Kitchen Fun: Thanksgiving Recipe Testing

As promised, I’m going to share with you my adventures in recipe testing for Thanksgiving.

I was a little unsure about the best way to do this, since if I did a post about each recipe I tried it’ll be next Thanksgiving before I’m finished and there are other things I want to talk about. So! I’m going to link you guys to my Thanksgiving Flickr page with these handy mosaics I made for each dish. Each mosaic represents a collection that has pictures of all the recipes I tried.

For example, my stuffing flickr collection includes pics of all the recipes I tried: Joy of Cooking’s Sausage and Apple Stuffing (it’s on page 483 of the Joy of Cooking), Martha’s Chestnut Stuffing, and (the winner) Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Challah Stuffing.

Stuffing was the one I struggled with most- I actually STILL haven’t nailed down the final details of my recipe!  I don’t know whether I just had unrealistic expectations or whether I am just too used to the box kind… but all mine didn’t really stick together like I thought they should.  They were moist, but still crumbly… So! I’m going to try to adapt Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s recipe by melding it with a savory bread pudding recipe I have.  I’ll keep you posted on how that turns out.

The other dish I struggled with was sweet potatoes. I tried four recipes: Williams Sonoma’s Sweet Potato Mash (from their Bride and Groom Cookbook), Bon Appetit’s Sweet Potato Pudding, my own recipe for Sweet Potatoes Anna, and (the winner) Martha Stewart’s Sweet Potato Puree with Maple Glaze (in this month’s Martha Stewart Living).

It took me the longest time to find one that was what I wanted – so many of them changed either the flavor or texture of the sweet potato so much that it just wasn’t sweet potato-y enough for Thanksgiving (or at least my Thanksgiving).  I really liked all the ones I tried (Brian loved Williams Sonoma’s – we’ll definitely be having that again), but only Martha’s version gave me what I wanted for t-day.

Mac and cheese was a special request of Brian’s and it took me three tries to find the perfect version (for him). The first one (from the Nourish cookbook – a favorite of mine) had a good flavor, but was not the consistency/texture that Brian was hoping for.  The next one I tried (Martha’s via Smitten Kitchen) was the perfect texture/consistency, but he didn’t like the flavor as much.  To solve the flavor problem, I went back to the cheese in the first one (just cheddar – the second had both cheddar and gruyere) but stuck with SK for the rest of the recipe.  Oh boy, was it yummy.

The rest of my dishes were less of a struggle (thankfully!) – I just tried one recipe for each.

I’m using the Pioneer Woman’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes (yea for being able to make them in advance and bake them the day of!) and Cranberry Pomegranate Relish that I saw on the Bitten Word this past week.

So, what about dessert you may ask? I have only tried one of the two I’m making – Apple Pie.  The other, Pumpkin Cream Pie, is by Martha and seems pretty simple (let’s keep our fingers crossed!).

As for turkey and gravy, I’m planning to use the Pioneer Woman‘s directions/recipes, mixed with a few things I picked up elsewhere…

Oh, and I know there is absolutely nothing healthy about the above… don’t worry, I’m also including sauteed greens and a big ol’ salad in the menu.

After all that, what do you think of my menu?  I’m pretty excited about it!

{P.S. – Sorry the mosaics are SO SMALL… I couldn’t figure out how to make them any bigger… any techies out there that can help me?!}

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3 Comments

Filed under cooking, Thanksgiving

3 responses to “Kitchen Fun: Thanksgiving Recipe Testing

  1. Dad

    Anxious to taste the mac and cheese winner. Did you think about adding truffles? CFD

  2. Lindsay

    I love the mosaic pics! Genius! Although, now I’m really hungry…

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