So, you’ve got your wine picked out (and if you don’t, we have the wines above open all week!), and you’re pretty sure of your game plan for the big day, but how to take your Thanksgiving spread from good, to one your friends and relatives will talk about for years to come? We’ve compiled our favorite cooking and wine tips and provided you with a few helpful links to help you take Turkey Day over the top!
Make Your Wine Shine!
- If you’re serving a fuller-bodied red, make sure your dishes are well-seasoned – salt softens tannins, so a little extra will help that big red go with turkey and sides.
- Using lemon juice in place of vinegar in salad dressings will make them more wine-friendly.
- For appetizers that will show off that great sparkling wine you bought, think texture: crispy, crunchy, or creamy are all great with bubbles.
- If you’re serving a wine with earthy flavors, like an older Burgundy, (may we suggest this stunning 1991 Aloxe-Corton), mushrooms as a side dish or added into your stuffing can help tie your meal to the wine.
A Few Pointers From Us
Randy‘s essential Thanksgiving ingredients are homemade stock, and plenty of Champagne! This year he’s going with one of our favorites, Guy Larmandier, but this is one Thanksgiving recipe where substitutions are welcome!
Diane says: First of all, take that tub of Cool Whip and hide it in the basement away from small children. Give your (real!) whipped cream that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ with a dollop of creme fraiche and a few drops of vanilla extract. Your pumpkin pie won’t know what hit it! Here’s an example of almost the right amount of whipped cream (a little more would be better):
Meg handles Thanksgiving by focusing on what she likes to do, and letting Doug do the rest – good advice! And according to Doug, it’s not Thanksgiving without Chateaunuef-du-Pape. As our resident Grenache obsessive, we have a feeling he feels this way about a number of other holidays as well…
And Lauren, one of our more organized staff members, advises making as much ahead of time as possible and clearing space in your freezer ahead of time for leftovers.
The Washington Post has a great guide to area bakeries that have standout Thanksgiving desserts if you’re not the baking type, or you’re realizing you’ll run out of time or oven space on the big day. You can never have too much pie – it’s a proven scientific fact that leftover pie with hot coffee is one of the world’s great breakfasts.
Food52.com is a great cooking Web site that has all kinds of tips, tricks and techniques related to cooking and beverages. This is a great article that gives you a few last-minute cooking tips that are easy to pull off even if you’ve already done your shopping and don’t plan on braving the store again!
Sometimes the recipes can be a little long-winded, but for techniques, product reviews, and food that just plain works, Cooks Illustrated can’t be beat. Here is their Thanksgiving Survival Guide, and if you’re not a member you can start a free trial.
We want to hear from you – what are your best last-minute food and wine tips for Thanksgiving?