Thanksgiving is the perfect time for those who adore cooking to indulge in their passion, for friends and family alike will be there to enjoy the culinary delights. But preparing Thanksgiving dinner can be a meticulous process, requiring careful thought even for seasoned cooks. Specific attention must be paid to the turkey, according to gourmet cook Christine Cole. Cole owns her own dessert line of handmade confections such as caramels, truffles and cookies, CHRISTINEats, and is also the general manager of BONDST, a high-end New York City restaurant.
Turkey is not usually prepared at other points during the year for most people, and when it is, requires different cooking times depending on the chosen size. “The turkey is a little bit of a mystery, even to an experienced cook,” says Cole. She recommends that cooks add two more hours to their oven heating time than they expect they need, leaving plenty of time to ensure that it’s finished. If two in the afternoon is dinnertime and the turkey should take four hours, the best strategy is to start heating it at eight in the morning. If the turkey is ready at noon, it can still be an ideal temperature two hours later if kept under foil and then served with hot gravy. An extra benefit is that cooks have their oven back for those hours just in case any other dishes need some more attention.
Cole also suggests that the holiday can go smoother if hosts ready a few selections ahead of time. One item that can be made on Wednesday and stored in the refrigerator overnight is cranberry relish, which can be heated for a quick minute right before dinner. Cole likes to make the relish from whole cranberries, chopping them into bits and then throwing them into a food processor along with Grand Marnier for some orange flavoring. Desserts are also easy to prepare beforehand, especially pies. Cole says, “Making pies in advance doesn’t compromise the flavor, and what a nice thing for people to come in on Thanksgiving and see them all ready.” On Tuesday the crust can be made, and on Wednesday the pie can be baked. She also enjoys a few unexpected choices, adding twists to traditional favorites. If espressos are normally offered alongside pie after dinner, then one idea is to serve espresso crème brulees instead, complete with little espresso cups.
However you decide to prepare your Thanksgiving dinner, we at Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty hope you have a very happy and very delicious holiday.