You’re checking your calendar now, right? Thanksgiving 2017 is on the way and suddenly looks much too close.
If you’re hosting this year, you want it to be good! A dream would be to have the celebration look like those beautifully laid tables all over Pinterest. It’s your family and friends, after all. They deserve to be comfortable, happily fed, and deliciously satisfied.
How do you get from here to there?
First start with the coffee. This isn’t for your guests (yet). This is two-weeks-before coffee time, when you send your spouse and/or kids to the park and sit for a moment to make your list. You know that every good chef makes a list. It might not be much more than a few lines, but it’s where you can start your Thanksgiving plan: coffee mug and list in hand.
Now that you have coffee, let’s get into the details.
Pies. Trust me: nobody judges even a little if you’re ordering your pies and they taste amazing. Pies are intimidating! Which crust recipe is best? Do people still use lard? Can you trust an online recipe or do you have to test-bake? Ladro makes it oh-so-easy. Just order online and pick up your pies or galettes at your neighborhood Caffe Ladro.
When you’re baking, you typically start with the crusts. You can make your crust dough weeks ahead of time and freeze it in flat disks. Defrost it overnight in the fridge and roll out into your dish whenever you’re ready. By the way, graham cracker or gingersnap cookie crumbs can be added into a traditional pie crust base to add a little flair and pop to your table. The good folks at Food52 demonstrate this superb idea.
You can make your pies the day before: bake them, pop them in the fridge, and think no more on them until it’s time for whipped cream.
Turkey. Did you know that dry brining your turkey for 3 days before you cook it will give you juicy, tender meat and a faster cooking time? We recommend this excellent dry brine.
Stuffing. You could make this from scratch. Starting with homemade cornbread or a crunchy French boule, toasting it, and mixing it with chopped nuts and giblets. Do most of us do this? No. Add stuffing mix and some bread you love to the grocery list for a semi-homemade stuffing.
Cranberry sauce. If you prefer homemade cranberry sauce, we like this recipe. If saucing and canning isn’t in the cards, add some of that to the grocery list. FYI, some of our Ladro staff have fond memories of the cranberry sauce that comes out of the can in the shape of the can. To them, it isn’t Thanksgiving without it, so options for your guests are good.
What are you missing?
Mashed potatoes. Yum. If your mama’s version is your favorite, give her a call. She’ll be so happy to share it with you. If you’d like to elevate your own, we like this recipe.
The ubiquitous green bean casserole, aka Company Green Beans. This is a staple for many. If you’re making it, you already have your recipe. If you’re not, you need green beans, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and a container of French’s Onions. We’re fairly certain French’s offers the recipe on each package.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta. This vegetable dish could make Brussels sprouts a new favorite veggie for your guests. This recipe tastes so good vegetable-avoiders may eat them.
Whoo. It’s about time for another cup of coffee, isn’t it? Take a sip. We’re almost done.
Bread rolls. This might not be on every table, but if you want to delight your gluten-challenged guests, try these Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls. They’re so good, no one will miss the gluten. Add 1 cup pumpkin or squash puree to the recipe for extra color.
Yams & Apples: We’re sharing a Ladro staffer family favorite recipe below. They make it a little different every year, adding pumpkin seeds, leaving out the nuts, adding sage, or using nutmeg instead of cloves. Be flexible and add flavors you know your people love.
Look at that: your Thanksgiving list is complete! This wasn’t so intimidating after all, was it? You’re going to present a wonderful, thankful table.
Yams & Apples
1 large green apple, peeled and sliced
3 medium yams or sweet potatoes, about 1 pound
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tbls water
1 Tbls butter
dash ground cloves
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted (optional)
1. Wash and peel yams. Cut off woody portions and ends, then cut yams diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Boil in salted water 10 to 15 minutes or until just tender. Strain and cool.
2. Grease a two-quart casserole with butter and arrange a layer of cooked yam pieces on the bottom. Add half the apple slices on top, then layer on more yams, repeating until all pieces are used. End with apple slices on top.
3. In a small saucepan bring the brown sugar, water, butter, and cloves to boiling until the sugar is dissolved. Drizzle the mixture evenly over yams and apples.
4. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until yams and apples are soft, stirring as needed. Sprinkle with toasted pecans or walnuts and serve.
Looking for other fun holiday planning? You might have fun with our coffee dyed eggs.