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Posts tagged ‘turkey’


Photo by James Ransom

Photo by James Ransom

Every year I make the same meal for Thanksgiving, there is little to no variations year to year because everyone loves it that way. It makes things easier sort of, the only planning involves the shopping and of course the preparation. I try to make as much in advance as possible to save myself work on the big day. This will be Percy’s first Thanksgiving with me and I plan on giving him a plate of food along with the rest of my guests. I am excited that this year my two cousins will be joining me as well. My menu is very basic, nothing fancy but everything is homemade and has withstood the test of time. The dishes on the menu are linked to former posts so that you can see the recipes. Mashed potatoes, well, no recipe required, so my potatoes have not lumps I use the food mill and then simply add sour cream, butter and salt and pepper, thats all, the same goes for the pumpkin pie, I used canned pumpkin and follow the instructions on the back of the can, I’ve tried other methods and quite honestly the results are so similar it’s not worth the extra effort. The meal is always served with wine, this year a Cabernet Sauvignon, Lambrusco, Sparkling blanc de blanc and I am still undecided on whether to serve a Chardonnay or white bordeaux.

Thanksgiving Menu

butter and herb roast turkey


mashed potatoes

oven roasted brussells sprouts


cranberry sauce

dinner rolls



Pecan Pie

Apple Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving Preparation

Photo by James Ransom

Photo by James Ransom for food52

I don’t know where the time went, next week is Thanksgiving. It dawned on me today so I started prepping. I make the same thing every single year, no change there would be a coup if I did. Part of me didn’t want Thanksgiving to get here even though it’s my favorite holiday, it’s my first without Izzy and Nando and I feel sad.  That said I have started prepping, write the shopping list, order the turkey, make what I can in advance, bread cubes are drying in oven as I type this. Took a whole chicken out of the freezer to make stock. There is a lot of work and planning that goes into one meal and I do what I can in advance. Is that what you do? I usually have 8-10 here for Thanksgiving. How many do you have over?


What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Do you cook/host the meal or go to friends or relatives. Have you started preparing? Would love to know what everyone does, I know that some of you from other countries do not celebrate Thanksgiving. What is on the menu at your house? Traditional or non traditional or a mixture of both. Here is my menu with links to the recipes.

Butter and herb roasted turkey


mashed potatoes- yukon gold, sour cream. butter salt and pepper

brussels sprouts- oven roasted

corn – steamed and served with some butter

homemade potato dinner rolls

cranberry sauce- use the recipe on the ocean spray package but sub fresh squeezed orange juice for the water and add some orange zest.

pumpkin and pecan pie – I usually just use the pumpkin pie recipe on the can of LIbby’s pumpkin, may do something different this year from my good friend Johnny at Kitschen Flavors.

I have a pretty strict time line making as much as I can in advance.

Done in advance:

Make chicken stock (need for dressing)

Make cornbread and air dry (2 days before I make the dressing)

Dry bread cubes for dressing (doing that today)

Cranberry sauce made ahead and refrigerated (making it this weekend)

Make compound butter for turkey (Monday)

Make pie dough and refrigerate (Tuesday)

Day before:

Prep the turkey putting the compound butter under the skin, and refrigerate.

Make dressing cover refrigerate.

Make the bread dough, form into rolls, cover and refrigerate until a few hours before baking them.

Make the pies plus an extra for a friend, the apple and pear tart

Thanksgiving Day:

We eat late around 5:30 or 6PM. I’ve heard that most eat early like lunch time. This is actually the easiest day, I have already done a lot of the work. Set the table, get the wine ready, refrigerate the white, let the red breathe/decant.

Turkey goes in at around noon – I get at 18-20 lb turkey and it’s done in 3 ish hours because of the fast cooking method I use in my graniteware pan.

Peel potatoes and cut and let sit in cold salted water until ready to boil. (Usually around 4PM)

Make the corn and brussels sprouts.

Bake the dressing

Bake the rolls right before dinner is served so they are hot.

Whew, it’s a lot of work but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Love Thanksgiving!!

Izzy And Nando

Izzy And Nando


What Will You Serve For Thanksgiving?

Dressing or stuffing

Dressing or stuffing

Some of you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but here in the US this is probably the biggest food holiday of them all, it’s also a time to remember how much we have to be thankful for. For me the Thanksgiving meal is steeped in tradition. Every year I make the same meal, I have tried adding something different but in the end, the best is always the tried and true recipes.

Do you try new recipes or stick to the tried and true?

Is it Potluck or do you do all the cooking?

What do you make, or do you go to someone else’s house for the meal?

I bake pies for friends, this year I am making apple, pumpkin and pecan for both my table and for my friends. I have will have 6-8 people over, family and friends.

How many will be around your table?

Photo by James Ransom

Photo by James Ransom

Thanksgiving 2014

Butter and herb roast turkey– compound butter under the skin and steam roasted

Dressing– cornbread and bread with a lot of other things. My signature dish.

Mashed potatoes- Yukon gold, sour cream and butter. I like super creamy smooth potatoes so I use a food mill.


Brussels Sprouts- I am going to make this recipe this year from my friend Bevi, it’s a Food52 contest winner


Cranberry orange sauce (see recipe below)

Homemade potato rolls

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

For Dessert

Pumpkin Pie

Pecan Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Apple pie right out of the oven

Apple pie right out of the oven

Cranberry Orange Sauce

1 cup sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice + 1 tsp orange zest
1 12-ounce package Fresh or Frozen Cranberries ( I always buy Ocean Spray)
Combine sugar and juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 2 1/4 cups. Optional- add the zest of 1 orange for a stronger orange flavor. I always make a double batch because I must have it for the leftovers.

The Wine

Can’t forget the wine, this year I have a magnum of Christian Bernard Select Black Gamay (A beaujolais), I also have Rioja, 2001 R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia,  Pernand-Vergelesses 2008, premier Cru Sous Fretille (Grand Vin du Bourgogne) I’ll pop the bubbly with dessert and serve coffee too. What are you drinking?

Butter And Herb Roast Turkey, Gravy And Sides

Photo by James Ransom

Photo by James Ransom

Turkey is the cornerstone of the Thanksgiving meal, for me it just wouldn’t be the same without it. Growing up we usually had Italian food for Thanksgiving but from time to time my Mom would make a traditional American meal. Mom always made a capon rather than a regular turkey, if I understand correctly a capon is a turkey but it has been neutered, its smaller and more tender, it was really good. She always roasted in her black and white speckled enamel roasting pan. When I left home my Mom presented one to me and although I have tried roasting turkeys in other pans I always come back to the black and white graniteware pan. The turkey is cooked in record time, it’s moist and tender and nicely browned. I posted the recipe on food52. Above is the picture that James Ransom took for food 52 when my turkey was chosen as a community pick. The recipe below is for a large turkey for a smaller one you will have to adjust amounts and cooking time. No matter what method you use to cook your bird I highly recommend trying the compound butter inserted under the skin, it produces a moist and flavorful turkey.

For 18-20 lb turkey

Compound butter:

  • 16 tablespoons salted butter at room temperature (2 sticks)
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves removed or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 3 chopped fresh sage leaves or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  1. Crush garlic with mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt.
  2. Remove the leaves of thyme from the stalk, add thyme and sage and lemon zest and crush it all together.
  3. In small mixing bowl, add the softened butter and garlic and herb mixture mix together.
  4. If you are going to insert the turkey right away, don’t refrigerate — if not, roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before you add to the turkey.


  • 1 18-20 pound turkey
  • Compound butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Put turkey on work surface and make sure it’s clean and dry. Insert fingers under skin to loosen the skin from the breast meat. Work slowly so you don’t tear the skin.
  3. Spread a generous amount of the compound butter under the skin on both sides of the breast. (Reserve a small amount of the compound butter to baste the turkey when you brown the skin.)
  4. Using butchers twine, bind the legs together and place the turkey on a rack in your roasting pan.
  5. Rub the turkey with some olive oil and generously salt and pepper the entire turkey. (I like to do this the night before baking refrigerating overnight, if you do this let sit at room temperature for an hour before placing in the oven). Place lid on pan and put into the oven. No basting required!
  6. After 2- 3 hours, check the internal temperature of your turkey by inserting a thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh. When it has reached an internal temperature of 150°F, remove from the oven, and brush the turkey with the remaining compound butter. Crank up the oven to 450°F. Put back in the oven without the lid and let it roast until the skin is a nice golden brown. The internal temperature should be 160°F when you remove from the oven. Total cooking time for an 18-20 pound turkey is 4-4 1/2 hours approximately. Let turkey rest for at least 30 minutes tented with foil and final temperature should be 165°F-170°F.
  7. Note: If you don’t have a roaster with a lid just tent with aluminum foil, making sure its sealed well around the pan. Also, you need to watch the turkey and check on it for doneness if you are using a graniteware pan it cooks very quickly, basically sealing the turkey and steam roasting it. I generally start checking on the turkey after 2 hours.


I have several different types of roasting pans and have to say I love the graniteware, it’s very inexpensive ($33 for am extra large pan), lasts forever and always gets the job done well. I don’t use a thermometer when I use my graniteware, I slow roast my turkey at 325  degrees no basting except at the very end when I remove the lid to get the turkey a really deep brown at high heat (450).I can fully cook a 22 lb turkey in my graniteware pan in less than 4 hours.


After the turkey has rested you will want to make gravy, I pour the pan drippings,(when you use a grantiteware pan there is a ton of juice) into one of those separators, you know it separates the fat from the juice. I place about 1/4 cup of the fat into a fry pan and heat it, add some flour to make a roux, stir constantly until the flour is cooked and nicely browned. Add the juice whisking constantly until it’s the desired thickness, season with salt and pepper if necessary. I always use gravy master, it’s a habit, I like it and only use about a tsp of the stuff.

Separator,gravy master, food mill and graniteware

Separator,gravy master, food mill and graniteware pan


The first course will be a Butternut Squash + Bourbon Soup from Mary Frances and her lovely blog,  Love the Secret Ingredient, she has an e-book with recipes and tips for planning your holiday and it’s really great. My sides are really pretty boring I’m afraid. I am a creature of habit and almost always serve the same thing every Thanksgiving. Mashed potatoes, always yukon gold, boiled and put through the food mill so there are no lumps. I add sour cream, butter salt and pepper. I like corn and brussels sprouts usually roasted in the oven.

Feeding a Family on a Budget- Turkey Meatballs in Cream Sauce

I plan on featuring budget friendly recipes every week or two that are substantial enough to feed a family using fresh,natural ingredients. It can be challenging to juggle a full time job and a family and still have time to prepare a meal that everyone can sit down and enjoy. This recipe is my daughters, she has 2 young children ages 7 and 4, works a full time job and manages to put a good meal on the table just about every night. She makes food ahead and freezes it, has come up with recipes that are quick and easy to prepare and are kid friendly. This recipe including the mashed potatoes and collard greens that she served this with cost under $25 for a family of 4, and there were leftovers that she and the husband are taking to work for lunch (love brownbagging it). She uses organic free range turkey meat (we all know that costs more but is so worth it), and organic vegetables and dairy products. Food prices vary depending on where you live, here in NYC it can be a challenge to live within a budget but in tough economic times it’s important to spend wisely. This meal is really simple to put together and incredibly delicious.
Serves: 4 with leftovers
2 lbs ground turkey
1/2 large or a whole small onion chopped
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 thick slices of bread soaked in milk
salt and pepper to taste
The Sauce:
2 cups chicken stock
3 tbs flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste
Heat some olive oil in skillet, saute onions until they are soft. In mixing bowl add the turkey, bread soaked in milk, garlic powder, salt and pepper, when onions are done add to the turkey mixture. Stir to combine all ingredients and form into meatballs. In same skillet fry the meatballs, browning on all sides but don’t cook them through. Remove from skillet, using the same skillet with the drippings add the flour, you are making a roux, stir so that its mixed with the pan drippings and let it cook for about a minute. whisk in the the stock, cream and milk and let it cook so that it thickens.
Place meatballs in baking dish and pour cream sauce over them. Bake in 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables.

Turkey Burger Parmigiano Slider

Turkey Parmigiano Sliders

This is my daughters recipe, and it’s so tasty and easy to make  I asked her if I could post on my blog. She juggles a full time job, 2 young children and is renovating a new house. Honestly, I don’t know how she does it and still manages to cook a delicious home cooked meal almost every day. Wonder Woman, I think. These little burgers take only minutes to prepare and I think just about everything you need is already either in your freezer, refrigerator or pantry. These are a big hit with kids, and perfect for game day or any day for that matter.

Makes: 8-10 depending on size

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 2 eggs (one to mix into turkey the other to dip the burgers in)
  • small handful parsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano + more to sprinkle on burgers before broiling
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • splash of milk to mix with egg for dipping burgers
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella thinly sliced

Mix ground turkey, egg, and parsley, refrigerate while you prepare the bread crumbs. Whisk the egg and milk, mix the breadcrumbs with the cheese season with salt and pepper.

Form turkey into small patties,beat the egg and milk and dip each burger in egg first then bread crumbs.Fry in olive oil until golden brown and cooked through.
Turn oven on broil
Slice your rolls, spoon a little tomato sauce on each side of roll, put a patty on, top with fresh mozzarella and a sprinkle of parmigiano on each side and place in broiler until cheese melts.