Delicious Things for Thanksgiving
This year Thanksgiving is different all around. Black Friday has moved to Black Thursday. And my family isn’t even going to have Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving, but rather a couple days later on Saturday.
I’m not complaining one little bit about my delayed dinner. Especially because that means I’ll get to have Pepe’s in New Haven on Friday night with the family. I was just saying last night that there is only one clam pizza. And it just so happens to come from that storied coal fired oven.
The only dangerous thing is that the holiday meal may have a hard time living up to such a strong opening act.
But your family’s traditional feast may not be overshadowed by some of the best pizza in America. And for you, I’ve got a few things to consider. I’m not going to tell you how to cook the perfect turkey. I’m hoping that by now if you are responsible for making a big bird, you’ve figured out what you are doing. However I do have some add-ons, and maybe just one precaution.
The FLB now has over 1,100 posts and it’s even hard for me to find things on here. So I thought I would plumb the depths to bring you the most relevant nuggets for the upcoming festival.
I’ll lead with the precaution.
If you are getting a HoneyBaked Ham DO NOT HEAT IT. EVER.
What? And serve your guests cold ham? No. Heavens no. But you let it sit out at room temperature, to take the chill of the joint of meat.
“But it should be warm!” No. No it shouldn’t. If you want a warm ham, you should not have gotten a HoneyBaked. If you put this thing in the oven, the perfect balance that you paid a premium to receive will be lost forever. The ham will sweat out some of its water. This will make the meat both saltier and less juicy. More importantly that magical crackling honey-based crust will melt into the spiral slices and you’ll lose that magnificent textural contrast.
Stuffing is the best part, and this is the best stuffing I’ve ever had.
No joke. I know holidays are full of family traditions. And nobody wants to screw with Aunt Jenny’s famous stuffing. But just for kicks, you should make this. Don’t even make it as a replacement. Make it in addition to whatever stuffing you normally serve.
The recipe says that you could just eat this on its own, accompanied by a glass of sparkling wine. And that is totally true. Not only is it a meal unto itself, it’s a better meal than most people ever get to experience.
My friend chef Cory makes Brussels into flavor bombs. That’s a good thing.
I’ve made this. It’s fantastic. If I could get my wife and kids to eat Brussels, I’d cook this all week. And it’s a perfect side dish for a turkey dinner. You know, if you might be looking for such a thing at this point in time.
Racy white wines from the Finger Lakes are a fantastic food pairing.
Seriously. Pairing wines with Thanksgiving dinner isn’t rocket science. But fruit-forward wines with good acidity are particularly food friendly. And the Rieslings and Gewurztraminers from the Finger Lakes totally qualify.
The trick is to look for vintage dates. Things like tannin and acidity diminish as the wine ages in the bottle, so look for the wines with the most current vintage dates. Unless someone is selling a nouveau as a gimmick, you won’t see anything from NY labeled 2012. But there could be some from 2011. Don’t buy anything older than 2010.
More on the Thanksgiving whites from last year, in case you want the full story.
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And that’s that. But you could always simply pick up some of the most delicious meats and cheeses on earth from The Cheese Traveler at their grand opening on Sunday. Also please don’t forget I’m in need of a cheering section for the cook off at Different Drummers Kitchen tomorrow. It would be great to see you.