Blogging Cook's Illustrated: Gearing Up for the Holidays

We're hosting Thanksgiving dinner for the first time this year (gulp!), and Cook's Illustrated is there to help! In addition to their review of black pepper brands, the November/December issue is packed with enough recipes and advice to see us through. Take a look!

Given its reputation as troublemaker for first-timers, The Turkey has us particularly nervous, of course. Cook's Illustrated suggests breaking the turkey down into drumsticks, thighs, and breast (or buying turkey parts), ensuring that each part of the turkey cooks to perfection. As a bonus, it takes less time than cooking a whole turkey so your oven isn't tied up all day. Sure, by not roasting it whole, you lose those few seconds of awe before the turkey is ceremoniously cut, but we think we'll take the loss.

We were a little disappointed in the side-dish offerings - the simple recipe for roasted sweet potatoes and a few variations for green beans felt a little basic and "been there, done that." We're more intrigued by the recipe for stuffed portobello mushrooms. These might make a nice appetizer or an offering for a vegetarian guest.

Their recipe for pumpkin pie is intriguing. Pumpkin pie has never been our favorite, but our annual complaints of graininess and bland pumpkin flavor are exactly what this recipe sets out to address. We're thinking this recipe is worth a try - and it certainly can't be any worse than what we're used to!

What's your take on this most recent issue of Cook's Illustrated?

Related: Blogging Cook's Illustrated: Creamy Creamless Tomato Soup

(Image: Emma Christensen for the Kitchen; Cook's Illustrated cover art by Robert Papp)