How To: Thanksgiving Entertaining Tips

Dear Friends & Homecooks,

Thanksgiving can be very scary if you have a small kitchen and have never cooked a turkey before.  In Italy we don’t have this holiday that, upon moving to the US I have learned to love and look forward too. Small problem: How do you entertain a crowd for Thanksgiving if all you have is an urban kitchen?  I am here to help and I hope you find these tips helpful.

1) Brining the Turkey.

All you hear these days is that your turkey will come out juicy and moist ONLY if you have religiously brined it yourself with a homemade concoction that includes your favorite spices. Only problem is that brining takes a HUGE amount of space in your fridge and if you live in an urban area it is very likely that you will not have an outdoor area where you can keep your turkey cool while it brines (and safe from rats, of course).  So I say: BUY IT PRE BRINED! Yes my friends! there are stores such as fraiway and Wholefoods where you can order a wonderful turkey that has already been brined to perfection and is ready to be cooked to juicy perfection.

2)  Cooking the Turkey

You can check out my video on how to cook and carve your Thanksgiving turkey here.  When it comes to vessels to cook the turkey I lucked out because my friend Gualy gave me a great roaster for my wedding and I have been using it religiously over the years. If you don’t have a roaster, fear not, I have a solution for you that will make your gravy even better (and cleanup will be a heartbeat).  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, chop enough onions, potatoes and other root vegetables (carrots are a personal favorite for this process) to cover all the area where your Thanksgiving turkey will be placed. The vegetables will work like a rack for your turkey and can also be served as a side dish…. I call this “culinary multitasking” and uncle Alton (Brown) would be so proud of me right now if he only read my blog!

3) Side Dishes

Delegate. Delegate. Delegate.  If you are hosting a Thanksgiving party in a small kitchen you cannot be expected to do is all.  Tell your guests you are turning your party in a pot luck and delegate to each one of them what to make/buy.  Because, really how many more bottles of wine can they bring you? and how many are you really going to drink? (unless you are an alcoholic of course…. ahahah just kidding).  Last year I cooked the turkey and my sister in law and friends brought some side dishes. This year my sister in law is cooking the turkey so I am on side dishes duty. Kurt the pirate will be busy mixing drinks and washing dishes (hopefully).  Here is a selection of side dishes I like and a few I am going to make.

Campari Cranberry Sauce

Panettone and Sausage Stuffing

Food 52′s Absurdly addictive asparagus

Food 52′s Mashed potatoes with caramelized onions and goat cheese

The Heritage Cook’s Cauliflower Gratin

4) Desserts

After the decadent Thanksgiving meal who wants to have dessert? Well, I do… you know me I have a sweet tooth and on Black Friday, while everyone is out shopping I usually hit the gym to burn all the calories.  May I suggest that you make my stupid easy, one pot wonder Tarte Tatin? You can switch from summery plums to wintery apples and no one will complain. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Thanksgiving is all about sharing and having fun with your guests. So #pullupachair and enjoy the fall fest!