How to Host the Holidays at an Airbnb Home

Easy, healthy recipes, how to keep the kids entertained, and more tips for a destination gathering from chef Eden Grinshpan.

Betsy Goldberg
Nov 22 · 11 min read

Photographs by Peden+Munk
Concepts and styling by Randi Brookman Harris

Chef Eden Grinshpan (second from left) preparing food with friends at an Airbnb home in Coxsackie, New York.

When you’ve starred in food and travel TV shows, run a restaurant, and are writing a cookbook, family and friends tend to have high expectations for the holidays — even when you’re away from home and you’ve had to toss your tahini into your suitcase. “I’ll bring certain spices, and my knife and mandoline, so I can still put my spin on dishes,” admits Middle Eastern–style chef Eden Grinshpan. But otherwise, she’ll pull off an out-of-town shindig with little fuss or fanfare. “I keep the food simple and seasonal, and I’m all about family-style serving,” she says. With a 2-year-old daughter, Ayv, she’s got a built-in kitchen assistant. Her strategic food-prep schedule: “I’ll get the cake out of the way, and then make the rice and roast the vegetables; you can just reheat them before dinner. Then you put the meat in to braise, and leave it for three hours, minimum.” A few personal touches can spruce up the setting, but Grinshpan doesn’t obsess over plating. “I just want there to be this rustic, bountiful feeling. The food comes off the stove, and we all dig in and get messy.”

Grinshpan gets some company in the kitchen (her friend Gunnar Larson isholding daughter Ihlen and son Royal).

Cater to your crowd

Get a little artsy

Let Kids Put Their Stamp On The Table

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Think Low And Slow

Add a few flourishes

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“When you’re cooking in an Airbnb, it’s a different environment, and it’s often got so much character and history. It takes you on a cool, beautiful journey.”

— Eden Grinshpan

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Caramelized Onion, Rice, and Noodle Pilaf

Melt the butter and oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and let caramelize for 5 to 10 minutes. Add in the vermicelli noodles and continue to toast for a few minutes, until the noodles turn slightly golden (watch to ensure they do not burn). Add the rice, salt, pepper, and 3 cups water into the pot and stir to combine. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to simmer and let cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until all water is evaporated. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and keep covered until ready to serve.

Crispy Veg with Pistachio Dukkah and Labaneh

Preheat the oven to 450°. Prepare a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. In a small bowl, mix olive oil and honey. Toss all the vegetables in the olive-oil mixture and season very well with salt and pepper. Place vegetable mixture on prepared pan, making sure not to overcrowd. (You don’t want to steam the vegetables; you want them to roast.) Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, or until golden and lightly charred in some places. Remove from the oven. Schmear Labaneh onto the serving platter, top with hot roasted vegetables, and sprinkle with Pistachio Dukkah.

Grinshpan’s pal Lindsay Nicholson helps prep. On Grinshpan: Nova classic apron, $89; on Nicholson: Sailor classic apron, $109;

Pistachio Dukkah

Preheat the oven to 350°. Place pistachios on a sheet tray and roast in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes, checking frequently to ensure they don’t burn. Remove from oven and let cool. Repeat with the sesame seeds, placing them on a sheet tray andmroasting for 1 tom2 minutes. In amsmall saucepan,toast the coriander and cumin seeds on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they become fragrant. To a small blender, add the toasted cumin and coriander seeds, then add the pistachios and chop up. Don’t blend too much: You want large chunks of nuts, not a fine powder. Place in a bowl and mix in the toasted sesame seeds, cardamom powder, and kosher salt.

Harissa Roasted Eggplant, Pine Nut Gremolata, and Tahini

Preheat the oven to 375°. Generously sprinkle the eggplants with salt and let sit (and sweat) for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together olive oil, garlic, and salt. Pat the eggplants dry and schmear the harissa paste over the entire open face, rubbing it into the cracks. Pour the garlic–olive oil mixture over the eggplants, pushing it into the cracks. Place the eggplants faceup on a roasting tray and roast in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until lightly golden and custardy inside. Remove from oven and drizzle with Garlicky Tahini (recipe below). Serve topped with Pine Nut ­Gremolata (recipe below). Finish with freshly squeezed lemon juice and a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt.

Garlicky Tahini

In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients with ½ cup cold water. Set aside until ready to use.

A sprig of fresh rosemary is all it takes to elevate an ordinary cocktail. Fire-roasted garlic is an earthy addition to a dish.

Pine Nut Gremolata

Place all ingredients in a bowl and combine. Check seasoning to taste. Set aside until ready to use.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Preserved Lemon, Dates, and Olives

Preheat oven to 350°. ­Season the lamb shanks very well with salt and pepper. Heat the grapeseed oil in a large pot on medium-­high heat and sear each side of the lamb shanks until golden and caramelized, about 2 to 4 minutes per side. Once ­caramelized, remove lamb shanks from the pot and set aside. Turn the heat to medium-low and add carrots, onion, celery, and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper to the pot and sauté 5 minutes. Add in the saffron, coriander seeds, garlic, and cumin seeds and sauté another minute. Pour in white wine and let reduce for 2 to 3 minutes. Add lamb and all the juices back in. Pour in the beef stock and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid and place in oven for 1 hour. After an hour, add the dates, olives, and preserved lemon. Place back in the oven and let braise another 1½ hours. Move pot to stove, remove lid, and let braising liquid caramelize and reduce at medium heat for 20 minutes. (The lamb should be falling off the bone.) Serve hot with rice.

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Coriander, Lemon, and Parmesan Fennel

Preheat the oven to 375°. In a medium pan, heat the olive oil. Season both sides of the fennel well with salt and pepper, and sear the fennel for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until lightly caramelized. When you are on your last fennel, turn the heat down to medium low. Add in the coriander seeds and garlic and toast lightly for a few seconds. Transfer all the seared fennel to a sheet tray and cover with the lightly toasted garlic and coriander seeds. Pour 1 tablespoon of water and the lemon juice onto the fennel. Cover the sheet tray with foil and put it in the oven. Let steam for 30 to 40 minutes, until a knife slides through easily. Remove foil and sprinkle with cheese. Place back in the oven for another 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and browned. Remove from oven and plate the fennel, topping with fresh lemon zest and fennel fronds.

Brown Sugar Cardamom Pear Cake with Sage Whipped Cream

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, cardamom, baking soda, and baking powder. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter, and mix on high until whipped, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the ­sugars and whip until light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as you go. Add in the vanilla and lemon zest. Add in the sour cream and milk and mix until just combined. Add the dry ingredients in two parts and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the cake pan starting from the edges and moving toward the middle, so as not to push the caramel base out to the sides. Spread the batter as evenly as you can and place in the oven. Let bake until lightly golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Once cooled, remove the cake from the pan by flipping it over so that all the caramel comes out and becomes the top of the cake. Slide onto a cooling rack. Serve topped with Caramel Pear Top and Sage Whipped Cream (below).

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Caramel Pear Top

Preheat the oven to 350°. Prepare a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper in the base and oil the sides. Melt the butter in a small pan on medium-high heat. Add the brown sugar and salt and stir for 5 minutes, until the mixture darkens a bit and begins to bubble. Pour into pan. Let cool, then arrange the pears in a pattern on top of the cake.

Sage Whipped Cream

Put the cream and sage in a pot and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down and let simmer for 10 minutes on very low heat. Turn heat off and let cool. Strain the cream through a strainer, squeezing the cream out of the sage well. Place in a container and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Whip the cream using a beater. After 1 to 2 minutes, add in the sugar and keep whisking for about 5 to 8 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Make sure to not overwhip. Serve with the cake.

Location: Coxsackie, NY
Superhost + Home: Susanne Frenk with Jean Louis Frenk

About the author: Betsy Goldberg is the deputy editor (Home) of Airbnb Magazine. Previously she was the deputy editor of Real Simple and HGTV Magazine, editorial content director at Bed Bath & Beyond, and an editor at UsWeekly, Modern Bride, and New York Magazine. She is co-author of BusinessWeek’s Guide to the Best Business Schools. Her writing has also appeared in Glamour, Health, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Money.

Airbnb Magazine

Airbnb Magazine celebrates humanity wherever it exists: across borders, time zones, languages, and skin tones.

Betsy Goldberg

Written by

I am a deputy editor at Airbnb Magazine, and previously was a deputy editor @real_simple and HGTV Magazine.

Airbnb Magazine

Airbnb Magazine celebrates humanity wherever it exists: across borders, time zones, languages, and skin tones.

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