Most food blogs and websites have inundated you with Thanksgiving recipes for WEEKS and here I am, the day before Thanksgiving, offering you up a recipe for cobbler. But maybe you’re still figuring out dessert? And maybe you haven’t heard about Sam Sifton’s Thanksgiving book yet? If the latter is true, you better hurry out and score yourself a copy. What the former New York Times restaurant critic has written is pretty much the essential Thanksgiving cookbook. It’s full of good advice and smart, straight-forward recipes for turkey (roasted, brined, deep-fried, smoked), cranberry sauce, the works. My eye, of course, went straight to dessert where a pear cobbler caught my fancy. And last weekend I served it for dessert at a dinner party, to lots of acclaim.
Finally, there’s the turkey itself. For years my mom tried to convince me to make just a turkey breast for the Thanksgivings I’d make at home. And for years I refused because I’d never made a whole turkey before and wanted to document that experience for the blog.
But because I was cooking a pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving for just Craig and his aunt and uncle on Saturday, I knew a whole turkey didn’t make sense. And so it was that I bought a 2 1/4 pound turkey breast at Gelson’s already tied up and everything.
I love cranberry sauce. You can keep your stuffing, your gravy (blech!), as long as you give me my cranberry sauce, I’m happy.
What’s astonishing to me about cranberry sauce is how insanely easy it is to make. The idea that people open a can of that gelatinous mound of cranberry goop is mind-blowing to me. If you buy a bag of cranberries (and Ocean Spray pretty much has them in every grocery store this time of year) and add them to a pot with sugar and a splash of water, turn up the heat, you’ll have a cranberry sauce in five minutes. It’s really that simple.
If there’s a time of year to break out Molly Stevens’s new Roasting book, this is it. Thanksgiving dinner is all about roasting. If you deep-fry your bird, you’re missing out on one of the great aspects of Thanksgiving–the lovely aroma of a slow-roasting bird wafting through your house or apartment. Keeping in the spirit of roasting, your side dish should be roasted too. That’s why butternut squash is a good choice.
Here’s the thing about serving a beet salad as your first course at Thanksgiving: it’s nutritious enough (beets are healthy!) to justify all of the hedonism that’s to come AND you can serve it with good cheese which, when you think about it, rarely makes an appearance at Thanksgiving. Where else would you serve cheese? With the turkey? With the pecan pie? So starting with a beet salad makes good sense, especially if you buy a cheese like Humboldt Fog (like I did for this salad) or something even bolder like Roquefort.
There are crafty food bloggers out there (one might call them “smart” food bloggers, or “food bloggers who actually know what they’re doing”) who see a holiday coming and WHAM BLAM they have 1,000 holiday recipes posted weeks ahead of time so by the time the holiday rolls around you’re saturated with great holiday content. As you may have noticed (except for this post) I’m not such a “smart” food blogger. I did all my Thanksgiving post cooking so last minute that now it’s a day before the big holiday and here I am sharing with you a bunch of recipes that are probably coming 48 hours too late. But for those of you who are last minute planners (and I hope there are at least SOME of you), perhaps this will come as some sort of Thanksgiving lifeline? And even if not, these recipes are delicious even when it’s not Thanksgiving. So come with me and look at these Thanksgiving recipes, even if they’re a little tardy.
Yesterday morning I Tweeted the following Tweet: “Should I get a medal for not having any Thanksgiving content on my blog (minus the banner?) Or should I cave and make some turkey & pie?”
Several followers felt I deserved a medal (“Don’t cave! It’s a welcome respite from the ‘holiday spirit,’” wrote @laujk; “Please no Thanksgiving stuff. I haven’t bought a food magazine all month. Super boring. (especially for us Canadians,” wrote @emmawaverman.”) Ultimately, though, enough people DID want Thanksgiving content (“Embrace the festivities,” wrote @5_minutespeace; “Cave–it’s fun to see everyone’s take/ideas,” wrote @FreshTartSteph) that I decided to do a round-up of all the recipes from my blog’s archives that’d be perfect at your Thanksgiving table.
Here’s an appropriate video for those of you preparing to feast tomorrow; it’s a montage of scenes from great food movies (“Big Night,” “Like Water For Chocolate,” “Goodfellas,” etc) created by Matt Zoller Seitz:
That Thanksgiving scene from “Avalon” fueled a running punchline in my family; every Thanksgiving my dad would say, in a thick Yiddish accent, “You cut the toikey?” My mom would say it too. And thus I hope you all have fun cutting your toikeys tomorrow.