Roasted turkey 790 xxx
photos by george billard

11.10.11 Talking Turkey

Thanksgiving is two weeks away and this is no time to bury your head in the sand and pretend like it's going to sort itself out. I'm a big control freak advocate of advance planning and you know deep down it really does help prevent all those 11th-hour meltdowns and kitchen hissy-fits, not to mention mediocre meals. Just give in to your inner Martha (the ultimate Higher Power) and get organized as hell. It's all about making lists, my friends! Devise your menu; compile your recipes; pull together your shopping list (checking the pantry to make sure you have those items you're "sure" are there but haven't actually seen in a year) and then make a schedule—yes, a schedule—so you'll remember to start brining the turkey days in advance, and so you can prepare everything possible ahead of time (stock, pie crust, etc). It's a highly tactical operation.

Before you move on to the rest of this post, please check out the photo, above. It's from last Thanksgiving. I've been hoarding it all year so you could see how our turkey turned out. Not bad, eh? Of course I've cropped it so you can't really make out where all the bits of skin stuck to the side of the way-too-small aluminum pan and tore off, but still. Read on to find out how not to have that happen...
Ciabatta stuffing 790 xxx
photo by Sarah Shatz for Food52

11.23.10 The Right Stuff(ing)

Stuffing! What can I say? If you're not still eating at your mother's table, you just want to recreate her stuffing recipe and aren't really interested in anything different. Right? Well, on the off chance that there is someone out there willing to try something new, I'll offer you a few suggestions. There are so many schools of stuffing, from cornbread and sausage to sourdough and sage to sticky rice and water chestnuts. Stuffing reflects tradition and ethnicity perhaps even more than the turkey. And of course there is always the question of to stuff or not to stuff, not to mention m***t versus crispy. Above is the winning ciabatta and chorizo stuffing from Food52's contest last year. It features garlicky cubes of bread with chorizo, shiitakes and sweet potato. Another interesting option is this prune and apple stuffing posted by Amanda Hesser.
Marinating ribs 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

10.19.10 A Little Bit Country

A surfeit of green tomatoes had me racking my brain—and scanning the web—for recipes that called for neither frying nor pickling. I came across one that looked pretty easy and interesting on Melissa Clark's blog. You've probably read her column in the Times, but may not know that she has collaborated with all the best chefs on a zillion cookbooks, including Daniel Boulud's Braise, a particular favorite of mine around this time of year. (It features fantastic recipes for short ribs; grouper with fennel and cashews; and carbonnade with Belgian beer and gingerbread, among many others.) So she knew what she was doing when she threw together this dish of country-style pork ribs slow-braised with green tomatoes, citrus and vermouth. And, if I do say so myself, I knew what I was doing by serving it with fresh, warm cornbread.