last-minute thanksgiving ideas
Monday, November 20, 2023
Could not agree more [Eater]
A quick and easier Thanksgiving meal [YouTube]
Welcome to Thanksgiving week! This is one of my favorite weeks of the year. The leaves are dropping their yellow ochre and burnt siena leaves everywhere, framing the sidewalks. The city gets emptier and more quiet and then wakes back up with big parade. People who haven’t used their oven for more than sweater storage the previous 51 week start seriously considering making from-scratch pie. I love this energy. You’re in the right place.
Something I’ve chatted about at book signing events this season is the things you cook when you’re the one that’s hosting vs. the things you cook when you’re the one that’s bringing. If you’re in charge of a single dish, go nuts. A salad with several blissful elements? Yes, please! A glorious lattice-topped chocolate pecan slab pie with lots of steps? Check out the recipe in my second cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Every Day. But are you cooking 8 to 10 things this week? Please do consider this short ingredient list turkey, stuffing, and salad. Yet what if you’re the kind of person who waits until the last minute to decide what to make? I’ve got you covered, too! Everything in this newsletter requires little advanced planning and is guaranteed to delight.
I’ve written three cookbooks and I’m a tiny bit biased, but I think you’d love them all. Wondering what you might include from my most recent cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Keepers on your Thanksgiving table? I thought you’d never ask! I vote for a starter of charred brussels sprout toast with ricotta, the leek and brie galette, or the carrot tarte tatin, followed by the winter squash soup with red onion crisp. And please don’t forget the carrot cake with brown butter and no clutter (I just made one yesterday and it’s as good as ever), butterscotch apple crisp, and an apple cider old-fashioned. Were you looking for a list of all the recipes in each of my cookbooks? I’ve added these in a separate page and hope it makes it easier for you to find everything you want to cook.
One of my favorite winter salads, this is a symphony of salt, crunch, and sweetness and it complements all of those rich Thanksgiving dishes so nicely.
I hope you give this salad with one of my favorite vegetables, crunchy almonds, pickled red onions, and so little fennel and celery, even the skeptics won't mind, a chance. I could eat it every week of the year and never get tired of it.
Uncooked (!) pasta, milk, and cheddar bake into the easiest one-bowl, bronzed and luxurious mac-and-cheese. Go on, you know it’s going to vanish first.
We jokingly call this Sweet Potatoes with Thanksgiving All Over It. Inspired distantly by bruschetta, here the "bread" is thick, pillowy discs of roasted sweet potato and the topping is a vinaigrette-d mix of Thanksgiving staples -- pecans, goat cheese, cranberries, shallots, and herbs. It disappears in minutes.
The dish doesn’t care whether you steam or roast your cauliflower, whole or in chunks; it’s totally flexible. And nobody, or nobody I want to be friends with, finds the flavor of deeply toasted, brown butter-drenched breadcrumbs with minced shallots, garlic and lemon less than spoon-worthy.
What would happen if you gave mushroom caps the escargot treatment? They'd be roasted in a glorious puddle of garlic butter then zinged with lemon juice and showered with chopped parsley before being scooped onto a crusty baguette. Party appetizer magic.
My favorite way to prepare green beans takes longer to eat (which says a lot, given that I usually inhale them) than it does to make. Don’t have green beans? Don’t miss the almond pesto, which tastes good on basically every vegetable.
If you're looking for the easiest last minute addition to your table, you cannot go wrong with these craggy, never-fail cornbread drop biscuits, especially slathered with some honey butter.
"Make apple pie? Last minute?" I promise, I haven't finally lost it, you can absolutely pull off minimalist apple pie with a flaky crust and sliced apples dotted with butter and sprinkled with sugar, and your day will be so much better for it.
A buttery spiced gingersnap and brown sugar crumbled lid atop a mess of tender, sweet pears and slumped, tart cranberries, bubbling through cracks in the rubbled surface. Your kitchen wants to smell like this.
Ever wonder where I get my cutting boards, paring knives, offset spatulas and more than you see when I cook? I've created a page on Smitten Kitchen with links to some of my favorite kitchen items, the ones I'm asked about the most. I recently added several new favorites I’ve bought in the last year. For each item, I've attempted to provide a range of shopping links so we're not just focusing on one giant retailer.
See you next week!