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photos from here and there

11.8.13 Prep Talk

In some situations, preparation is everything. Well, maybe not everything, but it can make the difference between an occasion that is relaxing and fun and one that is borderline hysteria. Yes, I'm talking about Thanksgiving, which is less than 3 weeks away. My sister-in-law and I got on the phone earlier in the week to plan our menu. Every year we do our best to inject a bit of newness into the proceedings. Some years we succeed more than others. It's now part of our tradition to make two turkeys—one roasted and one deep-fried. This way, we are not challenged for the all-important leftovers.

Since we're going to have a king's ransom's worth of hot peanut oil on hand, I though I would take advantage of it to make David Kinch's drool-worthy herb beignets to amuse our bouches. I've been reading about them for a couple of years now, and finally have the recipe from his newly published Manresa cookbook. Don't roll your eyes at me. I'll also be making some easy standards and—new this year—a ginger pumpkin cheesecake. More highlights follow...
Tagged — turkey
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pilgrims' progress

11.17.11 Ready, Set, Go

My sister-in-law says I am giving her àgita with all my early talk of Thanksgiving but guess what—IT'S ONE WEEK AWAY. If you haven't formulated your game plan by now, you really need to get cracking. Maybe instead of going to your in-laws, you're headed to an inn and won't be slaving in front of a hot stove at all? Maybe you're one of those people who sneers at holidays and will be taking advantage of the opportunity to eat Chinese food and go to the movies like a good Jew on Christmas? If so, best to avert your eyes now, because this entire post is about recipes for Thanksgiving. I will refer you to some of my own past posts, but I've also compiled links to other great resources with tons of recipes, techniques and tips for sailing through this feast with style and aplomb. (In case you think this link compilation thing is shirking, trust me, it's not. My ass is flat as a pancake from sitting in front of the fire glued to this computer as I tumble down one interweb rabbit hole after another in pursuit of hot links for you.)
Tagged — turkey
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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...
Tagged — turkey
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photo by Sarah Shatz for Food52

11.26.10 Turkey Hangover

It's the day after and I'm a woman of few words. But I can't leave you hanging with all that turkey on your hands. Hopefully you did not, in a fit of weary pique, discard the carcass. There's soup in there! How about a delicious, soothing and very clean take on pho, the Vietnamese soup usually made with beef. Here's a winning recipe made with leftover turkey from WinnieAb on Food52. It does a body good.Or, check out my guest post for turkey tamales on UK site debate your plate. It's a great project for all those lazy, whining people you have hanging around your house. And the results are delicious!And last, but never least, here's Martha's recipe for turkey banh mi, full of crisp, refreshing vegetables and tangy, spicy flavors. What's with the ethnic theme? Guess I've had it up to here with classic American for the moment. Enjoy your naps...
Tagged — turkey
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photos by gluttonforlife

11.22.10 Big Bird (The Rest is Gravy)

It's time to talk turkey. Even the most experienced cooks can get a little flustered when it come to roasting such a large creature. Confusion starts with what kind of bird to buy and proceeds through whether or not to brine, to stuff or not, what temp, how long to rest, etc. It's all in pursuit of that deep brown, lacquered skin and meat that is not hideously dry. Some say the sole purpose of gravy is to restore moisture to that breast. There really is no definitive technique for roasting a turkey, although most professional chefs do recommend you cook it until the breast is done, and then cut off the legs and thighs to finish roasting separately while the breast rests. In a neat twist on that, this recipe has you brine the bird whole, then break it down and roast the legs and wings on top of the stuffing. Food for thought.

But most people simply can't abandon the Norman Rockwell image of that intact turkey perched on the carving board in all its golden glory. And for those of you who wish to hew to tradition (my dining companions included), I've gathered a few recipes for success. I've rarely actually been in charge of a turkey, depending as I do on the kindness of others for my Thanksgiving dinner. But some years ago I did make Martha's version with the breast draped in wine-&-butter-soaked cheesecloth, and I recall it being quite delicious. I didn't brine it first—I'm actually not sure that I've ever eaten a Thanksgiving turkey that's been brined! Not everyone is prepared to take that extra step, but I understand it makes an enormous difference. I love to eat the dark meat—and to gob mayonnaise and cranberry sauce on a leftover turkey sandwich—so dryness is not my particular bugaboo, but it looks like we're going the brining route this year.
Tagged — turkey