Have you downloaded my eBook “The Complete Guide to Hosting Thanksgiving (Without Losing Your Mind)”? It’s literally the only reference you need for Thanksgiving this year, complete with a shopping list, full schedule, information to help you make informed decisions, and a total menu of recipes! To download it, simply sign up for the 40 Aprons mailing list:
Oh hey there.
You remember.. me.. right?
I’ve totally dropped the ball when it comes to regular posting lately, but I have a few excuses which I will now enumerate. I’ve been deep, deep in the throes of several major projects, which had two deadlines: two weeks ago and, you know, two days ago. These were massive sites with complicated moving parts that ended up being pretty much all I looked at or saw during that time. As much as I wanted to wax poetic about the homemade paneer I pulled together, all I could think about were API calls and an efficient mobile experience and past community integrations.
To top it all off, one of our cars was stolen this week. Like, two days before the project launch. Stolen! From our front curb! Luckily it wasn’t either of our “real” cars, but an older backup we had, but still. Can you imagine the thought of being snuggled away in your little living room (O thinks it happened when he was watching TV with our pup!) or slumbering in your cozy bed, all the while there are dudes (or ladies.. sorry, that was sexist!) hot-wiring your car 20 feet away?! Dear LORD.
But the projects are finished and we’re mostly re-stabilized from the shaking up of grand theft auto, and I can’t wait to share some new recipes I’ve got in store! A few on the docket are my vegan pumpkin donuts with salted caramel glaze, my vegan gluten-free refined-sugar-free “are-you-sure-these-aren’t-Reese’s-cups” no-bake peanut butter chocolate bars, homemade paneer, actual whole wheat naan, and saag paneer! Ohh mommy.
In the meantime, I’ve been preparing for the second annual family Thanksgiving I’m throwing, as well as a first-ever Christmas Eve feast! More on the Christmas Eve bit a while later, but for now I wanted to share with you what’s going to be on our Thanksgiving table this year.
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Last year I made Ina Garten’s incredible herb dip and served it with some fresh, crunchy crudités. It was a huge hit, and my 9-year-old cousin even requested the recipe to take to a classroom potluck. If you read the ingredient list, you’ll immediately understand why, and will have Ina’s voice circling through your brain, asking “How bad could that be?” While we’re on the subject of Ina, my Queen, I have an unrelated anecdote.. a few days ago my dad claimed that she and Jeffrey were getting a divorce. “How could that be?! No! All my concepts of romantic love and partnership are shattered!” my mom and I exclaimed. He was just joking, though, of course, and he is horrible. The end.
Get the recipe here.
2. The Turkey
Over the years I’ve perfected our Thanksgiving turkey, roasting a brined bird breast-side down with an herbed butter rub under the skin. I’m definitely going back to the same turkey and gravy recipe I’ve included in my eBook “The Complete Guide to Hosting Thanksgiving (Without Losing Your Mind)”. You can download a copy by signing up here. There’s even an awesome recipe for homemade turkey stock included – nom.
Yo. Cranberry sauce should neither come in a can.. nor be a boring afterthought! My rosemary-infused recipe is perfectly gourmet without being, you know, too crazy, and the tart, vibrant cranberries pair perfectly with the woodsy, aromatic rosemary. There’s a hint of orange to balance the bright berries with a wintery citrus. I pretty much die over this recipe. But in a good way.
4. Sweet Potatoes
Ugh. Sweet potatoes, or: the Great Thanksgiving Debate of 2013. I’m bored by the store-bought puffy marshmallows, so dry and flavorless compared with homemade, but my sister and mother would quite possibly revolt if there weren’t some sort of marshmallow adorning the top of sweet potato purée on the Thanksgiving table. Last year I let my mother bring the dish, but this year I’m going about things a bit differently! I spied this gorgeous recipe in Collards and Carbonara, an absolutely incredible cookbook from Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman of Memphis’s Andrew Michael and Hog & Hominy, both simply wonderful restaurants and must-visits in town. I adore the addition of pecans and might even use the cinnamon variety, if I’m feeling naughty. I found this to be the perfect balance between marshmallowed tradition and a gourmet modernity and can’t wait to serve the rustic yet elegant dish at my Thanksgiving.
*UPDATE!* I made this recently and we determined that there was far too much marshmallow and far too much salt. I’ll be reducing the spices, sugar, and salt in the potatoes, halving the marshmallow, and halving (relative to the original ingredients) the salt in the marshmallow. Alongside the other rich dishes, this dish would just be too, too rich! Totally delicious, though, and it will still be on the table!
Find the recipe here, and pick up a copy of the book here!
Stop the presses.. we’re headed away from canned soups this year, people! I’m testing Alton Brown’s green bean casserole recipe, which is the plan for this Thanksgiving, but I’ve made a few excellent renditions on my own, just kind of jamming with a roux, some mushrooms, some cream. Either way, we’re aiming for a bit more elegant and a little less, um, preservative-, BPA- and God-knows-what-laden.
I am, however, opting out of frying my own onions last minute. That seems like a recipe for um… stress. And I’m making enough recipes that day; why add one more? Especially for something really bitter and tough-to-swallow like.. stress.. too far with the metaphor?
…..green bean casserole, everybody!
*UPDATE!* Dude. This is amazing. A-maz-ing. Amazing.
There’s no tinkering with perfection here, people. My great-great grandma made this stuffing, and if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for me, dammit! In reality it’s just totally delicious, and I make it every year, even though I have to make a separate turkey-sausage version side dish, since my father-in-law doesn’t eat pork. It’s that good that I put in extra work on an extremely simple recipe. You can find it in my eBook! Sign up here to receive your free download.. as spammy as that sounds. Brought to you by Saul Goodman!
Hey mom! You’re making mashed potatoes, right? Cool. Just checking.
I usually make the richest mashed potatoes of. your. life., complete with like fourteen containers of cream cheese and a few containers of sour cream, for good measure. They are *so good*, and you can make them ahead and let them hang in your Crockpot all day. But since I’m taking over the sweet potatoes this year, dear ol’ mum offered to make Ina’s make-ahead mashed potatoes, subbing Boursin for goat cheese. Genius, right? Thanks ma!
Get the recipe here, which is from Ina’s insanely awesome book, Make It Ahead. You need it in your life! She even has her own make-ahead Thanksgiving menu, which kind of upsets me.. since I’m still never invited to her fête. C’mon, Ina! Show a girl some love!
Another ma-made, right? She makes the most incredible potato rolls–seriously the best homemade roll I’ve ever had–and I’ve included her recipe in my eBook. Sign up here to download a copy!
Another new addition, I made a little last-minute batch last year for O, and people were scarfin’ it down, so I’m going to make it in all seriousness this year, with, you know, an actual recipe. Bobby Flay’s looks pretty dern good, and can’t wait to bring some, you know, fiber to the table. Can I get a woot, woot?
Another new addition for vegetables’ sake, I intend on tossing roasting brussel sprouts in a miso-sake glaze midway through the process, for a punch of umami and lighter flavor on the table. I tested this “recipe” yesterday but made the mistake of tossing the brussels in miso before roasting, which burned the miso pretty badly. I’m using this recipe as the guide for the whole process.
Mom is making her pumpkin pie–the recipe is included in the free eBook–and I’m making my oft-requested rustic apple and dried cherry galette with caramel sauce and crème fraîche. This year I’ll be using an organic pre-made pie crust (after reading a convincing article that there was hardly any difference between homemade and pre-made.. especially when it comes to my pie-crust-challenged hands) and making the whole thing ahead and freezing.
But seriously, this galette is so painfully delicious and the perfect foil to pumpkin pie. You can find the galette recipe here.
Make this caramel sauce for serving – you can find the original galette & caramel sauce recipe on Epicurious.
Well, I think that’s it! Really moderate, eh? But let’s be honest; Thanksgiving is no day for moderation! What’s on your Thanksgiving table this year? Are you going traditional or adding in a few new recipes? I wanna know!
Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.