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Mon Nov 18, 2019, 01:58 AM

A Brilliant Thanksgiving Strategy: Make Sides Quickly, or Ahead.

The turkey and potatoes may be sacred, but when it comes to the vegetables, you can break from custom. Make them to your convenience.

*In my mind, the most important considerations for Thanksgiving side dishes are practical ones. Since the rest of the day is one long marathon of turkey minding, pie tending and relative wrangling, I like to make something way in advance, or right at the last minute as the turkey rests. In either case, simplicity is everything, and using big, assertive seasonings to highlight one easy-to-maneuver vegetable gets you most of the way there.'>>>

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/15/dining/thanksgiving-sides.html?


P.S. Watching Julie & Julia (AGAIN!) and enjoying it as usual. and HUNGRY, @ 1:00 a.m!!!

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Reply A Brilliant Thanksgiving Strategy: Make Sides Quickly, or Ahead. (Original post)
elleng Nov 2019 OP
PoindexterOglethorpe Nov 2019 #1
PJMcK Nov 2019 #2
elleng Nov 2019 #3
PJMcK Nov 2019 #4
elleng Nov 2019 #5
PJMcK Nov 2019 #6
elleng Nov 2019 #7
spinbaby Nov 2019 #8

Response to elleng (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2019, 02:29 AM

1. A lot of people make Thanksgiving far more complicated than it needs to be.

Buy a turkey. Thaw it (if it's frozen). Make stuffing. Lots of options here, so go with your favorite. Stuff the turkey. Smear the skin with butter. Put it in the oven.

After a while peel potatoes. Around the time you think the turkey is done start boiling the potatoes. When the turkey is done (I'm very fond of the pop-up thermometers to help me out here) take it out of the oven. It will need a half hour or so to cool. At some point take the stuffing out of the bird. And yes, I'm hoping you actually ignored the bullshit about how stuffing in the turkey is deadly. Stuffing needs to absorb the juices from the turkey to be truly edible.

Okay, at some point you've organized whatever other vegetables you like. Me, I open a can of yams and warm them up. I also do peas in a pot on top of the stove. I'll leave other veggies up to you.

Mashed potatoes. Boil peeled (although peeling is somewhat optional) potatoes that have been cut into chunks until they are done. This takes under thirty minutes. Not rocket science. Drain. Using a ricer (if you don't know what that is, do a small amount of research; trust me, it will pay off) to rice the potatoes. Add butter, milk (I use half and half. Do NOT waste skim milk here) and some cream cheese. NOT sour cream. Trust me, you don't want the sour cream taste in your Thanksgiving potatoes. The ricer is a more than adequate tool to mash the potatoes. I suppose, if you're somewhat OCD, you can use an electric mixer, but why bother? Perhaps the most important thing is that once you've mashed the potatoes, DO NOT cover them. That makes potato glue. Leave them uncovered. If they got done sooner than you'd expected, don't worry. This is why god created microwave ovens. If need be, heat the potatoes up in the microwave before putting on the table.

After about thirty minutes the turkey is ready to carve. Assign someone to that task. They don't need to be very good at it, just able to disassemble the turkey with a knife. Put the carved turkey on a platter. Don't forget to make gravy. That's not at all hard. Just drain off the obvious grease from the baked turkey, make a roux of butter and flower, add chicken or turkey broth (which is generally available around Thanksgiving) and voila! Turkey gravy! Hopefully you have appropriate serving dishes for the stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, peas, and whatever other veggies you like.

The last three years of my marriage I hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house. I baked the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. The twenty or so people who came over all felt guilty that I was doing so much work. To me, it didn't feel like a lot of work. I let others bring various side dishes and bottles of wine and it was a wonderful feast.

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Response to elleng (Original post)

Mon Nov 18, 2019, 09:55 AM

2. Julie & Julia

I had never seen this film until a few weeks ago when the Landlady(!) put it on. What a fun film! My only disappointment was near the end when Ms. Child sort of disses her acolyte.

Regarding Thanksgiving dinner, we're skipping it this year. In years past, I would visit my dad in Florida and make the full dinner for the two of us. He's now in an assisted-living place in Massachusetts so I don't have to travel to Florida! Yay!

The Landlady(!) has been in the Macy's parade for 20 years and will be on a float again this year. After she's finished, we're driving to my brother's in Maryland. On Friday, I'm cooking a feast with a major beef tenderloin from Allen Brothers for about ten of us. It'll be a nice change from the traditional turkey dinner.

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Response to PJMcK (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 18, 2019, 12:47 PM

3. Re: the Dis, I don't think it happened,

the messenger made it up.

Glad you don't have to travel to Florida! but MARYLAND! WAVE, I'm here in southern MD (60 miles south of DC,) will be with daughter+ at her new house (I think, but plans change, lots of her husband's family nearby.) I'll bring the wine, my days of T'g prep are OVER!!!

WAVE for us all, to the parade lady; daughters always watched it, maybe they still do with their kidlings.

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Response to elleng (Reply #3)

Mon Nov 18, 2019, 01:14 PM

4. The dis

The movie made Julia Child's disrespectful response to Julie Powell's blog a little different than reality. I know, shocking.

Here's a quote from Ms. Powell's online biography:

And despite Child's opinion on the culinary value of Powell's work, Powell was recognized with an honorary degree from Le Cordon Bleu, the Parisian culinary school that Child attended.


I think what Ms. Childs was trying to say was that her book, The Art of French Cooking, was not intended to be a roadmap for a cooking marathon which is what Ms. Powell did. It was intended to teach American homemakers how to make authentic French cuisine in their homes. This explains why some ingredients are more American than French as it could have been difficult in the 1960s to get some of the more esoteric ingredients.

I love her cookbook and my 30+ years old copy is dog-eared with copious notes throughout. Unlike Julie, however, there are many dishes I can live without!

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Response to PJMcK (Reply #4)

Mon Nov 18, 2019, 01:22 PM

5. You've probably used 'Mastering' more often than I have, mine's more dust covered than dog-eared,

but my brother, visiting from Iowa a few years ago, used it to make SOMETHING, I forgot what, and seemed to enjoy using it in my old-fashioned kitchen!

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Response to elleng (Reply #5)

Mon Nov 18, 2019, 01:24 PM

6. Oops!

How embarrassing for me to get the title incorrect!

Ms. Childs, I'm sorry!

(hangs head in shame)

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Response to PJMcK (Reply #6)

Mon Nov 18, 2019, 01:29 PM

7. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

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Response to elleng (Original post)

Thu Nov 21, 2019, 05:17 PM

8. I'm going to sous vide the turkey

My tradition-minded family will plotz , but Iím going to do a turkey breast like this:

https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/11/sous-vide-turkey-breast-crispy-skin-recipe-thanksgiving.html

This solves a number of problems: The turkey wonít be too dry, I will have oven space for sides, and I wonít have a whole roast turkey carcass to dismember after dinner.

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