the big thanksgiving planner 🍁🍃
plus: book tour updates and an interview with yossy arefi
Monday, November 6, 2023
This has to be what heaven is like. [TikTok[
Welcome to The Big Thanksgiving Planner, the place where I round up all of my go-to Thanksgiving recipes to help you get your menu in order — or, perhaps, outsourced to people who have asked what they can bring. I’ve got us covered! From my favorite deeply bronzed and glossy turkey to a perfect stuffing that hits all the notes, to a green bean casserole from scratch that turns everyone into green bean casserole lovers (trust me). [We’re going to cover desserts next week; I’d never forget!] The Williams Sonoma x Smitten Kitchen Thanksgiving Tour is headed (literally typing this from the airport) to Nashville today; I hope I get to see you tonight and scroll down for details about Scottsdale, Dallas, Palm Beach Gardens, and NYC next week. Finally, this week we have an interview with the wonderful Yossy Arefi, whose new cookbook, Snacking Bakes is out this week.
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.
It’s here! The Smitten Kitchen x Williams Sonoma Thanksgiving Tour has kicked off! Tonight, I’ll be in Nashville TN and I can’t wait. Next week is Scottsdale AZ, Dallas TX, Palm Beach Gardens FL, before wrapping up back home in New York City on the Friday before Thanksgiving. While I understand that all of the cooking classes sold out (I’m so sorry for those who’ve missed out) tickets are still available for the signing portion. A copy of Smitten Kitchen Keepers, my most recent cookbook, is included in each ticket price, along with a small donation made to World Central Kitchen, and I’ll be signing books after, which means we get to chat — my favorite part. Get all of the details and reserve your space right here.
This is Smitten Kitchen's first and only turkey recipe, because you'll never need another: deeply burnished, perfectly cooked, delightfully-seasoned, and crisp-skinned on a bed of onions that have been cooked in salty, buttery drippings for so long, they're otherworldly. Oh, and there are five ingredients. And a schedule. And gravy. You've got this!
Confession: I like cranberry sauce so much, I even make it in the off-season -- for pancakes, ice cream and yogurt. Here are three of my favorite approaches, the classic, the fruit-unfussy, and the grown-up one.
I cannot imagine anything more cozy and delicious than a freshly-baked pan of buttery dinner rolls coming out of the oven on a chilly morning, and these, from Vallery Lomas‘s first cookbook, are a favorite. We like them alongside soup or stew, or for slider or egg sandwich rolls, slightly larger. You are in for such a treat.
Classic, buttery, tender and stretchy Parker House rolls with a pretzel wash that makes them dark, shiny and unmistakably special on top. We learned at our annual Friendsgiving, the only thing better than making these for the big meal is having a guest who brings them still warm.
A very simple, buttery, and flexible challah stuffing you make when you realize that the perfect menu is the one you can pull off without sweating or stressing, leaving you the maximum amount of time to enjoy the feast. Tip: The Best Challah (Egg Bread) recipe in the archives makes two loaves. Make astoundingly good french toast this weekend with one; stale the second for stuffing bliss.
A fresh, crazy delicious sauce, crisp-tender green beans and heaps of crispy fried onions that you can make all in one skillet changed my feelings about this once-maligned Thanksgiving staple forever. Be warned: If you make this once, you'll never be able to show up without it again -- unless you train an acolyte on it.
A Friendsgiving/Thanksgiving-perfect dish from Ina Garten that feeds a crowd, keeps well, and has the kind of aroma that envelops you when you open the door and makes you feel like you're exactly where you were meant to be (aw).
Potato gratin, as simple and effectively to the point as possible.
I started making my Thanksgiving sweet potatoes like this a few years ago and haven't looked back. When slow-roasted, sweet potatoes get sweeter, louder, and more nuanced than seems possible. The salty, lightly blackened skin provides a heavenly, crispy contrast. They rewarm easily, at whatever temperature your oven already is. To serve, cut the potatoes into 2-inch slices and arrange cut side-up in a dish. Although they're delicious just as they are, a drizzle of either melted salted butter or butter with a little maple syrup or honey whisked in, is never unwelcome.
Corn pudding, exactly the way I like it: cozy with brown butter (and don't miss the optional hot honey brown butter drizzle), sour cream, and exactly one bag of frozen corn. It's quick to make and perfect for the holiday season. I hope you love it too.
This dish knows what I bet many of us figured out a long time ago: mincing and sautéing ingredients to daintily scoop them into mushroom caps is fussy. Casseroles are not. Serve this as a side to a holiday main or as a cozy snack to be scooped onto toasts or crackers, something I would absolutely eat for dinner tonight with a big green salad, just putting that out there in the universe in case that's all it takes for it to majestically appear.
Think spinach gratins must be rich and leaden with cheese, cream and butter? Not when Julia Child shows us the way. Not only does this taste amazing, it's total weekday night fare -- as a side, scooped on toast or topped off with an egg. (Yesss.)
Brussels with layers upon layers of flavor and complexity— crunchy breadcrumbs, buttery shallots and balsamic-caramelized pancetta — all nestled together in one cozy, harmonious dish.
A bright, crunchy and abundantly welcome contrast to the richness of the usual Thanksgiving fare, this is a forever winter staple.
AN INTERVIEW WITH YOSSY AREFI
My shelves are full of wonderful cookbooks I don’t get to talk about enough and I’m adding this weekly section so you can get to know the cool people behind them. Today we're chatting with Yossy Arefi. Yossy’s third cookbook, Snacking Bakes, is out this week.
1. What inspired your cookbook?
My second book Snacking Cakes touched such a nerve that I knew I had to extend the concept of super easy, low lift bakes to a wider variety of treats. I loved hearing about people baking for the first time or baking with their kids from Snacking Cakes and that it made baking cake really approachable. I think there is a lot of fear that baking is really difficult and precise, and while it can be, there is a huge variety of recipes that are low effort but really delicious and interesting. Snacking Bakes has recipes for cookies, bars, brownies, cakes, and even a few savory bakes that will hopefully satisfy any craving.
2. What recipe are you the most proud of in the book, or felt the most triumphant when you got it right?
I worked really hard on recreating a treat that I used to share with my mom when I would tag along with her to work. We would stop at the coffee cart across from her store (it was the 90s) and get a Mazurka which was a super popular treat in 90s Seattle. They are a really simple jam bar made with oats, nuts, and coconut with a cookie base and streusel top that is a little bit fine and crumbly in the best way - not as sturdy as a crumb topping, but crisp, nutty, and buttery. I like them made with raspberry jam, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
3. What recipe is so low-effort, high-reward that it's worth cooking right this second, urgently?
I love the Blueberry Swirl Blondies and the secret is, you can skip the jam swirl if you don't have it on hand because the blondie base is the perfect canvas for any mix-ins you have in your pantry. You can add nuts, chocolate, chopped up leftover Halloween candy, coconut, truly...whatever you want!
4. What's something you wish more people knew about your book?
It's the perfect book for beginner bakers and for bakers looking to expand their repertoire. Don't be deceived by how easy the recipes are because they are so incredibly tasty.
Thank you, Yossy! You can order Snacking Bakes right here.
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!