With all the work that goes into putting on a Thanksgiving feast, wouldn’t it be helpful to have one easy source of recipes complete with dozens of tips and tricks to make things go smoother?
Yes. Yes it would.
The good news is that just such a book exists.
How to Cook a Turkey:and All the Other Trimmings is a compendium of recipes, general advice, disaster-averting tips, and even ideas about what to do with leftovers compiled by the editors and contributors of Fine Cooking Magazine. Whether you’re a first-time Thanksgiving chef or a seasoned veteran of holiday meal providing, there’s useful information for you between these covers.
Yes. the emphasis is on a traditional meal based around a turkey, but there are also instructions for roasting a duck or goose, delicious sides that would fill any vegetarian well, (a few are even suitable without adaptation to a vegan diet! Fennel and Escarole Stuffing with Pine Nuts, I’m looking at you), and the desserts range from a traditional pumpkin pie to orange layer cake to tiramisu.
This book has a place of honor on my personal cookbook shelf. Oh, and I made the tiramisu for a friend who grew up in Naples. Everybody told me not to because he’d be incredibly picky about it. He sniffed at me when I said it was alcohol-free…and yet he wound up eating three large helpings and couldn’t stop talking about how good it was. He still asks hopefully when I’m going to make another.
That’s the sort of reaction I’ve gotten from pretty much every dish I’ve made from this book: people go nuts and can’t stop eating. Oh, and the best thing about that? They’re easy to make, too. Think of it: you can put it minimal effort and get maximum praise in return.
Here’s one of the easiest recipes in the book. It’ll take you about five minutes to make, but my Thanksgiving table would be sorely lacking if I left it off the menu.
Cranberry Orange Relish with Ginger:
1 12oz. package of fresh cranberries, picked over and rinsed
1 small navel orange, including the peel, cut into 8 wedges
A generous 1/2 Cup roughly chopped crystallized ginger
1 Tblsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until coarsely ground, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Transfer to a serving bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Yield: 3 Cups
Trust me, this one is well worth the $13.57 Amazon.com is asking.