Let’s Talk Food: Thanksgiving is next week

As in the past two years, Thanksgiving has taken on a very different appearance from the past. It was one of my favorite vacations, with over 50 people gathered in our enclosed patio, enjoying each other’s food and company. This year, Thanksgiving may be similar to the past two years, but with more of us getting vaccinated, many of us with our third booster, it looks like we can start celebrating and we can be a bit. relaxed.

Maybe we can relive the Thanksgiving days of our past and laugh a bit like Eating Well magazine did in its last issue.

My first Thanksgiving dinner was a disaster as I roasted a turkey that was still very frozen so the cooking time guide did not apply. Now I know how to buy fresh turkeys two days before Thanksgiving, bone them and put them in brine on Wednesday.

Here is a similar situation that happened to an Eat Well reader:

“I once tried to cook a turkey that wasn’t completely thawed. It couldn’t be cooked all the way (without completely burning the outside) and we had to throw everything away.

The fix: Defrosting a turkey in the refrigerator takes at least 24 hours for 4 to 5 pounds of meat. But if you find that your bird is still partially frozen on Thanksgiving morning, try this quick thawing method that only takes 30 minutes per pound. Immerse your wrapped turkey in a sink filled with cold water. Turn off the water every hour to make sure you maintain a safe temperature.

When I made gravy for the first time, I felt very intimidated. And yes, my first attempt produced a lumpy sauce that I had to pass through a sieve to remove the lumps!

Here is a “failure” regarding the sauce:

“Our first Thanksgiving with my and my husband’s family is known as“ The Gravy War. ”My mom insisted on using flour to thicken it and my mother-in-law insisted on cornstarch. It got ugly.

The fix: Flour and cornstarch also work well for thickening the sauce; the key to avoiding lumps, no matter which direction you take, is to mix the ingredients slowly and whisk constantly. For the cornstarch, prepare a porridge with a little fresh broth to remove lumps before adding it to the hot broth and cooking juices. For the flour, make a roux by whisking the flour directly into the cooking juices. Then slowly add your broth. Do you always end up with lumps? Pass your sauce through a fine mesh sieve.

I like to use cornstarch as a thickener because I think it makes a bright, shiny sauce. Cornstarch is pure starch while flour contains protein, so use half the amount of cornstarch.

I remember when I was young my mom would order a jar of Sun Sun Lau oyster sauce (we dropped the jar earlier today). This sauce was made from cornstarch because it was shiny and shiny.

If you’ve tried baking rolls and burned them, Eating Well’s Rolls Recipe is baked in the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Honey Whole Wheat Buns

Makes 12 rolls

“This slow cooker makes super soft and chewy buns. If you prefer them more crisp, arrange the finished rolls on a baking sheet, brush the tops with melted butter and sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if desired. Grill, watching carefully, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

1 cup whole milk, warmed

4 tablespoons of honey, divided

1 envelope of active dry yeast (2-1 / 4 teaspoons)

5 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1 large egg

2 cups whole wheat flour

1-1 / 2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon of salt

Combine milk, 1 tablespoon of honey and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Leave to rest for 5 minutes.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of honey, oil, egg, whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour and salt to the yeast mixture. Mix on low speed with the dough hook or wooden spoon until a smooth, elastic ball forms and comes off the sides, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface; Divide into 12 pieces, about 2-1 / 2 ounces each.

Roll each piece into a smooth ball.

Line a 6-quart or larger slow cooker with a large piece of parchment paper (it is acceptable to crease it lightly to cover it with the bottom and halfway down the sides); coat paper with cooking spray. Add the rolls in a single layer. Cover and cook on high power until buns begin to brown around edges and bounce slightly to the touch, 2 to 2-1 / 2 hours. Transfer the rolls to a wire rack and let cool slightly before serving hot.

I have a wonderful memory of sitting in the kitchen with my mother-in-law, Hazel, while she made our Thanksgiving dinner. One Wednesday, she made the cornbread for the dressing, cut it, then let it dry in a baking sheet on the counter.

She didn’t have a recipe card, it was all in her head, and her many years of experience. Thanksgiving dinner was perfect!

Gourmet bites

The Hawaii Community College Culinary Program takes pre-orders for pickup on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Order your plate of turkey or strip loin steak, 9-inch pumpkin pie or a dozen buns. Please call before they run out by dialing 808-934-2559 Tuesday or Wednesday 10:30 am to 12:30 pm If leaving a message, include your full name, phone number, quantity items ordered and time of pickup.

The White Guava Cafe is only open for Thanksgiving lunch and serves old-fashioned, family-style for groups of four. I’ll make pumpkin pecan pies for that day.

Email Audrey Wilson at [email protected].

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