countdown to turkey day

Three weeks and one day to my favorite meal of the year. I’m basically giddy all year long in anticipation of this one meal (or two in our case  since we do my in-lawns in Youngstown in the morning – then I nap for an hour in the car on the way back – then start all over again with my family). It’s a beautiful thing.

Thanksgiving is hands-down my favorite holiday. No gifts. No decorations. No crazed malls with the pressure to buy something that will likely never see the light of day. And everyone celebrates. Yes this holiday is all about enjoying great food and  wine (or in some cases,  a lot of wine – it is a holiday after all and there’s always that crazy uncle/sibling/cousin/or situation we can all relate to that causes  some interesting comments muddled under your breath) with family and friends.

But it’s really about the food. Like last year, I am buying the turkey for my mom. I just placed my order last week for 22 pounds of heritage bronze turkey goodness  from Tea Hills. I regularly buy their chickens so I have no doubt this will be one heck of a bird. If you haven’t yet ordered yours, I highly recommend Tea Hills. Many area chefs are getting their turkeys from them, too.

But as much as I’m looking forward to the turkey – and turkey leftovers – it’s the sides that I love most. Stuffing, twice-baked potatoes, lima bean soup (a family recipe and tradition for as long as I can remember), braised fennel, breaded cauliflower and more. I haven’t yet committed to what dishes I’ll contribute to this year’s feast, but last year I made carrots with shallots and sage and roasted garlic and butternut squash cassoulet – both were fabulous and gone in minutes flat. I’ve also made sweet potato muffins for past holidays. These are tasty, too.

If you don’t feel like cooking and your family likes to go out (or pick up a turkey with all the trimmings), there are a few options worth considering:

  • Zack Bruell and Table45 have two affordable T-Day options. For $175, enjoy a  take-home feast, a complete ready-to-serve gourmet holiday meal for 10 to12 people.  Includes a  roasted turkey with apple sausage and sage stuffing; garlic mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes; green bean amandine with bacon lardons; roasted baby carrots; cranberry sauce; gravy; rolls; apple and pumpkin pie. Or, dine in for $26 pp (call for menu).
  • I noticed some info at Moxie for Thanksgiving dinner during a recent work lunch, I believe for dining in and carry out. Jonathan Bennett is a great chef so I’m sure  he’ll be preparing something wonderful. Call for info.
  • Don’t quote me on these ones, but if you’re looking for options, you should also call Fire and Dante. I’ve heard that each restaurant may be offering something, but don’t know for certain.

As I learn more, I’ll update this post.

Speaking of Fire, chef Doug Katz shared with us last year how he brines his turkey. Brines, in my opinion, make a big difference so his version is worth checking out. I also like Alton Brown’s brine a lot.

What will you be making for this year’s Thanksgiving? Are you most looking forward to the turkey or sides like me?


  1. Jill
    Posted November 3, 2010 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Another option would be ordering your meal from Fat Casual BBQ in Macedonia. I was there for dinner last night, and they were advertising several different meal options featuring smoked turkey and lots of different fixin’s. If I weren’t going to my parents’ I might consider that.

  2. Posted November 3, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Love the brined turkey. It is well worth the process.

  3. Posted November 4, 2010 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    I know you’ll enjoy your Tea Hills bird. This will be my fourth Thanksgiving with one of their American Whites. I do a very light brine a la Chef Judy Rogers – 1 cup kosher salt, 1 cup sugar, 1 gallon water per 15 lb. bird (scale up proportionately from there). Just enough to enhance natural flavors and keep the bird succulent and moist.

    Happy favorite holiday to you and your family!

  4. steve
    Posted November 4, 2010 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I have never brined the turkey, we just smoke them on a Weber Grill carefully. And starting with a fresh turkey seems to be the secret. We also stuff the turkey which is not recommended on the grill, but it works for us. And the Turkey this year is again from Tea Hill. Perhaps you will send me the Lima Bean Soup recipe as that sounds very good.

  5. Jim Alunni
    Posted November 4, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Permalink