Holiday Celebrations

Holiday Celebrations

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Holiday Celebrations Holiday Celebrations Holiday meals are a time to think big. A juicy turkey, holiday roast beef, succulent ham, or spring leg of lamb are all suitably grand centerpieces; the choice often depends on your family traditions. Then make that sideboard groan with an array of accompaniments, from potato casseroles and stuffings to favorite recipes for green beans, Brussels sprouts, and relishes—and don’t forget the gravy! After everyone has had time to rest and digest, out come the desserts: festive cookies, puddings, pies, and cakes made from recipes handed down for generations or promising new sweets that may be brought back next year if they prove popular enough. On the pages that follow, you’ll find special-occasion menus, recipes, tips, and shortcuts to help it all go smoothly. (The menus feature recipes that are all in this book, either within this chapter or cross-referenced with page numbers for easy access.) We share suggestions for instant appetizers and teach you how to roast a turkey that’s moist on the inside and crispy on the outside. We also offer recipes and guidance on storing and using all those yummy leftovers. But don’t expect perfection: first and foremost, holiday celebrations are about bringing family and friends together for good times. As the host you should enjoy yourself, too.
Holiday meals are a time to think big. A juicy turkey, holiday roast beef, succulent ham, or spring leg of lamb are all suitably grand centerpieces; the choice often depends on your family traditions. Then make that sideboard groan with an array of accompaniments, from potato casseroles and stuffings to favorite recipes for green beans, Brussels sprouts, and relishes—and don’t forget the gravy! After everyone has had time to rest and digest, out come the desserts: festive cookies, puddings, pies, and cakes made from recipes handed down for generations or promising new sweets that may be brought back next year if they prove popular enough. On the pages that follow, you’ll find special-occasion menus, recipes, tips, and shortcuts to help it all go smoothly. (The menus feature recipes that are all in this book, either within this chapter or cross-referenced with page numbers for easy access.) We share suggestions for instant appetizers and teach you how to roast a turkey that’s moist on the inside and crispy on the outside. We also offer recipes and guidance on storing and using all those yummy leftovers. But don’t expect perfection: first and foremost, holiday celebrations are about bringing family and friends together for good times. As the host you should enjoy yourself, too.

TIMING

Until you host a holiday meal yourself, you don’t truly appreciate the days or even weeks of planning and preparation required. Think of hosting a holiday party as being akin to conducting an orchestra. You want each section to be in tune and for the whole to be harmonious. When planning your menu, plot a variety of colors, textures, and flavors. All sorts of puréed side dishes can be monotonous. If you’re serving mashed potatoes with your roast, add a bit of crunch with green beans or broccoli. A stewy entrée pairs with polenta or another soft and creamy side to sop up juices. Here, some of our favorite tips and shortcuts to help make your entertaining easier. Checklist, please. Start with a menu and a list of every dish you’ll be serving, including bread and drinks. Review recipes and note what you can do ahead. The day before the big dinner, set out serving pieces and utensils (label with Post-it notes to remind yourself which piece goes with which food). For additional tips on planning a party, see Think Ahead. Zip It! Side dishes like green beans and sweet potatoes can be made ahead and reheated on the stovetop. Store cut-up veggies in self-sealing plastic bags; you’ll fit the foods into small spaces in the fridge. Stuffing for roast turkey or chickens can be prepared a couple of days in advance; just don’t combine the bread with the eggs or sautéed vegetables until you’re ready to bake the stuffing. Gravy Master. To avoid last-minute panic and lumpy gravy, make the base ahead. Into a medium saucepan, measure 1 cup cornstarch or 2 tablespoons flour for every cup of broth (use homemade or select a good-quality low-sodium beef, veal, or chicken broth). Stir 1 cup of the broth into the starch until smooth. Add remaining broth and bring to a boil, stirring often. Boil 1 minute for cornstarch, 3 minutes for flour. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. While the holiday roast or turkey rests before carving, skim the fat from roasting-pan drippings (leave some to flavor the gravy). Add the gravy base to the roasting pan and boil, scraping up any brown bits. Strain the liquid into a saucepan; reheat and serve. Low and Slow. Mashed potatoes don’t taste the same after they’ve been refrigerated. Make them in the morning and keep them hot in a slow cooker. Sweet Finales. Most desserts can be made a day or two ahead; remove them from the refrigerator an hour before serving. Reheat pies in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes. Heat Up the Plates. If you have oven space, warm the serving plates there. Otherwise, run them under the hottest water available and quickly dry them. Set a Dazzling Table. A special meal deserves a special table setting. These are the occasions to pull out your china and that stunning crystal you never use. See Setting a Proper Table, for guidance. If you plan to let guests serve themselves, Buffet Basics, will help. Wine and Dine. Reisling and Zinfandel pair well with a turkey dinner. Look for drier Rieslings or spicy, fruity Zinfandels. For advice on wine selection, see Know Your Wines. Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy Your Guests. We’ve heard of a tradition we think all households should institute. Those who cook, don’t clean up.

REMEMBER, IT’S JUST A TURKEY

Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned holiday cook, the following tips will help you prepare and roast the holiday bird with confidence.

WHAT TO BUY

  • Frozen turkeys are widely available and often on sale during the holidays. Some are prebasted to enhance juiciness. You can buy them well in advance of Thanksgiving or Christmas, but you’ll need to allow enough time for them to thaw before you put them in the oven (see How to Thaw, opposite).
  • Fresh turkeys are preferred by many people but are usually more expensive, have a shorter shelf life, and may need to be special-ordered. Don’t buy one more than two days ahead of the big day.
  • Kosher turkeys are available fresh and frozen. They’re salted as part of the koshering process, so no additional salt is needed in their preparation. This process makes the meat very tender and juicy, similar to the results you’d get from a brined bird.
Holiday Celebrations A

HOW MUCH TO BUY

Estimate 1 pound uncooked turkey per person to ensure enough meat for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and for sandwiches later on. For quantities for stuffing, mashed potatoes, and other essential holiday dishes, see How Much Do I Need?, below.

HOW TO THAW

The best way: Place frozen turkey (still in packaging) in a shallow pan on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Allow 24 hours thawing time for every 4 to 5 pounds. A thawed bird can keep up to 4 days in the fridge.

HOW MUCH DO I NEED?

Cooking for a crowd can be complicated—the prep takes longer and there are more (and bigger) pots to watch. But first comes the essential step: doing the math. Maybe you know how much stuffing to make for eight people, but how much for 20? Our at-a-glance guidelines for 11 holiday basics shows the minimum amount you’ll need to buy whether you’re entertaining eight or 24 or various numbers in between. Holiday Celebrations Recipe B

DEEP-FRIED TURKEY

We’ll let you in on a little Southern secret: Immersing a turkey in a hot vat of oil produces a supermoist and juicy treat with a crackling, not greasy, mahogany-colored skin in record time—about 3 to 5 minutes per pound (as opposed to the usual 20 minutes). This unorthodox method of cooking requires a special liquid propane-powered fryer (available with baskets and/or hooks to lower and raise the bird in and out of the fat) and a whole lot of oil—approximately 5 gallons for a 15 pounder. Do this outside—never indoors—and proceed with caution:Make sure your fryer is set on solid ground; wear protective gloves as you work; keep children and pets far away; and cook to a safe temperature, until a thermometer inserted into the thigh of the bird reads 180°F.

TOP SANDWICH IDEAS FOR COLD TURKEY

Everyone looks forward to leftover turkey sandwiches, that is, until they’ve had one too many. To jazz things up, stack your sliced white meat with the following items:
  • Sautéed onions and cranberry sauce on toasted walnut-raisin bread
  • Coleslaw and tomato slices on multigrain bread
  • Thinly sliced ham, American cheese, and mustard on white bread; brown in a buttered skillet until golden
  • Jarred roasted red peppers and prepared pesto on Italian bread
  • Mango chutney and Brie on a French baguette or sourdough roll
  • Potato salad and horseradish on pumpernickel
  • Cheddar cheese and pickles on a sesame-seed bun
  • Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese on rye; cook in an oiled skillet until golden
  • Blue cheese dressing and apple slices on toasted pecan bread
  • Jalapeño-pepper Monterey-Jack and salsa between flour tortillas; panfry quesadilla-style in a nonstick skillet until cheese melts
Last-minute solution : Place a still-wrapped turkey in a large cooler or bowl and submerge in cold water. Allow 30 minutes of thawing time per pound and change the water every 30 minutes. Cook turkey immediately.

HOW TO STUFF

The best way: Bake stuffing separately in a shallow casserole in the oven alongside the turkey. If you prefer to stuff the bird, follow these guidelines:
  • Make sure the turkey is fully thawed.
  • Mix ingredients just before using and pack stuffing loosely into the cavity to allow room for expansion.
  • Roast the turkey about 30 minutes longer than an unstuffed one.
  • Check that the internal temperature of the stuffing reaches 165°F.

HOW TO ROAST

  • Place the turkey (breast side up) on a rack in a large roasting pan in an oven preheated to 325°F. If you don’t have a rack, place 2 or 3 large carrots crosswise underneath the bird to ensure good heat circulation.
  • For moist meat, cover with foil from the start—but remove foil during the last hour of roasting for browner, crispier skin.
  • Basting with pan juices isn’t necessary, but it will help with browning after the foil is removed.
  • Roast turkey 3 to 33/4 hours for a 12- to 14-pounder. (That’s around 15 to 17 minutes per pound for an unstuffed bird.)
  • Use an instant-read meat thermometer to test doneness. Turkey should be taken out of the oven when the thickest part of the thigh (next to but not touching the bone) reaches 175°F and the breast reaches 165°F. Keep in mind that the temperature will rise 5° to 10°F upon standing.
  • If the turkey is fully cooked earlier than expected, wrap the entire bird and pan with foil and place a large bath towel on top to keep it hot and moist for 1 hour.
  • Never leave at room temperature longer than 2 hours.

WHEN IN DOUBT

Having a turkey meltdown? Try these phone numbers and Web sites for help.
  • Butterball Turkey Talk-Line . . . 800-288-8372 November 1 to December 29 butterball.com (with links to Butterball’s Facebook page and Twitter account)
  • Reynolds Turkey Tips Hot Line . . . 800-745-4000 November 1 to December 31 reynoldskitchen.com
  • USDA Meat & Poultry Hot Line . . . 800-674-6854 fsis.usda.gov

SAFELY STORING TURKEY LEFTOVERS

The pie has been served, the table is cleared, the dishes await. If you’re tempted to curl up in front of a good movie and leave cleanup for the rest of the gang, at least put the turkey away first. “Store it within two hours of serving. Bacteria grow rapidly at room temperature, and refrigeration will not eliminate microorganisms that have already grown,” says Sandy Kuzmich, Ph.D., the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Chemistry Director. Leftover turkey can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. In the freezer it will keep for 4 months (plain) or 6 months (in broth or gravy). Here are some additional pointers for safe stowaways:
  • Take all meat off the carcass and store in serving-size packets or shallow containers. The smaller the portion, the faster you can thoroughly defrost and reheat it. (To refrigerate in packets, wrap meat in plastic wrap or foil and place in self-sealing plastic bags. To freeze, use the same procedure but with freezer-weight bags.)
  • To thaw leftover turkey, place it in the refrigerator overnight. To warm, stir in hot grazy just to heat through. Or stir frozen turkey shreds or small pieces directly into soups at the last minute; cook just until hot.
For tips on freezing, thawing, and using other types of leftovers, see Canning and Freezing. easy holiday recipes, holiday baking recipes, holiday dinner recipes, holiday party food ideas, holiday party recipes, holiday recipes appetizers, holiday recipes desserts, holiday recipes for christmas, recipes, snack recipes, drink recipes, cake recipes, condiment, nutrition, tips and tricks, asian recipes, american recipes, european recipes, african recipes, australie recipes, Indonesian recipes
Thursday, 23 November 2017

Holiday Celebrations

Article Categories : Holiday Celebrations

Holiday meals are a time to think big. A juicy turkey, holiday roast beef, succulent ham, or spring leg of lamb are all suitably grand centerpieces; the choice often depends on your family traditions. Then make that sideboard groan with an array of accompaniments, from potato casseroles and stuffings to favorite recipes for green beans, Brussels sprouts, and relishes—and don’t forget the gravy! After everyone has had time to rest and digest, out come the desserts: festive cookies, puddings, pies, and cakes made from recipes handed down for generations or promising new sweets that may be brought back next year if they prove popular enough.

On the pages that follow, you’ll find special-occasion menus, recipes, tips, and shortcuts to help it all go smoothly. (The menus feature recipes that are all in this book, either within this chapter or cross-referenced with page numbers for easy access.) We share suggestions for instant appetizers and teach you how to roast a turkey that’s moist on the inside and crispy on the outside. We also offer recipes and guidance on storing and using all those yummy leftovers. But don’t expect perfection: first and foremost, holiday celebrations are about bringing family and friends together for good times. As the host you should enjoy yourself, too.

TIMING

Until you host a holiday meal yourself, you don’t truly appreciate the days or even weeks of planning and preparation required. Think of hosting a holiday party as being akin to conducting an orchestra. You want each section to be in tune and for the whole to be harmonious. When planning your menu, plot a variety of colors, textures, and flavors. All sorts of puréed side dishes can be monotonous. If you’re serving mashed potatoes with your roast, add a bit of crunch with green beans or broccoli. A stewy entrée pairs with polenta or another soft and creamy side to sop up juices.

Here, some of our favorite tips and shortcuts to help make your entertaining easier.

Checklist, please. Start with a menu and a list of every dish you’ll be serving, including bread and drinks. Review recipes and note what you can do ahead. The day before the big dinner, set out serving pieces and utensils (label with Post-it notes to remind yourself which piece goes with which food). For additional tips on planning a party, see Think Ahead.

Zip It! Side dishes like green beans and sweet potatoes can be made ahead and reheated on the stovetop. Store cut-up veggies in self-sealing plastic bags; you’ll fit the foods into small spaces in the fridge.

Stuffing for roast turkey or chickens can be prepared a couple of days in advance; just don’t combine the bread with the eggs or sautéed vegetables until you’re ready to bake the stuffing.

Gravy Master. To avoid last-minute panic and lumpy gravy, make the base ahead. Into a medium saucepan, measure 1 cup cornstarch or 2 tablespoons flour for every cup of broth (use homemade or select a good-quality low-sodium beef, veal, or chicken broth). Stir 1 cup of the broth into the starch until smooth. Add remaining broth and bring to a boil, stirring often. Boil 1 minute for cornstarch, 3 minutes for flour. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

While the holiday roast or turkey rests before carving, skim the fat from roasting-pan drippings (leave some to flavor the gravy). Add the gravy base to the roasting pan and boil, scraping up any brown bits. Strain the liquid into a saucepan; reheat and serve.

Low and Slow. Mashed potatoes don’t taste the same after they’ve been refrigerated. Make them in the morning and keep them hot in a slow cooker.

Sweet Finales. Most desserts can be made a day or two ahead; remove them from the refrigerator an hour before serving. Reheat pies in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes.

Heat Up the Plates. If you have oven space, warm the serving plates there. Otherwise, run them under the hottest water available and quickly dry them.

Set a Dazzling Table. A special meal deserves a special table setting. These are the occasions to pull out your china and that stunning crystal you never use. See Setting a Proper Table, for guidance. If you plan to let guests serve themselves, Buffet Basics, will help.

Wine and Dine. Reisling and Zinfandel pair well with a turkey dinner. Look for drier Rieslings or spicy, fruity Zinfandels. For advice on wine selection, see Know Your Wines.

Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy Your Guests. We’ve heard of a tradition we think all households should institute. Those who cook, don’t clean up.

REMEMBER, IT’S JUST A TURKEY

Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned holiday cook, the following tips will help you prepare and roast the holiday bird with confidence.

WHAT TO BUY

  • Frozen turkeys are widely available and often on sale during the holidays. Some are prebasted to enhance juiciness. You can buy them well in advance of Thanksgiving or Christmas, but you’ll need to allow enough time for them to thaw before you put them in the oven (see How to Thaw, opposite).
  • Fresh turkeys are preferred by many people but are usually more expensive, have a shorter shelf life, and may need to be special-ordered. Don’t buy one more than two days ahead of the big day.
  • Kosher turkeys are available fresh and frozen. They’re salted as part of the koshering process, so no additional salt is needed in their preparation. This process makes the meat very tender and juicy, similar to the results you’d get from a brined bird.

Holiday Celebrations A

HOW MUCH TO BUY

Estimate 1 pound uncooked turkey per person to ensure enough meat for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner and for sandwiches later on. For quantities for stuffing, mashed potatoes, and other essential holiday dishes, see How Much Do I Need?, below.

HOW TO THAW

The best way: Place frozen turkey (still in packaging) in a shallow pan on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. Allow 24 hours thawing time for every 4 to 5 pounds. A thawed bird can keep up to 4 days in the fridge.

HOW MUCH DO I NEED?

Cooking for a crowd can be complicated—the prep takes longer and there are more (and bigger) pots to watch. But first comes the essential step: doing the math. Maybe you know how much stuffing to make for eight people, but how much for 20? Our at-a-glance guidelines for 11 holiday basics shows the minimum amount you’ll need to buy whether you’re entertaining eight or 24 or various numbers in between.

Holiday Celebrations Recipe B

DEEP-FRIED TURKEY

We’ll let you in on a little Southern secret: Immersing a turkey in a hot vat of oil produces a supermoist and juicy treat with a crackling, not greasy, mahogany-colored skin in record time—about 3 to 5 minutes per pound (as opposed to the usual 20 minutes).

This unorthodox method of cooking requires a special liquid propane-powered fryer (available with baskets and/or hooks to lower and raise the bird in and out of the fat) and a whole lot of oil—approximately 5 gallons for a 15 pounder. Do this outside—never indoors—and proceed with caution:Make sure your fryer is set on solid ground; wear protective gloves as you work; keep children and pets far away; and cook to a safe temperature, until a thermometer inserted into the thigh of the bird reads 180°F.

TOP SANDWICH IDEAS FOR COLD TURKEY

Everyone looks forward to leftover turkey sandwiches, that is, until they’ve had one too many. To jazz things up, stack your sliced white meat with the following items:

  • Sautéed onions and cranberry sauce on toasted walnut-raisin bread
  • Coleslaw and tomato slices on multigrain bread
  • Thinly sliced ham, American cheese, and mustard on white bread; brown in a buttered skillet until golden
  • Jarred roasted red peppers and prepared pesto on Italian bread
  • Mango chutney and Brie on a French baguette or sourdough roll
  • Potato salad and horseradish on pumpernickel
  • Cheddar cheese and pickles on a sesame-seed bun
  • Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut, and Swiss cheese on rye; cook in an oiled skillet until golden
  • Blue cheese dressing and apple slices on toasted pecan bread
  • Jalapeño-pepper Monterey-Jack and salsa between flour tortillas; panfry quesadilla-style in a nonstick skillet until cheese melts

Last-minute solution : Place a still-wrapped turkey in a large cooler or bowl and submerge in cold water. Allow 30 minutes of thawing time per pound and change the water every 30 minutes. Cook turkey immediately.

HOW TO STUFF

The best way: Bake stuffing separately in a shallow casserole in the oven alongside the turkey. If you prefer to stuff the bird, follow these guidelines:

  • Make sure the turkey is fully thawed.
  • Mix ingredients just before using and pack stuffing loosely into the cavity to allow room for expansion.
  • Roast the turkey about 30 minutes longer than an unstuffed one.
  • Check that the internal temperature of the stuffing reaches 165°F.

HOW TO ROAST

  • Place the turkey (breast side up) on a rack in a large roasting pan in an oven preheated to 325°F. If you don’t have a rack, place 2 or 3 large carrots crosswise underneath the bird to ensure good heat circulation.
  • For moist meat, cover with foil from the start—but remove foil during the last hour of roasting for browner, crispier skin.
  • Basting with pan juices isn’t necessary, but it will help with browning after the foil is removed.
  • Roast turkey 3 to 33/4 hours for a 12- to 14-pounder. (That’s around 15 to 17 minutes per pound for an unstuffed bird.)
  • Use an instant-read meat thermometer to test doneness. Turkey should be taken out of the oven when the thickest part of the thigh (next to but not touching the bone) reaches 175°F and the breast reaches 165°F. Keep in mind that the temperature will rise 5° to 10°F upon standing.
  • If the turkey is fully cooked earlier than expected, wrap the entire bird and pan with foil and place a large bath towel on top to keep it hot and moist for 1 hour.
  • Never leave at room temperature longer than 2 hours.

WHEN IN DOUBT

Having a turkey meltdown? Try these phone numbers and Web sites for help.

  • Butterball Turkey Talk-Line . . . 800-288-8372 November 1 to December 29 butterball.com (with links to Butterball’s Facebook page and Twitter account)
  • Reynolds Turkey Tips Hot Line . . . 800-745-4000 November 1 to December 31 reynoldskitchen.com
  • USDA Meat & Poultry Hot Line . . . 800-674-6854 fsis.usda.gov

SAFELY STORING TURKEY LEFTOVERS

The pie has been served, the table is cleared, the dishes await. If you’re tempted to curl up in front of a good movie and leave cleanup for the rest of the gang, at least put the turkey away first.

“Store it within two hours of serving. Bacteria grow rapidly at room temperature, and refrigeration will not eliminate microorganisms that have already grown,” says Sandy Kuzmich, Ph.D., the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Chemistry Director.

Leftover turkey can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. In the freezer it will keep for 4 months (plain) or 6 months (in broth or gravy). Here are some additional pointers for safe stowaways:

  • Take all meat off the carcass and store in serving-size packets or shallow containers. The smaller the portion, the faster you can thoroughly defrost and reheat it. (To refrigerate in packets, wrap meat in plastic wrap or foil and place in self-sealing plastic bags. To freeze, use the same procedure but with freezer-weight bags.)
  • To thaw leftover turkey, place it in the refrigerator overnight. To warm, stir in hot grazy just to heat through. Or stir frozen turkey shreds or small pieces directly into soups at the last minute; cook just until hot.

For tips on freezing, thawing, and using other types of leftovers, see Canning and Freezing.