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Thanksgiving Menu for 2018

Everyone reading this probably has TG dinner all planned out, but just in case you don’t, here’s what I’m planning to do right now. We’re up to 15 for the count, with possibly more to come. I’m so thrilled! Back in our old house I always wanted to have 20, but the most we ever had was 13. Which was WONDERFUL, of course. But to me this holiday should be completely and utterly over the top. It’s my favorite holiday of the year. So here goes:

Melissa Clark’s Splayed Turkey, but with an extra Turkey breast—I’m not completely sure how I’ll do this in terms of which oven and which roasting pan I’ll use, but I like her idea very much of cutting slits in the skin between the legs and the Breast and pushing the legs down so that the dark meat is in contact with the pan and cooks faster than the breast. I’m always nervous about that part where the leg is up against the side of the breast because it often is still pink when everything else is done. She also has you dry-brine the turkey with salt and herbs. She doesn’t have you wipe off any salt that’s left on the skin before you cook it, which I plan to do, and she says to put the roasting pan directly on the floor of the oven, which you should not do. Cooking a huge turkey is, for me, a huge hassle, and there’s never enough white meat, so I’m getting a smaller turkey instead of about 12-14 pounds plus the breast. I’ve had the idea before of cooking an extra breast but didn’t get started on it far enough ahead of time and couldn’t find anything but whole turkeys. If you’re interested in doing something similar, you should be able to access the recipe without a subscription if you haven’t read over 10 articles this month in the NYT.

Then, two items from Half-Baked Harvest, one of the four cooking blogs I follow: Make-Ahead White Wine Gravy, which I think will do fine to save last-minute hassle, and Buttery Herbed Mashed Potatoes, which can also be assembled ahead of time.

Two items from Smitten Kitchen, another one of the honored four: Crispy Sweet Potato Roast, only I’m going to add some sliced apples and drizzle the top with cider syrup, which you make by boiling down a whole gallon of cider to about a pint. And Parlsey-Pecorino Biscuits, as a change from my usual rolls. They’re so pretty! And if I’m being efficient and making things ahead of time, I can do these at the last minute.

I’ll be making the America’s Test Kitchen version of green bean casserole this year. No more homemade crispy onions for me! I’ve made them several times and they only turned out really well the first time, so I’ve given up on them. I’m linking to the recipe that was in my own files. No canned beans and canned soup, puh-leeze!

For the cranberry sauce I’ll be making my mother’s old standby which takes about five minutes and is on the back of the Ocean Spray cranberries bag (but is also on their website): Fresh Cranberry-Orange Sauce. I do think, though, that I’ll take a few minutes’ extra time and peel off the outside zest to include but then pull off and discard at least some of the white pith, especially if that seems particularly thick, since the pith is tough and bitter. I’ll also use the smaller amount of sugar.

My mother-in-law is making a pomegranate-and-persimmon salad—doesn’t that sound lovely? She’s also making a pumpkin-pecan pie and a fruit salad for the desserts. For my part I’m making another recipe by Melissa Clark: Brandied Pumpkin Pie. Link is to the video, which you really need to watch because Melissa is such a doll. The actual recipe is here. I think, though, that if you follow the internal link on the video page to the recipe that you won’t have the additional accessed article counted against you. (I’m not trying to cheat the NYT out of subscriptions; I would encourage you to sign up with them if you like what you see. I just don’t want you to miss out on a recipe you want! But I don’t feel free to post the article myself—that would be sort of cheat-y.) I’m not sure which piecrust recipe I’m going to make: this one from Smitten Kitchen or this one from Sally’s Baking Addiction (another one of the Big Four). I had thought about making my mother’s recipe for piecrust with vinegar and egg, but 1) I don’t seem to have it, and 2) all the recipes online for that kind of crust call for all shortening. And, finally, I’m making Martha Stewart’s Cranberry Upside-Down Cake, again linking to the recipe in my own files. (MS doesn’t charge subscription fees, so I don’t see a problem with posting her recipe myself—the one on her site is kind of hard to follow. I’ve also added some extra info about almond paste. And the ATK recipe is from their magazine back when I had a subscription. Just so you know!)

Next steps: making up a detailed shopping list and a timetable. So much fun! How about you? Are you the TG cook this year?

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Thanksgiving Menu for 2018


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