I know. It’s Thanksgiving week, and you’re all like, “Crap, I still don’t know what I’m cooking!” And then you’re thinking, “Hey! I wonder if Ali has some ideas about good recipes.”
No dice. I haven’t been thinking recipes, because I am taking the ultimate Thanksgiving
Cop-Out vacation: this Thursday, we’ll be with family in New York, dining at a restaurant. A restaurant!
It’s blasphemy, you say!
It’s easy, I respond!
It’s lazy, you shout!
It’s family, I plea! What can I do?
You can do what the rest of us are doing, you shout! You can stay up late into the night brining the turkey! You can chop bread for stuffing! You can mash and sautee and boil and stuff! You can shudder as you hold giblets, wondering just what to do with these things and what in the hell are giblets, anyway????
Okay. You’re right. You’re right. Maybe next year. But in the meantime, I am pleased to steer you to the only place you need to go to prepare your entire Thanksgiving dinner this year. Epicurious, you say? Nope. Allrecipes? Nah. Food Network? Fuggeddaboudit. I’ve steered you toward her before, but the Pioneer Woman Cooks really does have a fantastic site. Good recipes, and she has fantastic (I mean Fan. Tastic.) photos that make it absolutely clear what you should be doing at every step in the cooking process. If you’re trying to eat locally or seasonally, it’s easy to adapt her recipes accordingly. Anyhow, you can find her Thanksgiving cooking guide here. She provides just seven recipes — squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, greenbeans, stuffing, turkey, and gravy. But those recipes, plus one of the fabulous brussels sprouts recipes we recently discussed, plus a salad, is pretty much all you need. Oh, yeah: plus dessert. Start here to find your perfect pies.
Anyhow, even if you’re not cooking Thanksgiving dinner, you should go, if for no other reason than to drool over her stuffing photos, or to laugh out loud at what she does with squash. And her mashed potatoes? Let me just say that I have never seen a more multi-stepped, or more artery-clogging, or more delicious-looking recipe for mashed potatoes.
With all the time you’ll save looking at recipes, you might want to read this article by Marian Burros about turkeys, both commercial and heritage. It’s really interesting — the short story is “flavor sacrificed to meet commercial ends. Try a heritage breed for real flavor,” though Burros of course says it more eloquently. If you were lucky enough to get yourself a heritage turkey this year, you can read an account from Barbara at Tigers and Strawberries has some about her first time cooking one. Wanted a heritage turkey but didn’t get yourself one in time? I’m gonna’ do my darndest to remind you in time for next year. And you can still order one for your holiday dinner: start your search here.