Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's Thanksgiving morning at 8:06.  My stuffing base has been made and I am about to clean my turkey and get it ready to cook.  I hope everyone else is off to a good start this morning!  Get those TV's tuned into the Thanksgiving day parade!

Thanksgiving Day

  • Put breakfast casserole into oven
  • Take the turkey out of the refrigerator to return to room temperature.  Work out amount of time it should be in the oven (18 minutes/ lb at 450 degrees or use a meat thermometer) Allow 30 minutes of resting time, covered in foil, before carving
  • Prepare turkey to go into oven (see recipe)
  • Prepare stuffing base
  • Pull butter forms from the freezer
  • Serve breakfast casserole and breads with a flute of mimosa or champagne
  • Pop turkey into oven, and baste as needed
  • Baste Turkey
  • Baste Turkey
  • Baste Turkey
  • Prepare Brie Bites
  • Make Rice and cranberry salad
  • Baste Turkey
  • Make Broccoli/ cranberry salad
  • Put relishes into serving dishes
  • Begin prepping for mashed potatoes by peeling
  • Pull Turkey out (if it is done) and let it rest in a warm place for 30 minutes (Based on a 16 pound turkey)
  • Make Gravy
  • Put Broccoli Cheese casserole in the oven (350 degrees—45 minutes)
  • Put Stuffing in the oven (350 degrees—one hour)
  • Boil Potatoes for mashed potatoes
  • Take Broccoli Cheese casserole out
  • Take Stuffing out
  • Put crescent rolls into oven
  • Make mashed potatoes
  • Take Crescent rolls out
  • Warm plates
  • Bring the turkey to the table for carving (see instruction sheet)
  • Bring remaining hot items to the table

Thanksgiving Day Menu

Here is my never changing menu for Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving Menu

  • Strawberry Bread
  • Banana Bread
  • Breakfast casserole
  • Mimosa or champagne

  • Brie Bites
  • Apple & Goat cheese Brushetta
  • Spinach Dip served with triscuits
  • Smoked salmon or trout with crackers

First Course
  • Corn and wild rice soup with smoked sausage

Main Course
  • Turkey
  • Chestnut stuffing
  • Gravy
  • Wild rice and cranberry salad
  • Broccoli / Cranberry salad
  • Broccoli cheese casserole
  • Mashed potatoes/ scalloped potatoes/ or Make ahead mashed potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes served in orange halves
  • Cranberry orange or cranberry apricot
  • Canned Cranberry
  • Crescent rolls/ Sister Shubert Yeast Rolls

  • Apple Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Pecan Pie
  • Vanilla Ice Cream

Thaksgiving-- Final Grocery List

This is the Final grocery list that I use for Thanksgiving.  When you see the last few items, you will have an idea of how long ago I started using my Planner.  Good Luck!

Final Grocery List
  • Turkey (If a smoked one was not ordered)(Sam Greenberg—Oprah)
  • Fresh Herbs
    • Flat leaf Parsley (1 bunch)
    • Ginger Root ( I good hunk)
  • Cranberries (2 bags)
  • Vegetables:
    • Potatoes (6)
    • Carrots (3)
    • Yams (4-5)
    • Scallions (6)
    • Onions(5)
    • Broccoli flowerets
    • Garlic  (1 head)
    • Celery (1 bunch)
    • Apples (1 ½ lb red delicious & 1 ½ lb golden delicious & 1 lb. Granny Smith)
    • Mushrooms (1 8 ounce package)
    • Blood oranges (4)
  • Bread
    • Baguette (1)
    • Sandwich bread (1 loaf)
  • Butter (as needed)
  • Eggs (1 dozen)
  • Milk (1 gallon)
  • Heavy Cream (12 ounces)
  • Half and Half (12 ounces)
  • Cheese
    • Goat Cheese (snack size + 1 cup)
    • Brie (small triangle)
    • Cheddar (snack size)
    • Stilton (snackSize)
    • Gruyere (if making scalloped poatoes)
  • Orange Juice w/ calcium
  • Bacon (1 pound)
  • Sausage (1 package)
  • Hagan Daaz Vanilla ice cream (1 Quart)
  • Batteries
  • Film
  • Video

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thanksgiving-- Advanced grocery list

I make a very traditional Thanksgiving.  In fact, my menu is exactly the same every single year.  Some people call it boring, but I love the predictability of this holiday.  Mostly, I love that my kids have favorite thanksgiving foods they talk about in the weeks leading up to the holiday. 

For this reason, my grocery list seldom changes from one year to the next.  To make the whole process easier, I have a trick--I do two grocery shops.  One is typically done in early November and includes all my non-perishables and the other is done right before the holiday for veggies and fresh items.   This helps me to beat the crowds of people and was especially helpful when I lived in NYC and the stores were a madhouse.

Your list will be different from mine, but this is how I have mine laid out. Without my lists, I feel sure I would show up on T-day morning with no ziplocks, no bread for sandwiches, and without options on drinks/ sweeteners for my company.

Advance Grocery list

  • Mango Chutney
  • Peanuts
  • Mustards (hot)
  • Mayonnaise
  • Jelly
  • Cranberry relish-- with berries
  • Cranberry Sauce-- smooth
  • Uncle Bens Long Grain and wild rice (2 boxes)
  • White or brown  rice (1 bag)
  • Crisco (smallest container)
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Corn Starch
  • Bisto
  • Flour (1 Bag)
  • Sugar
    • Brown Sugar (small box)
    • White Sugar (Large bag)
    • Raw Sugar
    • Sweetener
  • Snacks
    • Dried fruit
    • Carrs table water crackers
    • Carrs Croissant crackers 
    • Triscuts
    • Honey roasted peanuts or mixed nuts
    • Figs
    • Cheese straws
    • Olives
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Pam
  • Dark corn syrup
  • Vinegars
    • Cider vinegar
    • Sherry Vinegar (for wild rice and cranberry dish)
    • White vinegar
  • Fruits
    • Clementines (1 box)
    • Limes (2)
    • Lemons (2)
    • Oranges (small bag)
    • Bananas (4)
  • Frozen Veggies & Fruit
    • CHOPPED Broccoli (2 packages)
    • Strawberries
    • Red bell pepper
    • Apricots
    • Corn for chowder (2 packages)
    • CHOPPED spinach (1 package)
    • Ice Cream
    • Cool Whip
  • 8 ounces of cornbread stuffing (if not using homemade bread crumbs)
  • 8 ounces of herb stuffing (if not using homemade bread crumbs)
  • Pecans (16 ounces)
  • Eggs (1 dozen)
  • Sour Cream (16 ounce)
  • Butter (3 packages)
  • Pillsbury Pie Crust (2 – 3 packages)
  • Knorr Vegetable soup mix (1 package)
  • Crescent Rolls
  • Velveeta (1/2 pound)
  • Craisons (Plain)
  • 2 cans Libby’s solid pack pumpkin (12 ounces if you are making one pie/ 2 cans if you are making 2 pies)
  • Evaporated milk (13 ounces)
  • Cream of Mushroom Soup ( 1 can)
  • Chicken Broth (7 cans or one canister of cubes)
  • Mini marshmallows (opt—1 bag)
  • Vacuum packed and peeled chestnuts ( 8 ounces)
  • Frozen puff pastry
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Saran wrap
  • Tupperwear
  • Zip lock bags
  • Cheese cloth
  • Candles
  • Table decorations (pears, apples, and dried leaves)
  • I Pound bacon
  • Mandarin Oranges

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Liquor Cabinet essentials

With the holidays coming and lots of people coming over, it's essential to have a stocked bar.  In fact, I feel like I have failed if I can't make someone a particular drink.  I pride myself on having the tonic, lillet, and pims that people request.  So, here is my bar list.  I check it in early November (the 4th according to my calendar) and I restock as needed.  Come on over and try to stump me!

Liquor List

Alcohol Equivalents
One Liter Alcohoal = 33.8 Ounces = twenty two 1 ½ ounce drinks
One 750-millimeter bottle wine = six 4-ounce glasses
One 1 ½-liter bottle wine = twelve 4-ounce glasses
One bottle champagne = six flute or seven saucer glasses
One case champagne = seventy two drinks

Bourbon (1 Liter)
Gin (1 Liter)
Vodka (2 liters—one in the freezer)
Scotch (2 Liters)
Blended Whisky (1 Liter)
Light Rum (1Liter)
Dark Rum (1 Fifth)
Dry Sherry (1 Fifth)
Cream Sherry (1 Fifth)
Dry Vermouth (1 Fifth)
Sweet Vermouth (1 Fifth)
Cassis or Framboise (1 Fifth)
Lillet (1 Fifth)
Dubonnet (1 Liter)
Port (1 Fifth)
Cognac (1 Fifth)
Tequila (1 Fifth)
Cointreau (1 Fifth)
Grand Marnier (1 Fifth)
Amaretto (1 Fifth)
Coffee Liquer (1 Fifth) (Kahlua, Baileys Irish cream)

Light (Six pack)
Dark (six pack)
Imported (six pack)

White wine (six 1 ½-liter bottles)
Red wine (three 1 ½-liter bottles)

Club Soda
Tonic water
Ginger Ale
Diet Coke
Tomato Juice
Orange Juice

Basic Bar EquipmentIce (3/4 to 1 pound per son)
Ice Bucket
Lemons, Limes, Oranges
Green olives
Maraschino cherries
Cocktail onions
Lemon Zester
Sharp Knife
Good Corkscrew
Bottle opener
Jigger measures
Cocktail napkins

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thanksgiving Prep

I am late on getting this power will do that to you!  But I promise it is worth the wait-- it's  my Thanksgiving/Christmas Planner.  I created this a number of years ago after my Dad sent me a similar version from the London Times. 

For my house, I have printed the planner and put in a binder which holds all my Thanksgiving/Christmas day recipes.  That way, I have everything that I need in one place.

So, without further adieu, the Thanksgiving Day planner.

Thanksgiving/Christmas day Prep CheckList

November 1   
  • Invite guests to Thanksgiving dinner
November 2
  • Make Pumpkin Pie.  You can make this now and keep it in the refrigerator for up to four weeks, or make the pies and freeze them, unbaked, until Thanksgiving.
  • Order smoked fish to have on Thanksgiving day with crackers.
  • Book Beauty appointments (Hair, nails, waxing)
  • Book extra holiday help: babysitters, a pre-party house cleaner
November 3
  • Clear out the Freezer. Defrost if necessary to create extra room, and eat anything that does not pertain to Christmas
  • Go through the spices and replace any that are old or not immediately fragrant (see Spice list)
  • Re-look at Thanksgiving Menu and decide on any adjustments, additions, or deletions that you want to make
  • Order my smoked turkey or fresh turkey.  Make a note of what you ordered, from whom, and when it will be delivered or needs to be collected. 
  • Find the Turkey trussing needle/ string, fat separator, cheese cloth, mini muffin tin, meat thermometer, and carving fork/ knife now, to save hunting the drawers on Christmas morning
November 4
  • Inventory liquor cabinet.  Use Liquor list to make sure bar is fully stocked
November 6
  • Make Stock.  Having chicken Stock in the Freezer means gravy is halfway there.  You’ll need chicken bones, celery, carrots, bay leaf, cover with water, bring to a boil, skim well, and simmer for two hours.  Strain and freeze.  (I use the remnants from a chicken I have used for chicken salad)
  • Put butter into molds—wrap in foil and freeze. 
  • Pick- up cheese.  Grafton cheddar is always a favorite, a nutty stilton, or an ash covered Humboldt Fog goat cheese is wonderful.  Whichever you choose, make it big and whole, Thanksgiving/ Christmas time is not time to hold back.
November 10
  • Go shopping.  Do a pre Thanksgiving/ ChristmasChristmas shop and stock up on the kitchen before the hordes arrive.  See Advance Grocery List
November 11
  • Make Shortbread or Spritzes
  • Make Strawberry Bread and Banana bread.  Wrap in foil and put into Freezer bag (label with date and description)
  • Last day to ship to Europe
November 12
  • Check plates, sterling and glasses—make sure I have enough
  • Check serving platters and sterling to make sure I have appropriate pieces
  • Check tablecloth and napkins and make sure I have the appropriate pieces
  • Polish all sterling pieces
November 19
  • Make sure all serving pieces are easily accessible.  If not pull them out now.
November 20
  • Make any pat├ęs or terrines, as they need time to mature
  • Make the cranberry/ apricot sauce.  Seal and store in the fridge.
  • Make the cranberry orange sauce.  Seal and store in fridge.
November 21
  • Start delegating within your family as possible.  Give people specific areas of responsibility
    • Arranging the flowers
    • Cleaning any silver
    • Making Drinks
    • Setting the table
  • If you are going to use your own bread for the stuffing—save the daily bread.  You’ll need two stales loaves of two-day-old bread.
November 22
  • Make Ice.  Rally all ice trays into action for cocktails
  • Make Corn and Wild Rice soup with sausage
November 23 (22nd if you are doing dinner on the 24th)
  • Make the breadcrumbs for the stuffing.
  • Pick up Thanksgiving orders.  Remember to confirm the weight of the turkey when you pick it up so you can calculate the cooking time.  If you are using frozen remember that a 15 pound turkey can take up to 32 hours to thaw in a refrigerator 
  • Store food wisely: raw meat on the bottom shelf of the fridge so that it can not drip on other foods, oysters in a wet tea towel in the vegetable drawer
  • Final Shop.  Go early avoid the crowds, and don’t lose your head.  See Final Grocery List. 
November 23rd
  • Make apple pie
  • Make pecan pie
  • Make spinach dip and store in refrigerator
  • Defrost one loaf of strawberry bread and one loaf of banana bread
  • Chill Champagne
  • Defrost Broccoli cheese casserole by moving to the refrigerator
  • Make Pastry leaves for Pumpkin Pie + cheese spread