Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thanksgiving Prep

Since I will have visitors that entire week before Thanksgiving, I've decided to become one of those cooks who have a much as possible done ahead of time. This isn't natural for me, but with some effort, I think I may be able to pull off a great dinner without logging the whole week in the kitchen. Here's my menu and game plan.


  • Fruit, cheese, crackers, baguette, nuts; everything here will be purchased and simply needs to be arranged

  • Turkey - needs to be cooked on Thursday; I had ordered a fresh bird, so no defrosting will be required
  • Gravy - today's New York times had an article about making gravy ahead of time; I don't plan on using the recipe posted, which required two hours to roast turkey parts and six hours to simmer the stock, but I like the idea of making a basic gravy ahead of time with a quick turkey stock, freezing it, then warming it on Thursday while whisking in the juices from the roasted bird
  • Mashed potatoes - will be made on Thursday, hopefully one of the few things to be cooked at the last minute
  • Sweet potatoes - I am going to make a sweet potato tart; the crust is a basic pizza crust, which I'll make ahead of time and freeze; the sweet potato filling can also be made in advance and frozen; on Thursday everything needs to be assembled and baked; baking takes only a few minutes, so I'll bake it at the last minute while the turkey is resting
  • Stuffing - I am making chestnut stuffing, which will be baked outside of the bird; this will be assembled the night before and baked in the morning; I'll reheat it with the pizza
  • Green beans - the beans can be trimmed the night before and simple steamed on Thursday; I'll toss them with a lemon vinaigrette and fried shallot
  • Cranberry sauce - can be made any night next week and stored in the fridge
  • Creamed onion - can be made on the stove top on Thursday
  • Apple pie - I made the dough over the weekend and plan to bake the pies tonight; I'll freeze the pies and warm them just before serving
  • Pumpkin spice cake - I roasted the pumpkin on Sunday and baked the layers yesterday; on Thursday all I have to do is ice it
  • Congo bars - I still haven't decided what to do about these yet; I am hoping pecans will magically appear

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