Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. This weekend I will celebrate my 70th birthday, and I will be cooking for our family get together tomorrow. Last year was the first year since my divorce (in 1977) that I did not spend all Thanksgiving morning cooking for the afternoon/evening feast because of the pandemic. I sat on my daughter's patio and talked to her through an open window while she cooked and then gave me a loaded plate to take home. This year we are all vaxxed and will have the feast at my son's house a few miles away. I am so thankful for that! Anyway, here are some things I have learned over the years:
1. Fresh is always best. I love cranberry sauce and make it from real cranberries. It's really easy and the recipe is right on the package. That canned stuff is an abomination. Same goes for whipped cream.
2. For a truly moist turkey (unstuffed) that is browned to perfection, roast it breast side down for the first half of the cooking time. This will baste the breast in the natural juices and will keep it from drying out. Then, flip the bird for the rest of the time to allow it to brown properly. You won't be disappointed.
3. Instead of using canned pumpkin for your pie, try using one of those small sweet pie pumpkins. Just cut it in half, remove stem, seeds and pulp and place it cut side down on a greased baking sheet. Roast it for a couple of hours at 375* F until you can pierce it easily with a fork. You can also cut it into smaller pieces and roast it in a large crockpot set on High. Let cool and scrape the meat of the pumpkin out of the skin. Use that instead of the canned stuff, which is hubbard squash and not pumpkin anyway.
4. The addition of sliced baby carrots to the onions and celery in the dressing adds great flavor, vitamins, fiber and looks pretty as well.
5. A tablespoon or two of the wine you are serving at dinner added to the pan drippings will help deglaze the pan and add a tremendous amount of flavor to your gravy. The alcohol evaporates during the cooking and leaves behind a richness that nothing else can match.
Well, there it is. Make of it what you will. I wish you all a Happy, Healthful, Delicious and Enjoyable Thanksgiving!
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