Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My Top 10 Online Thanksgiving Resources

I know. You're frantically scurrying around town to pick up all the ingredients and other supplies for your Thanksgiving extravaganza. But, how are you set for how you'll actually prepare your spread? We all know that Butterball has its inimitable hotline (800-288-8372) for freaked out turkey cooks, but where else can you turn for great recipes, advice, or inspiration. Well, here are my top 10 picks:
  • The Splendid Table: I adore Lynne Rossetto Kasper and her weekly radio show. But don't miss out on her website, which has all sorts of great advice and recipes focused on Thanksgiving this week. If you need a turkey carving primer, it's there. A change of pace for cranberries? How about a Cranberry Port Gelee? 
  • Gourmet.com: Yes, gourmet.com is an endless source for anything about food, but this specific page turned me around when it came to roasting turkey. Go with high heat. Here, this archived and priceless advice from Kemp Minifie explains how the Gourmet test kitchen tried every possible roasting scenario and returned to this method. Plus. there's advice on how to select a turkey and how to prep it.
  • The California Cook: This is renowned food writer Russ Parsons' LA Times column. This particular link, though, is utterly charming as he recounts his mother's relationship with her Thanksgiving cranberries. It's something many of us of a certain age will relate to. But, of course, click on the link for the recipe. Too many people are intimidated by the idea of making cranberry relish, but it couldn't be easier--or more tasty than the canned.
  • Food52: Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs have done a brilliant job of pulling in home cooks and curating recipes. But it goes way beyond that. Witness this wonderful, much needed piece on 5 Thanksgiving Disasters and How to Fix Them. Dry turkey? No problem. Yikes, you forgot to defrost it and it's Thanksgiving morning? There's a workaround here. Also, you must watch Amanda and Merrill making a Brown Butter and Cheddar Apple Pie with Dorie Greenspan.
  • Zester Daily: If you love to read about food and you haven't discovered Zester Daily, give this roundup of their Thanksgiving stories a look. Zester Daily's writers are food culture junkies dedicated to their craft, many with name recognition like Nancy Harmon Jenkins. Here you'll find her pumpkin risotto, but you'll also discover Martha Rose Shulman's turnips and Louisa Kasdan's examination on to brine or not to brine the big bird.
  • Dorie Greenspan: Dorie is one of America's finest bakers. Take a look at this gorgeous Cranberry Crackle Tart she developed for Thanksgiving, and then scan the site for inspiration for other sweets.
  • Dessertier: This is Michele Coulon of Michele Coulon Dessertier's peripatetic blog. She doesn't blog much, but it's always worth a look. Last year, she did a three-part post on making pumpkin pie, including homemade pumpkin puree. It's worth the effort and Michele does a beautiful job explaining the process. If you're more of an apple pie fan, take a look at the fun we had making apple pie last year. This is the pie I make for my family and friends.
  • Nourish Network: Lia Huber's innovative site that focuses on a nourishing, eco-conscious approach to food has a terrific Thanksgiving page with features that speak to the issues you'll face before, during, and after the feast, including testing your leaveners before baking, wine pairing, and dealing with leftovers.
  • Punk Domestics: This site, created by Sean Timberlake, is dedicated the art and culture of preserving. I did a quick site search on Thanksgiving and it popped up with all sorts of creative ideas, including Cranberry Conserve with Apples and Pecans, Apple Sauerkraut au Gratin, and Pumpkin Pie-Infused Liquor.
  • The New York Times Dining & Wine Section: I know, how original, huh? But where else can you get the wisdom of Bittman, Clark, Asimov, and Fabricant in one place? This special Thanksgiving section offers Jacques Pepin's Steam Powered Turkey, Melissa Clark's Breakfast Muffins, and even a "Thanksgiving-erator" quiz to help you plan your menu. 
That's it! Enjoy your meal, but more than that, enjoy the people you're with and the memories of loved ones who may no longer be with you (that's my Nana and Poppa up at the top--and while I miss them terribly, I love all this photo represents).

Happy Thanksgiving!

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