I make shopping lists weeks ahead of time, then make lists within my lists. Next, I make a timeline for prep work and create an outline for myself, complete with a cooking schedule to make sure everything gets done on time. Lists make me giddy! I'm always tweaking and changing my plan for a big meal like this.
Over the years, I've explored and created new recipes to accommodate our changing allergies and dietary needs, plus to find new ways to use fresh produce that comes in our bi-weekly delivery from Palmetto Organics.
Today I'm going to share with you a few recipes that always make the cut. These are recipes that I actually follow without changing (with the exception of one dairy free substitution - Earth Balance vegan butter instead of regular) because they are just that good. Here's what will be on our table this year.
I always like to make a signature drink or two that can be enjoyed by everyone, usually one cold and one hot. Our weather is usually still pretty warm on Thanksgiving so we crank down the air, put some shorts on and enjoy a hot toddy. I've been a long-time fan of Elise at Simply Recipes, and her Hot Mulled Cider doesn't disappoint. Once it's simmered and ready to serve, I keep it on the warming zone on our stove top and serve; the kids drink it as is. For the grownups who want to indulge, we add a shot of bourbon, whiskey or rum.
This year we are going to try out some Pomegranate Margaritas. I've made Jessica's Cranberry Ginger Vanilla Margaritas and they are to die for, (even if you secretly leave the liquor out of your own because you're with child and no one knows yet) but this year I wanted something a little simpler to make. These sound deliciously simple and tasty whether you have them non-alcoholic or spiked.
I've been making this Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy by Anne Burrell of Food Network for quite a few years now and it's outrageously good. I use Earth Balance vegan butter instead of dairy, but everything else is made and prepared just as Anne suggests. I absolutely love the ritual that follows with this recipe, from preparing the brine and trying to stuff our always-too-big-for-the-pot turkey into it to sit in the fridge. Checking on it as it rests, then taking it out and drying it off the night before so it can sit in the fridge before cooking. The wondrous aroma of the vegetables simmering in cider fill the house as the turkey cooks, and the gravy... Oh, the gravy!! I get such pleasure in standing over the stove whisking the smooth as glass gravy until it's just the right consistency, breathing in the fragrant sweet and savory flavors as it warms and thickens. This recipe is worth every moment of love and care it takes to make it. It's a bit of prep work, but really doesn't take up too much active time to make and you won't regret it once you're biting into your deliciously moist turkey.
Back in 2005, I clipped a recipe for Green Beans with Lemon and Pine Nuts from the now out of publication Gourmet magazine (photo credit from my beat up, wrinkled magazine clipping from my original magazine). That's right, I've been making this recipe for ten years! It's so simple, but really adds some fresh flavor to the table, and their method of boiling beans to keep their bright green color can't be beat. These are incredibly easy to make, and always get rave reviews.