Good morning. This is a big day for Thanksgiving preparations even if all you’re going to be doing is making these turkey cutlets Marsala (above) that I learned to cook while reading and writing about Elizabeth David. (They’re good with vegetable risotto and roasted brussels sprouts.) You’ve got to secure the ingredients, after all, and you really ought to make a plan for what the table’s going to look like on Thursday, how you want the meal to go, smaller than usual, in this most curious year.
There’s something soothing about doing that. It’s a chance to reflect, while cleaning out your refrigerator and freezer, tidying your shelves, organizing things, cooking for the future even when you’re nervous about how this season is going to play out.
You could make cranberry sauce this weekend. It’ll keep. Likewise, pie crust. Likewise, if you freeze it, pecan pie. We have a lot of make-ahead recipes you could cook today. And, having done so, you could pull out your serving platters and bowls and use sticky notes to label what’s going to go into each one, come the day. (That’s some pro-grade, mil-spec, licensed and bonded Thanksgiving planning work, to be sure.) And is your turkey still frozen? It’s time to get it in the fridge to thaw.
For dinner tonight, after all that autumnal bustle? I think you could make fish tacos, crisp and fiery, before settling in with “The Crown.”
On Monday, you might take a run at these chile-oil noodles with cilantro. As the notes below the recipe suggest, it’s endlessly adaptable. I like the addition of shredded chicken, if you have any leftovers to shred, and a spray of roasted peanuts.
Then, on Tuesday, how about a bowl of beans and garlic toast in broth? Looks plain. Is not.
Wednesday is the night before the big day, and despite what I’ve advocated in this space for days, it’s when I invariably make my cranberry sauce and set the turkey neck to bubbling in a stockpot overnight. To eat: a snack tray in the style of Gabrielle Hamilton, replete with celery toasts and sliced mortadella rolled around pickled jalapeños, along with whatever else I can find in the fridge.
You know all about Thursday. We’ve been talking about it for days. But if for some reason you’ve procrastinated and procrastinated, here’s all you need to know to make a last-minute Thanksgiving on the fly.
And then on Friday, leftovers for miles, along with one of my favorite meals of the year: turkey à la king and a ritual viewing of “The Paper,” my favorite Thanksgiving film that has nothing to do with Thanksgiving.
You can find thousands more recipes to cook this week and on the holiday on NYT Cooking. Go browse the site and apps. Save the recipes you want to cook, and rate the ones you’ve made. You can leave notes on them, as well, if you want to remind yourself of something you’ve done to make the dish better, or to tell your fellow subscribers about it.
You do need to be a subscriber to do that, yes. Subscriptions are what make this whole thing of ours possible. If you haven’t already, I hope you will subscribe to NYT Cooking today.
Pie Baking Tips
There are few kitchen projects as rewarding as making this iconic American dessert. See our full guide on How to Make Pie Crust and a list of our best Thanksgiving pie recipes.
- Always bake a pie on a rimmed baking sheet to contain any overflow. A baking sheet also makes removing the pie from the oven easier.
- You can freeze a whole, unbaked fruit pie. Then bake it while still frozen, adding about 15 minutes onto the baking time. Do not thaw it first or you could lose flakiness in the crust.
- For the best-looking crimped crust, or to avoid having your crust shrink in the oven, freeze the unbaked pie dough before filling and baking (or blind baking). The colder your dough when you get it into the oven, the better it holds its shape.
- You can store your baked pie at room temperature, covered, for up to one day. After that, the crust will become irretrievably soggy.
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