Thanksgiving: Cook It

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A little help from my kitchen fairy.

One of my sous chefs
(aka the kitchen fairy).
If you’re coming over for Thanksgiving, this is what’s on our menu.

Roast Turkey with Bacon-herb butter and cider gravy (Bon Appetit Nov. 2008)

Roasted Fall Vegetables in Cheddar Crust (Eating Well Dec. 2008)

Herb and Onion Stuffing (Bon Appetit Nov. 2008) or
Rustic Bread Stuffing with Dried Cranberries & Oyster Mushrooms
(Fine Cooking Nov. 2008)

Green Beans with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette & Parmesan Breadcrumbs
(Fine Cooking Nov. 2008)

Mashed Potatoes (to be determined)

Cranberry Sauce (Classic Canadian Cooking, Elizabeth Baird)

Sugar & Spice Pumpkin Pie with Brandied Ginger Cream
(Fine Cooking Nov. 2008)

Apple Pie a la mode
(with homemade ice cream -Katie or mom this means you!)

Yes, I’m really into my recipes. I leaf through magazines and cookbooks while the children play for a quick sensory escape. I also cook with the kids because meals have to be cooked and it’s a hands on activity they enjoy. My sous-chefs learn to be safe and participate even if it means giving up one apple, setting Henry up with his own bowl, a peeler and a couple small dishes of random spices.

I used to think that if you could read you could cook, but I realize I do have an advantage because I grew up as a spectator and an assistant in my mother’s very active kitchen. She’s an improviser, but I’m a by the book kind of cook. I think maybe now thanks to the Food Network and other cooking programs perhaps you can gain a similar umbrella of kitchen knowledge.

If you plan ahead, do everything you possibly can bit by bit in advance, delegate and share your kitchen, then cooking your entire Thanksgiving is actually approachable. I enjoy cooking so this is right for me. If you don’t enjoy cooking then shop well and revel with your Thanksgiving company. So now that I have my menu, I need to start gathering ingredients and working my way through everything that can be done early.

Where am I getting my ingredients? A variety of places. I try to shop locally, but I also want a balance of all that’s good and cost effective. We’re splurging on a Turkey so we’ll save in other places.

Turkey- Formaggio Kitchen (16 lb Turkey from Vermont)
Alliums- Garlic and Onions from our CSA – Lindentree Farms
Breads-A combination of Hi Rise, Iggy’s Bread, and Formaggio Kitchen’s assortment of breads. I will need some bread for the stuffing, perhaps rolls for the meal, and other peripheral meals will need bread.
Produce-Most of the produce will be from Russo’s, Whole Foods and/or Wilson’s Farms depending upon where I am around town with the kids that week.
Wine- I don’t know my wines very well, but my guests do. I find that I can safely choose any wine from the selection at Formaggio Kitchen or Hi Rise and won’t go wrong. I used to also go to the Wine and Cheese Cask in Somerville where they guide you well. If I’m shopping at Whole Foods then I can also stop into Cambridge Wine and Spirits. Lately, I have found Star Market to be a great place to get wine because you get $5 off when you buy 6 bottles.

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