Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Tips - Cooking and Otherwise

1. If you’ve purchased your celery, wrap it in foil to keep it crisp and crunchy.

2. For goodness sake, please do not purchase a pre-made pie crust, unless it’s an emergency. It is painfully easy to make and infinitely better. And you can make it a few days ahead of time and store in the fridge to roll out when you bake the pie. I’ve put the recipe down below, along with the recipe for my favorite turkey-leftover salad sandwich.

3. Plan on 2 lbs. of turkey per adult if you want to have leftovers. Unless you’re masochists like us, then plan on 3.

4. That’s a bag of giblets in there, not pre-mixed stuffing.

5. If you want your turkey to be extra juicy, put it in a bowl (or in a cooler with some ice if it’s too big for the fridge) filled with water to cover and 1 1/2 cups of table salt, rubbed into the turkey until the salt is dissolved. Leave it overnight in the fridge and rinse thoroughly, inside and out, before roasting.

5. Do not roast your turkey below 325 degrees and cook it all day. That creates an ideal breeding ground for bacteria to set up their own Thanksgiving right on the surface of your perfect-looking bird. You don’t want to see your dinner again once you’ve eaten it.

6. A 10-18 lb. turkey, unstuffed, will only take about 3-3 ½ hours to roast at 325 degrees; stuffed – 3 ¾ to 4 ½ hours.

7. As tempting as it may be, do not discuss politics or religion or that thing that your brother did to you when you were 8.

8. Pray before your meal, and give thanks to God, Who is the giver of the enormous bounty on your dining table. Many in the world could only dream of such a blessing.

9. Go for a walk after you eat. Then have another piece of pie.

10. The rules for the day after Thanksgiving are no cooking and wear your p.j.’s all day. That day is quite possibly my favorite day of the year. After working up a sweat the entire day before only to see the meal last 15 minutes, I love to walk into the kitchen in the morning, open the fridge and see at least a day’s worth of leftovers. That means no cooking. I recover with a peppermint mocha to ring in the Christmas season and piece of pumpkin pie for breakfast – with whipped cream.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pie Crust

1. If your pie crust needs to be prebaked (some pies require the crust to be unbaked), line the inside of a 9” or 10” pie plate with a double thickness of foil, making the inside diameter a little smaller than the plate, but the edges should be long enough to hang over the top. Take it out and set it aside. You’ll see why in the minute.

2. Put 4 ice cubes in a 1-cup measuring cup and fill it with water. Set aside.

3. Put 2 ½ cups flour in a bowl. Add 1 cup (8 oz.) cold butter that has been cut into ½ inch cubes. Rub the flour and butter together with your fingers until the butter has been broken up into 1/8 inch pieces.

4. Remove the ice cubes from the water and pour all BUT ½ cup water out of the measuring cup. Pour the remaining ½ cup water into the dough. Toss the dough lightly with a fork JUST UNTIL the dough is moistened. The secret to a light, flaky crust is simply to work it as little as possible. The dough should look flaky and course and not quite hold together.

5. Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently push it together with your hands. If the dough looks smooth, it has been overworked.

6. Divide the dough into 2 pieces and gently shape the pieces into flat, round discs. Cover each disc with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for 15 minutes if you’re going to roll it out now, or for 3 days or you can freeze it for up to 2 weeks. If it is frozen, let it thaw overnight in the fridge before rolling it out.

7. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it set at room temperature for 10 minutes. Roll each piece out to be about 1” in diameter larger than the pie plate. Roll gently, from the middle to the outside. Take your rolling pin and starting at one end of the pie crust, roll the pie crust up and around your rolling pin, then unroll it from one end of the pie plate to the other. Do not stretch the dough as you lift it to make sure it is set inside the plate. Fold up the edges and then pinch with your thumb and forefinger all the way around.

8. If prebaking, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prick bottom and sides of crust with fork, including where bottom and sides meet. Gently set the foil inside the pie crust. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove the foil and bake 5 or 6 more minutes, or till golden, but not brown. Cool.

Thanksgiving Turkey Salad Sandwich

3 cups cubed, cooked turkey
1 cup sliced celery
½ cup chopped red onion
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup toasted, sliced almonds ½ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients, spread on your favorite bread (or a leftover roll) and enjoy.



  1. Ms. Dorci:
    Any recipe with 8 steps cannot be "easy". I'll stick to pre-made deep dish crusts by my friend Marie Callendar. I'm anxious to try your turkey sandwich, though.

  2. Lol..I just broke it down as much as I could, it's really not that difficult. Takes me about 10 minutes to make. But Marie Callendar's is okaaay...I guess...;o)

  3. Oooo, I will have to try your pie crust recipe. :D I've only made pie crust twice with opposite results.

    You've changed the look of your site again! I really need to check in more often. :)

  4. Well let me know how it turns out! Yeah, I may make one more change to the background, then maybe you could tie my hands behind my back so I don't change it anymore. ;O)


Thanks for sharing!