Preparing for the Big Day

I read recently in one of the many food magazines published that Thanksgiving was the single day most devoted to food. Judging by the thousands upon thousands of blogs published on foodblogs.com or foodgawker, tastespotting, etc., I believe Thanksgiving is the day of food.

Here it is the day before and I am preparing food ahead just to make my day a little easier so that I can enjoy visiting family.

I’ve seen many blogs on various dressings to be served with Turkey.  This is stale leftover bread I’m slicing. My mother would start saving leftover bread, biscuits and cornbread and put in the freezer weeks ahead of time.  Then, the day before, the bread is brought out to thaw, cut up and toast in the oven in preparation of mixing celery, scallions, herbs and chicken stock.

After this, the pumpkin pies and mince meat pies would be prepared.  I decided to deviate and make just a pumpkin custard.  It seems that my family considers this over pie. I’ll also have baked my oatmeal raisin cookies along with chocolate chip cookies and brownies that can be snacked on over the weekend. Oh, yes…the fam stays the weekend.

I’ll prepare the onion soup as I make tomato basil soup for tonight’s dinner.

As for the turkey… it is always fresh, never frozen.  I learned a long time ago a distinct difference with flavor in fresh vs frozen and have never gone back.  The turkey is staying cold in the cooler on the back porch.  I’ll use the same cooler for the brining solution I’ll prepare tonight before going to bed.  The turkey will soak in the brine for about 10 to 12 hours.

Brunch in the morning will be light…scramble some eggs and have ham and biscuits.

The 14lb. turkey will take 2 1/2 hours and will be moist and flavorful all because of the brining done beforehand.  I don’t stuff the turkey anymore because it adds time to roasting which causes the breast meat to dry out.

While the turkey is roasting, I’ll prepare the collard greens, dressing, and an apple/pear salad. Alan will make the giblet gravy.

Mise en place…it is essential to be organized for a stress free Thanksgiving.  If the cook is stressed, the family can’t enjoy the day.

I wish for anyone who reads this blog entry a safe holiday.

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About Pam Rauber

Photographer, Writer, Home Chef.
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