Two weeks ago, the very last farmers market of the year happened to fall on the same day as our final CSA (community support agriculture) veggie pick-up. I was thinking of this double whammy as rather tragic until superstorm Sandy descended.
But the losses and devastation Sandy left in her wake gave me an injection of fresh perspective – while sigh-worthy, the lack of fresh veggies pales in comparison to losing a home, a car, or even just electricity for more than a couple of days. We were extremely fortunate here in upstate New York – barely even lost power and all the trees that might have fallen at our house had been taken down already. I am hoping for a speedy recovery for the millions who got walloped.
Meanwhile, that final CSA box left us with five pounds of truly gorgeous scarlet turnips that I was not sure what to do with. Scarlets are a mildly sweet variety of turnip that I'd never encountered before. So I turned to my favorite recipe resource, Food Blog Search and turned up this whimsically named recipe for a turnip "puff."
The ingredients looked appealing to me – I like the idea of adding brown sugar and nutmeg to play up the turnips' natural sweetness. And I certainly won't say no to anything that is topped with buttered breadcrumbs. It also looked pretty easy so I gave it a whirl.
I made a few small changes to Kitchen Parade's recipe, namely that I boiled the turnips with a potato since I'd read that this can help to remove any bitterness – then I mashed the potato along with the turnips (why not, right?) I also added a pinch of cinnamon and cloves to go along with the nutmeg. And after roughly mashing the turnips and potato, I added the rest of the ingredients and just used my immersion blender to blend it all together. The end result was nice: a hearty baked turnip mash that is mildly sweet and mildly spiced.
Recipe via Kitchen Parade
3 pounds purple-topped turnips (about 6 large) or rutabagas (about 1 large)
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup panko or dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and bring a medium sized pot of salted water to a boil. Peel the turnips or rutabagas and cut into roughly equal-size quarters and cook at a gentle boil until soft.
2. Mash the turnips or rutabagas in a large bowl – you can do this by hand, with an immersion blender, or in a food processor. Add the eggs, butter, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper and nutmeg and combine well. Transfer to a buttered casserole dish.
3. Combine the crumbs and butter and sprinkle evenly on top and bake until lightly browned on top, about 35-40 minutes.
When I think of mangos, my first thoughts are of tropical flavors. I’m pretty sure the mango belongs somewhere in that song with the lime and the coconut. I think of seafood and summery flavors, like fish tacos and spicy mango salsa (with mango margaritas on the side). I think of mango creamsicle smoothies, chilled mango cucumber soups, or even barbecue bacon mango pizzas. It’s certainly never occurred to me to combine mango with the aromatic spices of the holiday season, like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, or cloves.
So, when the National Mango Board offered to send me a sampling of mangos along with some ideas for pairing mangos with festive holiday flavors, my interest was piqued. I accepted their offer, eager for the opportunity to experiment with one of my favorite fruits in a novel way.
The shipment of perfectly ripe mangos arrived last week. Along with the selection of vibrant mangos, the National Mango Board provided a sampling of seasonal spices and a few recipe cards for inspiration. One of those recipe cards grabbed my attention in a way I couldn’t resist: mango upside down cake.
This festive spiced mango upside down cake is a definite keeper. The cake is moist and flavorful with a satisfying texture, the result of folding beaten egg whites into the batter; an extra step worth taking. And I’m fairly certain I could be happy eating nothing but the tender mango and caramelized top of this cake for the rest of my life. Seriously, the gooey top layer of this cake is something that epic poems should be written about.
This cake would work well any time of year, though I think it would be make a perfect addition to any Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert spread. The glazed top and artful mango star make it truly show-stopping and worthy of the festive season!
Today’s Focus on Technique – Folding in Egg Whites
Beaten egg whites can be folded into a variety of dishes, such as cake, mousse, souffle, and waffles for a lighter, fluffier result. The goal of folding in the egg whites, as compared to just stirring them in, is to maintain as much of the air, which has been beaten into the egg whites, as possible.
To begin, start by carefully separating the yolks from the whites, taking care not to allow any yolk to mix with the whites. (This can prevent the egg whites from getting properly light and fluffy.) Beat the egg whites using an electric mixer at medium/medium-high speed until soft peaks form. To incorporate the egg whites into your batter, start by adding about 1/3 of the beaten egg whites.
Holding your spatula in an almost horizontal position, gently turn the mixture over the egg whites until the egg whites are incorporated. (This first 1/3 helps to lighten the batter, making it easier to incorporate the remaining 2/3).
Add another 1/3 of the mixture, gently lifting and turning the batter over the egg whites. Add the remaining 1/3 of the egg whites, using the same gentle lifting and turning maneuver, just until the egg whites are blended and no longer. Over-mixing the egg whites into the batter will diminish the lightening effect of the beaten egg whites.
Spiced Mango Upside Down Cake
Recipe slightly modified from the one provided by the National Mango Board
1-1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened (divided)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large mango, peeled, pitted and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
3 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup mango nectar or mango puree
1/3 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan, set aside.
In small saucepan, melt 1/2 stick of butter and stir in brown sugar, simmer for about 2 minutes. Pour mixture into prepared cake pan and top with sliced mango, creating a circular fan pattern.
In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, cloves, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In another bowl, using an electric mixer, beat remaining 1 stick softened butter, granulated sugar and orange zest on high until pale yellow and fluffy, about five minutes. Add whole egg yolks, one at a time until well blended. Add vanilla. Decrease speed to low and add half of flour mixture. Mix in mango nectar (or mango puree) and milk and then remaining flour mixture.
In another bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold one third of the egg whites into the batter. Repeat with another third of the egg whites. Finally, fold the remaining third of egg whites into the batter, taking care not to over-mix.
Carefully pour cake batter over mangos, spreading evenly. Bake for about an hour, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes then invert cake onto plate. Cool completely.
Garnish with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and candied orange peel, if desired.
Related post on The Gourmand Mom: Coconut crisps
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Goodbye Twinkies. Hostess Brands Inc. announced on Friday, Nov. 16 that it was "winding down operations" and filing for bankruptcy, it said in a statement. If you can move past the demise of a pop food cultural icon (what kid growing up in the 1970s and '80s did not have Twinkies or Ho Hos in their lunchbox?), and also the somewhat shocking revelation that "Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce," you will find that SuzyQs and her friends live on in homemade forms.
Food bloggers have long taken up the challenge of recreating at home dishes that they love in restaurants, and this extends to tortilla chips, Cheeze Its, Oreo cookies, Pop Tarts, and Twinkies.
Here's a sampling from 'round the Web:
Leite's Culnaria reminds readers that President Clinton "dropped a Twinkie in the millennium time capsule back in 1999." Her Twinkies, look like the real deal, though, even if they take 1 hour and 15 minutes to make.
One blogger's confession on The Family Kitchen might explain why Hostess Brands has gone under: "I don’t buy my children twinkies or hostess cupcakes (poor kids)," writes Jamie. "And last week, we were in the grocery store when they saw the display in the store. When they begged me to buy the ho-ho’s, I said no (I don’t like the artificial ingredients and preservatives), but thought it might be fun to try making them at home...." It turned out the going was a little tough, though, as Jamie writes, "it’s challenging to roll up the cake without breaking it. I suddenly understood why I hadn’t been seeing blog posts on homemade ho-ho’s popping up all over the internet."
Yep. But check out her recipe, if the photos are true, she conquered the task.
Over at Krissy's Creations, this happy wife of a pro ball player has cracked the cuteness code with her homemade Hostess Cupcakes. Hostess Cupcakes are the one thing that I see a lot in bakeries around town. The trademark looping swirls on top are the give away – because if it looks like a Hostess Cupcake, it will taste like a hostess cupcake, right?
In A Cozy Kitchen Adrianna really wants you to succeed in making your own homemade Ding Dongs. She walks you through all the steps! Don't give up, even though she calls it a "weekend project." It's OK. We're nostalgic already for our shrink wrapped desserts. We'll do anything.
Saying goodbye to brands that we know and love is a hard thing. Do you remember the collective shock and grief following the disappearance of Postum, that noncaffinated hot drink? No?
Well, maybe when a few more generations roll through elementary school they'll just shrug their shoulders when asked about Hostess Cupcakes as they munch on their kale chips.
But remember, Twinkie, there's always the time capsule.
I’m going to go all Southern on you again with this delicious, old-fashioned, homey dessert perfect for the autumn table. I’m not, however, going to get into a discussion on what exactly a cobbler is – biscuit top, crumble top, pastry top, whatever. This is how I make cobbler, and that’s good enough for me.
But really, is there any more comforting dessert than a cobbler, no matter how you define it? Gooey, sweet filling, nice warm topping, all bubbling goodness. This is a dish I had only had at soul food restaurants, and usually as an occasional special, so I had to figure out how to make my own version to be available at any time.
The underappreciated sweet potato does not get enough play outside Thanksgiving, pie and the occasional fry, and that’s a shame, because they are incredibly versatile and healthy, though admittedly not so much when simmered in a sweet syrup and covered in spiced, cakey topping. In fact, my exposure to sweet potatoes for most of my life was limited to Thanksgiving, and those often came with marshmallows on top – and I am not a fan of that version of sweet potato casserole. But once discovered, sweet potatoes, like so many other things, opened up a world of possibilities and find their way into my kitchen all year. One of my favorite farmers market vendors sells gorgeous sweet potatoes that I can never resist.
If you over buy on the sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving, this is a great way to use them up, but I am telling you, make this just 'cause, anyway. Just 'cause it’s that good.
Sweet Potato Cobbler
Serves 6 – 8
I like this just fine all on its own, but like most cobblers, ice cream or whipped cream are a welcome addition.
For the Sweet Potatoes
1-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (2 – 3 medium)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons heavy cream
For the Cobbler:
1 cup flour
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cups milk
For the Potatoes: Peel the potatoes and remove any eyes or brown spots. With a strong knife, carefully cut the potatoes into cubes, roughly 1/2-inch square. Try to get them relatively close in size, but a few smaller pieces are fine.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then stir in the white and brown sugars and cream. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture has come together. Drop in the potato cubes, then bring the mixture back up to a nice bubble. Cover and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are very soft. You should be able to squash the potatoes with the back of a spoon. Mash some of the potatoes slightly, then scrape the mixture into an 8 x 8-inch baking dish. (You can mash the potatoes as much as you like, but I find that the contrast of textures of some mashed and some chunks delicious). Leave to cool slightly. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the Cobbler:
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices together with a fork. Add the milk and stir quickly until blended, making sure there are no bits of flour showing. Spoon over the potatoes in the pan and spread out to the edges. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until the cobbler is puffed and light brown, the potatoes are bubbling and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
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As the holidays approach, having guest worthy whole food snacks and appetizers on hand can be a challenge even when you are prepared and have plenty of notice. But what if they just stop by or call to let you know they’d like to sneak in a visit with you in between family visits and they’ll be there in 15 minutes?!
If you’re like me, first you start running around the house with a broom, trying to get most of the dog hair off the floor, quickly put the dishes away, wipe down the kitchen island of breakfast crumbs and tidy the bathroom. Five minutes spent, 10 minutes left.
That’s when I start pulling open pantry doors and rummaging through the fridge trying to find something to serve to my guests. One of our favorite holiday treats is a bowl of Spiced Candied Nuts. But the traditional method, which requires the oven, takes about 20 minutes, not including the time to heat up the oven and the time it takes to cool them down enough to serve them.
So I thought I’d show you the quick, 5 minute, cheat method of making candied nuts. Spread them out on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and pop them in the fridge or freezer and in 5-10 minutes they’re ready to go. With 5 minutes to spare, you’ll even have time to whip up Irresistible Chocolates (they set in 15 minutes in the freezer while you’re visiting) or put together a cheese plate and crackers and a pot of tea. Heck, I’ll even have 30 seconds to go see if I remembered to brush my hair today.
I’ll be honest, now that I know how to make these nuts the 5 minute way, I’ll probably never go back to making them in the oven. So much faster and easier this way.
Spiced Candied Nuts
When I’m in a rush I don’t even measure, just a dash of this, dash of that, honey or maple syrup to coat and that’s it. But for those who might not feel comfortable with that way of cooking, I’ve given you the exact measurements.
2 cups mixed nuts, unsalted (whatever you have on hand)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
3 tablespoons honey or (maple syrup for vegans)
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and then set in a nonstick pan over medium high heat, stirring, for 5 minutes. Spread the nuts onto a piece of parchment paper and place in the freezer for 5 minutes until they cool and the honey hardens.
Related post on Beyond The Peel: Irresistible Coconut Nut Oil Chocolates
Bread pudding is sort of a strange love of mine. It’s not something I grew up eating. In fact, I don’t think I’d even heard of it until sometime in adulthood when I ran across it on the dessert table at one of my favorite restaurant’s brunch buffets. I was more than apprehensive at first. Soggy bread?? Yuck. And it certainly didn’t look like any "pudding" I’ve ever seen before. No, thank you.
Then, one day I felt brave. I took a small scoop of that bread pudding. And forevermore wondered why I hadn’t tasted it earlier.
I’ve made a few variations of bread pudding over the past few years, each time trying to determine what it is that makes me love it so darn much. And I finally figured it out: It tastes like French toast; a big scoop of warm, comforting French toast. But the thing which makes it even better than French toast, especially for serving a crowd, is that the whole mix gets thrown in a dish and baked with little mess or fuss.
Bread pudding also lends itself quite well towards getting creative – and I love a dish that likes to be played with. Make it with French bread or muffins or challah. I’ve even made it out of donuts! Add vanilla or dried fruits or chocolate chips.
Or seize the pumpkin spice mania and make this pumpkin bread pudding with cream cheese icing. This comforting bread pudding tastes like a cross between a spiced pumpkin pie and a slice of French toast. It’s best served warm, but after more than a few stolen spoonfuls from the leftovers in the fridge, I can tell you with confidence that it tastes pretty fantastic cold, too!
It’s easy to make a pastry bag in a pinch by simply using a plastic baggy. This technique works best for fairly soft dressings, fillings, or icings. (Plastic baggies may not hold up well with very firm fillings.) Simply fill the plastic baggy with your dressing, filling, or icing. Squeeze it into one corner of the baggy. Twist the top of the baggy to hold the filling in place. Then, clip the corner with scissors, large or small, depending on your purpose. Now you’re all set to easily squeeze fillings into cupcakes or attractively drizzle dressings, sauces, or icings. The best part about plastic baggy pastry bags is that they’re disposable – no messy clean-up!!
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Cream Cheese Icing
Approximately 10 cups day-old French bread, cut into chunks
2 cups milk
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
For the icing:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Arrange the chunks of bread in a large baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, pumpkin puree, sugars, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and cloves until well-blended. Pour the mixture over the bread chunks. Press down on the mixture so the most of the bread is submerged. (I like to leave a thin layer of unsoaked bread at the top for a form crust.)
Bake for 45-50 minutes.
For the icing, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar until well blended. Spoon the mixture into a plastic baggy. Squeeze the baggy in your hands for a few seconds to soften the icing. Squeeze the mixture into one corner of the baggy, then twist the top of the baggy to hold the icing in place. Using scissors, clip a small bit of the corner, then drizzle the icing over the warm bread pudding. Serve warm.
Related post on The Gourmand Mom: Cinnamon Raisin Donut Bread Pudding
I love hearing what different home cooks fall back on for simple, weekday meals. The easiest of easy are the dishes that come straight out of the freezer or out of the hands of delivery guys. The next level of my “easy” repertoire includes omelets or meals featuring canned black beans. One more step up are a handful of recipes that I can prepare without looking at the recipe because they are so familiar. They are slightly more interesting than the usual weekday mundane but not much more work to prepare.
This group of recipes is what I think of as a home chef’s “sweet spot.” They taste delicious and look like you fussed when you didn’t. Years ago, my friend Stephanie gave me a copy of this pork recipe from her 2003 Food & Wine magazine. It was tucked into my ragtag three-ring binder that holds loose clippings. Over the years, I have made it so many times that I no longer need to reference the recipe and I have honed it slightly to accommodate my flavor preferences.
The pork chops are flavorful and moist thanks to the spice rub you sear on them and the lime juice bath they enjoy before they are finished in the oven. I often serve the chops alongside sweet potato fries or green beans.
Chili-Dusted Pork Chops with Lime and Cilantro
From Food & Wine
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 1/2-pound boneless pork loin chops, cut 1-1/4 inches thick
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, mix the chili powder with the cumin, salt and pepper. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork chops.
In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the pork chops and cook over high heat until browned, about 1 minute per side. Add the garlic, lime zest, lime juice and cilantro to the skillet and roast the chops in the center of the oven for 10 minutes, or until roasted throughout. Transfer to plates and serve.
Related post on Whipped, The Blog: Sweet potato fries
With all the rich foods that descend upon our tables during the holiday season, this kale salad is a welcome relief, and you'll have no guilt going back for seconds. Kale was a mystery to me until I was well settled into living the Northern California way of life. Growing up in Scotland in the 1980s, this leafy green did not make any appearances on our menu at school or at home, nor did it turn up in the veggie section of the green grocer. But now kale is popping up everywhere from juices to risottos.
When I have friends over, it's rare that there are less than a dozen people sitting around the table. It's far too hard for me to keep track of varying dietary restrictions of my pals so I save myself the stress and don't attempt to do that. Instead, I try to make sure that there's at least one or two dishes that'll satisfy everyone. This kale salad has proven to be a winner time and time again for both the meat lovers and the vegans alike. It is super "more-ish" (British slang for wanting more) and so good for you, too, as it's packed with antioxidants and vitamins.
Most good grocery stores have kale already chopped up and packaged ready to go which eliminates the scary proposition of having to tackle a whole bunch of it oneself with a knife. I find the big bunches of leafy greens intimidating at the market. I like to include avocado in this recipe as it makes the salad a little more luxurious-tasting but if you can't find any ripe and reasonably priced avocados in your neck of the woods, the kale is still delicious without it.
Make the salad at least half an hour before you want to eat it so that the kale can marinate and become a little more gentle in the mouth. In other words, this is a good salad to make ahead if you have guests coming over.
Kale and avocado salad
For the vinaigrette:
1/3 cup of toasted sesame seed oil
1/4 cup of toasted sesame seeds
1 clove of grated garlic
A sprinkling of rice vinegar (or any kind of vinegar will do finely but I find this tastes the best to me)
1 bag of chopped kale, or a bunch of kale chopped into thin strips
1 avocado sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the vinaigrette together and then toss with the salad. Let the salad marinate for at least 30 minutes.
The salad will last for a day or two in the fridge.
Susan MacTavish Best cooks and writes at www.LivingMacTavish.com
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For this quick grilled cheese sandwich, I simply made scrambled eggs, added sliced avocado in between two slices of ciabatta. You may be asking where is the cheese in the featured photo and I am here to tell you that it was in two places. I cracked the eggs in a bowl and added some shredded Cabot Jalapeno Light Cheddar, which I still had leftover from my previous grilled cheese sandwiches. I mixed the eggs together and then cooked them as you would any scrambled egg. Then, once I put the eggs and avocado (yes, the avocado was extremely ripe) on the bread, I covered it with shredded Cabot Light Sharp Cheddar and baked the sandwich.
While making this grilled cheese sandwich and other meals, I constantly found myself grating some while also slicing pieces to eat. Some go into the sandwich, some go in the mouth. The flavor and texture of this Sharp Light Cheddar combine for a really good cheese that you wouldn’t realize was light unless you saw the packaging.
Although I probably would have preferred a different, less crunchy/thick bread, maybe a sourdough or possibly a bagel, this sandwich was delicious. I mean, how can you go wrong with egg + cheese + avocado made into a grilled cheese sandwich?! If you are looking for something quick and easy, this grilled cheese would definitely be for you.
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As Thanksgiving rolls closer, Web searches for "green bean casserole," "how to brine a turkey," or "pumpkin pie" recipes always heat up. But more often than not, what people are searching for is some guidance on how to host a large dinner party with classic, favorite Thanksgiving dishes. Here are two cookbooks – and two approaches – to navigating the big day.
The editors and contributors of Fine Cooking magazine have released a paperback cookbook titled Fine Cooking Thanksgiving Cookbook (The Taunton Press, 2012), which has lots of recipes for cooking turkey and all its holiday trimmings. It gives you tips on "How to Survive Thanksgiving" such as, plan ahead, shop in phases, and don't do all your cooking on one day. Other tips tell you how to rescue dinner from kitchen disasters, such as burned pan drippings and lumpy gravy.
"Thanksgiving Cookbook" has chapters dedicated to each course of the Thanksgiving meal and includes updated and healthy versions of classics. (Sorry, you won't find green bean casserole made with canned mushroom soup in this cookbook. Their recipe for Garlic-Roasted Green Beans & Shallots with Hazelnuts follows.) The turkey chapter alone is 50 pages and covers everything from selecting to roasting to carving your turkey with style.
And it doesn't end with step-by-step instructions for rolling out the dough for homemade pecan pie. In the "Continuing the Feast" chapter you'll find recipes for what to do with leftovers: "From soothing soups to chile-spike Mexican-inspired dishes to heart pasts (and no turkey tetrazzini in sigh), turkey's obligingly mild flavor adapts to all kinds of dishes." Think: turkey enchiladas with creamy tomatillo sauce.
With its wide range of recipes, "Thanksgiving Cookbook" could be a resource that you could rely on for years of Thanksgiving dinners.
But if the idea of sifting through dozens of side dish and pie recipes to put together your own Thanksgiving menu is overwhelming, look no further than America's Test Kitchen. Their Menu Cookbook (Boston Common Press, 2011) has "kitchen-tested menus for foolproof dinner parties," and a chapter dedicated to the "Classic Thanksgiving Dinner." They have figured out all the hard stuff for you. Simply follow their lead and you'll be relaxed and ready to greet your guests on the big day.
"The Game Plan" sidebar for each dinner party features a timeline with a check list for what to do five days ahead, one day ahead, and the day of the dinner party. The America's Test Kitchen cooks also offer up clever tips to make prep work more efficient and help solve common cooking problems, such as how to fix a thin sauce or remove candle wax from a tablecloth. America's Test Kitchen offers a wealth of information and guidance online, too. You might enjoy touring their new online cooking school. This month's class on Thanksgiving dinner promises: "We teach you the skills you need to make any holiday meal a success."
You may not get the wealth of recipes choices in "Menu Cookbook" as you'll find in "Thanksgiving Cookbook" offers, but sometimes too many choices is not helpful for those with busy lifestyles. In addition, the tightly focused menu from America's Test Kitchen could help prevent an ambitious cook from biting off more than one can chew, as they say.
Here is the Classic Thanksgiving Dinner from "Menu Cookbook":
Big American Cheese Board
Roast Turkey for a Crowd
Make-ahead Turkey Gravy
Herbed Bread Stuffing
Cranberry Sauce with Pears and Ginger
Buttery Peas with Shallots and Thyme
Deep-Dish Apple Pie
Classic Pecan Pie
Whatever approach you use, whether you design your own meal or use a ready-made plan, your guests will be grateful. And hopefully someone else will do the dishes.
Garlic-Roasted Green Beans & Shallots with Hazelnuts
From "Fine Cooking Thanksgiving Cookbook" (Julianna Grimes)
Chopped hazelnuts are a fine flavor match for green beans– and a refreshing departure from the more-expected almonds. The beans will hold at room temperature for several minutes before serving; cover with foil to keep warm.
10 to 12 medium shallots, sliced lengthwise
1⁄4 inch thick
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
10 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Put the shallots, green beans, and garlic in a large bowl; toss with the oil. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the vegetables and toss again. Transfer to two large baking dishes (about 10x15 inches) and roast until tender and very lightly browned, stirring once, 18 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the parsley, hazelnuts, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Sprinkle this over the roasted vegetables when they come out of the oven and toss to coat. Serve warm.