Thanksgiving 101 : Celebrate America's Favorite Holiday with America's Thanksgiving Expert
Every fourth Thursday of November, Americans open their homes to friends and families. But when was the last time most of us made dinner for such a big crowd? With Thanksgiving 101 by your side, preparing for the holiday will be a pleasure. With step-by-step instructions for classic Thanksgiving dishes, as well as new twists on old favorites, this book will become gravy-stained in its first outing. Whether you're looking for new ways to cook turkey; traditional trimmings, chutneys, or chowders; a vegetarian entr?e; or fresh ideas for regional classics, including Cajun-or Italian-inspired tastes, Thanksgiving 101 serves up a delicious education for novice and experienced cooks alike. And cooks will turn to these dishes all year long whenever they are throwing a big party.
With foolproof recipes, detailed menu timetables, and down-to-earth advice, Thanksgiving 101 is the holiday cook's best friend.
In his briskly informative, humorous fashion, Rodgers tells you Everything You've Always Wanted to Know About Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner but Were Too Harassed to Ask. A Thanksgiving specialist?he's the author of The Turkey Cookbook and teaches Thanksgiving 101 classes?Rodgers has developed and refined over 150 recipes, surefire cooking methods and detailed timetables to help the anxious host and hostess master all aspects of the national feast. Whether unmolding the cranberry mold, serving up lively vegetables (Not Your Grandmother's Succotash), baking Buttermilk Biscuits, mastering do-ahead gravy, mashing lump-free potatoes or roasting a bird?10 different ways?Rodgers reassures the cook in the kitchen. Along the way, he gives some snazzy twists to the basics, e.g., "Tamale" Stuffing with Pork, Chiles and Raisins, Scalloped Yams with Praline Topping, and Pumpkin-Walnut Roulade with Ginger Filling. Menus, informative essays on ingredients, a complete q&a section on turkey, great pies and inspiring leftovers (tacos to Tetrazzini) complete the confidence-building course. Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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October 01, 2007
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Excerpt from Thanksgiving 101 by Rick Rodgers
Green Beans with Portobello Mushrooms and Bacon
Green beans and bacon go together like, well, turkey and gravy. Portobello mushrooms, full of meaty flavor, are a fine addition to the classic dish. However, sauteed portobellos often give off a lot of dark liquid, which some cooks feel ruins the look of a dish. Scraping the dark gills out of each cap with a spoon solves the problem.
Make Ahead: The green beans can be blanched up to 1 day ahead. The mushrooms and bacon can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead.
11/2pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
4 large portobello mushrooms (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
4 ounces sliced smoked bacon (usually 1 slice equals 1 ounce)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and return to the boil. Cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold running water. (The green beans can be prepared to this point up to 1 day ahead. Pat the green beans dry with paper towels. Roll them up in a double thickness of paper towels and place in a large self-sealing plastic bag and refrigerate.)
Cut off the stem from each mushroom, and slice crosswise into 1/2-inch rounds. Using a teaspoon, scrape out the tender, dark brown gills from the underside of each mushroom cap and cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips.
In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat. Add the mushroom stems and caps, and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and cook, stirring often, until the shallots soften, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside. (The mushrooms can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead, loosely covered, and kept at room temperature.)
In the same skillet, place the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and tilt to coat the skillet. Add the bacon and place over medium heat. Cook, occasionally turning the bacon, until the bacon is crisp and brown, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spatula, transfer to paper towels to drain. Keep the bacon drippings in the skillet. Cool the bacon, chop coarsely, and set aside. (The bacon and its drippings can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead, covered, and kept at room temperature.)
Place the skillet over medium heat and heat until the bacon drippings sizzle. Add the green beans and mushrooms, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bacon and season with the salt and pepper. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately.
Serves 8 to 12
For a pumpkin dessert when pie isn't in the picture, here's an easy spice cake packed with holiday flavors. Substitute dried cranberries for the currants, if you wish. I always hope that there are leftovers of this cake for my Day-After-Thanksgiving breakfast.
Make Ahead: The cake can be baked up to 2 days ahead.
21/2 cups all-purpose flour
11/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
3 large eggs
One 15-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin (13/4 cups)
3/4 cup dried currants
3/4 cup toasted, coarsely chopped pecans
Confectioners' sugar, for sifting
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350`F. Lightly butter a 12-cup fluted tube cake pan (preferably nonstick). Dust the pan with flour and tap out the excess.
Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together. In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer at high speed, beat the butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar, and beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, and, one at a time, beat in the eggs. Beat in the pumpkin. Reduce the mixer speed to low. In three additions, beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the currants and pecans. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
3. Bake until a long wooden skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire cake rack. Invert the cake onto the rack, unmold, and cool completely. (The cake can be baked up to 2 days ahead, covered tightly with plastic wrap, and stored at room temperature.) Sift confectioners' sugar over the top and serve.
The foregoing is excerpted from Thanksgiving 101 by Rick Rodgers. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022