Mashed potato mix-ins, how to win at Thanksgiving leftovers, and a great deal on great knives
Greetings eaters and readers and hope you had a good weekend! We drove to the middle of Pennsylvania to watch our senior run the last cross country race of her college career. It was a thriller, and afterwards, I kept thinking of Phoebe’s first-ever teacher conference in pre-school, when Ms. Debbie told us She seems happiest when she is running outside. Two decades later (!) the truth still holds, and for her parents, too. Watching Phoebe and her sister compete brings us such joy, but more than that, to look back at everything the sport has given her — resilience, community, friends for life — well, suffice to say, it’s on the top of my Gratitude List this Thanksgiving. I will also say that nothing will motivate a person to run a Turkey Trot quite like watching a pack of women crushing sub-6-minute miles on a 55-degree late fall afternoon. In other news, the National Book Award winners have been announced just in time for holiday gifting (Chain Gang All Stars is on my Up Next pile), right on the heels of my season’s best cookbooks round-up, way more prestigious, imho. Lastly, in the It’s About Time department: Catherine Newman has started a newsletter “about all the midlife things,” and it’s already delivering on every level, including today’s dispatch on activities for Thanksgiving guests while she is “just trying to WHISK THE F’ING GRAVY FOR GOD’S SAKE.” And now, off to the races! Your weekly Three Things…
1. Three things to throw in the shopping cart this week
I recognize it’s a little odd to be discussing day-after meals before you’ve even had the first round of feasting, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t address the holiday from every angle, including Thanksgiving’s most important angle, the Leftover Course. I will assume that most of you are like me, i.e. on Friday, you don’t want to expend an ounce of energy cooking, but you still want to eat well. (That part of me never takes a holiday!) Do yourself a favor and throw these above three saviors into the shopping cart alongside your potatoes and Brussels…
Good Sandwich Bread »»» For perfect leftover sandwiches. (Shown here: turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy.) The key is to avoid a crusty loaf, which will result in your sandwich filling squirting out the sides when you take a bite. Think squishy breads like challah or brioche rolls or regular white sandwich bread.
Puff Pastry »»»» For Turkey Pot Pie. Follow this ole reliable recipe or for a more Thanksgiving vibe, just wing it and drape a puff pastry shell over a pie dish filled with shredded turkey, cranberries, gravy thinned out with broth, and dollops of mashed potatoes or stuffing. Brush the pastry with egg wash and bake at 425°F for 25-30 minutes until crust is puffy and golden.
Split Peas »»» For classic Split Pea Soup (use the recipe on the package) and Stuffing Croutons. Just fry clumps of leftover stuffing in butter, crisp up, and add to your soup. They’d also be lovely atop my Simplest Tomato Soup.
Your Friday self will thank you!
2. Mashed Potato Mix-ins
Caramelized onions? Horseradish and Parm? Boursin? What is your mashed potato mix-in of choice for Thanksgiving? I suggested a few of my favorites in last week’s Cup of Jo column and of course readers weighed in with many more excellent ideas. Also included: My Classic Mashed Potato recipe, which I implore you to memorize..
And for those who missed last week’s bonus post: Here is my full line-up for Thanksgiving — from speciality cocktail to turkey to alllll the pies, both classic and totally rogue.
3. A Great Deal on Great Knives
It’s the holidays, which seems like just the right time to remind you about my partnership with Nakano, makers of high-quality affordable Japanese knives that I love and use in my kitchen every day. I thought you’d also like to know that they are giving Dinner: A Love Story readers 30% off everything in the store through December 10. Yes EVERYTHING, including the 3-piece Classic Series set above which seems like just the thing for someone who has recently moved into their first apartment. Or a beautiful set of steak knives, in case there’s a tenderloin on your holiday spread this year like mine? Or a classic chef’s knife, just because — come on! — you deserve a solid knife. Just type in code DINNER at checkout to access the discount. Thanks, Nakano.
P.S. Emily Nunn over at The Department of Salad compiled a glorious round-up of Thanksgiving salads (that’s mine up there), all of which I’d slide into the Definitely Not Afterthought category. You can find them here.
Yours in unending gratitude,