Thanksgiving is almost upon us. For me, that means hopping on a plane to Florida to escape the Arctic Tundra that we Cornellians so fondly call home. But for my roommates and friends who hail from more out-of-the-way locales, Thanksgiving at Cornell means whipping up some home-away-from-home cooking.
If you’re sticking around this Turkey Day, round up a group of friends and try out a scandalously untraditional Thanksgiving feast. You know, something dear old Grandma would never let grace her table. My friends, courtesy of Serious Eats food blog, I give you God’s gift to the traditional Thanksgiving bird: deep-fried Buffalo turkey. Preparing this bird is relatively simple, though slightly dangerous. But nearly dying is half the fun of cooking, now, isn’t it?
First, acquire yourself a turkey deep fryer and a defrosted bird. I cannot stress defrosted enough, my friends, or you will experience death by poultry. Deep-fry your turkey according to the fryer instructions. In the meantime, mix a buffalo hot sauce mixture. There is no better recipe than the original: two parts Frank’s Red Hot to one part butter. When the turkey is done, remove it from the deep fryer and ladle your hot sauce mixture over it. Serve with blue cheese dressing and some celery sticks, and your death-defying turkey frying efforts will be rewarded with a very grateful crowd.
To go with your Buffalo turkey, I recommend blue cheese mashed potatoes. You could go the box method for these, but taking the time to steam — not boil, lest you waterlog your spuds — a mixture of russet and wax potatoes will be well worth your effort. Mix in butter, cream and blue cheese to taste, finish with cracked black pepper and you, my friends, will have a bowl of spuds of the gods.
If your arteries are really begging for some vegetation on your menu, I’d suggest a simple green salad or even a yogurt-dressed slaw. That way, the greens will act as a palate cleanser in between decadent bites of turkey, rather than a too-decadent dish competing for the spotlight. For dessert, I’d recommend Not-Your-Mama’s Apple Pie. For an amazing crust, use a regular pie crust recipe — I like one with a mix of shortening, for texture, and butter, for flavor — but substitute vodka for about half of the water in the recipe. I promise, you get hammered, and the booze won’t affect the flavor, but it will leave you with the flakiest crust you have ever tried.
As for filling, I would go the traditional apple route, mixing a sweeter apple with a tart one for the optimal balance of flavor and texture. Throw in some salted caramel sauce if you’re feeling really scandalous. Or keep it traditional. After all, you’ve got to make at least one dish you can feel proud calling home about.