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Q&A: Thanksgiving 911

Every Thanksgiving hostess has his or her moments of anxiety. Hell, I've been making holiday dinners and hosting dinner parties for a decade, and I still get a little nervous when it come to roasting the perfect turkey. That combined with kids, houseguests, and having to make an endless supply of side dishes all timed in perfect harmony...it's a lot for one person. Hopefully by the time you've read this post, I will have answered any of your looming questions, but if there is still anything you are concerned about, please leave a comment at the end of the post, and I'll be sure to answer. Pictured above: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
1. What if I overcook the turkey, and the breast meat is dry? Slice it thin and soak it in warm chicken or turkey stock.
2. How do I get the skin beautiful golden brown? Lots of butter! Separate the skin and push butter directly over the meat then spread more butter over the outside of the skin. Also cover just the breast of th…

7 Ways to Host an Elegant Thanksgiving


1. Serve Something in a Pumpkin - Whether it's soup, stuffing, or even a pumpkin souffle; you can cook and serve so many different dishes in a small hollowed out pumpkin to add a festive touch to your Thanksgiving table or buffet. You can also use a large pumpkin on your buffet as a large serving bowl. Fill it with this yummy pumpkin cream cheese dip.

Pictured: Roasted Garlic Sage Pesto Pumpkin Soup by Tieghan of HALF BAKED harvest


Elegant Thanksgiving

2. Serve a Signature Cocktail - Wine or sparkling cider is an obvious and easy choice for your holiday drinks, but for an extra special dinner, serve a unique cocktail like the fall sangria or cranberry gin and tonic pictured above. It will cost you a little extra if you don't have a stocked bar, but by serving just one cocktail, that's less liquor you have to buy. The sangria is something you can easily make ahead. Though the cocktail can be made easily too; set up a bar area with a chalkboard menu so you can write out the cocktail ingredients and have guests make their own.

Pictured: Autumn Sangria with apples, Pomegranates, and Figs by Heather Christo  /  Cranberry Thyme Gin and Tonic by A Cozy Kitchen 

3. Make A Fancy Pie Crust - If you've delegated the pies to yourself, try making one with a lattice top or use leaf cookie cutters. Here's a step-by-step picture tutorial on How to Make a Lattice Pie Crust.

Pictured: Apple Rosemary Lattice by via Saveur


4. Set the Table - I love to use more formal serving ware like cloth napkins, water goblets, and chargers for dinner parties. It's those extra details and layers that really make a table beautiful. Finish off the look with a festive centerpiece and candles. Even with an informal place setting, these finishing touched make for an elegant dinner. See the diagrams below for both an informal and formal place setting guide.


Pictured: Pier 1 Myra Dinnerware / diagrams via dinnerpartymenuideas.com


5. Serve Some True Hors d'Oevres - Americans have a bad habit of tossing out a store-bought veggie tray and opening a couple of bags of chips and calling it a day. There is a better way. It may seem like a lot of extra trouble, but if you arrange a large tray with fruit, a few nice cheeses, and French bread; you're off to a great start. Adding on hot appetizers can also be a breeze if you use prepackaged puff pastry. You can easily create several different appetizers at a time by using the same base (like the puff pastry cut into squares) and filling them with several different toppings. Try spinach with feta, cranberry sauce with brie, and mushrooms with ground Italian sausage.

Pictured: Williams Sonoma Assorted Mediterranean Hors d’Oeuvres / by The Perfect Bite Co.

Elegant Thanksgiving

6. Serve Something Unexpected - Thanksgiving has its traditional dishes that we all need, like stuffing and of course turkey. Add some elegance to your Thanksgiving menu something new like that gorgeous rustic veggie tart or a tasty fall bisque.

Pictured: Rustic Vegetable Tart with Roasted Butternut Squash, Parsnips, and... / Butternut Squash Soup


7. Send the Leftover Home in Style - How pretty are these "leftovers" labels by Oh Happy Day? Place them on brown take-out boxes and tie with ribbon for an elegant doggie bag.

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Comments

  1. It occurs to me that I'd be lost in formal dining settings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah that formal one is intense. Even I would be a bit confused!

      Delete
  2. I love the pumpkin idea. Maybe I should do that with my quinoa casserole.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh I love Quinoa. Yeah, that would work well in pumpkins!

      Delete

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