The Thanksgiving Episode

Happy Thanksgiving weekend! I am thankful for always having wonderful friends and family to cook for.
I am having a delicious holiday and I hope you are too! Here are three tidbits from my Thanksgiving, including tips and recipes. Enjoy! 

[1] Cook an awesome turkey

As my rite of passage into the grown-up world, I was in charge of the turkey. 
So far, turkey successes in my family have involved either A) deep frying in peanut oil (take caution and ask for advice before you try this!) or B) brining and roasting.
I did option B yesterday. All modesty aside, it was one of the best turkeys I’ve ever tried. Juicy and infused with comforting aromatics! Basically, I followed almost everything Emeril told me to. Except I put my plastic trash bag of brine and turkey into another trash bag, and into a cooler full of ice. This was much easier logistically, and saved valuable refrigerator space. Find the recipe I used here!
[2] Be a thoughtful host, both for yourself and guests! 
My mom had the brilliant idea of assigning platters for each dish the night before Thanksgiving. This was to avoid scrambling and ransacking cupboards and garage cabinets 15 minutes before dinner is served, looking for that darn pie stand and gravy boat that you haven’t seen since last year. This is especially important if you’re hosting a potluck, because adding bustling guests in your kitchen to the equation causes high levels of stress. Also, be sure to factor in time to shower and pretty yourself up. No matter how pretty your tablescape is, you will not feel happy entertaining guests looking like a hot mess. 
Meanwhile, be prepared the array of guests with varying arrival times, ranging from those that show up early to help out, to those that came late — causing uneasy guests and growling tummies. Be sure to have simple appetizers and snacks that won’t ruin the look of your Thanksgiving spread if guests pick off of it. I did a cheese tray this year, and it was really easy to replenish the crackers throughout the night. 
The key to a good cheese tray is to mix up textures and flavors. I follow my own formula: a semi-soft mild cheese (left: fontina), a deep-flavored cheese (middle: aged cheddar with whiskey), and a bleu cheese for color (right). It’s fun to change it up and try new cheeses for every occasion. I recommend buying cheese at Fresh & Easy because they have smaller portions (and this week they had a buy 3, get 10% off deal!) so you can have all the fancy fun of serving a cheese tray without breaking the bank. I used water crackers and rosemary cracks, garnished with berries and grapes leftover from other recipes, and candied walnuts (walnuts sauteed with butter and brown sugar). Remember that design always looks good in odd numbers (3 cheese, 3 bunches of grapes, etc.), and to cluster and sprinkle the walnuts free-hand for a natural, autumn look. 
[3] Be creative with your leftovers
Whether you are feeding ravenous Black Friday shoppers, or decided to stay in your PJs all day, here are some easy ideas to serve leftovers while changing up the fridge-to-microwave routine. 
Mashed Potato Stuffing Fritters
Ingredients:
– 2 cups mashed potatoes
– 3/4 cup stuffing
– 1 tablespoon of gravy
– 2 teaspoons of leftover herbs (I used parsley from the Turkey garnish) 
– 2-3 plain crackers (perhaps from your cheese tray), crushed (you can also substitute 3 tbsp of bread crumbs) 
– 1 egg
– Freshly ground pepper to taste
– light oil
Instructions
– Heat 4-5 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet on medium high heat
– Mix all ingredients together in a bowl
– Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup sized scoops into the pan, and flatten a bit with a spatula. 
– Cook evenly until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes each side.  
– Serve alone, or drizzle with gravy for your bad self! 😉

Grilled Turkey & Cheese Tray Sandwiches (left)
Create an hearty, upscale grilled cheese with leftover Turkey, cranberry sauce, and a semi-soft mild cheese (I used fontina)! This was the first thing I thought of (and ate) this morning.
Leftover Dessert CrepesThis is a great option if you have overnight guests hungry for brunch and you want to keep up your reputation of creating beautiful dishes. Find your favorite sweet crepe recipe, and fill with any leftover dessert/ingredients!

Top: Pumpkin Pie crepes (crust included!)
Bottom: berry + vanilla yogurt cream (leftover from making fruit tarts. Find the berry-yogurt mixture here, and the tart recipe here)

I wish you all many blessings to be thankful for all year long. Enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving weekend!
With love,
Tiffany R.
Dining at Tiffany’s
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2 thoughts on “The Thanksgiving Episode

  1. I have 0 experience with cheese + crackers. I see it at some events, but didn't grow up with it.

    That cheese tray looks amazing! Well done, Tiffany! 🙂

  2. i cooked my first turkey ever this year for thanksgiving (for my New Yorker friend in Makati) and I didn't brine it anymore (i was going to, but my friend got the turkey too late), instead I stuffed softened butter mixed with salt, pepper, thyme and sage under the turkey's skin and in its cavities. then i just sprinkled salt and pepper generously all over it. then i stuffed the cavities with aromatics (onions, celery and carrots).

    the turkey (i didn't eat it, of course) came out really moist and tasty (according to my friends) without having to brine it!

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