With the Thanksgiving holiday rapidly approaching, I thought I'd share some tips for being prepared. No matter how many people you are serving for the big day, make sure to have a game plan. No one ever gave a great party without a great plan. So here are my top 10 tips for having a less stressful Thanksgiving holiday.
1. Write out your menu, from the menu figure out quantities that you will need and write out a shopping list.
2. Shop for non-perishable items and items that will keep for 10 days (butter, heavy cream) now; include paper goods, wine/beer, liquor and soft drinks on this list.
3. A few days before Thanksgiving, set the table, and cover it with a sheet to protect it from kids/pets and dust.
4. Get your knives sharpened this week; I've never cut myself with a sharp knife, dull knives have a tendency to slip and cause disasters.
5. Assemble all your tableware, and if you need to borrow or buy more, do it this week.
6. Iron table linens this week, or send them to the laundry to be professionally done.
7. If you haven't already ordered your turkey, call the butcher and order one today; fresh turkeys will be limited this year.
8. Try to make and freeze any dishes that you can make this week. Cranberry relish can be made ahead and refrigerated.
9. Give yourself permission to order dishes you won't have time to make; desserts, rolls, vegetable trays should all be ordered now.
10. Make a calender, and plug in the pick up times for foods, and prep days for do-ahead dishes.
These are the top 12 pieces of equipment to pull off the perfect thanksgiving dinner:
o Heavy Duty Roasting Pan (All-Clad and Mauviel are tops here)
o Cuisipro roasting rack with removable pin
o Sauce whisk
o 3-quart saucier for gravy (All-Clad wins here)
o Emile Henry or Le Creuset oven to tableware
o Silicone food loops
o Carving knife ( I prefer one with granton/hollow ground)
o Silicone basting brush
o More Than Gourmet© Turkey Stock Base (reconstitute for gravy)or Superior Touch Better than Bouillon Turkey soup Base
o Oxo Peeler
o Meat thermometer (either Taylor/Polder probe, or instant read---I have both)
o Fat separator (Oxo wins here)
Students always ask what brand of knife I recommend; any high end retail store will carry a selection of good quality knives: Wusthof, Shun, Messermeister, and Global are all great brands and it will come down to what feels right in your hand. If the knife feels too heavy you will never use it, if it feels too light, it will wobble in your hand, and you won’t feel comfortable with it---make sure to test drive the knives (any reputable kitchen store will let you hold the knives, and feel which is right for you) If you have read this blog, you know where I teach, and the staff at each of these places will take good care of you, making sure that you find the right knife to fit you.
And promise me you will never carve the turkey at the table! It's a recipe for disaster!