions are part of our historical essence, and as time progresses we hold on to as many traditions and as much history as we can. The Nassau Inn has an annual autumn employee contest that welcomes the fall and winter holidays with open arms!

The annual pumpkin carving contest is a time for the employees behind the red door to kick back, relax and enjoy some friendly competition. Stephanie Piccarillo, a reservations agent, says;

“My favorite part about the contest is seeing all the creativity that those of us who enter have and put into the pumpkins we carve. Some of the pumpkins we have had are just so amazing and funny! The whole contest is just a lot of fun and brings the employees together.”

In years past, fun employee rivalries have been brought to life; with pumpkins being carved to counterpart that of a fellow employee! Other favorites have included: Jack from Nightmare Before Christmas, silhouette characters and even our very own logo!

We personally really enjoy this contest, as it brings back innocent memories from our childhoods. Carving pumpkins always reminds us of simpler times. Bobbing for apples and running from door to door to collect candy was the greatest joy imaginable of the fall season! As adults, the door we run to now brings us inside a warm and hospitable place that we are always happy to share; so please join us this holiday season Behind the Red Door.

Our Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest was a Great Success! 

Congratulations to all of our winners; and thanks to all those who participated in making this year’s contest so fabulous.

Our friendly Front Desk Agent Holly Ween took first place.

Second place went to the always delicious pumpkin burger.

Team Nassau Inn

The historic Nassau Inn would like to welcome our newest  members of the Food and Beverage Management Team, Greg Newman and Carter Smith.

Greg Newman

Greg got his start in the field of hospitality while in college. While attending East Stroudsburg University, he was highly involved with the Campus Activities Board, planning numerous events for the students on campus. His interests lead him into a career in event management, where he worked as a stadium operations manager, a park ranger, an event coordinator, and dining services manager. Greg’s favorite part of hospitality is seeing the favorable expressions on his clients’ faces when an event goes well. Recently, Greg had the opportunity to be on the receiving end of his own line of work, when he married his fiancé of 5 years! The wedding was exactly what they were looking for. Greg is a beer fanatic; he would say he is an expert. Greg has recently posted, Beers with Newman, featured here on our blog. Continue reading

29 Forever!

Tony Pirone, Bartender

Yankee Doodle Tap Room

Tony Pirone began working at the Nassau Inn at the famous Yankee Doodle Tap Room bar in June of 1981. 29 years later he’s still here. Tony states “I love how I am treated by my fellow employees and patrons. Many guests have become life long friends from all over the country and the world.” He has been a poster boy for some of our ads and editorials, including this one from the Summer issue of Princeton Magazine.  Photo Credit:  Michael Bonotto