Now that we have a general plan from yesterday time to start getting down to business!
- Take a look at your recipes and divide to conquer: what can be made in advance and what need to be made day of?
- Items that can be made in advance:
- Breads can be made now and partially cooked, frozen, and finished day of or fully cooked now, frozen, and warmed up
- Cranberry relishes / sauces (See my recipe below)
- Salad dressings
- Dressings/stuffings can be prepped and frozen (but please don't stuff your bird when cooking, more on that in a later post)
- Stock, one of the single most important things you can make this week and keep on hand for the next week.
- Gravy. Yes believe it or not you can do this now and freeze it and add drippings from the bird on thursday if you like. Some recipes actually get better when held in the fridge for a couple of days (particularly ones that use wine or dried herbs) Personally I like to make mine day of but I still make my roux in advance and keep it in the chill chest.
- Roux- see above. This stuff lasts forever and works best when cold and added to hot liquids anyway. Make a big batch and just break off as needed.
- While not technically making anything you can also use this time to measure out dry ingredients for brines, cakes, etc. anything that can save you a few moments (and brain power) on Thursday is worth it!
- Make two shopping lists, one for your make ahead items and one for your day of cooking. Turkey obviously goes on the make ahead list so you buy it now, especially if you are going with a frozen bird.
- Items that can be made in advance:
- Now the (less) fun part!
- Time to clean out, inventory, and organize the refrigerator and freezer
- You've got a lot of stuff that going to be going in there and will be grateful (thankful?) for the space.
- You might as well take the time and do the full clean tonight, sanitize and all (you know you've been meaning to do it since last christmas anyway.)
- While you are organizing make sure your staples are in good supply: salt, pepper, flour, cornstarch, etc. so there are no last minute panics.
- Prepare your emergency kit:
- I don't mean bandaids! well... yes... make sure you have those too
- Make sure you have the following on hand on the big day, they can help save you in case of a culinary emergency
- Stock or broth (Our recipe for veggie stock is below, store bought is fine just have plenty on hand either way)
- heavy cream
- frozen pound cake
- decent quality bread (grocery bakery is perfect, just something neutral in flavor and not super squishy like white sandwich bread)
- With these items you can work around or repair just about any situation that arises
- As usual we will be available through our Facebook page till roughly 6pm to help with your turkey triage. (response time may be a bit slower from 1-2pm) Ask us anything!
Recipes below. Check back tomorrow when we discuss wine, music, and not discussing politics!
Ginger Orange Cranberry Sauce (or, What Happiness is Made Of)
Seriously, I'd dab this stuff behind my ears if it wasn't so sticky!
Some measurements left off of ingredients because they are to your taste.
- 2 lb bag fresh cranberries
- 24 oz ginger ale
- Use a brand that uses real ginger please, the artificials don't work nearly as well
- Can be substituted with 24 oz of sparkling white wine and an inch or two of peeled ginger root
- zest and juice from 2 oranges
- Place berries in a medium sauce pan.
- Add enough sugar to just about cover the berries.
- Pour in ginger ale (or wine/ginger) and stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Stir in juice and zest.
- Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Once the cranberries have started to pop un-cover and let simmer 5-10 minutes to slightly reduce.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool until it can be safely tasted. Add additional sugar as needed.
- Can be served as is as a relish (if you used whole ginger root, remove it before serving) or run through a blender for a smoother sauce (you can leave the ginger root in to punch up the ginger flavor if you puree)
- Store in airtight container in refrigerator or freeze for later use.
Make a bunch of this! It's a wonderful dip for your turkey, makes a great glaze for ham (stir in some coarse ground mustard for extra oomph), a spread for your left over turkey sammiches, etc. I've even shaken some into a cosmopolitan before!
DTC Veggie Stock
This is one of our secrets to making everything so damn tasty. Stock goes into just about everything and takes almost no time at all to make. The aroma alone will have you making this stuff regularly, it smells like the best winter holidays... all of them... all at once. Would it be weird to use veggie stock as liquid incense?
Makes 1 Gallon. Yes its a lot, but you can use it for everything from the dressing and mashed potatoes to the gravy and green beans. Throw in some egg noodles and veggies and you've got a great soup. Can be halved or doubled as needed.
- 4 white onions, peeled and quartered
- 2 large carrots, peeled and broken into chunks
- 1 celery, root end and leaves removed, broken into chunks
- handful rosemary, stems and all
- handful thyme, stems and all
- 1.5 cup whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 tbl black peppercorn, whole
- 2 tbl clove, whole
- 2 tbl juniper berries, whole
- 1 gallon cold water
- Toss all ingredients into a stock pot or any large pot that will contain all ingredients. No need to be precise or delicate here.
- Bring to a rolling boil over high heat.
- Once boiling cut off heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
- Strain and allow to cool.
- Store in covered container in refrigerator.