Many people find that turkey the day after is dry and bland. I choose to approach this small drawback with a Zen-like philosophy. Rather than fight force with force, harness the opposing force's strength and turn it back upon itself. Tai Chi Turkey.


Mask the dryness.

For example, sometimes I cloak leftover turkey in my favorite pasta dish, a Parmesan cream sauce that is spooned over tagliatelle and mushrooms sauteed with rosemary. Other nights I mimic my mom and simply fry it in copious amounts of butter. I've even dunked dry turkey into a moisturizing stir-fry marinade with great success.

Finding turkey-friendly dishes becomes intuitive after a while. Don't overlook the obvious. Any ingredient, glaze or sauce typically paired with poultry becomes a candidate.

And, of course, there's the sandwich. Which leads me to the most crucial aspect: slicing the turkey. Too large a piece and the turkey slides out in a single bite. Too small and it slips out. Either way it messes up the mojo of the remaining sandwich.

Other ideas? Try turkey...

- Nibbled straight from the fridge;

- Swiped through reheated pan drippings;

- Sauteed in butter;

- Stir-fried with julienned ginger root and scallions;

- Nestled within a quesadilla along with manchego cheese and sauteed mushrooms that were doused at the last second with sherry;

- Tossed into a miso soup with sugar snaps;

- Fried in the same skillet as the morning bacon;

- Stacked an inch deep between layers of avocado, bacon and gobs of mayonnaise;

- Piled atop a salad, chilled or sauteed;

- Shredded and tossed with barbecue sauce;

- Tossed with cooked pasta and garlicky braised greens, such as chard;

- Mashed into hash, whether the traditional potatoes and onions or crumbled corn bread stuffing with caramelized onions;

- And the sandwich. The much-heralded leftover sandwich -- composed of everything typically found on the plate, from sweet potato puree to cranberry relish -- is the way Thanksgiving ought to be celebrated, with the best parts of the meal piled into a messy yet colossal sandwich. (I often use leftover rolls from Thanksgiving to make miniature sandwiches -- it seems to prolong the pleasure. Include roast onions too, if you want, but you will probably then need a knife and fork. And proper stacking is of paramount importance; be certain to layer purees against the bread to ensure some adhesive, lest you end up with an easily toppled mess.)

-- Renee Schettler