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Recipes for T-minus sixteen days until my blood sugar spikes like a coked-up volleyball player
November 9, 2010 9:39 AM   Subscribe

It occurs to me that I have about two and a half weeks before Thanksgiving, with its attendant rich and delicious foods. Are there any recipes I could make that require getting started now? Particular recipes for eggnog, rum cake, confit, etc? What recipes do you love that require many days of waiting-around time before serving?
posted by Greg Nog to Food & Drink (31 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
Thank you for the reminder!

I think fruitcake is a terrible thing to even talk about and really just a bad joke, but if you have any older and/or insane relatives who like it, make this for them (starting now). I did this a couple of years ago for my dad and I think it's kept me in the will for a while longer: Alton Brown's Fruitcake recipe. It's real dried fruit, not that nasty day-glo chewy stuff made from nuclear waste product that I remember from my childhood.

It's a pain, but on the plus side, it's relatively edible for a fruitcake (so much brandy in the air that you won't mind it, anyway).

I'll be buying the little stupid ingredients tomorrow, I guess. Please don't tell anyone that I can make or have tasted fruitcake.
posted by theredpen at 9:57 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't know about recipes that can be started now (any food cooked now would almost certainly be spoiled by Thanksgiving - except for noxious fruitcake, I suppose), but now would be a great time to develop a menu and plan a grocery list.

If you did that now, you could probably start acquiring any of the pantry/dry/non-perishable ingredients in advance. Then you wouldn't have to do a huge shopping trip the Tuesday or Wednesday before and find yourself going crazy because the supermarket ran out of canned pumpkin or whatever.

Or maybe you want to make a new cornbread recipe, and the one you find mentions that it's much better baked in cast iron: now you have time to go out and get a cast iron pan that fits in your oven. You even have time to season the pan.

If you wanted to try a new, challenging recipe that could easily fall flat on the day, now would be a great time to test it out. Also, if you wanted to make something that requires cultures which need to develop over time, like sourdough bread, now would be a great time to get that going.
posted by Sara C. at 10:09 AM on November 9, 2010


You could make the dough for the pie crust in advance -- pie dough freezes well. You could probably even roll it out and put it in the pans and freeze 'em like that, ready to go.
posted by yarly at 10:13 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I dunno about making things this far in advance, but now is certainly the time to start planning. The Pioneer Woman has been preparing Thanksgiving recipes for a little while now, getting ready for the big day. You might want to look through her selection and start thinking about shopping lists, and the order things need to be made. One thing to focus on is what equipment you will need, and what appliances each dish will require. It sucks when you've got plans for a lot of things that all need to come out of the oven at the same time.
posted by purpletangerine at 10:24 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


To clarify: I'm not asking for recipes you like which could be made in advance (indeed, I have plenty of those) -- I'm asking for well-loved recipes which require a large amount of time in their preparation, similar to theredpen's answer, or, say, this pork confit.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:24 AM on November 9, 2010


Yes on pie crust--just be sure to wrap it well, as butter takes on fridge/freezer taste very easily.
posted by the_blizz at 10:24 AM on November 9, 2010


The best eggnog is made fresh and served immediately.

A properly brined turkey takes a couple of days, depending on the recipe. I like the one in Ruhlman & Polcyn's Charcuterie, which is also where I get my bacon recipe.

Speaking of which, if you want to make your own bacon you'll need to get that started a week in advance for the cure, plus a day to smoke it. Start sourcing a high quality pork belly now, since those can be hard to find.

Having made Alton Brown's fruitcake I found it to be too boozy for my taste, but your mileage may vary.
posted by jedicus at 10:29 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


All bread products that will be cooked later would be good choices such as, cornbread for stuffing or savory cornbread pudding would be awesome. Consider desserts that can be made ahead and frozen so you can deploy during turkey day such as, the batter for poundcake, pies and cookies.

Dumplings such as, gyoza freeze well too.

There are cakes that "ripen" like fruit and Christmas pudding. Now, there is a fruit topping that looks radioactive but takes awhile to ferment into the tasty. I can look it up for you, if interested.

Also you could make a way tasty master sauce for some Asian cooking flair. That stuff takes time to make and you must cook several rounds of meat in it to get the beginnings of flavor. Consider it if you truly want a long experiment.
posted by jadepearl at 10:31 AM on November 9, 2010


Cranberry Relish! Best if started now. Put cranberries in food processor (after sorting out the squishy ones) & grind to the size you want. I then boil them for about 10 minutes (though this is not necessary) with water (or apple or other juice) and sugar to taste. Cool and put in a tupperware container. Add food processed orange, orange peel, lemon, lemon zest, nutmeg or other tasty ingredients. Stick in the back of the fridge until the BIG DAY. Yummy.
posted by eleslie at 10:37 AM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


My mother-in-law is making proper mincemeat pie for our thanksgiving dinner, which means she has already started soaking fruit in bourbon.
posted by padraigin at 10:52 AM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anything that requires curing for several weeks like a fruitcake. Certain holiday cookie recipes, like Springerle, require a few weeks to "ripen".

Anything that involves infusing flavor, like if you were going to make your own Christmas liqueur. Infused sugar (vanilla bean sugar is perfect to sprinkle over sugar cookies) also needs at least a week.
posted by cross_impact at 10:59 AM on November 9, 2010


Now, there is a fruit topping that looks radioactive but takes awhile to ferment into the tasty. I can look it up for you, if interested.

I would be very interested in this; such a thing is exactly what I'm looking for!

My mother-in-law is making proper mincemeat pie for our thanksgiving dinner, which means she has already started soaking fruit in bourbon.

Oh ho! Have you had this before? Is it great? If so: do you have a recipe you could share?
posted by Greg Nog at 11:24 AM on November 9, 2010


Oh ho! Have you had this before? Is it great? If so: do you have a recipe you could share?

Yeah, I loved it as a weird little kid when my grandma made it, but never got the family recipe. My mother-in-law suggested it for this year's dinner (which kind of has a bourbon theme to it) and it sounds like she makes it the same way my grandma did, so I've asked her if she'll send her recipe along and will post it here (memail me to bug me if I forget!).

There's booze fruit of course, and the "meat" aspect comes from suet, which is probably not used so much anymore, and probably why no mincemeat pie has ever tasted quite right since my grandma's. But my m-i-l knows from pies, and I feel confident her recipe's going to knock it out of the park.
posted by padraigin at 11:38 AM on November 9, 2010


What about a country ham? Alton's recipe only takes two or three days, but that's a long time for a recipe in my mind.
posted by aganders3 at 11:39 AM on November 9, 2010


Having made Alton Brown's fruitcake I found it to be too boozy for my taste, but your mileage may vary.

My mileage does vary. I find the booze the only reason worth eating the nastycake. However, I do agree that it is super-boozy. My dad is kind of a wuss and a timid gourmet, though, and he ate the whole thing.

Good luck!
posted by theredpen at 12:21 PM on November 9, 2010


I went to a Christmas party hosted by Swedes once, and they served homemade Schnapps. It was really charming and wonderful. They made two flavors: Boysenberry and another flavor they referred to as "Christmas." I'm not sure what was in it, but it was tasty and I loved having the following exchange:

"I'd like another schnapps, please."
"What flavor do you want?"
"Christmas!"

There's a great website about schnapps that includes recipes. Most of them take anywhere from 1 week to 2 months.
posted by swellingitchingbrain at 12:41 PM on November 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Make your own schnapps and call the flavor "Thanksgiving."
posted by swellingitchingbrain at 12:42 PM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


My mother-in-law is making proper mincemeat pie for our thanksgiving dinner, which means she has already started soaking fruit in bourbon.

Well, *proper* mincemeat pie requires copious amounts of meat that should also be soaking by now. I have a recipe at home, similar to this James Beard recipe, that suggests about a month's lead time. So go get yourself some beef suet, tongue, and rump roast and get down to business.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 1:04 PM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, cheesecake should definitely be made at least a day before you eat it. I made this recipe for Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake last year for thanksgiving. Cheesecake is definitely time consuming but people seem to find it impressive and the pumpkin flavor makes it very "thanksgiving-y".

Protip: use 16 oz of marscapone + 8 oz of cream cheese instead of the 32 oz of cream cheese the recipe calls for.
posted by inertia at 1:18 PM on November 9, 2010


I'm going to make some enemies here, but I think that fruitcake is absolutely the best thing you could make. But not just any fruitcake. Not that awful processed monstrosity that you buy in a brick. You need to make a fruitcake that is actually a cake with fruit.

Friendship Fruitcake requires a starter (2 weeks to make), and takes 30 days to "mature". If you start it now, you'll be ready for delicious, moist, chewy, wonderful fruitcake for Christmas. Last year, my mother made enough to make 3 big bundt cakes; I believe I ate one of them by myself. It was AMAZING.

Other than that, the only thing that I could recommend is some kind of infused liquor.
posted by specialagentwebb at 1:29 PM on November 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Apples. This differs a bit from the recipe I usually use (email me if you want it; it's long and is published in this little book), but, as others have mentioned, it's hard to go wrong with the Pioneer Woman. Notes Dew: "May be prepared and frozen as early as eight weekends before Thanksgiving.")
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:03 PM on November 9, 2010


Sourdough bread?
posted by yarly at 2:19 PM on November 9, 2010


radioactive fruit compote or Hollyce's Sin Pot from Emily Luchetti's Stars Desserts

Ice cream topping and refreshing drink ingredient results from:

11 cups of roughly diced fresh fruit
11 cups of sugar

stage 1:
4 cups of cherries, peeled peaches, nectarines and plums
4 cups of sugar

! mix the fruit and sugar in a clean bowl and then transfer into a clean gallon size glass jar, cover with double layer of cheesecloth and seal with rubber band around the rim;

!! Stir the fruit mixture every day for two weeks

!!! Every other day add 1 cup of fruit and 1 cup of sugar during the first 2 weeks

Stage 2:

! Let the sin pot sit for a month in a cool place;

!! stir it every few days

!!! You can add more fruit after the first 2 weeks such as, pears, apples, strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries. NO citrus fruits or blueberries

This concoction releases a lot of juice and ferments and you can keep it going for quite awhile.
posted by jadepearl at 5:08 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't be hatin' on fruitcake! Good fruitcake (and there's a lot of bad out there, I'll grant you) good fruitcake is the food of the gods.

I would like the recipe/flavor combination for Christmas schnapps, please.

When I'm doing a big holiday meal, now would be the week that I'd make an ingredients list for all the dishes (and buy what would keep), do a run-through with the table to see if I needed extra dishes/servers/linens, and make notes about X will be cooked in X pan and served in X bowl.
posted by cyndigo at 9:35 AM on November 10, 2010


My mother-in-law is making proper mincemeat pie for our thanksgiving dinner, which means she has already started soaking fruit in bourbon.

Well, *proper* mincemeat pie requires copious amounts of meat that should also be soaking by now.


"Mincemeat pie" can refer to either a sweet pastry made with finely chopped alcohol-soaked fruit OR a ground meat savoury pie, dudes. Let's not piefight.
posted by elizardbits at 5:39 AM on November 12, 2010


My family always has plum pudding for Christmas. The canned variety, until my sister started making it from scratch. Delicious, although with as much booze and hard sauce as we lavish on it, anything would taste great. In my family, it is brought to the table on fire, which has made for some great family stories, none, so far, requiring a visit from the Fire Dept., but we live in hope.
posted by theora55 at 6:04 AM on November 12, 2010


Oh, nice! Do you happen to have the recipe your sister uses? I found this one, which seems to be a wait-and-whisky-intensive version, but if you have the family recipe, I'd be delighted if you shared it!
posted by Greg Nog at 6:25 AM on November 12, 2010


This isn't exactly going to take 2 weeks to start, but it is something that requires several days ahead preparation.

These are two recipes from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice. This book also includes instructions for a 4-6 week long sourdough starter, but I've never taken on that challenge, nor do I have enough friends that would appreciate the bi-weekly gift of fermenting flour.

The first is an aged dough he calls Pain à l'Ancienne. It uses a delayed fermentation technique, that as I understand, he was the first to work with. It allows some of the starch to convert to sugars (and CO2 and alcohol), which gives it a great flavor and dark crust.

Basically, you make a very wet and sticky dough with ice cold water, and stick it in the fridge for a day. Thanksgiving day, pull it out of the fridge, let it come to room temp, then carefully dump it onto your heavily floured counter. Gently cut and stretch it into baguettes and bake it in a very hot oven (pizza stones/ceramic tiles help) with the help of a little steam (spray bottle).

This'll have to be done before or after the turkey, as you'll want the oven to be 500°, or hotter. He'd also like you to wait an hour before cutting the bread, but if it is all going to be eaten immediately, I think 20 min is fine. If you've never worked with a very wet dough like this, it takes a bit of re-learning regular dough techniques, and you might want to try it once or twice before T-Day. The most important thing is to be gentle. If the dough isn't going into a perfect shape, let it be. Keeping gas entrained is paramount.

The other dough is both simpler, and more complicated. If you've made a sandwich/regular loaf of bread you'll be more familiar with the technique. It is the ingredients that are more complex and also what make it unique. Reinhart's Multigrain Extraordinaire starts with an over night "soaker" (a term he coined) where no yeast is involved. Instead you allow your choice of grains to hydrate and begin a bit of germination, which will again allow sugars to be released. The link doesn't explain that you can use 1oz of what ever grain you like along with the rolled oats and bran. I've used cornmeal or quinoa, though amaranth is another option. I've seen some people use Bob's Red Mill 10 grain mix, which I'm going to pick up next time I make this. The soaker is left out at room temp, covered, for a day. The next day, you mix it with bread flour, cooked brown rice, honey, brown sugar, buttermilk (or regular milk, or yogurt, or water), water, yeast and salt. A stand mixer will really help here, as you're going to mash every thing into a homogeneous loaf (except the quinoa stayed distinct in my dough). Then it's 60-90 min for the first rise, shape it and place in a loaf pan, then another 60-90 minutes for final proofing. It rises quickly, especially since your kitchen will be warm on Thanksgiving. It might take as little as 45min for the loaf to proof. (and over proofed loaves are sad)

I plan on making the multigrain extraordinaire into rolls, about 10. They'll take 10-20 minutes to bake at 350°, so perfect for post-bird. It's got a really great flavor. Make an extra loaf for turkey sandwiches.

Sorry to be a bit of an evangelist, but it's a great book. Reinhart has clearly spent lots of time figuring out how to get the most out of grains, and for the most part that means advanced preparation and time.
posted by fontophilic at 8:18 AM on November 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Greg, if you're still in Brooklyn, I'd suggest you check out the plum pudding recipe in Mimi Sheraton's Visions of Sugarplums. (I hope I've got the right book in mind, as it's been over a decade since I made the recipe, let alone got it out of the book.) It's pretty flexible in terms of the booze that you use, and has an accompanying recipe for hard sauce, which is basically just confectioner's sugar, butter, and as much hard liquor as you care to blend in. As with theora55's family, I liked to turn out the lights, ignite a quarter-cup of 151-proof rum, and pour it over the pudding, followed by the ritual known as the Extinguishing of the Tablecloth. Fittingly so for something that takes a while to make, it's good for quite some time afterward.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:04 PM on November 12, 2010


My grandma used to make Sugarplums every year which is basically the same amount of raisins, dates, prunes, figs, and other dried fruits (cranberries, apricots, or cherries) ground together and rolled in powdered sugar or crushed nuts.

Most recipes call for the candy to age for an hour or so, but grandma would roll them into logs and age them a week (in wax paper) before cutting then coating them in the sugar or nuts. I always thought they tasted much better after aging a week or so.

I lost grandma's recipe, but Alton Brown has one that's similar (of course)...
posted by patheral at 3:16 PM on November 12, 2010


I'm reading the A Culinary Collection from The Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1973 and I found a recipe that needs to be made quite far in advance.

From the cookbook:

Contributed by Lewis Sharp
Holiday Spiced Beef

Sandwiches made of this spiced beef and hot mustard have been a traditional Sharp Christmas Eve supper for several generations. The meat lasts for snacks all during the holidays. A prerequisite for the recipe is a big house with a cold storage room, where the beef can marinate for 21 days.

1 pound salt
1 pound brown sugar
1/4 ounce saltpeter
1/2 ounce ground cloves
1/2 ounce ground cinnamon
1/2 ounce allspice
1 nutmeg, grated
20 pounds top round beef (have the butcher cut into the center of the meat and tie it tightly around an 8-inch length of big bone)

Mix all the dry ingredients and rub well into the meat. Place in a crock and rub and turn every day for 21 days. The meat will make its own brine. Wash well. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and cook slowly for 4 hours. Let the meat stand in the same water overnight. Remove from water and refrigerate. Serves 50.
posted by mmmbacon at 6:45 AM on November 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


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