Ask The Chef

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The short answer is no. Most foods taste best when freshly made and served. But when preparing for a big meal, we get lots of questions: Can I freeze mashed potatoes? Can I freeze apple pie? I don’t have time to make everything on Wednesday and Thursday!

Many foods change their texture after defrosting. The cells in the food break and the result is very watery. Some foods do freeze well (soup, stock, gravy, stew, bread, raw berries). The texture of other foods are not appetizing after they have been frozen (custard, cooked meat, apples, cheese). The extra water in defrosted fruits and vegetables needs to be discarded or else the dish will be too watery.

Yes, there are preparations you can do on Saturday and Sunday to prepare for the big feast on Thursday:

1. Shop for all the foods and beverages.
2. Get out all of the tableware and iron and polish if necessary (tablecloth, napkins, cutlery, serving bowls and utensils, glassware, plates)
3. Make cranberry sauce.

4. Buy an extra chicken and make homemade stock to be used in the gravy.

5. Bake bread to be used in the stuffing.

Here is the checklist for things that can be done on Wednesday, the day before the feast:

1. Bring your knives into Kitchen Conservatory for while-you-wait knife sharpening by our skilled knife sharpener from 9:30 am to 4 pm.

2. Set the table.

3. Make the dressing.

4. Prepare the green beans or other vegetables.

5. Make the pies. (Since pastry tastes best the day it is made, please do not make and bake the pies earlier than 24 hours before eating time!)

On Thursday:

1. Roast the turkey (time the turkey to come out of the oven 45 minutes before you plan to carve the turkey; then you have plenty of time to make the gravy and clean up the roasting pan before sitting down to dinner).

2. Reheat or cook the vegetables.

3. Cook and mash the potatoes (then keep warm in a covered double-boiler).

4. Make the gravy.

Yes, you can call or email Kitchen Conservatory to answer other pressing Thanksgiving dilemmas. Don’t forget that our favorite turkey roaster with rack in on sale — an All-Clad pan for $159.95! Plus, we have our favorite turkey lifter and turkey stock available.
This dessert recipe is a favorite for Thanksgiving — a twist on pecan pie:

Cranberry-Walnut Tart

for the crust:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg

Mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly. Do not overmix. Fold in the egg. Do not overmix. If the dough is a little too dry, add a touch of water or an egg yolk. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. On a lightly-floured pastry rollmat, roll out the dough and fit into an 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Refrigerate until ready to bake.

for the filling:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup cranberries, cut in half
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt, and vanilla. Sprinkle the walnuts and cranberries in the bottom of the tart dough. Pour the filling over the fruit and nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the filling is set. Serve with whipped cream.