With the holidays getting closer and closer — and bringing with them all sorts of cooking craziness and questions — we wanted to help our readers out. And thankfully, Julia Collin Davison agreed and joined us on Twitter to field as many of our fans’ top Thanksgiving-themed questions as we could in one hour.
But since we are sure there were plenty of folks who couldn’t join us — or are just waiting to the last minute to tackle their turkey-based issues — we’ve compiled some of the highlight’s from Wednesday’s #ATKchat with Julia.
Getting things started
@lchan03: What are some exciting grab-and-go apps for Thanksgiving that won’t make me crazy? I’ve bacon wrapped too many things.
@TestKitchen: My new favorite thing is walnut-prosciutto-parsley stuffed dates from the new Menu cookbook. Also, take log of goat cheese, roll in crushed pink peppercorns, and drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. -Julia
@MattyMatt01: For Herbed Baked Goat Cheese… can you freeze over night? If so, how long will it need to cook for?
@TestKitchen: I would imagine it would be fine in fridge or freezer. Just add a few minutes to baking time -Julia
On the side?
@snesb80: Julia, what are your favorite side dishes to serve for Thanksgiving?
@TestKitchen: The usual, but with the addition of curried, creamed pearl onions. No idea why, but we’ve always had them.. -Julia
@LilMissPoutiner: I want to make crispy fried onions at home (to top a green bean casserole) without a deep fryer. Help!
@TestKitchen: You can slice shallots thinly, toss with cornstarch and salt, and fry in skillet with 1/2-inch oil. -Julia
@angelgrrl813: Also, if making lasagna from scratch, should I assemble to baking point, then freeze? Is there quality loss?
@TestKitchen: Yes, a little loss in flavor, but a great savings on your sanity! Do it. -Julia
@supersinga: Can we talk mashed potatoes? Can you make in advance?
@TestKitchen: I would love to say yes, but the truth is they never taste as good. Every tried keeping them warm in slow cooker? Keep on low or warm. Add extra liquid to prevent drying out. -Julia-Julia
@QueDelish: Can cranberry sauce be prepared in advance & frozen for a few days to 1 week or should I keep it in the fridge until T-day?
@TestKitchen: Sure- it keeps for a long time. I think I actually still have it in fridge from last year:) -Julia
The Bird’s the Word
@notasupermom: Should I have a frozen turkey in the fridge already? How long to defrost safely?
@TestKitchen: Takes frozen turkey 1 day in fridge for every 4 pounds. Plan to have turkey defrosted by Wed at latest-Julia
@ScurvyJake: Since it’s just my wife and I at home, we bought a turkey breast to cook instead of the whole thing. Any suggestions?
@TestKitchen: Awesome idea. We have a great recipe for en Cocotte – also makes the perfect gravy from our Slow and Easy cookbook.
@Global1Gal: What’s the best way to get crispy skin that’s not dry, and juicy breast meat?
@TestKitchen: Have you ever air-dried it overnight, uncovered, in fridge? The dried skin gets seriously crisp. -Julia
Save Room for Dessert!
@themagicapron: I’m in charge of pie. Cranberry-apple-which recipe? Whole berries tossed in or the layered cooked cranberry one?
@TestKitchen: I like the layered one a bit better, but both are really good. Can’t lose. -Julia
@caroled2: How long can you make pies in advance of the big day? I’m making apple and pumpkin pie.
@TestKitchen: Hard one. I always question same thing. I think a day is OK, but if too much longer the crust gets soggy.-Julia
@MattyEats: 25 people for dinner. How many desserts needed? Favorite festive cocktail?
@TestKitchen: Cocktails- now we’re talking. I love champers with cranberry.. You get about 8 to 10 slices per pie, so 3 pies? -Julia
@marymac302: Pecan Pie–could a graham cracker crust be used? My sister does not like a traditional crust. Thanks!
@TestKitchen: Sounds great! Make it really firm so the go doesn’t leak through… -Julia
Oh, the leftovers…
We really want to thank Julia for taking the time to answer all of your Thanksgiving questions. And we’d also like to give a big “Thank You” to everyone who participated in our live chat, we all had a blast. Congratulations to our two lucky tweeters — @IrishBuddha82, @LilMissPoutiner — who each won a Cook’s Illustrated online membership!
Make sure to follow us @TestKitchen and stay tuned for the next Twitter Live Chat!
Still have questions? Check out our Thanksgiving Survival Guide for more tips, tricks, and menu ideas.