As we've done for the past few years, we've gathered all the different Thanksgiving recipes from several different food magazines. This year's index features a full 239 recipes from 11 food magazines: Bon Appetit, Cook's Illustrated, Cooking Light, Everyday Food, Fine Cooking, Food & Wine, Food Network Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Southern Living and Whole Living. And believe us, they are absolutely packed with great ideas for Thanksgiving.
We hosted our annual Fakesgiving this past Sunday. As you might remember, that's our yearly meal where we invite a bunch of friends to test-drive several Thanksgiving recipes. This year we had 20 friends and family to sample 19 different dishes, from a pre-dinner snack all the way through to dessert. We'll be posting about the dishes we tried over the next three weeks, in the run-up to Turkey Day.
So dig into our Thanksgiving 2012 Recipe Index! But first, we'll share a few photos from our Fakesgiving meal.
It's 22 days till Thanksgiving. Do you know where your turkey is?
We're only half-joking. Yes, there are three weeks to Thanksgiving, with plenty of time to pull it all together. But if you're hosting a Thanksgiving meal this year, it's also time to start planning.
We try to avoid getting caught up in food hype, but we can't help ourselves at Thanksgiving. We pore through the magazines. We try out a bunch of the dishes. We invite friends over for Fakesgiving (more on this year's event tomorrow).
And each year, we're enamored with the Thanksgiving trends that we see across the spectrum of food magazines we receive. This year, we've closely studied 11 of those magazines, charting their Turkey Day recommendations. As we have in previous years, tomorrow we'll be publishing the 2012 Thanksgiving Index -- a round-up of all the dishes recommended this year by all 11 of those magazines.
But first, here's what we're seeing in this year's trends.
Part 3 of The Super Awesome Cover-to-Cover Project
Simple can be amazing. That's what we heard from many members of the Team Bon Appétit. Whether it was a bowl of spiced cashews, a super-easy shot of red-pepper soup, grilled cheese sandwiches or crackers with exactly one ingredient, many of these Bon App recipes go to show that just because something's easy doesn't mean it's not delicious.
For those of you looking for a challenge, never fear. There are plenty of more-involved dishes in the mix, and Team Bon App rose to the challenge! (We just have to tip our hats to Connie, who deboned an entire duck -- bill and all! -- for her Duck a L'Orange.)
There's one group of these recipes we're especially excited about. When we first read this issue of Bon App, it was the cakes that got our tongues wagging. And the readers who ended up with the cakes seemed extremely happy with the results.
Check out those cakes -- and every other recipe from the issue -- in the Cover-to-Cover entries from Team Bon Appétit!
What's the best dish you've eaten so far this year?
Maybe it was something you had in a restaurant. Or maybe you made it yourself.
Regardless, we would go out on a limb and bet that it wasn't a kale salad. But in Bon Appétit's September issue, which is devoted to showcasing restaurants around the country, restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton declares this Crispy Kale Salad with Lime Dressing the magazine's "Dish of the Year."
Can a kale salad possibly live up to that title? We had to find out.
The smoky North African chili condiment is the ultimate shortcut for adding a jolt of flavor to just about anything. We recently threw together a meal where the entree had exactly three ingredients: chicken thighs, olive oil and harissa. (Okay, and salt and pepper.) You would have thought we'd braised the chicken in smoked peppers and tomatoes for hours, thanks to the deep, complex flavor of the harissa.
But a comment on that carrot salad post stopped us in our tracks. Reader Val said:
Love the photo--there is just nothing like picking dinner! Have you tried making harissa? It is really super easy and freezes well. I use Deborah Madison's recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, but I love harissa so much I even grew Tunisian peppers I ordered from Baker Creek seeds (but New Mexico peppers work fine).
Make harissa at home?! The thought had honestly never crossed our minds -- which is why we were eager to try our hands at homemade harissa in these Charred Green Beans.
And even the idea of grilled kale isn't that crazy: It's essentially the same as some Tuscan Kale Chips we tried about three years ago.
But when we saw this Grilled Kale Salad with Ricotta and Plums in the July Bon Appétit, we immediately wanted to make it. For one thing, we had a ton of curly kale from our most recent CSA share. On top of that, the combination of the cheese, the grilled kale and the fresh fruit sounded refreshing and different.
Last Saturday afternoon, we had about 30 people over for an informal get-together, before we all walked over to watch the D.C. gay pride parade. It was a low-key gathering and we kept it simple. We served some very fancy cocktails, some pretzels, and a big bowl of cherries on ice.
The cherries are an idea we picked up from the current issue of Bon Appétit, in the BA Arsenal section at the front of the book. Fresh fruit on ice. You can't get much simpler than that. (Of course you could do this with any fruit, but BA suggests fresh cherries, which do work especially well since they're bite-sized and have handy stems for grabbing. As you know, we've been on a cherry kick of late, so that's what we did.)
Believe us when we tell you: There is no quicker way to class up a party than to throw some fresh cherries on a pile of chipped ice! So many people, when they first spied the big bowl, said something along the lines of how "nice" or "fancy" it was. This, for something that took us approximately 20 seconds to throw together.
It's a cool, refreshing way to serve chilled fresh fruit, and it literally could not be easier. The only downside: the ice, of course, melts. One suggestion: serve them in a smaller bowl, so that you can replenish the cherries and the ice throughout a gathering.
And as great as this idea is for a party, it's also a pretty great way to enjoy cherries on your own, with a big bowl all to yourself this weekend.
When it comes to seafood, probably the single most-quoted line around our house comes from "Top Chef" way back in 2009. Cheftestant Fabio Viviani was criticizing one of his competitors, Jamie, for making scallops too frequently. As Fabio put it, "This is 'Top Chef.' It's not 'Top Scallops!'"
What's charming about it is Fabio's Mario-and-Luigi Italian accent: "Eez no tope scallope!"
(By the way, if you're wondering what the second most often-quoted line about seafood is in our house, it has to do with ordering a certain kind of fish "just for the halibut." Thanks, folks! We're here all week.)
We're always looking for reasons to make desserts. We don't typically make them for ourselves, unless it's a special occasion. But we love to eat them and we love to showcase them here on the blog.
But there are two occasions when we almost always make something sweet: when someone invites us somewhere (see Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cereal Bars) or when we invite friends over for dinner.
If friends are coming over mid-week for dinner, dessert is usually simple, or something that we can easily make ahead. In the case of this Roasted Pineapple with Honey and Pistachios, it was the former. Our friends Ed and Guy were coming over for dinner on a Wednesday night, and we needed something we could easily throw together in under and hour.