Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Don't wait till the last minute to get your meal together.
If you have some time this weekend, and in the next few days, prep a little and relax on Thursday.
Let's talk Turkey:
It's Friday, less than 1 week before Thanksgiving.
- If you don't have one, (or two), buy the turkey (s).
- Saturday: 11/21, put bird in the fridge to thaw (if frozen). Takes 5 seconds to put it in the fridge, and 3 days to thaw the bird.
- Write out your menu. List every dish you are going to make, and all of the ingredients required for each. For example, Appetizer(s), salad, turkey, dressing, potato, sweet potato, vegetable, gravy, dessert. 30 minutes.
- Friday: 10 minutes. Make a shopping list from the ingredient list above. Do not omit fresh herbs, (please, please, please, do not cheap out on fresh herbs. Buy them.They make all the difference in the flavor world), Make sure to have Kosher salt, and fresh peppercorns.
- Saturday or Sunday: Bird still thawing. Make compound butter.(See "How to roast a turkey") Store covered in fridge.
- Sunday: Bird still thawing. Set the table. Wash the wine glasses that are dusty. Put them on the table. (15 minutes).
- Sunday or Monday:: If you are going to make turkey stock, get it started now. (See "Turkey Stock") . 20 minutes prep. See # 6, "turkey stock" post. 8 hours cook time. 8 hours cool time.
- Tuesday afternoon/evening: Brine the turkey. 20 minutes prep.
- Wednesday morning: Rinse turkey. Dry off with paper towels or kitchen towels. Put naked bird back in the fridge until tomorrow. 5 minutes.
- F/S/S/M/T: Wash and chop 5 pounds carrots, 3 yellow onions, and 2 bunches celery,1 bunch fresh sage leaves, 1 bunch fresh thyme. Put them in LABELED ziploc bags, according to dish. Put all prepped ingredients together, according to dish. "Stuffing" ingredients should all be in one bag. Turkey ingredients should all be in one bag, or bowl, or whatever you can find that will keep the "families" together. I like gallon or 2 and 1/2 gallon ziploc bags, but you can use whatever you want. For example, if making stuffing, you'll need 1 cup minced celery, 1 cup minced onion, 4 leaves fresh sage, 2 cups turkey stock, 6 cups bread cubes, etc. Put them all together in a big bag.
- Making sweet potatoes, Butternut squash, or that really sweet casserole with yams and marshmallows? Bake them up this weekend, or Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday. 5 minute prep. 60-90 minute bake time. Wash, dry, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper . Bake @ 375 degrees for about an hour, until soft. Cool, peel, and chop. Store in a ziploc for final prep Thursday.
- Garlic mashed potatoes? Roast up the garlic between now and Wednesday. Freeze. Microwave 45 seconds prior to mashing potatoes. 5 minutes prep. 1 hour bake.
- (Mashed Potatoes) Save about 1 cup potatoe water. Combine 1 stick butter and 1/4 cup heavy cream, seasoned with salt and pepper in a cup or bowl. Cover. Refrigerate. On Thursday, heat until butter is melted. Blend into mashed potatoes. Top with sliced scallions. You can make this a day ahead and heat it in the microwave or on top of a boiling pot of water. If you heat it in the microwave, and it's too dry, add some pasta water or cream, or half and half. Whisk it up. Perfect!
- Thursday: Veg: Roasted asparagus is tasty, easy, and inexpensive right now. Chop off the tough ends. Put the cut stems side down, in a vase of water when you buy it. Water no more than 2 inches above the end. On Thursday, dry off the spears, put them on a sheet pan, cover with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast @ 425 degrees about 10 minutes, while the turkey is resting. Shave some fresh Parmesan cheese over the top prior to serving.
- Don't like asparagus? Try Haricotsverts. (ari co ver). French for itty bitty green beans. They come all trimmed and ready in a plastic pac (Sam's and Costco). Make these Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, store in fridge, and finish off on Thursday with shallots, garlic. and bacon. Boil for 5 - 10 minutes (depends upon altitude) in heavily salted water, until tender to bite. Shock in a pan of ice water.Store. Thursday, Into a dry skillet, toast some sliced almonds.Cook over medium heat until the almonds become fragrant. Melt 2 Tbls butter into same large skillet. Saute 1 large sliced shallot in butter. Add 1 clove minced garlic. Saute 30 seconds. Add hericotverts to the butter. Season with salt and pepper. Flip around with tongs until beans are hot and coated in butter, garlic, and almonds. Sprinkle with bacon bits.
- Pies: Buy them.