26 Days Until Christmas The Real Santa’s Mission Statment 2013

Today is Thanksgiving .. Kitty and I have so much to be thankful for as we make our push to the great day of happiness … Christmas 2013 … “Go Give Love”, this is our hope and mission statement. Your Presence is our present.

@http://www.kittyandsanta.com  THANKS TO ANGIE M. PARISH,THIS IS OUR MISSION STATEMENT My beloved friends. What ever kindness it is you choose to do it will only go to prove that there are Angels who walk among us and you have just become one of them!

Prayers of thanks and special thanksgiving ceremonies are common among almost all religions after harvests and at other times.[1] It has been proposed that Thanksgiving may be able to trace its earliest recorded origins to the ancient Mesopotamian harvest festival of Akitu.[2] The Thanksgiving holiday’s history in North America is rooted in English traditions dating from the Protestant Reformation. It also has aspects of a harvest festival, even though the harvest in New England occurs well before the late-November date on which the modern Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated.[1][3]

In the English tradition, days of thanksgiving and special thanksgiving religious services became important during the English Reformation in the reign of Henry VIIIand in reaction to the large number of religious holidays on the Catholic calendar. Before 1536 there were 95 Church holidays, plus 52 Sundays, when people were required to attend church and forego work and sometimes pay for expensive celebrations. The 1536 reforms reduced the number of Church holidays to 27, but some Puritans, the radical reformers of their age, wished to completely eliminate all Church holidays, including Christmas and Easter. The holidays were to be replaced by specially called Days of Fasting or Days of Thanksgiving, in response to events that the Puritans viewed as acts of special providence. Unexpected disasters or threats of judgement from on high called for Days of Fasting. Special blessings, viewed as coming from God, called for Days of Thanksgiving. For example, Days of Fasting were called on account of drought in 1611, floods in 1613, and plagues in 1604 and 1622. Days of Thanksgiving were called following the victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588 and following the deliverance of Queen Anne in 1705. An unusual annual Day of Thanksgiving began in 1606 following the failure of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and developed into Guy Fawkes Day.[4]

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31 Days till Christmas

I awoke this morning crying. To know that we, KITTY AND SANTA were divinely appointed to bring hope and joy to the Tallahessee Florida Children of all ages. We are able to restore the belief in the hope that through it all we can truly have peace. Not only a physical peace but even more so an inner peace that will last a long time after this most important season is long over.

Why can’t this be the norm rather then the exception ?

Look we are hurling through space on a rock, life is far to short. We teach everybody the heart to heart hug. we let everyone know that their presence is our present. In this walk we are not alone hand in hand Kitty and I are making a difference in the lives of those we come in contact with here and around the world through the internet.

All we really want to do is create a conversation about walking toward a better life through action and deed lovely each other without race, color or creed.

Truly this is the greatest season of our life.

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Essential Thanksgiving Dinner for the Elves

Essential Thanksgiving

I think the most important meal before Christmas is Thankgiving. We gather everybody together,  two legged, and four legged, for a great feast to celebrate our family. After the great feast and a good nights sleep it’s time to bring Christmas together for every child. Make sure you send your Christmas list soon.http://www.santaonline.tv/

Your guide to the year’s most important meal, with our best recipes, techniques and tricks. Consider these building blocks, then make the feast your own. BY JULIA MOSKIN & MELISSA CLARK

We’ve broken Thanksgiving dinner down to its essential elements. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce and potatoes, of course. But no less necessary, if slightly less obvious, is something orange (yams, squash or even mac and cheese). A green and snappy vegetable. And pie — at least two.

In each category, we give you our preferred recipe, a standout of its kind. But we offer alternatives, too. If your family demands creamed onions or parsnip soup as a first course, have at it. Mix and match. Those dishes make the table yours; these are the essentials that make it Thanksgiving.

Turkey

Photo by Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times, Video by Jenny Woodward for The New York Times

For all the attention we lavish on Thanksgiving turkeys, the truth is more work does not necessarily yield a better bird. That’s why I swear by no brining, no stuffing, no trussing and no basting. Instead of a messy wet brine, I use a dry rub (well, technically a dry brine) — a salt and pepper massage that locks in moisture and seasons the flesh. No stuffing or trussing allows the bird to cook more quickly, with the white and dark meat finishing closer to the same time. And if you oil but don’t baste your turkey, you’ll get crisp skin without constantly opening the oven. MELISSA CLARK

OUR ESSENTIAL

Simple Roast Turkey

TIME

3 1/2 hours, plus 1 to 3 days’ standing

YIELD

10 to 12 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 turkey
    (10 to 12 pounds)
    Using a bigger bird?
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 lemon, zested and quartered
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme or rosemary
  • 1 bunch fresh sage
  • 12 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 bottle hard apple cider (12 ounces)
  • Dry white wine, as needed
  • 2 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Olive oil or melted butter, as needed

PREPARATION

  1. Remove any giblets from the cavity and reserve for stock or gravy. Pat turkey and turkey neck dry with paper towel; rub turkey all over with 1/2 teaspoon salt per pound of turkey, the pepper and the lemon zest, including the neck. Transfer to a 2-gallon (or larger) resealable plastic bag. Tuck herbs and 6 garlic cloves inside bag. Seal and refrigerate on a small rimmed baking sheet (or wrapped in another bag) for at least 1 day and up to 3 days, turning the bird over every day (or after 12 hours if brining for only 1 day).
  2. Remove turkey from bag and pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey, uncovered, back on the baking sheet. Return to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours to dry out the skin (this helps crisp it).
  3. When you are ready to cook the turkey, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature for one hour.
  4. Heat oven to 450 degrees. In the bottom of a large roasting pan, add the cider and enough wine to fill the pan to a 1/4-inch depth. Add half the onions, the remaining 6 garlic cloves and the bay leaves. Stuff remaining onions and the lemon quarters into the turkey cavity. Brush turkey skin generously with oil or melted butter.
  5. Place turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack set inside the roasting pan. Transfer pan to oven and roast 30 minutes. Cover breast with aluminum foil. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh reaches 165 degrees, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours more. Transfer turkey to a cutting board to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

OR TRY …

Braised Turkey

•••••

ASKED BY NORA WALTER FROM IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y.

Q. Will this recipe give good drippings to use in Mark Bittman’s recipe for gravy?

A. Yes! Drippings on the bottom of any turkey roasting pan will work; just add it to the gravy little by little, to taste, in case it is very salty.

ASKED BY LYNN FROM CHICAGO, ILL.

Q. Can I roast a spatchcocked turkey over my stuffing to catch the juices? If so, will the bird need to cook longer?

A. Yes, and yes! How much longer depends upon how large and cold your turkey is to start with. Just make sure to use an instant read thermometer to take the temperature of both the turkey and the stuffing. You’re looking for 165 degrees on both counts.

Gravy

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

You need gravy to lubricate the turkey, moisten the potatoes, douse the stuffing. But don’t let the fact that it’s made at the last minute stress you out. Here’s a secret: You can make gravy up to five days ahead. Then, as you reheat it, whisk in the turkey pan drippings for extra flavor. Mark Bittman’s version is every bit as good as last-minute gravy (I tested the two side by side to be sure) — and far less crazy-making. MELISSA CLARK

 OUR ESSENTIAL

MARK BITTMAN

TIME

20 minutes, with premade stock

YIELD

5 to 6 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 to 5 cups rich stock, warmed
  • Turkey drippings and giblets, optional

PREPARATION

  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat, then add onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour on the onions, stirring constantly, and cook until flour is golden to brown. Adjust heat so mixture does not burn.
  2. Gradually whisk in 4 cups stock until mixture thickens and is smooth. If it is too thick, add liquid. Cool, cover and chill.
  3. When ready to serve, reheat mixture over low heat, stirring. Scrape bottom of turkey pan and add drippings or giblets to gravy. Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve.
•••

ASKED BY JEN FROM BROOKLYN, N.Y.

Q. How far in advance can the make-ahead gravy be made? Can it be frozen?

A. You can make the gravy five days ahead. I have never frozen gravy, and worry that it might break when it defrosts.

ASKED BY MARE FROM CHICAGO, ILL.

Q. Do you have a vegetarian gravy recipe? My vegetarian diners will want gravy for potatoes.

A. Our make-ahead gravy recipe works with vegetable broth too (but obviously don’t include the turkey giblets or drippings). Just make sure to use a rich, dark, full-flavored vegetable broth. Mushroom broth is particularly meaty tasting.

Potatoes

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times, Video by Deborah Acosta/The New York Times

To many Americans, gravy without mashed potatoes is like jam without toast: a condiment with no consequence. No potatoes is not an option. “But we’re having sweet potatoes and squash,” the cook laments. “Do we really need another side?” Yes, you do. Our essential recipe, an archival one by Melissa Clark, is simply the best mashed-potato recipe we know, adapted to serve a large number of people and to eliminate any last-minute work. Mash a pile of potatoes in the morning, then slide the casserole dish in with the turkey as it finishes cooking. JULIA MOSKIN

OUR ESSENTIAL

Mashed Potato Casserole With Sour Cream and Chives

MELISSA CLARK

TIME

40 minutes, plus 30 to 40 minutes’ baking

YIELD

12 to 14 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, and more for the pan
  • 6 pounds russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

PREPARATION

  1. Lightly grease a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan.
  2. In a large pot, bring the potatoes, 4 quarts water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil. Boil potatoes until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
  3. Mash potatoes with 10 tablespoons butter, sour cream, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. (If you have a food mill or ricer, now is the time to use it; push the potatoes through and then gently combine them with the butter, sour cream, salt and pepper.) Mash in the chives. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Spread potatoes into the prepared pan. At this point you can cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days, but it is best to avoid chilling mashed potatoes if you can. Why is that?
  4. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, bread crumbs and cheese. Mix together until it forms coarse crumbs. Crumbs can be refrigerated for three days.
  5. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle crumbs over the top of the potato casserole and bake until golden and crisp, 30 to 40 minutes.

ASKED BY KATHERINE FROM ARKANSAS

Q. Are the bread crumbs dried or fresh?

A. You can make the crumbs from bread that is fresh, or from bread that is dry. The easiest way to do it: pulse pieces of bread in the food processor, working in batches so the crumbs stay fluffy. What you don’t want to use in this recipe is the fine crumbs that come in containers from the supermarket.

ASKED BY ERIN FROM NORTH CAROLINA

Q. Can I substitute buttermilk for the sour cream?

A. You certainly can use buttermilk instead of sour cream: the result will be tangy, but less rich and a bit less fluffy. Any milk you pour into mashed potatoes should be heated up beforehand, to prevent the mash from turning gluey.

Cranberry Sauce

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Almost everything on the Thanksgiving table might show up at another holiday meal, but cranberry sauce is a one-night-only treat. Nothing beats its puckery-sweet jolt, a sharp knife that cuts through all the starchy food on the menu. Our essential recipe, from David Tanis, is modern and fresh; it underscores the usual sour and sweet flavors with the thrum of fresh ginger and chile heat. JULIA MOSKIN

DAVID TANIS

Every year, I come up with a kicky condiment, usually made with cranberries, to offset the neutral (read: bland) yet rich nature of the meal. This time around it is going to be a hot red-pepper cranberry relish with jalapeños and cayenne. You can keep the seasoning somewhat tame, or ramp up the heat to taste. It will keep for 2 weeks or so; make it in advance, as soon as cranberries are available, and have it on hand in the fridge through the holiday season.

TIME

30 minutes

YIELD

About 2 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large jalapeños, preferably red, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 12 ounces cranberries

PREPARATION

  1. Put sugar, jalapeños, lemon juice, salt and cayenne in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon to dissolve sugar, and simmer 2 minutes.
  2. Add ginger and cranberries, stir to coat and bring to a brisk simmer. Reduce heat to medium and let mixture cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have softened and no liquid remains in pan, about 15 minutes.
  3. Let cool and taste. Add more cayenne or jalapeños if desired. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

SUBMITTED BY TOM FROM WISCONSIN

If you ever get a chance, get fresh cranberries direct from the bogs. You would be surprised.

ASKED BY CHRIS FROM CHICAGO, ILL.

Q. I like the sound of the Cranberry-Orange Jelly recipe, but how does it form a jelly without gelatin?

A. The short answer: pectin. Pectin is a natural molecule that exists in many plants, holding cell walls together and generally being useful. For most jellies, pectin is added to fruit and sugar; cranberries have plenty of naturally occurring pectin, enough for a strong gel.

Stuffing

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times, Video by Deborah Acosta/The New York Times

Discord swarms around the issue of stuffing. Should it be cooked in the bird or baked alongside, as dressing? White or corn bread? Firm enough to slice or soft as pudding? Call this recipe the peacemaker, because it’s adaptable enough to make everyone happy. You can use white or corn bread (and gluten-free corn bread works perfectly). The mushrooms allow vegetarians to nix the bacon without sacrificing all the flavor. We advocate dressing, but if you want to stuff, you can do that, too. MELISSA CLARK

Two-Way Stuffing With Mushrooms and Bacon

TIME

2 to 2 1/2 hours

YIELD

8 to 10 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter, more as needed for greasing pan
  • 1 1/2 pounds sliced white bread or corn bread
  • 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon
  • 2 large leeks, trimmed and sliced (3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 pounds mixed mushrooms, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken stock, more as needed
  • 1/4 cup apple cider, if using white bread
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oven to 250 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Trim the crusts from the white bread and cut into 1-inch cubes; if using corn bread, coarsely crumble it. Spread the bread pieces out on one or two large baking sheets. Toast in the oven, tossing occasionally, until very dry, about 30 minutes for white bread, 1 hour for corn bread. Transfer to a large bowl to cool. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon strips until crisp. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the leeks to the bacon fat and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook, tossing frequently, until mushrooms are tender and most of their juices have evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the sage and cook 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until it evaporates, about 2 minutes.
  3. Spoon the mushroom mixture over the dried bread. Stir in stock. If using white bread, stir in the cider. Add parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. The mixture should be moist and very soft. If you like your stuffing extremely moist, add enough stock to make it seem slightly soggy but not wet. (Think pudding.) Crumble bacon and stir it in.
  4. Transfer the bread mixture to the prepared baking pan. Drizzle 3 tablespoons melted butter over the stuffing. Bake until golden, 35 to 45 minutes.

SUBMITTED BY LIZ STEIN FROM BEDFORD, N.Y.

I sauté my vegetables for stuffing ahead of time, and refrigerate, but it’s important to heat them up before you mix up the stuffing if you’re cooking it in the bird.

ASKED BY MARY

Q. Can stuffing be made in advance, like the day before or even before, and frozen?

A. You can toast the bread and cook the bacon, mushrooms and leeks the day before (store veggies in the fridge and bread at room temperature), then mix everything together just before baking on Thanksgiving. Or you can fully bake the stuffing up to two days ahead. Store it in the fridge, then reheat in a 350-degree oven for about 25 to 35 minutes. If the top isn’t crunchy, run it under the broiler before serving.

Something Orange

 Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times, Video by Deborah Acosta/The New York Times

Yams, sweet potatoes and squash take us back to a time when Thanksgiving was a seasonal celebration of the harvest. You need the warm glow of Something Orange on your table; it will help brighten the monotonous brown of turkey, gravy and stuffing. Our essential recipe, a gorgeous combination of roasted squash and red onions with a shower of fresh green herbs, may seem daring for Thanksgiving, but it works together brilliantly. JULIA MOSKIN

OUR ESSENTIAL

Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Onions

Adapted from “Jerusalem” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

This dish can be served hot or room temperature, or even without the tahini sauce. (If you do use the sauce, and we think you should, drizzle it over the top.) Don’t worry about leaving the squash unpeeled. The high-temperature roasting softens it completely, and eliminating that step saves a lot of time.

TIME

1 hour

YIELD

10 to 12 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • About 1/2 cup olive oil, plus extra for pans
  • 4 large red onions
  • Coarse salt and black pepper
  • 4 pounds butternut squash cut into 1/2-inch wedges, peeled or unpeeled
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or shelled green pistachio nuts (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, mint, cilantro or a combination, for garnish
  • FOR TAHINI SAUCE (OPTIONAL)
  • 1/4 cup tahini paste
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oven to 475 degrees. Lightly coat two large baking sheets with olive oil.
  2. Peel onions, leaving root ends intact. Cut each onion in half from stem to root. Cut each half into 4 wedges, leaving the root intact so that each wedge holds together. Spread on a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with oil.
  3. Put the squash in a large mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and about 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat. Spread on a baking sheet, peel side down (if intact).
  4. Place both pans in oven and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are cooked through. Keep an eye on the onions, as they may cook faster than the squash and need to be removed earlier.
  5. If using pine nuts, pour 1 tablespoon oil into a small frying pan and place over medium-low heat. Add nuts and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, until the nuts are golden brown and smell toasty. Immediately remove from the heat and dump onto a cutting board to stop the cooking. If using pistachios, chop coarsely when cool enough to handle.
  6. To make tahini sauce, place tahini in a bowl. Add lemon juice, 1/4 cup water, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Whisk until sauce is the consistency of honey, adding more water or a tablespoon of olive oil if necessary.
  7. When the vegetables are cooked, set aside until ready to serve. (The vegetables should be served the same day they are made. They can be served at warm room temperature, or reheated just before serving.)
  8. To serve, arrange vegetables on a large serving platter. If using tahini sauce, drizzle on top. Sprinkle herbs and, if using, nuts on top and serve.
 ••

ASKED BY MURPHY FROM PORTLAND, ORE.

Q. In the butternut squash recipe, it is roasted at 475 degrees. In How to Roast Any Orange Vegetable you say roast at 400 degrees. Don’t go higher. Which is it and why?

A. Good question! In the recipe for Butternut Squash with Red Onions, the squash is sliced, not diced into cubes. The thinner slices can take a higher temperature (and a faster cooking time) because the heat will penetrate to the center faster, and they will cook through more quickly without the outsides burning. The slices should be 1/2 inch thick; diced chunks for roasting are closer to a 1-inch cube.

ASKED BY ALEGRIA FROM AUSTIN, TEX.

Q. Can I make the sweet potatoes with maple syrup ahead of time and freeze it? Make it a day earlier?

A. Absolutely. Sweet potatoes, unlike white potatoes, freeze well once they are cooked. But do try to buy your sweet potatoes just before making the dish, or keep them in a cool, dry spot; when refrigerated, they tend to turn starchy.

Green & Snappy Vegetables

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times, Video by Deborah Acosta/The New York Times

Green vegetables are the hallmark of the modern holiday table, the dish that says, “We know it’s Thanksgiving, but not everything has to be starchy, sweet or both.” The lineup cries out for something zippy and tart to cut through the richness. Cranberry sauce played this part for centuries, but you can’t eat much of it: It’s a sauce, not a side. The combination of citrus and cruciferous in this archival recipe makes it essential, but any winter green with a bit of tang, spice or ginger will do the job. JULIA MOSKIN

OUR ESSENTIAL

Hashed Brussels Sprouts With Lemon Zest

Adapted from “The Union Square Cafe Cookbook” by Michael Romano and Danny Meyer

This is a pain-free way to cook a whole lot of brussels sprouts, so long as you have a food processor. (And if you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner, you deserve to have a food processor.)

TIME

25 minutes

YIELD

8 to 12 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 to 3 pounds brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, or poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or vermouth
  • Salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION

  1. Place lemon juice in a large bowl. Cut bottoms off sprouts, and discard. Working in batches, use a food processor fitted with the slicing blade to cut sprouts into thin slices. (If cutting by hand, halve sprouts lengthwise, and thinly slice them crosswise. The slices toward the stem end should be thinner, to help pieces cook evenly.) As you work, transfer slices into bowl with lemon juice. When all sprouts are sliced, toss them in juice and use your fingers to separate leaves. (Recipe can be prepared to this point and refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 hours.)
  2. When ready to serve, heat oil and butter over high heat in a skillet large enough to hold all sprouts. When very hot, add sprouts, garlic and seeds, and cook, stirring often, until sprouts are wilted and lightly cooked, but still bright green and crisp, about 4 minutes. Some leaves may brown slightly.
  3. Add wine and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Turn off heat, add salt and pepper to taste, and more lemon juice if desired. Stir in the lemon zest, reserving a little for top of dish. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with remaining zest and serve.

ASKED BY BEN FROM NEW YORK

Q. How best to make this in advance and transport it? The kitchen I’m going to is pretty small and will be kind of chaotic so I’d like to do as much in advance.

A. The sprouts can be sliced a day in advance and stored in the lemon water. It’s best to do the final sauté right before serving, but if that’s impossible, you can cook it right before heading out the door. Bring it in a serving bowl — all you need to do is microwave until hot right before the meal. Check on them every minute so that they do not overcook.

SUBMITTED BY GINPINT FROM NEW YORK

A friend and I often have Thanksgiving requests for Danny Meyer’s hashed brussels sprouts. They’re very lemony which provides a nice contrast to all the richness and sweetness that other dishes bring to the table.

Pies

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Thanksgiving is all about excess, and that is why you need at least two or three pies. And yes, it needs to be pie; it’s an icon of the holiday table. (If you really want cake, ice cream or cookies, serve them alongside.) Here we offer a trio of updated classics: a tangy apple-cranberry with ginger and rum; a fudgy chocolate pecan spiked with bourbon; and a particularly creamy brandied pumpkin. Choose two, or go ahead and make all three. MELISSA CLARK

OUR ESSENTIALS

Apple Cranberry Slab Pie With Ginger and Rum

A slab pie is nothing more than a regular pie writ large. Baked in a 9-x-13-inch pan, this pie feeds 24 but is easier to make (and to carry) than 3 separate pies. The filling was inspired by an e-mail from Pete Wells, our restaurant critic, who mused about his ideal Thanksgiving dessert; the brown sugar, ginger and rum give it a complex and more autumnal flavor than most apple pies. Serve with whipped crème fraiche and small glasses of good, aged rum.

TIME

2 1/2 hours, plus 1 hour chilling

YIELD

18 to 24 servings

INGREDIENTS

    • For the crust:
    • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (450 grams)
    • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (6 grams)
    • 3 sticks plus 6 tablespoons butter, preferably a high-fat, European-style butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (15 ounces/425 grams)
    • 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water, more as needed
  • FOR THE FILLING
  • 6 3/4 pounds apples, preferably a mixture of Gala, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick (21 cups/about 3 kilograms)
  • 1 1/2 packed cups light brown sugar (300 grams)
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup dried cranberries (150 grams)
  • 6 tablespoons instant tapioca (75 grams)
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (3 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (18 grams)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt (9 grams)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon (6 grams)
  • 3/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced small (1 ounce/28 grams)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Demerara sugar (20 grams)

PREPARATION

    1. Make the crust: In a food processor, briefly pulse together flour and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture forms chickpea-size pieces. Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until mixture is just moist enough to hold together. Form dough into two balls, one about 2/3 of dough and the other the remaining 1/3 of dough. Wrap each with plastic and flatten into disks. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 2 days before rolling out and baking.
    2. Lightly flour a work surface and remove the plastic wrap from the larger dough ball. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough ball to a 12-by-16-inch rectangle, dusting with flour if dough sticks. (Leave smaller dough ball in the fridge.) Transfer rolled-out dough to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Carefully line the pan with dough, pressing it into bottom of pan and completely up the sides. Crimp the top edges. Chill dough in fridge until ready to fill.
    3. Roll out remaining dough ball to a 10-by-13-inch rectangle, dusting with flour if dough is sticking. Using a decorative cookie cutter (like apples, leaves or hearts), cut out dough shapes. Reroll scraps if necessary to use up as much dough as possible. Transfer cutouts to a small baking sheet. Return baking pan and sheet to refrigerator to chill while you prepare filling.
    4. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange a wire rack in the lowest position in the oven. Place a large rimmed baking sheet on the floor of the oven to preheat.
    5. Make the filling: In a large bowl, combine apples, sugar, maple syrup, cranberries, tapioca, rum, lemon zest and juice, ginger, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Let mixture stand 10 minutes. Pour filling into bottom pie crust and dot with 2 tablespoons diced butter. Arrange dough cutouts on top of apple mixture, overlapping it slightly and making sure several cutout edges touch sides of pan. Whisk together egg and cream. Brush over crust; sprinkle with Demerara sugar.
    6. Move rimmed baking sheet from oven floor to lowest rack. Place pie pan on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Continue baking until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling thickly, 40 to 60 minutes longer. Loosely tent top of pie with foil if crust browns before filling is ready. Transfer pie to a wire rack to cool completely before serving.
  1. Note: To turn this slab pie into a standard 9-inch pie that serves 8 people, use 1/3 of the amount of each ingredient. (The exceptions are the whole egg and the tablespoon of cream for the egg wash; use the same amount as you would for the slab pie.) A smaller pie will bake more quickly, so watch it carefully; it should need about 50 to 60 minutes in the oven. It’s done when the juices bubble up thickly and the apples are tender. And don’t forget when dividing into thirds that a third of a tablespoon equals a teaspoon.

OUR ESSENTIALS

Brandied Pumpkin Pie

The ultimate pumpkin pie recipe is smooth and custardy, scented with brandy and plenty of warm spices.

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

OUR ESSENTIALS

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Fudgy and wonderfully sticky, this pie is the most decadent of the lot.

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

•••

ASKED BY LAURA FROM GAITHERSBURG, MD.

Q. Hello! Not a big fan of cranberries. Can this recipe be used without them?

A. Yes, just leave them out. Or substitute dried cherries or diced dried apricots.

ASKED BY CHRIS FROM SEATTLE, WASH.

Q. Can I increase the amount of bourbon in the pecan pie to give it more of a boozy edge, or is the flavor prominent with just two tablespoons?

A. It’s fairly prominent, but you can go up to 3 tablespoons if you want more of a punch.

ILLUSTRATIONS By GOLDEN COSMOS; GRAPHIC By WILSON ANDREWS, ALICIA DESANTIS, DES SHOE, BRITTANY STOROZ, CATRIONA STUART and EMILY WEINSTEIN
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