Friday, October 31, 2008

Thanksgiving Menus from Food Magazines, part 2

Saveur, with mincemeat pie on the cover, features a New Orleans-inspired menu, which includes: oyster stew; roasted turkey; gateau de sirop (Acadian syrup cake); and spiced pecans.

Side dishes include: roasted cranberry sauce; sweet potato casserole (half sweet, half savory); green beans with pancetta and mint; whipped mashed potatoes with celery root; and oyster stuffing.

Also in this issue: Missouri wines (including Adam Puchta - my favorite); mincemeat pie (the business I work for is listed as the supplier for suet); Laos; France; and homemade pizza.

My summary: In my opinion, Saveur is a little more food literature than recipes or cooking information (not to say that their recipes aren't good, but for some reason it just strikes me as a magazine you read but do not necessarily cook from). That said, the Thanksgiving recipes look tasty and the ingredients and preparation seem reasonable. There is also a recipe for truffade (skillet cooked potatoes and cheese) that looks like seriously indulgent comfort food. It is a good issue, but I probably wouldn't pay the $5 cover price for it.

Food & Wine

Food & Wine magazine has organized their Ultimate Thanksgiving Planner with 3 menus into a convenient grid, allowing you to see all components of all menus at the same time.

  1. Grilled butterflied turkey and caraway ancho gravy with: ham and cheddar sourdough stuffing; smoky seafood cocktails; creamed spinach and parsnips; grill-roasted vegetables with pine nut pesto; and pumpkin-gingersnap tiramisu
  2. Apricot-glazed turkey and fresh herb gravy with: fennel, red onion and focaccia stuffing; cauliflower soup with chorizo bread crumbs; celery salad with walnuts, dates and pecorino; cranberry-pomegranate sauce; and a pear tart with pecan crust
  3. Either turkey option (grilled or apricot-glazed) with: corn bread dressing with brussels sprouts; goat cheese edamame dip with spiced pepitas; mashed potatoes with creme fraiche and chives; crunchy baked fennel; and caramel cream pie with crispy rice topping

Bonus: wine suggestions; dishes also have color-coded icons indicating to use the freezer, use the refrigerator, use the grill, use the stovetop, or use the oven - which helps with planning.

Also in this issue:
Yogurt - the new superfood; testing skillets; homemade ricotta; features on Atlanta, Georgia and Boise, Idaho; cooking club; and "upcycling" - using portions of ingredients that ususally end up in the trash (mushroom stems, potato peels, etc.).

My summary: I like the variety of cooking methods - grill, oven, stovetop, etc. I'm especially intrigued with grilling the Thanksgiving turkey (although I probably wouldn't actually do it, unless we moved Thanksgiving to one of the Southern - i.e. warmer - states). There is a nice mix of recipes, some simple, some more advanced, and the majority of ingredients should be widely available. Definitely not your boring, standard holiday recipes, but not too crazy either. Overall, the November issue of Food & Wine seems like a good addition to my food magazine collection.

Cook's Country
Cook's Country takes a more subtle approach to promoting its Thanksgiving menu than most. No crazy, too-good-to-be-true claims (the BEST! the EASIEST! Whatever!) and no turkey picture on the front cover. Their recipes appear to be the type to stand on their own merit, without wordy exclamations. The Thanksgiving selections include:

  • Old-fashioned roast turkey with gravy
  • Bread stuffing outside the bird

  • Skillet roasted carrots and parsnips

  • Make ahead green bean casserole

  • Easy crescent rolls

  • Garlic mashed potatoes
  • Butternut squash soup

  • Bonus: Leftover turkey recipes (that look so good it makes me want to cook a turkey just for the leftovers)

Also: 30 minute supper recipe cards; great tips, reviews, and illustrated instructions; guide to getting to know nuts; and chocolate shadow cake.

My summary: You can never go wrong with any publications or recipes from Cook's Illustrated. Although not necessarily trendy or gourmet, you can count on Cook's Country's recipes to turn out well (they test everything to perfection) - and their well-written instructions and helpful illustrations make cooking practically foolproof. Their classic Thanksgiving menu is perfect for anyone who wants to cook really good food, but isn't necessarily a gourmet cook, doesn't have the desire to use exotic ingredients, or doesn't want to risk a new-recipe failure on Thanksgiving. If you are considering buying this issue of Cook's Country (or a subscription), focus on the quality of the recipes and the tips they offer, not the quantity of pages in the magazine. The magazine seems thin, but because there is no advertising (which is so nice), 100% of the content is recipes, reviews, and helpful tips, making it a good buy.

Update: For more, check out Part 1 and Part 3.


Heather said...

oohhhh i am excited for part 3. bon appetit is my favorite. these roundups are nifty :)

McKenzie said...

I'm glad you're enjoying the roundups! I've enjoyed working on them (though I'm so hungry for turkey now). =)
Bon Appetit is one of my favorites as well. I'm always happy to see it in my mailbox.