Hello everyone and welcome to the holidaze, that period from mid November to January 1st when many of us are “dazed” from all the things that need to get done! I hope you are managing to keep your wits about you better than I am.
Thanksgiving is a few days away and this year I’m hosting (and trying not to panic). Fortunately my parents and I share cooking duties. My mother is in charge of the roast turkey (she loves her fool-proof breast-side-down turkey method) and her amazing stuffing (my favorite). My father is in charge of the mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes. I make an apple pie, a pecan pie, and a pumpkin pie. My father and I share making the sides. Divide and conquer I say!
Are you looking for some extra special sides? I suggest this Roasted Butternut Squash Kale Sauté, these Cider Vinaigrette Roasted Root Vegetables (photo at top of email), or these Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Gruyere. All are worthy of a holiday feast.
Now, regarding leftovers, we have some great turkey leftover recipes on the site and I have several more that will be coming in the next week, so keep your eye out for them! Make sure to save your turkey carcass to make turkey stock (here’s how). Use it to make the big hit of our Thanksgiving weekend last year—our Curried Turkey Soup.
Save any leftover turkey meat for Turkey Chili. Dark meat works especially well with this hearty chili. Great with cornbread.
In other news, are any of you on Snapchat? I know that probably sounds weird coming from a women in her 50s, given that it’s a social media app used by millions of teenagers. I started using it because it was the best way to communicate with my 13 year old goddaughter and have become hooked.
If you aren’t familiar with Snapchat, it’s mostly used as a way to send your friends short video snippets or photos that you take with your smart phone. Like texts, on steroids. (Here’s a good video tutorial on how to use it.)
You can also use Snapchat to document your day and share it with anyone who is following you on the service. I’ve been using it to share videos of recipes, cooking tips, and what’s happening behind the scenes here at Simply Recipes central (aka my kitchen). You can follow me there @simplyrecipes. Cooking a dish from Simply Recipes? Send me a photo snap!
Back to cooking. Do you use a meat thermometer? I can’t imagine cooking a roast without one. I have a drawer full of every type of cooking thermometer you can think of, including one that is at least 50 years old. But there are only two thermometers that I actually use, both made by the same company.
One is a remote thermometer called ChefAlarm. With a remote thermometer you don’t have to open the oven door (and thereby cool down the oven) to check the temperature of the roast. The ChefAlarm is the only remote thermometer I’ve found that is easy to use and actually works the way it should.
The thermometer I use most often for daily cooking is my Thermapen. The sensor is at the very tip, which folds back into its case, with the read-out on the case in easy-to-read large numbers. The plastic case is practically unbreakable. It makes a great gift for someone who loves to cook! (Check out this special for Simply Recipes readers.)
In my last newsletter I mentioned that my French sweetheart Guy and I were getting ready to take our first trip to France together. We had a wonderful time, a two week whirlwind that centered mostly around Provence (where Guy is from).
Every morning started with croissants, a freshly baked baguette, and a soup bowl size cup of café au lait. We feasted on bouillabaisse in Marseille and mussels in Arles. We wandered under soaring arches of the Roman aqueduct the Pont du Gard, and tested the acoustics of the 2000 year old amphitheater in Orange with whispers and songs. Provence was every bit as magical as its reputation.
Our last two days in France were in Paris, where we walked off two weeks of breakfast croissants while taking in the sites of one of the world’s most beautiful cities. As much as I loved the food in Provence, my favorite meals of the trip were with long time food blogging friends—a home cooked meal of lambs neck stew with the lovely Clotilde Dusoulier of Chocolate & Zucchini, and buckwheat crepes with David Lebovitz and his partner Romain (shhh, my secret crush!).
There is really nothing better than sharing a meal with those you love.
To all of you, our friends near and far, please enjoy this precious time and stay safe this holiday season!
P.S. Have something special on the holiday menu this year? Let me know about it, I love hearing from you!