For those with a love for cooking, Thanksgiving can be a wonderful time of year to share their culinary passion with family and close friends. Yet even for the most seasoned chefs, it is not always easy to organize the food preparation so that the main dinner is served right on time as planned. The turkey itself requires particularly careful thought, according to Christine Cole, the general manager of the New York City restaurant BONDST and the founder of CHRISTINEats, which specializes in handmade confections including truffles, caramels and cookies.
“The turkey is a little bit of a mystery, even to an experienced cook,” Cole says, noting that many people don’t make turkey at other times of year, and that choosing a different size from one Thanksgiving to the next, based on the number of guests, can lead to uncertainty in cooking time. Cole suggests adding two hours to the expected heating time, so that if everyone is sitting down to dinner at two, a turkey that is estimated to take four hours in the oven should go in at eight in the morning. This leaves plenty of padding room, and if the turkey is finished at noon, it can be kept warm under foil until meal time and still served at the perfect temperature once hot gravy is added. Plus, the cook then regains use of the oven for those last two hours for any side dishes that might still need some attention.
Another key to a smooth and stress-free holiday is to prepare a few things in advance. Cole especially enjoys putting together a delicious cranberry relish a day before Thanksgiving, chopping whole cranberries into chunks and mixing the pieces in a food processor with some whiskey or Grand Marnier for a bit of orange zest. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator overnight and then heated for 60 seconds before it’s brought to the table. Pies can also be done ahead of time, with the crust made as early as Tuesday and the pie baked on Wednesday. “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,” says Cole. With desserts being a specialty of Cole’s, she also finds it fun to throw in a twist here and there when it comes to the holiday classics—such as espresso crème brulees served in small espresso cups at pie time, instead of just espresso or coffee.
Whatever delicious treats await you this week, we at William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty wish you a very happy, and very easy, Thanksgiving holiday.