Thursday, November 14, 2013

Winged things and Thanksgiving planning

My yard is white with the season's first light blanket of snow. Skies are gray and days are short, lulling me into hibernation-mode while relishing in the comforts of fleece and wool.

The town is a bit quieter as the fall color season dwindles to an end and snowbirds begin to make their escapes to warmer climes. Many winged creatures also have departed. [Any readers of this blog who are nature enthusiasts may enjoy a couple of short wildlife stories I recently wrote for Our Mississippi magazine, a good news piece on the recovery of trumpeter swans and a sadder brief on the struggles of the monarch butterfly, both on page 7.] 

Another winged creature takes its annual star turn on our tables later this month. Yes, turkey day is two weeks away. This is about the time I usually start planning my menu, and yesterday morning I decided to throw out most of my tried-and-true Thanksgiving recipes and just follow the menu in The New York Times

So, to any local people who read my Thanksgiving essay in the Oryana newsletter [last page], I'm probably not doing that this year, except for the corn maque choux and the madeira gravy. 

I like the NYT's suggestion to dry brine the turkey with a salt and herb rub. Thomas Keller's simple roast chicken recipe uses a similar preparation and it's always delicious. Bacon and mushrooms in the stuffing also sounds like an exciting addition. But the item on the menu that hooked me is David Tanis' spicy red pepper cranberry relish. I have to try that. And, I think I'll make all three pies.

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