From A to Z: Tips for planning your holiday dinner

susanlerner General

Even if you’re an experienced cook who’s prepared Thanksgiving dinner multiple times, there are ways to make the meal taste better and the preparation more seamless.

Broken, stale bits and pieces of bread, cornbread, croissants, biscuits, buns and rolls make a great base for stuffing.

Blind-bake the crust by lining it with foil, then filling it with pie weights or dry beans and baking until the crust is about three-fourths done.

Opening and shutting the oven door reduces the oven temperature and lengthens roasting time.

Rub it with plain or seasoned butter or oil before putting it in to roast, then leave it alone except for rotating the pan for even roasting.

Roast the turkey at 325 degrees on a flat rack inside a shallow (2- to 3-inch high) rectangular roasting pan with rounded corners and sturdy, stationary handles so your turkey roasts, not steams.

To add sheen to pecan pie, brush the nuts lightly with pure maple syrup just before slicing and serving.

Remembering the proper ratio of stock/drippings to thickener helps, about 1 1/2 tablespoons of flour per 1 tablespoon fat per 1 cup of liquid.

Figure 1 1/2 pounds of turkey per person for generous servings plus leftovers; one potato per person for mashed potatoes; 1/3 cup of gravy per person; 1/3-1/2 cup cranberry sauce; 2/3 cup vegetable, vegetable casserole or stuffing per serving; and two rolls per person.

Just know that some kosher turkeys may have more pin feathers than non-kosher ones, which are cleaned of feathers by a scalding water method that’s not allowed in the koshering process.

Make vegetable casseroles ahead, but put toppings such as buttered breadcrumbs in a separate container and add them just before baking to keep them crisp.

Onions (preferably yellow, and definitely not sweet onions such as Texas 1015) and celery should be slowly sautéed in butter until very tender, but not browned, before adding to bread cubes for stuffing.

If making your own, sauté the neck and other giblets (except liver, which makes stock bitter) in a little oil with chopped onion before adding the water.

Don’t limit yourself to flowers; use fresh pumpkins, a wire bowl filled with pears, unshelled nuts and leaves in a variety of colors or fall-colored pillar candles surrounded by gourds and sprigs of bittersweet. …read more

Via: Food and Recipes


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