Think about it: The folks who answer your questions every week during our Free Range Chat — reporters, editors, columnists, others — have a lot of Thanksgivings under our collective belt. From spectacularly successful turkeys to ovens that caught fire (mine), we’ve seen it all. What that means to you: The odds of finding holiday-related advice are pretty excellent.
So if help is what you need, join us here at noon, today and the next two Wednesdays, for what’s sure to be a Thanksgiving-heavy hour of give and take. As always, the earlier you submit a question — ideally, a t least a couple hours before the action begins — the more likely it is to be answered.
To get things started, here are some quick Q&As taken from previous Thanksgiving chats that might help you out this season:
Making a pecan pie, but I have only jumbo eggs instead of large. Will that make the pie too custardy, or cause other problems?
I can’t tell you what the exact effect would be, but especially if the recipe calls for just one or two eggs, it probably won’t matter. There’s so much variation in egg size — I’ve bought cartons of eggs that contained some really large and really small specimens — that it’s not an exact science.
However, you can always figure out the correct equivalent for any recipe. In general, one large egg equals approximately 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon of liquid. So let’s say your pie recipe calls for three large eggs. Whisk together two or three of your jumbo eggs, measure out 10 tablespoons — that would be 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons — and use that for your pie.
We ordered a fresh turkey from a local farm this year. Is there a difference in how we need to prepare it from normal frozen turkeys?
No. It’s still the same bird, just not hard as a rock. However, if you’ve got any doubt, the best thing to do is to call the farm that’s selling it to you and ask for advice. If you’ve bought an unusual heritage breed, for example, they might have special tips for you. But in general, your usual roasting technique will work as well for fresh as for frozen.
Every Thanksgiving, my special contribution to the occasion is champagne and a small appetizer to keep everyone content until dinner is on the table. Any recommendations on a good small bite to pair with champagne?
Really, champagne goes with just about anything. Seafood would be great; shrimp and champagne are classic buddies. For something a little more interesting than shrimp with cocktail sauce, this marinated shrimp looks good. Raw oysters would be a fine match, too. Or how about smoked salmon, as in these crostini that are meant to be paired with sparkling wine; or how about a salmon spread? In fact, any kind of pâté, such as this really delicious chicken liver version, would be ideal.
I’m going to cook stuffing on Wednesday and reheat it Thursday after I take the turkey out of the oven. At what temp and for how long should I do this? I also need to cook sliced sweet potatoes at 400 for 20 minutes post-turkey, so can I do this while the stuffing is in the oven?
As long as it’s a fairly moist stuffing, wrap the baking dish/casserole it’s in with aluminum foil. It should reheat nicely during that 400-degree, 20-minute window for your cooked sliced sweet potatoes. But if the stuffing comes out of the fridge or freezer fairly crumbly to start with, you may want to sprinkle it with a little chicken broth or apple cider, or dot the surface with bits of unsalted butter, before reheating it.
If you want to reheat the stuffing separately, be sure to cover it with foil. Try 350 degrees (oven or toaster oven) for 20 to 30 minutes, checking after the first 15 minutes. You may need to use a fork to break it up to promote even heating.
Is there a way to keep the bottom crust of a pumpkin pie from getting soggy?
Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder per cup of flour to your pie crust recipe. Bake the pie in a Pyrex pie plate, and bake it on the bottom rack of the oven.