teaberryblue: (Default)

As many of you who have followed my blogging for many years know, Thanksgiving is pretty much my favorite holiday in the world. Note that I do not like the more disgraceful aspects of the holiday’s history, and think it’s important to acknowledge them, but the idea of a holiday that is a day of gratitude that is a time for reminding friends and family how much they mean to you and reflecting on all the good that has happened over the last year is something that I think is really important, and I do think that the two sentiments can be inclusive of each other. But this isn’t a political blog, it’s a food blog, so I’ll leave it at that for now and get on with the food part.

Beginning in 2005, I have made my family’s Thanksgiving dinner almost singlehandedly and entirely from scratch, including from-scratch versions of stuff like stuffing, cranberry sauce, and other dishes that I was previously perfectly happy with in the pre-made version. I have two elderly grandparents, and so around that time, I decided that there was no better gift I could give them than to prepare an amazing dinner for them. I make everything in advance, with the best ingredients possible (my mom foots the bill for most of it), and we trek down to Delaware with Thanksgiving dinner in hand early on Thursday morning. Then I assemble the feast. Typically, we get between 8 and 12 people for this dinner.

I know many of you who are in the US also love to celebrate Thanksgiving and might be planning your own dinners and get-togethers for the holiday!

Believe it or not, this is when you should start getting ready! I’ve got my menu mostly selected, and tonight I’ll be making my shopping list. Shopping this week for everything but the ingredients that must be bought extra fresh means cutting down time waiting in line in the grocery store, and it also means that you have plenty of time to realize you’ve forgotten something, to realize you bought the wrong quantity, to discover you need to go to that specialty deli 35 minutes away to get the right kind of meat, and so on. So, in the spirit of starting at the right time, I’m going to start posting my tips!

1) If you’re planning a big dinner, using a spreadsheet can be a huge boon, whether you’re cooking the entire meal or need to assign or keep track of responsibilities with a group of people. You can print it out, share it with friends and relatives, and check it via smartphone or tablet from the grocery store. Here is my handy spreadsheet, available for you to use. It has columns for nearly everything. Note that it has two pages: one to write down your recipes and schedule tasks, and one to write down and sort a shopping list.

2) Order your turkey! Many grocery stores and butchers may have already closed orders for turkeys, but if you want a fresh turkey, ordering can be the best option if you live somewhere where turkeys fly off the shelves quickly. Try to do that as soon as possible as many stores close their orders. Ordering turkeys also means you can specify a close range of size (16-18 pounds, 18-20 pounds, etc) and other requirements, like if you want an organic or free-range bird.

3) Make your stock! This week is a great time to make some turkey, chicken, or vegetable stock! You can store it in the freezer until you need it. Last year, I wrote up a little turkey stock how-to if you’ve never made your own stock before. I highly recommend it!

4) Also make your decorations! If you are hosting Thanksgiving and want some nice centerpieces, you can make them from cloth and dried flowers and other non-perishable items well ahead of time so that you’re not rushing to do things like that at the last minute. Place cards, print-out menus, and other things like that can all be made now!

5) Start planning! All the Thanksgiving issues of the cooking magazines should be out and available, or you can search online for many great recipes. If you are having Thanksgiving with a group, make sure everyone knows what they are responsible for– the sooner, the better, so there are no surprises!

6) When planning, think about how much advance time you will need for each recipe, as well as how long in advance you can do things. For example, if something says it can be done a day ahead, it can probably be done two days ahead, so plan to do it Tuesday. If something requires a lot of time, like defrosting and brining a turkey, make sure you have enough days– a turkey can take more than a day to defrost! It’s always better to have as much prep as possible done ahead of time, so that you have time to manage disasters or just to have a relaxing holiday. I get so much done in advance that sometimes I get to relax all Wednesday night, which is lovely.

7) Also think about your guests! Know their food restrictions and make sure you will have things that everyone can eat. Most Thanksgiving food can be made vegetarian, with the obvious exception of the turkey, and enough things can be made vegan/dairy-free with very few changes to the recipes (olive oil or margarine instead of butter, for example) that anyone should be happy. Make sure that you know if anyone has an allergy or dietary restriction or religious/ethical eating restriction and then try to accommodate those restrictions in your planning. Most people who have dietary restrictions are used to having to accommodate themselves if necessary, so if for any reason you absolutely can’t accommodate someone (for example, if you have guests with conflicting dietary restrictions), give them lots of advance notice so they can bring a dish of their own to supplement their meal. There is usually so much food at Thanksgiving that everyone can eat something, but sometimes it’s just a question of bringing one extra thing.

8) Pick your dinnertime NOW! Knowing if you are eating at 4, 6, or 8 will make a difference in how you plan your dinner. Eating earlier means less prep time, but more time to dig into a long sit-down dinner. Eating later means more prep time, but you will probably want more munchy appetizers and cocktails available.

9) Check all your recipes for “weird” ingredients that you might not be able to locally. If there’s something you don’t recognize, look it up online. Then figure out if you can get it locally. If it’s a dry good, you may be able to order it online and get it delivered by the beginning of next week. If it’s a fresh ingredient, see if you can find out a good replacement. Most things can be substituted with something else if it’s not available near you.

10) Don’t be afraid to ask questions! I have been doing Thanksgiving for so long that I have gotten to the point where I am a bit of an expert at it. If you need help, have questions, or there are specific things you’d like me to post about over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be happy to do it.

Mirrored from Nommable!.

teaberryblue: (Vector Me!)

As many of you who have followed my blogging for many years know, Thanksgiving is pretty much my favorite holiday in the world. Note that I do not like the more disgraceful aspects of the holiday’s history, and think it’s important to acknowledge them, but the idea of a holiday that is a day of gratitude that is a time for reminding friends and family how much they mean to you and reflecting on all the good that has happened over the last year is something that I think is really important, and I do think that the two sentiments can be inclusive of each other. But this isn’t a political blog, it’s a food blog, so I’ll leave it at that for now and get on with the food part.

Beginning in 2005, I have made my family’s Thanksgiving dinner almost singlehandedly and entirely from scratch, including from-scratch versions of stuff like stuffing, cranberry sauce, and other dishes that I was previously perfectly happy with in the pre-made version. I have two elderly grandparents, and so around that time, I decided that there was no better gift I could give them than to prepare an amazing dinner for them. I make everything in advance, with the best ingredients possible (my mom foots the bill for most of it), and we trek down to Delaware with Thanksgiving dinner in hand early on Thursday morning. Then I assemble the feast. Typically, we get between 8 and 12 people for this dinner.

I know many of you who are in the US also love to celebrate Thanksgiving and might be planning your own dinners and get-togethers for the holiday!

Believe it or not, this is when you should start getting ready! I’ve got my menu mostly selected, and tonight I’ll be making my shopping list. Shopping this week for everything but the ingredients that must be bought extra fresh means cutting down time waiting in line in the grocery store, and it also means that you have plenty of time to realize you’ve forgotten something, to realize you bought the wrong quantity, to discover you need to go to that specialty deli 35 minutes away to get the right kind of meat, and so on. So, in the spirit of starting at the right time, I’m going to start posting my tips!

1) If you’re planning a big dinner, using a spreadsheet can be a huge boon, whether you’re cooking the entire meal or need to assign or keep track of responsibilities with a group of people. You can print it out, share it with friends and relatives, and check it via smartphone or tablet from the grocery store. Here is my handy spreadsheet, available for you to use. It has columns for nearly everything. Note that it has two pages: one to write down your recipes and schedule tasks, and one to write down and sort a shopping list.

2) Order your turkey! Many grocery stores and butchers may have already closed orders for turkeys, but if you want a fresh turkey, ordering can be the best option if you live somewhere where turkeys fly off the shelves quickly. Try to do that as soon as possible as many stores close their orders. Ordering turkeys also means you can specify a close range of size (16-18 pounds, 18-20 pounds, etc) and other requirements, like if you want an organic or free-range bird.

3) Make your stock! This week is a great time to make some turkey, chicken, or vegetable stock! You can store it in the freezer until you need it. Last year, I wrote up a little turkey stock how-to if you’ve never made your own stock before. I highly recommend it!

4) Also make your decorations! If you are hosting Thanksgiving and want some nice centerpieces, you can make them from cloth and dried flowers and other non-perishable items well ahead of time so that you’re not rushing to do things like that at the last minute. Place cards, print-out menus, and other things like that can all be made now!

5) Start planning! All the Thanksgiving issues of the cooking magazines should be out and available, or you can search online for many great recipes. If you are having Thanksgiving with a group, make sure everyone knows what they are responsible for– the sooner, the better, so there are no surprises!

6) When planning, think about how much advance time you will need for each recipe, as well as how long in advance you can do things. For example, if something says it can be done a day ahead, it can probably be done two days ahead, so plan to do it Tuesday. If something requires a lot of time, like defrosting and brining a turkey, make sure you have enough days– a turkey can take more than a day to defrost! It’s always better to have as much prep as possible done ahead of time, so that you have time to manage disasters or just to have a relaxing holiday. I get so much done in advance that sometimes I get to relax all Wednesday night, which is lovely.

7) Also think about your guests! Know their food restrictions and make sure you will have things that everyone can eat. Most Thanksgiving food can be made vegetarian, with the obvious exception of the turkey, and enough things can be made vegan/dairy-free with very few changes to the recipes (olive oil or margarine instead of butter, for example) that anyone should be happy. Make sure that you know if anyone has an allergy or dietary restriction or religious/ethical eating restriction and then try to accommodate those restrictions in your planning. Most people who have dietary restrictions are used to having to accommodate themselves if necessary, so if for any reason you absolutely can’t accommodate someone (for example, if you have guests with conflicting dietary restrictions), give them lots of advance notice so they can bring a dish of their own to supplement their meal. There is usually so much food at Thanksgiving that everyone can eat something, but sometimes it’s just a question of bringing one extra thing.

8) Pick your dinnertime NOW! Knowing if you are eating at 4, 6, or 8 will make a difference in how you plan your dinner. Eating earlier means less prep time, but more time to dig into a long sit-down dinner. Eating later means more prep time, but you will probably want more munchy appetizers and cocktails available.

9) Check all your recipes for “weird” ingredients that you might not be able to locally. If there’s something you don’t recognize, look it up online. Then figure out if you can get it locally. If it’s a dry good, you may be able to order it online and get it delivered by the beginning of next week. If it’s a fresh ingredient, see if you can find out a good replacement. Most things can be substituted with something else if it’s not available near you.

10) Don’t be afraid to ask questions! I have been doing Thanksgiving for so long that I have gotten to the point where I am a bit of an expert at it. If you need help, have questions, or there are specific things you’d like me to post about over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be happy to do it.

Mirrored from Nommable!.

teaberryblue: (Default)

Last year, I did posts on two ways to make your cranberry sauce: I made a boiled cranberry sauce and a raw cranberry sauce.

This year, I’d like to talk to you about ROASTED cranberry sauce!

You can roast your cranberries! These cranberries will come out caramelized and delicious, with a little flavor of burnt sugar. Here’s how:

What you’ll need:
–1 1/2 bags of cranberries
–2/3 cup of sugar
–3 Tbs of olive, walnut, or almond oil, or melted butter
–1/4 cup of chopped fresh herbs. I used sage, rosemary, and thyme here, but you can use mint, parsley, whatever else you like. Make sure you discard any tough stems first.
–Optionally, a tablespoon or two of lemon, lime, or orange juice. You can also add things like lemon peel or even cinnamon, depending on your favorite flavors.
–1/3 cup of red wine.

How to do it:
–Preheat your over to about 400º F.
–Wash and drain your cranberries. Remember to pick out the bad ones so there aren’t any sour bits.
–Put your cranberries in a bowl, like this:

–Add all the other ingredients:

–Now mix it up with a wooden spoon or clean hands until the cranberries are evenly coated with sugar:

–Put the berries on a clean cookie sheet and spread them out neatly:

–Now put them in the oven and cook them for about 15 minutes, until they are soft and getting caramelized around the edges.
–While they are in the oven, heat the wine just to boiling, then simmer it for five minutes until some of the liquid cooks off. Take it off the burner.
–Take the cranberries out. They should look something like this:

–Pour the wine over the berries. Being careful of the hot pan, stir the berries up with a wooden spoon and put them back in the oven.
–Leave them in for another 10-15 minutes, until the sugar starts to brown. Take them out and pull them all to the center of the pan, so they don’t stick to the pan and get too hard to pull off. They should look like this:

Look how ooey gooey!

Wait for them to cool, and then scrape them either into a bowl or container. These can be made in advance and refrigerated until Thanksgiving. You can serve them either cold or warm.

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

teaberryblue: (Default)

Last year, I did posts on two ways to make your cranberry sauce: I made a boiled cranberry sauce and a raw cranberry sauce.

This year, I’d like to talk to you about ROASTED cranberry sauce!

You can roast your cranberries! These cranberries will come out caramelized and delicious, with a little flavor of burnt sugar. Here’s how:

What you’ll need:
–1 1/2 bags of cranberries
–2/3 cup of sugar
–3 Tbs of olive, walnut, or almond oil, or melted butter
–1/4 cup of chopped fresh herbs. I used sage, rosemary, and thyme here, but you can use mint, parsley, whatever else you like. Make sure you discard any tough stems first.
–Optionally, a tablespoon or two of lemon, lime, or orange juice. You can also add things like lemon peel or even cinnamon, depending on your favorite flavors.
–1/3 cup of red wine.

How to do it:
–Preheat your over to about 400º F.
–Wash and drain your cranberries. Remember to pick out the bad ones so there aren’t any sour bits.
–Put your cranberries in a bowl, like this:

–Add all the other ingredients:

–Now mix it up with a wooden spoon or clean hands until the cranberries are evenly coated with sugar:

–Put the berries on a clean cookie sheet and spread them out neatly:

–Now put them in the oven and cook them for about 15 minutes, until they are soft and getting caramelized around the edges.
–While they are in the oven, heat the wine just to boiling, then simmer it for five minutes until some of the liquid cooks off. Take it off the burner.
–Take the cranberries out. They should look something like this:

–Pour the wine over the berries. Being careful of the hot pan, stir the berries up with a wooden spoon and put them back in the oven.
–Leave them in for another 10-15 minutes, until the sugar starts to brown. Take them out and pull them all to the center of the pan, so they don’t stick to the pan and get too hard to pull off. They should look like this:

Look how ooey gooey!

Wait for them to cool, and then scrape them either into a bowl or container. These can be made in advance and refrigerated until Thanksgiving. You can serve them either cold or warm.

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

teaberryblue: (Default)

At our Thanksgiving, we always have a soup course, and one of my favorite things to make is a root vegetable puree soup. These soups are easy to make, can be made ahead of time, and you can mix and match your root vegetables.

This year, I’m using turnips for mine, but you can use beets, rutabagas, celery root, potatoes, parsnips, or carrots, and some other vegetables are yummy cooked this way. I’ve done a similar soup with cauliflower and with asparagus, and both worked well.

Here is what you will need
About 3lbs of root veggies.
About a half-gallon of whole milk or veggie stock if you like vegan soup
Salt and pepper to taste
Seasonings: bay leaves (1 or 2), thyme or rosemary (about 3-5 sprigs), and whole garlic cloves (2 or 3) are good in this.
1 stick of butter or 1/2 cup of olive oil if you like vegan soup

Here is what to do
Cut the root veggies up into 1″ chunks. They don’t have to be perfect, since most veggies are round. But pretty close is good, like this:

Put them in a pot and fill the pot with milk or vegetable stock:

Add in your seasonings and cook it on high just until it boils. Then lower the temperature back down to medium and set the pot top askew, like this:

That will keep the temperature high but allow some of the steam to escape. Cook it like this for about 20 minutes, then start checking your veggie chunks. They should be soft enough that a fork will go into them easily, but not so soft they’ll fall apart. The timing will be a little different based on the size of your chunks, the type of veggie, and hot hot the pot is, so check every few minutes starting at 20 minutes; they should be done between 20 and 40 minutes.

Once they’re done, take the cooked veggie chunks and split them up evenly into batches that will fit in your blender. Remove any twig-like seasonings from your milk or veggie stock (thyme or rosemary, or things like whole peppercorns) and split the hot liquid into the same number of even batches. Take the butter or oil and split it into the same number of batches, and add it to the hot liquid for that batch.

Now blend each batch one at a time. Add the vegetables and the hot liquid to the blender and just hit the highest setting. It should be blended in a matter of seconds. If you don’t have a blender, a food processor will work for this, too.

Here’s what it should look like when you are done:

You can store this for several days in the refrigerator. It’s great with croutons, bacon bits, nuts, or dried fruit. Deep frying thin slices of root vegetables can also make a nice garnish for it. When you need to reheat it, just stick it back in the pot, and have a little spare milk or veggie stock to thin it if you need to. You can also reheat it one bowl at a time in the microwave, but I find stovetop reheat to work better for large batches.

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

teaberryblue: (Default)

At our Thanksgiving, we always have a soup course, and one of my favorite things to make is a root vegetable puree soup. These soups are easy to make, can be made ahead of time, and you can mix and match your root vegetables.

This year, I’m using turnips for mine, but you can use beets, rutabagas, celery root, potatoes, parsnips, or carrots, and some other vegetables are yummy cooked this way. I’ve done a similar soup with cauliflower and with asparagus, and both worked well.

Here is what you will need
About 3lbs of root veggies.
About a half-gallon of whole milk or veggie stock if you like vegan soup
Salt and pepper to taste
Seasonings: bay leaves (1 or 2), thyme or rosemary (about 3-5 sprigs), and whole garlic cloves (2 or 3) are good in this.
1 stick of butter or 1/2 cup of olive oil if you like vegan soup

Here is what to do
Cut the root veggies up into 1″ chunks. They don’t have to be perfect, since most veggies are round. But pretty close is good, like this:

Put them in a pot and fill the pot with milk or vegetable stock:

Add in your seasonings and cook it on high just until it boils. Then lower the temperature back down to medium and set the pot top askew, like this:

That will keep the temperature high but allow some of the steam to escape. Cook it like this for about 20 minutes, then start checking your veggie chunks. They should be soft enough that a fork will go into them easily, but not so soft they’ll fall apart. The timing will be a little different based on the size of your chunks, the type of veggie, and hot hot the pot is, so check every few minutes starting at 20 minutes; they should be done between 20 and 40 minutes.

Once they’re done, take the cooked veggie chunks and split them up evenly into batches that will fit in your blender. Remove any twig-like seasonings from your milk or veggie stock (thyme or rosemary, or things like whole peppercorns) and split the hot liquid into the same number of even batches. Take the butter or oil and split it into the same number of batches, and add it to the hot liquid for that batch.

Now blend each batch one at a time. Add the vegetables and the hot liquid to the blender and just hit the highest setting. It should be blended in a matter of seconds. If you don’t have a blender, a food processor will work for this, too.

Here’s what it should look like when you are done:

You can store this for several days in the refrigerator. It’s great with croutons, bacon bits, nuts, or dried fruit. Deep frying thin slices of root vegetables can also make a nice garnish for it. When you need to reheat it, just stick it back in the pot, and have a little spare milk or veggie stock to thin it if you need to. You can also reheat it one bowl at a time in the microwave, but I find stovetop reheat to work better for large batches.

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

teaberryblue: (Default)

[info]lawchicky asked me for some cheese plate recommendations for Thanksgiving.

Since we don’t do a cheese plate for Thanksgiving, I don’t have photos of these cheese, but I do have many links. I tried to stick to cheese I see in normal grocery stores that have nice cheese sections, since I know that living in New York City, I can get some weird cheeses that aren’t available in many places in the US! You may not be able to get all of these, but you should be able to get some. I picked four cheeses from four categories each: soft cheese, semi-soft cheese, hard cheese, and blue cheese. If it’s not in the blue cheese category, it’s not a blue cheese! I tried to avoid ones that you’re already likely to have, like cheddar, gouda, and so forth.

Soft Cheeses
Camembert.
Robiola.
St. André.
St. Marcellin.

Semi-Soft Cheeses
Bel Paese.
Morbier.
Port Salut.
Taleggio.

Hard Cheeses
Caerphilly.
Gloucester.
Gruyere.
Manchego.

Blue Cheeses
Cashel.
Gorgonzola.
Maytag.
Stilton.

Here are also some more novelty-ish cheeses you might like, if you are into that:

Red Dragon (Y Fenni).
Winey Goat.
There are also a number of Wensleydale cheeses that are sold blended with fruits (cranberry or lemon, usually) that you might like if you like fruit and cheese.

A helpful note: Most hard cheeses are lactose-intolerant friendly. If you have a friend who is lactose-intolerant coming for Thanksgiving, make sure to include a traditionally-made hard cheddar, Asiago, Manchego, Emmental or other hard cheese on your cheese plate, as these cheeses are aged longer and contain a lot less lactose than softer cheeses. A lot of American name brand hard cheeses aren’t made this way, so check to see if the cheese has an age on it– cheeses that are aged for more than 2 years are usually good.

I hope this helps anyone who needs to do cheese shopping for Thanksgiving or upcoming winter holidays!

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

teaberryblue: (Default)

[info]lawchicky asked me for some cheese plate recommendations for Thanksgiving.

Since we don’t do a cheese plate for Thanksgiving, I don’t have photos of these cheese, but I do have many links. I tried to stick to cheese I see in normal grocery stores that have nice cheese sections, since I know that living in New York City, I can get some weird cheeses that aren’t available in many places in the US! You may not be able to get all of these, but you should be able to get some. I picked four cheeses from four categories each: soft cheese, semi-soft cheese, hard cheese, and blue cheese. If it’s not in the blue cheese category, it’s not a blue cheese! I tried to avoid ones that you’re already likely to have, like cheddar, gouda, and so forth.

Soft Cheeses
Camembert.
Robiola.
St. André.
St. Marcellin.

Semi-Soft Cheeses
Bel Paese.
Morbier.
Port Salut.
Taleggio.

Hard Cheeses
Caerphilly.
Gloucester.
Gruyere.
Manchego.

Blue Cheeses
Cashel.
Gorgonzola.
Maytag.
Stilton.

Here are also some more novelty-ish cheeses you might like, if you are into that:

Red Dragon (Y Fenni).
Winey Goat.
There are also a number of Wensleydale cheeses that are sold blended with fruits (cranberry or lemon, usually) that you might like if you like fruit and cheese.

A helpful note: Most hard cheeses are lactose-intolerant friendly. If you have a friend who is lactose-intolerant coming for Thanksgiving, make sure to include a traditionally-made hard cheddar, Asiago, Manchego, Emmental or other hard cheese on your cheese plate, as these cheeses are aged longer and contain a lot less lactose than softer cheeses. A lot of American name brand hard cheeses aren’t made this way, so check to see if the cheese has an age on it– cheeses that are aged for more than 2 years are usually good.

I hope this helps anyone who needs to do cheese shopping for Thanksgiving or upcoming winter holidays!

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

teaberryblue: (Default)

I don’t often mix aperitif cocktails, but I thought it would be nice to do something that would go well with a pecan or pumpkin pie. This is a very simple drink, sweet, and spicy, meant to be sipped at room temperature.

Ingredients for six drinks
4 1/2 oz Sortilege Maple Whiskey
4 1/2 oz Averna Amaro
4 dashes per drink Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters

Instructions
1) Mix the Sortilege and the Averna in a small pitcher with a wooden spoon
2) Pour into small aperitif glasses
3) Add bitters to each drink

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

teaberryblue: (Default)

I don’t often mix aperitif cocktails, but I thought it would be nice to do something that would go well with a pecan or pumpkin pie. This is a very simple drink, sweet, and spicy, meant to be sipped at room temperature.

Ingredients for six drinks
4 1/2 oz Sortilege Maple Whiskey
4 1/2 oz Averna Amaro
4 dashes per drink Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters

Instructions
1) Mix the Sortilege and the Averna in a small pitcher with a wooden spoon
2) Pour into small aperitif glasses
3) Add bitters to each drink

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

teaberryblue: (Default)

[livejournal.com profile] kittehkatasked for a stuffing recipe. I did a pretty good breakdown of a bread stuffing last year, and it’s not one that’s cooked inside the turkey. Here is the link to that. I hope it helps.

Today is two weeks before Thanksgiving. You should have your menu pretty well-planned so you can make sure there’s nothing you HAVE to do this far ahead (and that you can do it if there is!). This will also give you enough time to do assignments if you do a family or potluck style Thanksgiving, and enough time to hunt grocery stores for really fancy ingredients if there’s something you need that you’ll have to shop around for, like a more exotic fruit, cheese or spices.

It’s also a good time to make some turkey stock. Turkey stock is a staple you will need in a lot of recipes if you are doing a meat-based Thanksgiving, so making it well ahead of time will really help, because you’ll just be able to dip in whenever a recipe calls for it. It’s great for basting your turkey, using as a base for your gravy, and adding flavor to sauteed and roasted veggies, potatoes, and stuffing.

People often ask what the difference is between stock and broth. The main difference is that stock is made with a higher bone-to-meat ratio than a broth. This means that it will be thicker and the gelatin from the bones will cook out into the liquid.

Cut for lots of photos! )

You can make vegetable stock, too, and the recipe I make here can be very easily turned into a veggie stock recipe by adding more veggies and using water or vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. I like to put more root vegetables in my vegetable stock, usually parsnips, turnips, and beets. For people who like to try to get a meaty flavor in their vegetable dishes, some portabella mushrooms can do this nicely!

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

teaberryblue: (Default)

[iljuser]kittehkat[/ljuser] asked for a stuffing recipe. I did a pretty good breakdown of a bread stuffing last year, and it’s not one that’s cooked inside the turkey. Here is the link to that. I hope it helps.

Today is two weeks before Thanksgiving. You should have your menu pretty well-planned so you can make sure there’s nothing you HAVE to do this far ahead (and that you can do it if there is!). This will also give you enough time to do assignments if you do a family or potluck style Thanksgiving, and enough time to hunt grocery stores for really fancy ingredients if there’s something you need that you’ll have to shop around for, like a more exotic fruit, cheese or spices.

It’s also a good time to make some turkey stock. Turkey stock is a staple you will need in a lot of recipes if you are doing a meat-based Thanksgiving, so making it well ahead of time will really help, because you’ll just be able to dip in whenever a recipe calls for it. It’s great for basting your turkey, using as a base for your gravy, and adding flavor to sauteed and roasted veggies, potatoes, and stuffing.

People often ask what the difference is between stock and broth. The main difference is that stock is made with a higher bone-to-meat ratio than a broth. This means that it will be thicker and the gelatin from the bones will cook out into the liquid.

Here is what I used to make stock:

One really big pot with a strainer. The strainer makes it super easy to fish everything out when you are done:
Stock Pot

You know why they are called stock pots? Because people make stock in them!

–Two turkey wings:

Turkey Wing

This should be about 3-4lbs of meat. Some people like to roast their wings before they put them in the stock pot.

–About 2 lbs of turkey or chicken parts:

gizzards and hearts!

I used hearts and gizzards. But you can use livers and feet as well. If you’re making your stock once you’ve gotten your turkey for Thanksgiving, you can throw the contents of the giblet bag in here, too. Turkey necks are great in stock. No matter where you shop for meat, most local farms, butchers, and even some grocery stores will be able to sell you bags of just chicken parts that most people don’t want.

–12 cups of low sodium chicken broth. Always use low sodium chicken broth to make stock, because then you can salt the food you’re making with the stock however much you want.

–Four small-to-medium onions, quartered. Quarter an onion by cutting it in half, turning it 90 degrees and cutting it in half again:

onion

I always leave the skins on my onions when I make stock, but some people take them off.

–Two to four carrots, peeled and cut into chunks:

carrot

–Two to four celery stalks, cut into celery-stick sized pieces:

celery

–One or two leeks, cut into one-inch chunks:

leeks

If you don’t use leeks often, you will want to cut off and discard the dark green tops, then rinse the inside of the leeks well before cutting.

–One bunch of parsley, cut in half:

Parsley

You will want to use the stems as well as the leaves. For many recipes, you would discard the stems, but since the stems are quite flavorful and you’ll be straining this all out, definitely leave the stems.

–Two to four bay leaves:

Bay Leaves

You can get bay leaves fresh sometimes, or most grocery stores will have them dried in the spice aisle. I like Turkish bay leaves, which are a bit larger.

You can also add other herbs and spices you like. Some good things to try are fresh sage, rosemary, or thyme. Whole peppercorns of any color can be nice, as can whole garlic cloves. If you are doing Mediterranean-style cooking, you can try some oregano and red pepper flakes. You can also try different vegetables in your stock. Potatoes, scallions, parsnips and turnips are all veggies I sometimes use in stock.

When everything is in the pot, it should look like this:

Don’t worry if you can’t see the broth at first. Everything will cook down significantly.

Cover the pot and bring the ingredients to a boil. Once it is boiling, set it to medium-low heat, and simmer the heck out of it!

When it is boiling, everything in the pot will cook down, like this:

You will also see glistening drops of fat and gelatin in the broth! These are good things.

Use a wooden spoon to turn over the contents of the pot now and then, so that everything gets stirred up. You will want to cook it for at least two hours, until the meat starts to fall off the wings.

Then, strain it all (if you have a strainer for your stock pot, this is easy, if not, pour your stock through a strainer into a bowl or container). And voila! Stock can be frozen and stored for a very long time.

You can make vegetable stock, too, and the recipe I make here can be very easily turned into a veggie stock recipe by adding more veggies and using water or vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. I like to put more root vegetables in my vegetable stock, usually parsnips, turnips, and beets. For people who like to try to get a meaty flavor in their vegetable dishes, some portabella mushrooms can do this nicely!

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

teaberryblue: (Default)

I asked on my LiveJournal for people to give me questions to answer or write about this Thanksgiving. [info]dootsie asked a question so good I was surprised I’d never thought of answering it myself, and this is totally the right time for me to answer it– yes, three weeks in advance!

[info]dootsie asked me how I organize to cook on Thanksgiving. I actually started yesterday! You could start anytime in the next two weeks, but I’ll be away next weekend, and you do really want everything ready to go the weekend before Thanksgiving, so you’re not trying to organize and prep all at once.

This is really mainly for people who do the feast themselves, but it might even help those of you who make a few dishes to bring to a potluck, or who are in charge of desserts, or whatever. But I cook everything except the desserts (and the squash– there is a rule in my house, that since squash and sweet potatoes are two of the few foods I don’t like, if anyone wants them at Thanksgiving, they have to do the cooking themselves.), so I need to be super on top of things if I want to get everything done.

super long Thanksgiving how-to! )

I hope this is helpful! It is probably much more than most of you need, but I think it is easy to downsize this kind of big organization for smaller projects. If anyone has more questions, I will be happy to try to answer them!

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

teaberryblue: (Default)

I asked on my LiveJournal for people to give me questions to answer or write about this Thanksgiving. [info]dootsie asked a question so good I was surprised I’d never thought of answering it myself, and this is totally the right time for me to answer it– yes, three weeks in advance!

[info]dootsie asked me how I organize to cook on Thanksgiving. I actually started yesterday! You could start anytime in the next two weeks, but I’ll be away next weekend, and you do really want everything ready to go the weekend before Thanksgiving, so you’re not trying to organize and prep all at once.

This is really mainly for people who do the feast themselves, but it might even help those of you who make a few dishes to bring to a potluck, or who are in charge of desserts, or whatever. But I cook everything except the desserts (and the squash– there is a rule in my house, that since squash and sweet potatoes are two of the few foods I don’t like, if anyone wants them at Thanksgiving, they have to do the cooking themselves.), so I need to be super on top of things if I want to get everything done.

How do I do it? Part of the reason I have to be hyper-organized is because I pick new recipes every year. There are a couple recipes I stick with (like this mashed potatoes recipe from epicurious), but with the exception of one or two recipes that are family favorites, I make everything new every year. This means I have to:

1) Pick out my recipes
I start by getting all of my cooking magazines from November of whatever year it is. Right now, the list is Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, Food Network Magazine, Saveur, Cucina Italiana, and Cook’s Illustrated. I look through them, and put a post-it on each page that has a recipe I think I like. I’ll mark it “Turkey” or “vegetable” or “salad” or whatever the general category of recipe is. Then, when I’m finished looking through on the first go-round, I find all the recipes of the same category, and compare them, and pick out my favorites.  The ones I don’t choose lose their post-its.  The ones I do choose get a post-it upgrade: I add what the recipe is to the post it.  So, for example, “Vegetable” becomes “Vegetable Roast Carrots.”

Once I have my recipes chosen, I

2) Start a Spreadsheet
I made a blank version of my spreadsheet for any of you who want to use it. Get it here!
Notice that the first page has a list of dish descriptions, such as “Turkey,” “Gravy,” “Vegetable #1.” You can rename these and add or subtract to fit your meal, but this is the number of dishes I would recommend for a sit-down dinner for 6-10 people. I do two or three appetizers (usually one vegetable, one meat) that are served while last-minute prep is still happening, along with one cocktail. Then, I do a soup, followed by a salad, and the main course. The main course consists of turkey, gravy, and stuffing, mashed potatoes, two kinds of cranberry sauce, and two to four vegetables. The cranberry sauces are always one made with fresh cranberries, and one made with cooked cranberries (which may be warm or cold). The vegetables usually include at least one starchy root vegetable dish, like carrots, parsnips, or beets, and one leafy green vegetable dish, like kale or collards or spinach. The other one or two can be whatever else. For example, this year my starchy vegetable will be roasted carrots with fennel, and my green leafy vegetable will be skillet-cooked kale. I am also doing a cauliflower dish with dates and pine nuts, and a brussels sprouts dish with smoked ham. I added a space for a squash/sweet potato dish and two desserts to the spreadsheet, since those aren’t my responsibility, but they may be yours.

I fill in my chosen dishes in the “Name” column next to the appropriate dish category, and list what their source is (which magazine) and what page number they are on. These go in the “Source” column on the spreadsheet. Then I look for holes. I also check to make sure I haven’t made too heavy a meal– say, too many gratin dishes or casseroles– or a meal with too much of one ingredient– like, say, four recipes with artichokes in them.

If there are any holes, I

3) Go to the cookbooks. I get out previous years’ Thanksgiving magazine issues, any cookbooks that might have the right kinds of recipes, and I do online searches on websites like epicurious or Bon Appetit, who both have Thanksgiving guides. I add the recipes I find there to the spreadsheet, and if I am pulling it off a website, I put the URL for the recipe in the “Source” column.

Okay, so now we have our recipes all listed. The next step is to

4) Make a shopping list.
I make the shopping list early (like, this week), so that if I need to buy anything online, I have the time to do that. To make a shopping list, go to page two of the spreadsheet, labeled “Shopping List.” Go through all your recipes in order. Read the ingredient list, and fill out the shopping list with the name of the recipe that the ingredient is for, the ingredient you need, with any qualifiers. For example, I would do “Onions, Red” and “Onions, Vidalia” so that I can sort my list, print it out, and get all the onions in one go when I am in the produce section. I fill out what store I need to buy the item at, and what section of the store it is likely to be in– so, for example, if I need to go to the butcher for some things and the greenmarket for others, I can sort the list by section, and then by store, and have everything sorted by where I need to buy it. You can also list which things you need to order online or from catalogs, so you can take care of those right away. Many cooking magazines will recommend a website to purchase more difficult-to-get ingredients, so put those URLs in this section if you need to order them that way.

Once you have your shopping list together, you can plan when you will go to each store. Some things, you might want to buy a full two weeks ahead of time; others, you might not want until the day before so they are nice and fresh. I don’t write out my shopping plan anywhere, but I do keep it in the back of my mind.

5)Make the to-do list
Go back to the first page of the spreadsheet. See how there are columns for “Ahead” and then “Sunday” through “Thursday”? This is where you’re going to fill out what gets done when. Read through every recipe carefully and figure out which parts have to be done ahead of time. For example, if you’ve got a frozen turkey, you will need to start thawing it several days before Thanksgiving. Likewise, if you’re pickling anything, that needs to be done several days in advance. Then take note of what things can be done ahead, and what things must be done the day of. Many tasks, like chopping herbs or vegetables, can be done ahead of time. Fill in which tasks need to be done on which day. Always front-load the beginning of the week: if it CAN be done on Monday, put it on Monday. You might need to put it off till Tuesday, but you don’t want to be stuck Tuesday with more than you can do. It’s much better to be finished with things ahead of time than to be rushed later because something took longer than you thought it would.

When you get to Thursday on the to-do list, your list should mostly say things like “roast,” “bake,” “reheat,” or “assemble.” Only the things that absolutely MUST be done at the very last minute should be on the Thursday list. If you can bake something ahead of time, do! Oven space is always at a premium on Thanksgiving. You will inevitably have other things you need to do on Thursday, but try to keep your day as clear as possible so you’re not scrambling at the last minute. If you have kitchen helpers, you can put who does what on the Thursday list. Also, take note of which things have to be in the oven or on the stovetop, and for how long, at what temperature, on the actual day of. I usually just write up a little schedule Wednesday night with all of that information on it. Remember that a Turkey usually comes out of the oven a while before you actually will be eating it, so you will have at least a half-hour, and maybe up to a full hour, that you can use to cook casseroles and other baked dishes once the turkey is done.

6) Start Doing!
Now you have your lists, so it’s time to start putting them to use. Once you’ve done your shopping, you can start prepping. I usually start with prepwork on Sunday night before Thanksgiving, save the few things that need to be done well in advance, if there are any. I get all of my ingredients into the state they need to be in to work with before I do anything else. I put all the prepared ingredients in containers or plastic bags, and label them with how much, of what, and what recipe(s) it is for. This way, when I get to the parts where I have to combine ingredients, everything is all ready for me to grab out of the fridge or off the shelf.

Then I just work through my list, crossing things off as a I go. That part is pretty straightforward!

I hope this is helpful! It is probably much more than most of you need, but I think it is easy to downsize this kind of big organization for smaller projects. If anyone has more questions, I will be happy to try to answer them!

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

teaberryblue: (Default)
It's almost Thanksgiving time!

I wanted to check with all of you, while I'm doing my prep work this year, if any of you have questions or tips that you'd like me to write about. The only traditional foods I don't do are sweet potatoes and squash.
teaberryblue: (Default)
It's almost Thanksgiving time!

I wanted to check with all of you, while I'm doing my prep work this year, if any of you have questions or tips that you'd like me to write about. The only traditional foods I don't do are sweet potatoes and squash.
teaberryblue: (Default)
It's almost Thanksgiving time!

I wanted to check with all of you, while I'm doing my prep work this year, if any of you have questions or tips that you'd like me to write about. The only traditional foods I don't do are sweet potatoes and squash.
teaberryblue: (Default)
Pretty Centerpiece

As many of you know, for the past four years (this being the fifth), I took off a full week of work to make Thanksgiving dinner for my parents, my grand parents, and [livejournal.com profile] liret. This is my thank you to the people I love.

GET YOU READY FOR SOME MASSIVE FOODPORN )


Note: Everything here is homemade. The liver mousse is homemade. The crab salad is homemade. The soup is homemade. The syrups in the cocktails are homemade. The mayonnaise in the deviled eggs (which are home-pickled, like the onions) are homemade. The candied nuts and seeds are homemade. The sorbet is homemade. The beets, the carrots, the broccolini, the kale, and the brussels sprouts, along with most of the herbs, come from our garden so they're extra homemade. The only thing on the table that is not homemade are the peas, which are their own story. Their own very exciting story.

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.



(This is also counting as my Free Topic entry for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol)
teaberryblue: (Default)
Pretty Centerpiece

As many of you know, for the past four years (this being the fifth), I took off a full week of work to make Thanksgiving dinner for my parents, my grand parents, and [livejournal.com profile] liret. This is my thank you to the people I love.

GET YOU READY FOR SOME MASSIVE FOODPORN )


Note: Everything here is homemade. The liver mousse is homemade. The crab salad is homemade. The soup is homemade. The syrups in the cocktails are homemade. The mayonnaise in the deviled eggs (which are home-pickled, like the onions) are homemade. The candied nuts and seeds are homemade. The sorbet is homemade. The beets, the carrots, the broccolini, the kale, and the brussels sprouts, along with most of the herbs, come from our garden so they're extra homemade. The only thing on the table that is not homemade are the peas, which are their own story. Their own very exciting story.

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.



(This is also counting as my Free Topic entry for [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol)

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