Brining

My Top 3 Thanksgiving Recipes and #1 Tip

So this is my first foray into home cooking on this blog; after all, this is a real estate + urban lifestyle blog. But hey, home cooking is definitely a part of the urban lifestyle, especially as the population of DC grows increasingly food-savvy.  And those who know me personally are surprised that it’s taken me this long to broach the subject, as my love of cooking and baking is pretty much tattooed across my forehead. What better occasion to use for Urban Living’s home-cooking debut than Thanksgiving? If you’re not doing the cooking, it’s very likely that you will be sitting down to enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor. So here are my 3 favorite Thanksgiving recipes (I’ve made them every year for at least the last 5, and have always gotten raves) and my number 1 tip for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner. If you’re not doing the cooking, might I suggest passing this info along to whoever is? 😉

Cream Corn Like No Other  – This recipe is perfect as written. Don’t worry that you’re making too much – it will get devoured. On the off chance that there are leftovers, it reheats wonderfully. Add some freshly chopped rosemary, thyme, and/or freshly grated nutmeg for a gourmet twist.

Cream corn

FoodNetwork.com

Gourmet Sweet Potato Classic (aka Sweet Potato Casserole) – Screw the marshmallows. This streusel topping is seriously where it’s it. The recipe is almost perfect as written, but needs one tiny tweak: be sure to toast the pecans separately before adding to the topping. They’re much crunchier and tastier that way.

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Allrecipes.com

Maple-Apple Roast Turkey & Gravy  – if you’re a fan of sweet + savory combinations, this recipe yields the most delicious gravy ever. Of course, the better-quality butter, cider, and syrup you use, the more wonderful this will be. Forget Aunt Jemima – spring for the real stuff. Grab fresh cider at a nearby farmer’s market if you can, and use a European butter like Plugra or Kerrygold.

Turkey

Allrecipes.com

And my #1, must-not-be-ignored, can’t-be-beat tip for a tasty Thanksgiving dinner: BRINE that baby!! I’ve had ’em deep-fried, basted, compound-buttered, and more, but the brined turkey is still the winner by a long shot. And I love how easy it is to play with a brine. As long as you don’t mess with the salt/water ratio or the brining time, you can add or substitute whatever other flavorings you like: herbs, vinegars, ciders/juices, etc. Here are a couple of great brine recipes to start with:

Pioneer Woman’s Favorite Turkey Brine
Alton Brown’s Roast Turkey Recipe (Includes Brine Recipe)
(Check out his handy brining instructional video here.)

Whether you decide to eat out, eat in, cook up a giant gobble-y mess, or make some sushi, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

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