Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year. As a foodie, I love all get togethers surrounded by food preparation. Plus, this holiday offers the perfect opportunity to host other military families for a Friendsgiving celebration.
Here are three ideas that will make your menu even better:
Perfect turkey brine
Brining is the process in which sugar and salt are used to lock in moisture and flavor. This recipe is for a wet brine.
You will first need a container large enough to fit the turkey, which includes submerging it in warm water.
- 3 oranges, sliced
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 1 cup whole black peppercorn
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ¾ ounce fresh sage
- ¾ ounce fresh thyme
- ¾ ounce fresh oregano
TIP: Many stores will also sell a poultry blend or herbs close to Thanksgiving time
- Add sugar and salt to the warm water. Warm water is better for allowing sugar and salt to dissolve more thoroughly.
- After making the brine solution, add in the citrus, peppercorn and herbs.
- Submerge the turkey, cover it and refrigerate (anywhere from 12-24 hours).
Duchess potatoes are like mashed potatoes, but they are piped into individual clouds of perfection. They can be made ahead (frozen, if need be), and then baked when you’re looking to serve them.
You will want to make sure you have a piping bag and a large piping tip that allows for a sort of swirl pattern.
- 2 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and boiled well
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 2 egg yolks
- 5 cloves of micro planed garlic/garlic paste
- ½ cup finely shredded parmesan
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- As the potatoes are boiling, add all other ingredients to a stand mixer. This way when the potatoes are added while hot, it melts the butter, cheese and ingredients together really well.
- After the potatoes have been boiled and break easily when touched, add them to the stand mixer right away.
- Mix with the paddle attachment until smooth and creamy.
- Add your piping tip to your bag and then the mashed potatoes.
- Pipe onto a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 400 F.
Orange ginger icebox cake
If you never heard of icebox cake, you’re in for a treat. All you must do is make whipped cream, spread it on chocolate wafers and let it sit for 4 hours or overnight. In fact, making this dessert a day before adds to its perfect texture.
The dry cookies absorb the whipped cream and become cakelike in texture. And while many of us have seen it made with chocolate wafers, did you also know you can make it with gingersnaps? I also add some Grand Marnier and orange zest to my whipped crème to make it even more Thanksgiving themed.
- 1 package of ginger snaps
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier (or other orange liquor)
- 2 oranges
- Mix the heavy whipping cream in a stand mixer with whisk attachment until it begins to stiffen. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar until it is firm enough to hold a peak.
- Zest 1 orange, add the Grand Marnier and mix on slow until well incorporated.
- Using a spoon, smear a line of the whipped cream down the center of a serving plate. This will give the cookies something to stick to when you put them down.
- Cover one side of a cookie with roughly 1 tablespoon of whipped cream and place another cookie on top of that whipped cream. Repeat this process a few more times and put the cookies onto the plate so that they stand vertically. Continue repeating this process until you have finished most of the package. I like to leave a few cookies to crumble on top for a garnish. You may also end up having two rows side by side, as I did.
- Cover the cookies with the rest of the whipped cream.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight (or a minimum of 3 hours if you’re in a pinch).
- When you’re ready to serve, garnish with orange slices and crumbled gingersnap cookies.