Thursday will be Thanksgiving Day, and I’m pretty sure everyone has a plan or should have by today, especially if you’re cooking for your family or friends. I think sometimes we get caught up in all the preparations and stress of trying to make everything perfect we forget to slow down and enjoy the day.
Cooking a big meal with all the trimmings and setting a table can be downright stressful, so take time to breathe, go for a walk or have an early glass of wine. I know it’s easier said than done, but if you were thinking about making some positive changes in your life for the new year, why not start right now before the old year passes us by? Change seems harder as you get older, but I want to be more like the willow that bends with the wind and not the cottonwood whose branches just snap off.
Of course that’s easy for me to say this year because I won’t be cooking. We will be in our little 19-foot travel trailer enjoying some turkey wings from Bristol Farms down Palm Springs way. I already made some dressing earlier this month and froze the leftover gravy and homemade rolls, so I’ll bake a yam, make a little salad and we’ll be good to go. We’ll have to see about the pumpkin pie, not sure I can pull that off in the trailer. I have cooked Thanksgiving dinner for 40 years and I have to say I’m looking forward to a break. I cooked a turkey dinner last week so we got our turkey fix.
Here are some of my tried and true recommendations: brine your turkey, it’s so worth the extra effort and keeps it moist. Make your pies, homemade rolls and dressing the night before. Peel your potatoes, cut them up and keep them covered with water in the garage. I also prefer a ricer for my mashed potatoes because I don’t like lumps! I boil my sweet potatoes the day before, peel them and have them ready to go in the oven with my dressing when the turkey comes out. Let your turkey set longer than 20 minutes. If you want to warm up the slices of breast meat, use some turkey broth heated in the microwave right before you serve it. Don’t let your leftovers set out longer than two hours. Use the leftover turkey for sandwiches, casseroles and be sure and make turkey soup with your carcass.
The plate you see in the picture was my grandmother’s and I only have a few serving dishes left that were hers and my mom’s, but I always bring them out and use them with joy and a sense of remembrance. And last but not least, enjoy the day and be grateful for all the blessings in your life.
I’ll leave you with this quote, “Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel.”
When you have eaten your share of all the leftovers and still have some sliced turkey meat left this is a wonderful sandwich. Adele’s served this sandwich for many years and it was always one of my favorites. I don’t think it’s on the menu anymore, but it’s worth the effort to make this sandwich at home. It’s rich and filling. I think it was called the Franciscan, and it’s served open-faced. Basically you toast a piece of sourdough bread, add your warm turkey, a couple pieces of cooked bacon, sliced tomato and avocado and some saute mushrooms on top. Spoon your white sauce over the sandwich, top with a little Parmesan cheese, and put under the broiler until the sauce is bubbly and brown.
BASIC WHITE SAUCE
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk, scalded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat and blend in flour to form a smooth paste, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in milk until thickened and smooth. Add salt and pepper, then let mellow about five minutes, stirring occasionally over low heat. If it’s too thick, just add a little more milk.
Linda Marrone, a longtime Carson resident, manages the 3rd & Curry Street Farmers Market and is director of Nevada Certified Farmers Market Association.