Over the past several years our Thanksgiving menu has been refined, developed and set in place, but each year there are tweaks and twists and a new recipe or two to add. How do you find the perfect recipe? Here are a few tips.
Some tried and true recipes should just be left alone. As Sam Sifton mentioned on NPR this morning there are some parts of Thanksgiving you just don’t mess with. My classic Thanksgiving menu is a collection of recipes from a variety of sources, chosen recipes are photocopied and kept in a binder of various collected recipes ripped out, photocopied and emailed from friends then randomly slotted into the binder.
My favorite thing to do usually some time in October is to go through my cooking magazine shelves and pull all the October and November issues to browse. I love epicurious, but there is nothing quite as satisfying as flipping through the pages of a magazine. You grab a nice pumpkin latté made with homemade pumpkin jam from Sofra, find a quiet corner in the house and start losing yourself in a world of ingredients and beautiful food styling and photography.
I wish I made more time to read through all the amazing blogs out there and in fact it’s my pre-holiday resolution. I’m lucky enough to be able to hang out with plenty of local bloggers both online and off, but as for being a regular reader, I end up being more of a regular “peruser” of the Boston Brunchers and Boston Parent Bloggers, and various others’ words of wisdom. On the other hand, if I’m looking for a recipe, I’ll often write “blog” or “blogger” in my search so that I can get a recipe off a blog rather than from another type of site. So far we only have, from her simple blogging days, Ree Drummond’s recipe for Whiskey glazed carrots, but I’m about to search for a pumpkin pie recipe and I’m planning to search “pumpkin pie recipe blog”. (Note to Google: please get started on creating a search just by blogs.)
In between cooking marathons or sometimes after school with my daughter, we’ll snuggle up on the couch and watch Ina, Giada, Ree, Bobby, and Alton cook up a dish that piques our interest and then we just track the recipe down online. Or if we don’t take away the entire recipe, then there are always tips and tricks that we apply to our cooking in general.
I’m a bit like Sam Sifton, except for the fact that I’m not a writer for a major newspaper, I’m not male, I’m not a restaurant critic or an author and I don’t wear ties…but I do like tradition. As for getting creative, every year I change up the vegetarian main slightly. It’s often a ratatouille or roasted root vegetable dish with either some of my canned summer tomatoes for a little lightness of texture and brightness of flavor with some sort of savory pie crust, phyllo encasement or puff pastry topper. I play with spices and flavors, cheeses, and seasonal roots, shoots and fungi. I also play with desserts, cocktails, appetizers and the meals that precede Thanksgiving.
Bon appétit to you and those who gather around your table. Your BFF (Boston Family Foodie)