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U.S. Thanksgiving Dinner (1621-) - Celebrating and Giving Thanks for the Good Harvest in Plymouth, Massachusetts


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I prevailed upon our family gathering of seven adults on Thursday to let me take over not just the kitchen for Thanksgiving, but the menu as well. At first they were skeptical and worried about missing the same old meal, so we had an early lunch with all the usual items and then a late dinner, a tasting menu of sorts that had a strong Thanksgiving theme:

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Fried Sage and Nutmeg Creme Fraiche (adapted from Thomas Keller's Bouchon cookbook)

Trio of Sweet Potato Raviolis in a Brown Butter and Thyme Sauce

Mustard and Herb Crusted French Rack of Lamb with Cranberry and Polenta Stuffing, and pureed yukon potatoes with a shittake gravy

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Apple, Pear and Quince Turnovers with Vanilla Custard


For palate cleansers, I baked some pumpkin bread with cranberries and blueberries and teaspoons of raspberry sorbet.

Overall, it was a success, but due to an unforseen potato shortage I had to use leftovers from lunch and that side turned out far from perfect, but the gravy made up a bit for that. I also had issues getting the tops just right on the brulees, but I couldn't exactly bring a blowtorch on the plane. Using freshly grated nutmeg and vanilla bean made all the difference, though -- I'm not much of a baker, but I will no longer shortcut on these two ingredients. The lamb I bought from Cheeseitique, and it was also a hit.

We roasted a smaller turkey (around 13 lbs.) the day I arrived and used the meat for sandwiches throughout the week. We also made a pie every night, and this way we weren't bombarded with leftovers but were able to enjoy Thankisgiving favorites throughout the week.

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I originally posted this under dinner, but it is more appropriate here:

Thanksgiving with my mother-in-law cannot be simple, and since I am the designated cook, it is up to me to top the previous year’s feast. This year I ordered a wild shot Scottish pheasant from D’artanian. When I opened the package, the smell of wild game filled the kitchen and drove the dogs nuts. The bird looked rather small, and I feared that there was not going to be enough for the three of us, I could not have been more wrong.

Because of the nature of Pheasant I decided to make two dishes out of this one bird. I braised the legs and thighs in a broth of Calvados and apple cider, seasoned with onions, juniper, and thyme. With about 15 minutes left, I tossed in some sliced Nitney apples. When it came out of the oven I shredded the meat to remove all of the tiny bones that are inherent in a pheasant. I served this with a side of roasted whole spiced endive (whole coriander, cumin, cardamom, fenugreek, and fennel seeds, this is similar to what is found in one of the Craft cookbooks). I also strained and reduced the cooking liquid, fortified it with butter, and dressed the plate with it along with the shredded pheasant. This was matched with a 1982 Beychevelle, an elegantly beautiful wine and a perfect match for this dish.

The second dish I made out the meat was a bacon wrapped breast. I sliced the very meaty breasts into thirds, rolled them, and wrapped them in bacon. I then pan seared them, and finished them in the oven. These were served with a pheasant stock reduction (made from the carcass), grilled broccoli rabe, and truffled pecorino risotto. This was matched with a stunning Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Reserve.

To finish the meal, we had a ricotta cheese cake. This not so sweet desert was accompanied by a honey like 1998 Inniskillin Oak-aged ice wine.

Since Thanksgiving is more of a weekend than a single day on Saturday I duck:

After my Thanksgiving of rich pheasant, I followed it by an equally rich meal of a trio of duck. For this I made duck confit ravioli (black pepper pasta stuffed with shredded duck confit, with caramelized shallots, and goat cheese) topped with a tangerine butter sauce, seared foie gras with a yuzu (I found them at Balducci’s and could resist using them) cranberry sauce, and a pan roasted duck breast (from Cheestique) with cocoa scented lentils and wilted arugula dressed with a vinaigrette of duck fat and sherry vinegar. With this dish I served a 1998 Monbousquet, and followed it with a bottle of 1990 Cuvee William Duetz Champagne.

Everyone loved the meal but me. I found faults in each item, that no one else realized. But I guess we are all our own worst critic.

On Friday we decided to have a tapas dinner. I made a salad of apples, raw milk Manchago (from Cheesetique) drizzled with sherry vinegar and Spanish olive oil. I also made a shrimp in garlic and pepper scented olive oil. With this we had a selection of Spanish sausages and cheese.

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I put down a $40 deposit on a Polyface Bourbon Red heritage turkey at the Dupont farmers' market, a couple of weeks before T-day. We decided to go all-out for the meal this year, and so $5.99 a pound for a special bird for the meal's centerpiece seemed expensive but do-able. I have to admit I was a bit miffed when I came to pick it up, and paid another $80 for my 20 pound bird and it was frozen. I assumed that for a premium price like that, they would be delivering fresh birds. Since I didn't have a back-up plan and was really curious to experience a heritage bird with all the buzz about them lately, I decided not to make a fuss and ask for my deposit back. It defrosted in my refrig until Wednesday, and then I brined it overnight in an herbed salt-sugar brine with some juniper berries in it. On Thursday, I took it out of the brine and rinsed it, and then let it sit out at room temperature for a few hours, with ice-packs on the breasts, a technique I learned from Harold McGee, which slows down the cooking of the breasts. (I'd done it before--it works!) Then, I oiled the bird with EVOO and set up my Weber Kettle with a drip pan in the center full of white wine, shallots, thyme, bay leaf and parsley, the hot coals around the perimeter. I sprinkled wet applewood chips on the coals and put the bird on to smoke. It cooked for about three hours, without stuffing in it. I had made turkey stock with the neck, giblets and wing tips, and when the turkey came off the grill, I strained the remains of the drip pan into the stock and made the gravy with it.

Despite having been frozen, it was the best turkey I've ever made or tasted anywhere else. The meat was dense and juicy, with a deep flavor, neither too smoky or too salty. The thighs were fully cooked and the white meat still had a slightly pink tinge near the bone.

For starters, I made roasted squash soup, with blue hubbard, kuri and delicata squashes and bosc pear served with creme fraiche and Meyer lemon olive oil. Chestnut and wild mushroom stuffing (chanterelle, pleurottes, and porcini), creamed pearl onions, garlic mashed potatoes, pureed sweet potatoes with maple and lemon zest, haricots verts with fried almonds. Roasted scarlet turnips. Dessert was pumpkin pie made with orange-spice pate brisee from Sherry Yard's baking book (really good!) with Trickling Springs whipped cream.

With the first course, we had a 2003 Lucien Albrecht gewurz, and with the turkey we had a 1995 Elyse Howell Mountain zinfandel (gorgeous) and then opened a 2001 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf-du-Pape Le Crau, brought by my sis and bro-in-law. (Wow!)

Great sandwiches for a few days now!

Edited by zoramargolis
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I am happy to hear that you enjoyed the Vieux Telegraphe, it is one of the best CdP's made.

It's the first CdP I've had that really knocked my socks off. I've had several that received good scores--'99 Guigal, '99 Louis Bernard, 2000 Les Cailloux, '98 Clos du Mont Olivet, 2000 Pierre Usseglio-- and while they were all very good wines, I've had other "lesser" Rhones that I enjoyed as much or more. It is the first individual vineyard CdP I've had, though. They're not in my budget, unfortunately. The VT Le Crau was spectacular.

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It's that time of year. What are you cooking for Thanksgiving dinner? Have you sourced your heritage turkey yet? And what kind of pies will you be making?

Or if you're not cooking, where do you have reservations?

(ETA can we change the subtitle and make this more of a generic "holiday" thread?)

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Last year I made a wild shot pheasant, this year I am going back to the traditional turkey. I have ordered my Heritage bird from Townline Poultry. The Thanksgiving dinner before last I made one of their birds, and it was the best tasting and most succulent turkey I have ever had. For sides the definites are:

Buttermilk mashed potatoes

Brioche Dressing

Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts

Buttercup squash roasted in a pumpkin

Spiced mixed fruit relish

Hickory nut pie

I know that there are going to be one or two more dishes, including at least one more dessert.

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I'm still puzzling it out--we're going to the IL's and cooking at their house on LI.

Probably nothing to fancy and I'm already pondering how much of my own kitchen equipment I should take--clearly the potato masher-ricer; the good peelers, the apple corer. It will be hard to get knives on the plane and mine are nothing special. Oh, and I'll bring my own apples for the apple pie...

Control freak? Who, me????

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This sounds interesting. Care to share the recipe?
I will share the concept, I don't really have a recipe. Find a pumpkin (size depends on how many people you want to serve), cut open the top, and core it. Peel and chop squash (I like buttercup, but butternut is easier to peel and the flavor also works very well) toss with mixed spices (think pumpkin pie spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, mace...) salt and pepper. Place squash in pumpkin top with soft butter, and cream. Place the top back on and cook in a 350 degree oven until the inner squash is tender. The pumpkin offers a little bit of flavor, but it really provides a nice fragrance, and while not really edible, the stringiness of the average pumpkin will act as a nice serving bowl.

Edited to add: I also add a little bit of bourdon into the cream.

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Oh, and I'll bring my own apples for the apple pie...
You can't get good apples on LI?

Steve, your menu sounds great. How many people are you cooking for?

We are still at loose ends for Thanksgiving Day, but we'll be seeing out-of-town family the day after and might cook then (or go out to dinner if I have my way). If we cook it will be turkey and mostly traditional sides. I have a cranberry & tart cherry sauce I make every year, and we have to have a pecan pie.

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Steve, your menu sounds great. How many people are you cooking for?
Between four and eight, because of the impulsive nature of my wife's family I will not know until two days before. My mother-in-law likes to have plenty of leftovers so she does not have to cook for a week (or two).
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For Thanksgiving dinner, we'll be eating stone crabs on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale.

Again.

I love my family. :)

Sides will be pretty traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but we nicely avoid the turkey and leftovers. We do a "shrimp toast" appetizer that's a big hit. Slices of a crusty baguette, topped with cooked jumbo shrimp. Mix some shredded cheese, mayo and spices, spread on top of the shrimp, and broil.

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For Thanksgiving dinner, we'll be eating stone crabs on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale. . . Sides will be pretty traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but we nicely avoid the turkey and leftovers. We do a "shrimp toast" appetizer that's a big hit. Slices of a crusty baguette, topped with cooked jumbo shrimp. Mix some shredded cheese, mayo and spices, spread on top of the shrimp, and broil.

Daniel, if you don't have enough for the whole class...I will be spending my Thanksgiving dinners in New Jersey with my parents. Our dinners are fairly traditional and low key food-wise (yet they still allow for maximum family stress). My contributions: mini-crabcakes for an appetizer, a cranberry-orange-jalapeno relish and a bread pudding with whiskey sauce. I trust that someone (hello, Jon, are you reading this?) will be kind enough to continue the tradition of providing many ice creams and homemade sauces.

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My mom stuffs rosemary, garlic, lemon juice, and EVOO under the skin of the turkey, then stuffs it with parmesan and prosciutto rinds, and red onions. She roasts the whole thing, basting with balsamic vinegar and red wine. Then she turns the drippings at the bottom into an awesome gravy.

The turkey shares "main dish" status with the family ravioli (usually prepared with the help of many family members and, depending on the size of the gathering, a local italian food shop, weeks in advance) - this is my dad's contribution.

Large amounts of scotch, parmesan, and red wine are consumed. My mom puts out delicious (usually CostCo-derived) apps - fresh queso dip, brie with fig preserves and almonds, hummuses of every type, grapes and other fruits, shrimp and crab related things, etc.

We're not that big on sides, as everyone's usually so full from the apps, ravioli, and turkey.

Dessert's usually pie and Hostess cupcakes.

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I have never cooked a Thanksgiving dinner before, so this thread is timely and I know I can get good advice from this crowd.

I'm thinking of the following menu:

Grilled pizza appetizers

Pumpkin soup w. creme fraiche and crispy prosciutto

Turducken

Roasted garlic mashed potatoes with truffle oil

Maple glazed carrots and turnips

Raspberry mint sorbet

Sour cherry pie with homemade french vanilla ice cream

Everything will be homemade except for the Turducken which I'll order online.

The big questions is: Has anyone here got experience with Turducken (esp commerical stuff). I'm worried that it's more style vs substance. I'm also worried that by the time the inner most parts are cooked, the outside turkey portion will be drier than dry.

Appreciate any feedback y'all got.

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Roasted garlic mashed potatoes with truffle oil
I would loose either the roasted garlic or the truffle oil, they are going to compete, and neither will shine. Personally I would go with the roasted garlic, and make certain that you use plenty of oil in roasting it so that you can drizzle some of the very flavorful oil over the potatoes.
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You can't get good apples on LI?

Steve, your menu sounds great. How many people are you cooking for?

Control freak and we're sending a shopping list up to the in-laws. Not sure how much effort they will make in taste testing every apple until they find just the right one when I know I can get an assortment of stuff at the farmers market here and be happy.

Or is that obsessive-complusive???

Does this mean you talked them out of the restaurant that received such wildly enthusiastic reviews?!

I couldn't eat most of the the menu thanks to the Pomegranate in the oven and I think Mr. BLB may have conveyed how important it was to me that we cook if only to stop the random crying. Hormones--got to love them!

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According to Paul Prudhomme the birds are not skinned.

A tradition in Scott's family is oysters with a little bit of creme fraiche and caviar. We had these the last time we spent Thanksgiving in New Orleans, along with all the champagne we could drink, turkey, cornbread dressing, stuffed mirlitons, and splendid pecan pie. We also caught a show by the late Chris Whitley at the House of Blues. That was a good Thanksgiving. :)

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It's that time of year. What are you cooking for Thanksgiving dinner? Have you sourced your heritage turkey yet? And what kind of pies will you be making?
The fiasco that was Thanksgiving '04 has faded into the mists of time and the in-laws have become bold enough to descend once again... :)

Over many years of hosting rwtye's family for Thanksgiving, the menu has become pretty set and any deviation is met with copious amounts of whining. The only place I can go wild is with the appetizers -- I made a creamy mushroom soup last year that was a bit hit (and easy!), so I am very tempted to repeat that, and maybe some mascarpone-stuffed dates (a la Komi) and/or marinated olives to snack on earlier in the afternoon (breakfast traditionally includes big, gooey, sticky buns, so lunch is usually skipped).

The "But it is just not Thanksgiving without the ___________" Menu:

Grilled Turkey

Sourdough Dressing

Mashed Potatoes

Gravy!!!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Turnips

Brioche Rolls

Peas with Bacon & Garlic

Carrots glazed with Brown Sugar/Mustard/Chives

Hericorts Verts with a Roasted Onion/Basalmic Topping

Scalloped Onions, Sahallots & Leeks

Apple Chutney & my Mother-in-law's Cranberry Relish

Plus at least three pies: 1 Pecan, 1 French Apple, 1 Pumpkin (my mother-in-law is bringing fresh pumpkin in her suitcase!) and probably one other dessert TBD (or another pie -- it is also family tradition to have pie for breakfast the day after and it gets really ugly if there is not enough leftover).

We are nothing if not predictable! :)

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According to Paul Prudhomme the birds are not skinned.

A tradition in Scott's family is oysters with a little bit of creme fraiche and caviar. We had these the last time we spent Thanksgiving in New Orleans, along with all the champagne we could drink, turkey, cornbread dressing, stuffed mirlitons, and splendid pecan pie. We also caught a show by the late Chris Whitley at the House of Blues. That was a good Thanksgiving. :)

From the link is this recipe: http://www.chefpaul.com/recipes/SPPPie.html Chef Paul's Sweet potato pecan pie (created by his pastry chef, Marty, who also does his fresh cracked coconut cake) is one of the best I've had. If you don't feel like making it you can order it directly from K-Paul's. What puts it over the top is what he calls "chantilly whipped cream." This is heavy cream laced with Courvoisier, Grand Marnier and sour cream.

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For Thanksgiving dinner, we'll be eating stone crabs on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale.
Stone crab season opened a couple of weeks ago. Amazingly enough I had a business trip that put me in South Florida for the opening. And then the trip got pushed back a month. How many trips do you think I can squeeze in before the season ends?
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Last year was my first cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with a double-oven range. I now love that second oven almost more than life itself. We hosted my brother's family and a friend of ours from Japan, who brought sushi as an appetizer.

This year, we're spending the day with my father-in-law's family, who will cook a traditional dinner. Our contribution will be Azami's deviled eggs and a double-crust pumpkin pie, made in the style of an apple pie using sliced macerated pumpkin. Someone at Chowhound gave me the recipe last year while I was seeking a non-dairy, egg-free pumpkin pie recipe for my youngest nephew -- Azami now prefers it to standard pumpkin pie.

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Hey, what about all those ACORNS!?!

:)

Ooops! No matter how hard I try to forget about those, they just won't go away. :)

If it all works out, the acorn-based dishes will be above and beyond the "regular" menu. I'm trying not to count my chickens before they're leached.

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We've been invited to NYC! Yaay!!! All I have to prepare is some appetizers!

My sister-in-law lives in a semi-collective situation with people who own two restaurants on Clinton Street (72 Clinton Fresh Food and Alibi), near the building where they all live on Rivington Street. Every couple of years, they close Alibi and host a big Thanksgiving bash for family and friends. It's a small place, but so great to have the restaurant's dining room, kitchen, dishes-flatware-glasses, and dishwashing set-up to use. Several people are cooking turkeys at home (including my sil and bil) and bringing them over. Other people are bringing sides and pies and apps. Last time we were invited, there were about 50 people there and enough food to feed an army, some of it excellent, and some so-so. (The restaurant chefs were not involved in this meal.)

If my home-cured olives turn out well, I'll bring them. Maybe stuffed dates with homemade chevre with lavender & fennel pollen. Last time, among other things, I brought devilled eggs, after serious begging from my spouse to make them.Two other people brought them as well, though everyone agreed mine were the best.

Last year, at home, I did an herb-brined heritage turkey from Polyface that I smoke-roasted in the Weber kettle. It was delicious (and very expensive). What with all of the other labor-intensive dishes, not to mention my in-laws staying over in my tiny house and all of the other meals I prepared and refreshments we provided... let's just say, I'm happy not to have to do it again the same way this year.

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We are going to the in-(laws*) for Thanksgiving and I have volunteered to do most of the cooking. Just thought i would share my thought process right now and see if you experts have any input or tips for a first time Thanksgiving chef. (And for an added level of difficulty: not showing up my girlfriend's mother! I want raves but not too enthusiastic ; )

First of all I am planning on making a big batch of chicken stock when I wake up Wed. morning. The rest of the menu I will prepare on Wed. thru Thursday with one oven. This is where I was really hoping for some strategic tips...

Just some simple tossed greens

Turkey, brined overnight and roasted with aromatics in place of stuffing inside the bird.

Stuffing baked separately. -Anyone have a killer recipe? I am thinking challah or brioche with no

mushrooms (I love them they hate them), and some type of fruit accent perhaps, dried cranberries, white raisins etc. Will probably bake early and cover and then just toast up after I take out the Turkey.

Buttermilk mashed potatoes with maybe a small small bit of horseradish. Skin on. Made night before and reheated?

Pan drippings, roux and some of the aforementioned stock and some white wine to make a gravy. made the night before minus the pan drippings which will be added in.

Some yeasty buttery rolls Not sure if the benefits of making them from scratch will be lost if I do these the day before

Roasted green beans Won't take long probably put these in with the stuffing

Apple ginger, and Cranberry compotes. Night before

And one killer seasonal dessert that I am still in search of. Someone else is bringing pumpkin pies and yams so I am thinking some alternative pumkin themed dessert or maybe just a good apple crisp or something. This will be done the night before also

Sorry this is so long, I am nervous as hell. I am a more than decent cook but I am nervous having so many eyes on me and being in a foreign kitchen with foreign tools and all the pots and pans in different cabinets so I would love some advice from some of you seasoned vets whether on the timing or some menu additions/changes.

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Blake,

First of all, calm down. Over the weekend, make a list of items you are going to cook. Make a shopping list and plan the time to run around getting everything you need. Make a schedule and leave enough time to get it all done.

Try not to overextend your energy or abilities. (For instance, I made a favorite Spinach Souffle for a joint T-day dinner with my neighbors one year. By the time everybody got their act together enough to grab their plates and sit down to eat, the souffle had completed deflated. :) Won't do that again.)

DON'T make the mashed potatoes the night before; they don't reheat well. You could, however, peel and chop the potatoes and cover them in cold water in the fridge the night before.

Pecan pie is fairly traditional and can be made the day before.

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...

Pan drippings, roux and some of the aforementioned stock and some white wine to make a gravy. made the night before minus the pan drippings which will be added in.

Some yeasty buttery rolls Not sure if the benefits of making them from scratch will be lost if I do these the day before

...

I nearly always make the base for the gravy ahead of time and then deglaze and add the pan drippings at the last minute. In addition to saving time, it keeps the mother-in-law from worrying about the gravy being lumpy. :)

For the rolls... On the day before, I would make the dough, give it one rise, form the rolls, cover with plastic wrap (leaving room for rising) and immediately put them in the refrigerator. Thanksgiving day, take them out an hour or two before baking so they can warm up and/or finish rising (if need be, that will depend some on your roll recipe), and then bake them as your recipe directs. The long, cool rise of the dough in the refrigerator will only improve the taste and texture in the finished rolls. :)

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Some yeasty buttery rolls Not sure if the benefits of making them from scratch will be lost if I do these the day before

I posted a great recipe in the Heirloom Recipes thread for rolls that calls for rising in the refrigerator. Mrs. Butler's rolls always turn out well and are a definite holiday dinner table staple. One of my most requested offerings. Not for nothin', but the brown sugar pound cake reicpe is a winner, too. It travels really well and is a good make-ahead.

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Turkey, brined overnight and roasted with aromatics in place of stuffing inside the bird.

Pan drippings, roux and some of the aforementioned stock and some white wine to make a gravy. made the night before minus the pan drippings which will be added in.

I'm very firmly in the anti-brining camp, so I don't think you should brine your turkey at all. Having tried brining turkey twice myself, though, I've found the drippings to be just too salty to make gravy with. So if you do brine, you might want to rethink your gravy-making approach. Or even better, don't brine.

And Barbara is certainly right about not making mashed potatoes ahead. I would add don't leave the skins on. As lovely as potato skins can be in the right circumstances, mashed potatoes aren't the right circumstances, in my imperiously humble view.

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I'm a big fan of roasting things. Asparagus, for example. Much nicer flavor when roasted rather than steamed.

However, do not roast potato chunks for mashed potatoes. Although they had a wonderful, pronounced potato flavor, they took obscene amounts of milk and butter to become even palatable, and were still too dry. :)

Glad I found this out before Thanksgiving day.

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Brine or don't brine? I'm a semi-novice cook preparing T-day meal for me and five members of my boyfriend's family. Most nervious about a moist bird. Ordered an organic turkey from Whole Foods. Can someone please steer me to a fool-proof roasting method - I thought brining would help in that regard.

Thanks.

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Brine or don't brine? I'm a semi-novice cook preparing T-day meal for me and five members of my boyfriend's family. Most nervious about a moist bird. Ordered an organic turkey from Whole Foods. Can someone please steer me to a fool-proof roasting method - I thought brining would help in that regard.

Thanks.

I've had some success brining turkeys. They came our moist, but not with as much flavor as I had hoped. I've gotten better by experimenting with whole chickens and chicken breasts, and am planning to try an apple cider brine this year.

I haven't had the "salty drippings" problem that some other folks have had. The biggest issue for me has been space. If you live in an apartment, depending on the size of the turkey, you may have difficulty finding a way to keep it cold (when I lived in Michigan, it was cold enough that I was able to just stick the derned thing in a tightly covered pot on the porch).

Probably more important than brining or any wacky cooking method is a good thermometer.

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I've had some success brining turkeys. They came our moist, but not with as much flavor as I had hoped. I've gotten better by experimenting with whole chickens and chicken breasts, and am planning to try an apple cider brine this year.

I haven't had the "salty drippings" problem that some other folks have had. The biggest issue for me has been space. If you live in an apartment, depending on the size of the turkey, you may have difficulty finding a way to keep it cold (when I lived in Michigan, it was cold enough that I was able to just stick the derned thing in a tightly covered pot on the porch).

For more flavorful brine, add fresh herbs to the salt/sugar brine when you are making it. Heat enough to melt the salt and sugar and let the herbs steep like tea. This makes a huge difference in the flavor you get in the meat.

Another solution to the refrigerator space problem when brining a turkey is to use your picnic ice chest/food cooler. Get one or two 5 pound bags of ice, put the turkey and brine into a giant ziplock bag or a well-sealed trash bag, and put it in the cooler with the ice. Park it outside somewhere, and it'll be fine.

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A comment on the brining issue. The pan drippings can be salty from brining. One needs to be sure, that after brining the turkey it is rinsed for five to ten minutes to remove the excess brine.

At Restaurant Kolumbia we combat this by deboning the bird, and make a stock with the bones- reduce that for our sauce/gravy. During the reduction stage, periodically check the saltiness. You can then prevent oversaltiness by either stopping the reduction process or thickening the sauce/gravy.

What cooks me is an overcooked Turkey. Check the tempurature inside the thigh and remove at 145-150F. Allow to rest for 30 minutes to finish.

Save yourself the trouble. For Thanksgiving, the turkey at Restaurant Kolumbia will be prepared as a ballotin: the white meat is deboned and stuffed with a mixture of leg confit and mousse.

Chef Jamie

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Stuffing baked separately. -Anyone have a killer recipe?
Did you ever find a great recipe for the stuffing. I have my contributions pretty much covered except for a good side "bread stuffing".

I am already bringing

Crab Dip

Mini pigs in a blanket

Asparagus cassarole

Fruit Pie - Exactly what will depend on Dupont next Sunday

Chocolate Pie

I said something about bread based stuffing (bread crumbs, matzah meal. etc) but I have never done this before. I can remember my grandmothers being great many years ago, but her recipe has been lost over time - HELP

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Giblet stuffing (sorry this isn't more exact):

Make a little stock from the neck, heart, gizzard, celery, onion, carrot, peppercorns and some salt. Reserve heart, gizzard, and whatever neck meat you can pick off seperately.

Toast a loaf of firm white bread (Pepperidge Farm is ideal) and cut it into cubes. Do NOT use bread crumbs.

Dice enough onion and apple to make a good ratio with the bread and saute lightly in a lot of butter.

Dice reserved meat and giblets.

Mix everything and add salt, pepper, sage, and enough stock to make all of the bread damp.

Stuff turkey cavity and neck cavity and cook as directed. Or make the dressing a little wetter and cook in a dish until hot and a little crusty on top.

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Giblet stuffing (sorry this isn't more exact):

Make a little stock from the neck, heart, gizzard, celery, onion, carrot, peppercorns and some salt. Reserve heart, gizzard, and whatever neck meat you can pick off seperately.

Toast a loaf of firm white bread (Pepperidge Farm is ideal) and cut it into cubes. Do NOT use bread crumbs.

Dice enough onion and apple to make a good ratio with the bread and saute lightly in a lot of butter.

Dice reserved meat and giblets.

Mix everything and add salt, pepper, sage, and enough stock to make all of the bread damp.

Stuff turkey cavity and neck cavity and cook as directed. Or make the dressing a little wetter and cook in a dish until hot and a little crusty on top.

That's how my mother made stuffing, but she didn't use apple. Giblets were cooked that way but usually went into the gravy. Ok, so it's not exactly the same :)
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When I was growing up, the days before Thanksgiving were fun , but Thanksgiving dinner was when

family tensions rose to the surface. Even now, I get a little frisson of fear, thinking of the arguments

heightened by close quarters and sharp knives close at hand.

In more recent years, one time Barbara made Susan Stamberg's Cranberry Dressing (cranberry, horseradish,

sour cream, and ?) . It looked exactly like Pepto-Bismol. Ewwww.

Last year we had Thanksgiving at Corduroy. No one at our table ordered the traditional Thanksgiving

dinner, so, after we got our entrees, Tom sent out a small plate of turkey and dressing. It was excellent!

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I think we've figured out the menu, mostly...

Olive oil roasted turkey with fresh herbs (combo of Rachael Ray and Dean's recipes)

whole cranberry sauce (store bought)

stuffing (packaged, jiffied up with onions, celery and mushrooms, etc. Cooked with veggie stock and apple cider. Possibly done in muffin tins)

vegetarian gravy (store bought)

mashed yukon gold potatoes (Mr. BLB's one speciality)

roasted root veggies (parsnips, yams, anything else that looks good)

brussel sprouts with shallots and mushrooms (Gourmet recipe though deep frying the shallots seems like a bit much to me.)

steamed asparagus (With lemon or some sort of vinagrette)

apple pie (Betty Crocker)

pumpkin pie (Libby's)

ice cream

Friday addition:

Roasted cauliflower (Looking for more converts)

Quinona and butternut squash pie (Martha Stewart)

No rolls and no salad on the menu as of now. Mr. BLB things we should go store bought on rolls if we do them.

I don't think we'll do a relish plate as everyone is staying at the house and that feels guest-like to me.

What am I missing? Besides my sanity?

Thanks!

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I think we've figured out the menu, mostly...

Olive oil roasted turkey with fresh herbs (combo of Rachael Ray and Dean's recipes)

whole cranberry sauce (store bought)

stuffing (packaged, jiffied up with onions, celery and mushrooms, etc. Cooked with veggie stock and apple cider. Possibly done in muffin tins)

vegetarian gravy (store bought)

mashed yukon gold potatoes (Mr. BLB's one speciality)

roasted root veggies (parsnips, yams, anything else that looks good)

brussel sprouts with shallots and mushrooms (Gourmet recipe though deep frying the shallots seems like a bit much to me.)

steamed asparagus (With lemon or some sort of vinagrette)

apple pie (Betty Crocker)

pumpkin pie (Libby's)

ice cream

Friday addition:

Roasted cauliflower (Looking for more converts)

Quinona and butternut squash pie (Martha Stewart)

No rolls and no salad on the menu as of now. Mr. BLB things we should go store bought on rolls if we do them.

I don't think we'll do a relish plate as everyone is staying at the house and that feels guest-like to me.

What am I missing? Besides my sanity?

Thanks!

I would go with some kind of green salad, just to have that base covered. You don't need anything fancy and can use bottled dressing. Instead of a relish plate (presuming that's for an app), what about a few cheeses and crackers (or bread)? If you have bread for that, you don't need to have rolls with the meal.

For Friday, this Martha Stewart recipe for bulgur and mushrooms is really good:

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Did a dry run yesterday of some Thanksgiving stuff. Went pretty well. I think I am just going to do storebought rolls. Making them is kind of a pain in the ass for not that great of payoff. I just am worried about space, pans and oven time. Question on Turkeys, I think we are going to need about a 22-24 pound bird. How do these turnout? I just can't help thinking that a turkey this big wiill suffer in quality or will dry out on the outside in the 6 ish hours it will take to get the inside done. So I was thinking, if there is room for this, what about two 14 pounders side by side? Has anyone done this before or have any advice?

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what about two 14 pounders side by side? Has anyone done this before or have any advice?

If you have the room, do it. I've done it this way the last several years (with two twelve pounders), and found that the birds will cook much faster, with less likelihood of the white meat drying horribly before the dark is done.

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If you ask nicely the whole foods guys in Silver Spring will usually do anything you want with the prepacked meats. Just grab a whole breast take it up to the counter and ask nicely if they will halve it for you. Worth a shot.

On a different note, what quantity of potatoes would you all mash for 12 adults and 5 kids (and hopefully a enough for leftovers!!)?

The receipe I consulted said 6 pounds for 8 servings.

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If you ask nicely the whole foods guys in Silver Spring will usually do anything you want with the prepacked meats. Just grab a whole breast take it up to the counter and ask nicely if they will halve it for you. Worth a shot.

On a different note, what quantity of potatoes would you all mash for 12 adults and 5 kids (and hopefully a enough for leftovers!!)?

I can't recommend Mike Smollon's store enough. This guy basically does everything to order. I'm sure he'd do exactly what you want.

As for the taters...I usually go 2 medium potatoes per adult (and probably 1 med potato per kid). So 27 plus probably another half dozen so that you've got plenty of leftovers.

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