It happens every year. I'll spend a couple days reading old November issues of my favorite cooking magazines and pouring over the food blogs to come up with our Thanksgiving menu. I'll make a plan, shop way ahead of time, and spread my prep work out over the three days prior. Come Thursday, there will be an established timeline, and it will be executed to a T. And when the sides are ready, the turkey will be out of the oven and well rested to keep the juices in. I'll go to carve it, and inevitably, I'll say to myself:
Crap. I forgot that I do not have a work surface on which to properly take this thing apart.
I have cutting boards. Nice, thick, end-grain hard maple butcher blocks that I made myself. But they were designed for chopping vegetables, which are relatively dry, and not carving a turkey, which (if you cook it right) is very, very moist. Those juices will flow, and saturate any number of kitchen towels, and make a huge mess, covering my hands in poultry drippings to the point that I can no longer safely grip the knife and everything goes slippery, sliding (but flavorful) chaos.
It happens every year. I say to myself, "I really ought to make a proper carving board." And this year, I decided it was finally time.
So, here's how to make a diy cutting board yourself. Once you have the materials, it's only 90 minutes of work, and will last for many, many holiday seasons to come.
Cooking turkey upside down is the recipe for a juicy, delicious Thanksgiving dinner. Here's how:
Every season, somebody will inevitably mutter that ugly, and untrue, cliche. "No one actually likes turkey. It just tradition" or "Thanksgiving's only about the side dishes." Honestly, I feel bad for them. For it is only poor souls who have never had a properly cooked turkey who reject it's importance at the centerpiece of the holiday. Because with a properly cooked turkey not only comes slices to fork during the big meal, but better tasting stuffing, the all-important gravy, and options for leftovers that will keep your mouth and stomach happy all four-day weekend long.
You just need a little technique. Here's how to roast a turkey upside down to shut up the naysayers.
This is the best turkey stuffing recipe ever. There. I said it.
Premise #1: stuffing is the greatest thing on the Thanksgiving table.
Premise #2: My mom's German stuffing is a tradition, and amazing.
Premise #3: It's also incredibly easy to make and super versatile.
Conclusion: You should make Mom's German stuffing recipe
It's the holiday season here on the show and today we make German Thanksgiving stuffing, a family holiday recipe with Mom. She makes it the best and she's gonna make sure we do it right. This is one of my favorite traditions, and is one of the simplest holiday recipes. You'll be blown away by how tasty it is. Mom and I are happy to share it with you.
Halloween has its horror and December its infinite loop of sparkle-strung classics. Good or bad, they're the established traditions of their seasons.
But, if you will, allow me to make the case as November as perhaps the prime month for festive film watching. We can't all relate to being chased by ax murderers nor having the carolers sing as we find our soulmate under the mistletoe just as the snow starts to fall outside. But everyone knows the experience of returning home to break bread and spill gravy with family, or, perhaps, what it's like to strike out on your own for the first holiday not spent at your grandparents. The Thanksgiving table (and four days of being stuck in the same place) is the perfect setting for drama, comedy, and everything in between. Plus, all those sweaters. Here are our faves that get it right.
This week is, understandably, about a few key flavors: hot, roasting turkey and its drippings, made into a savory gravy. Or the buttery, sauteed smell of sage and onion and celery, which perfumes your entire home and reminds you of the holidays of childhood, even though you're pretty sure your grandmother never actually made anything from scratch.
Let's not demean those foods, and the bountiful leftovers. It's what the season is all about. But, sometimes...you need a break. Because this is the week of houseguests and slow mornings and relying on food to fill unoccupied time. And when you're not feeling a fourth helping of stuffing (or, perhaps, right before the dried bread and fixings are even mixed), it's time to employ: the DIY cast iron cinnamon rolls.
Thanksgiving has two of my favorite English words in it, so it's not surprising it's among my favorite holidays of the year. It's infinitely adaptable, both in terms of what you eat, and what you do during the holiday. Plus, it's a long weekend off during a period of the year when most of us sorely need it (a break from the cold, grey skies of early winter). This is the holiday for people who wish they could hibernate. For people who want to sit in their house all day, surrounded by good friends, family, and food. Who are thankful for what they have, and want to share it with others who might not be so lucky.
So I'm excited to share a heaping helping of my favorite tips for making the Thanksgiving holiday smooth and stress-free.
You know those little pumpkins you practically trip over in the supermarket this time of year? It turns out: they're good for more than just Instagram props. With, like, no work, they make a really tasty pumpkin butter you’ll want to have in the fridge all year long. I’m talking about pumpkin butter with the magical spice flavor of pumpkin pie, but simple, less sweet and much more, well, pumpkin-y.
I'll admit it: when I was 24, and thinking about hosting friends for Thanksgiving for the very first time, I probably wouldn't have used a guide like this. For one thing, I was stubborn and willful, and liked to think I could figure everything out on my own (wrong!). For another, that was 2006, and the internet was a much newer, smaller place then: this type of guide probably wasn't out there.
But you, my friends! You youngsters with your illogical catch phrases and shrug emojis and your ability to understand how to use Snapchat! You can be better! You can do what few young men before you have ever done! You can host an awesome Thanksgiving meal at your house, and it can look amazing, and you can even have fun doing it. C'mon, it's not going to be hard ...
We've still got a couple weeks yet, but why not check out these recipes now and prepare yourself for the manliest Thanksgiving yet? The dinner menu features "a turkey smoked over sweet applewood and corncobs, ember-cooked potato packets..., a grilled fig and dried fruit chutney; and grilled green beans with shallots and hazelnuts."
Hi friends - this'll be my last post for the week. I'm spending the rest of the day and all of Tuesday in my workshop, banging out some original how-tos and Christmas projects, (stay tuned), before going into full-on holiday mode on Wednesday. And before I go, I wanted to share the thing for which I'm most thankful for this year:
To celebrate the harvest season and all things Thanksgiving, Abstract Sunday artist Christoph Niemann created "Squash Modern," a collection of modern design classics reinterpretted with, well, squash.
Hello, hello, friends. I'm happy to wish all a Happy Thanksgiving. This year, I'm struck by how thankful I am to have a job that I love, exploring the handmade and design scene, making cool stuff, and sharing them with the ManMade and Curbly audiences. I was able to make my dream come true before I even hit thirty, and I'm incredibly, incredibly grateful.
So, thanks to all of you for reading our sites, and for allowing me to do this full time.
Here's an old favorite of mine; enjoy it, and be grateful that all of your friends and family aren't so negative. (Hopefully!)
I've gone on record on ManMade (multiple times...too many to link) about my love of pickling. Not just kosher dills from a jar, but the act of changing the entire experience of fruits and veggies by treating them with salty, acidic solutions. I especially love "quick pickles" and "fridge pickles," which have all the flavor and brightness, but don't require the dance of sterilization and preservation of process canning.
Over the summer, I pickle everything from peaches to beans and peas, and in the fall, pumpkin, apples, and squash. So, during this unique time of year...why not pickle its seasonal signature - the cranberry?
Yeah, the grocery stores and commercials are full of standards for that other upcoming holiday, but this week, if you're not quite ready to jump to sleigh bells and mentions of misteltoe, try rocking out to NPR's "Songs for Stuffing," a collection of jams for Thanksgiving.
There's a somewhat famous pumpkin festival about an hour from my house, which came very highly recommended when I first moved to the city six years ago. It's standard fair and festival stuff: touring food trailers and games, local non-profits and faith communities fundraisers, student art, etc. It's kinda crazy and kitschy and pretty awesome, and certainly worth a visit. But, after a few years, my attendance slowed: mostly 'cause all we'd do is stand around and eat mediocre food that's really bad for you, look at the cloggers, get stuck behind the parade, and stand in line for forty-five minutes for some seriously tasty, piping hot fresh pumpkin doughnuts, the highlight of the festival if you ask anyone.
So, this year, we decided to skip the drive and the parking fiasco and the food-on-sticks, and just make pumpkin doughnuts at home.
And they were incredible.
Though Tim Burton's creations usually find their annual heydays during the Halloween season, this year, the filmmaker's dark, macabre aesthetic will be sticking around for another few weeks. This year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will feature B.Boy, a Burton-designed balloon, mixing it up with Snoopy, Kermit the Frog, and the Keith Haring guy that started showing up a few years ago.
We don't think carving a turkey is an essential man skill, with grandpa (who didn't have anything to do with the planning or cooking of the meal) standing at the head of the table, steeling his knife and taking all the credit.
Nope, we thinking that properly carving a turkey is an essential people skill, and the best way to take advantage of all the hard work that went into cooking it.
Fancy menus, special dishes, and super turkey techniques aside, the thing I'm always most grateful for is mashed potatoes, and plenty of gravy. Put whatever you want in the stuffing or cranberries, but leave my mash the way God intended it, fluffy and creamy, with a huge crater for plenty of gravy, freshly made from pan-drippings.
I've never actually drunk gravy from a glass, as suggested in the photo, but I'm pretty sure I'm not opposed to it.