One week from today is Thanksgiving, and it’s time to tell you the truth: I’m not cooking dinner this year!
No, after cooking last year (see here) and the year before (see here) I’m giving myself a break this year, and enjoying time with my family instead. So there will be no frantic posting, no group therapy, no live video feeds from dinner at our house.
But fear not; the funny thing about Thanksgiving is that a good Thanksgiving menu is still a good Thanksgiving menu from one year to the next. Which means that the PDF file I made last year, with all the recipes and detailed instructions and a game plan for getting it done (starting on Sunday), could still work for you–click here to check that out.
Otherwise, I have two new recipes to offer that you might swap out for the recipes in that PDF. The first is the picture you see above; instead of the beet salad, serve Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese from The Barefoot Contessa’s latest book.
The recipe is simple. Preheat the oven to 375; get a bunch of pears (Anjou pears, ripe but firm) one for every two guests you’ll have. Cut the pears in half, scoop out the middle, cut a sliver off the back of the pear so it’ll sit flat in a baking dish. Toss the pears with lemon juice so they don’t turn brown. Arrange them, core side up, in a baking dish (or a few baking dishes, depending on how many pears you’re roasting.) Now mix together 3 oz. crumbled blue cheese (like Stilton), 1/4 cup dried cranberries, and 1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts halves (using more of each in equal proportion for more pears; this recipe is for 3 pears) and stuff the pears with a ball of the mixture, just like you see in the picture above. Finally, mix together 1/2 cup apple cider, 3 Tbs port (I skipped the port, but if you have it, use it), and 1/3 cup light brown sugar–then pour over and around the pears. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until tender. Set aside and let come to room temperature.
Then just take a bunch of arugula, dress with lemon juice, olive oil, and some of the basting liquid from the pears. Mound on plates and place a pear on top; easy and beautiful. People will love it.
The other recipe suggestion I have is swapping out the Butternut Squash soup on that PDF, which came from a magazine, and going with the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for Butternut Squash soup–which is available online here. I made a big batch of it recently for a dinner party and everyone went crazy for it; it’s super simple–just butternut squash, onions and apples, cooked with water and curry powder–but in its simplicity lies its genius. Tell me these pictures don’t make you hungry:
So that’s my Thanksgiving confession, I hope you can forgive me for taking it easy this time around. I do promise, though, to try to answer any questions you have in the comments; additionally, if there’s an expert you’d like me to interview about Thanksgiving, or a chef who you have specific questions for, let me know; maybe I can get them to answer your questions on the blog. Meanwhile, not cooking means I have way more time to blog, so look for lots of bloggy entertainment Thanksgiving week. Good luck planning your menus!