Holiday Party Advice from Professional Planners

While weddings are their specialty, the duo puts their fresh, inventive, and handmade spin on everything from birthday bashes…

Create a Vignette

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These simple displays can be created using it…

  • ​Truth be told, I used to shudder at the sight of the sweet potato casserole that appeared on our table each Thanksgiving. It was made with canned "candied yams," which were mushy and syrupy-sweet (sorry, Mom), and blanketed in an airtight layer of mini marshmallows. But I love sweet potatoes; I love marshmallows. Couldn't the two work well together somehow? I figured a little research might help me find a way. The sweet potato casserole I now make synthesizes elements from various stages in the dish's evolution. Taking a cue from Southern cooks who top their casserole with pecans, I top mine with a pecan crumble made with oats, flour, butter, brown sugar, and salt, which provides the right sweet-savory crunch. That would be delicious enough, but to me it's just not complete without marshmallows: They're such a nice, airy counterpoint to the rich and earthy potatoes. I use them sparingly, as they were in the original recipe from 1917, which allows a large surface area of each marshmall

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  • ​This luxurious stovetop creamed spinach is enriched with sour cream and topped with crunchy spiced bread crumbs. Easy to pull together and not requiring any time in the oven, this dish makes a perfect Thanksgiving side.

    SERVES 6-8

    INGREDIENTS2 lb. fresh spinach
    8 tbsp. unsalted butter
    ½ cup fresh bread crumbs
    ¼ tsp. paprika
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 large shallot, minced
    5 tbsp. flour
    1½ cups milk
    ⅓ cup sour cream
    ¼ cup grated Parmesan
    2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

    INSTRUCTIONS1. Bring a 4-qt. saucepan of water to a boil; add spinach, and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain, and squeeze dry with a kitchen towel; set aside. Heat 3 tbsp. butter in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread crumbs, paprika, and salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

    2. Add remaining butter to skillet; add garlic and shallot; cook, stirring, until soft, abo

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  • Welcome to Cooking 101, a fun, weekly series of cooking lessons and hands-on learning from America's Test Kitchen Cooking School. Who are we? Our knowledge and techniques are based on 20 years of test kitchen work creating foolproof recipes for Cook's Illustrated magazine and for our television shows. We believe that everybody, whether novice or advanced, can gain the skills and confidence to become a better cook.

    Week 9: Baking the Ultimate Pumpkin Pie
    (read other Cooking 101 posts)

    ARE YOU READY FOR THANKSGIVING? In our FREE "Successful Holiday Cooking" course, we lead you through all the tough Thanksgiving topics, like building a cooking timeline, an equipment checklist to prepare one's kitchen, and what essential ingredients to stock up in your pantry.

    Although it may not look like it, pumpkin pie is actually a custard pie. A prebaked pie shell is filled and then baked just long enough for the sweet, egg-enriched filling to set. We wanted to create a pumpkin

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  • Photo by Christopher Testani

    Photo by Christopher Testani

    By Mary-Frances Heck and Victoria Granof, Bon Appétit

    It may seem that turkey is best left in the hands of a pro, that gravy takes finesse, and mashed potatoes need some extra love and care. But one Thanksgiving staple that requires little to no technique? Stuffing. "It's hard to [expletive] up," says test kitchen director Mary-Frances Heck. But is it possible? Definitely. We asked her exactly how, and she gave us a few ways, below.

    DON'T Start Thanksgiving Day
    Trust us: Allow three days for dressing. We promise it's painless. On Tuesday, set out the bread. You'll need day-old loaves to get stale so that the stuffing doesn't get too mushy.

    Read More: 28 Delicious Thanksgiving Side Dishes

    DON'T Use a Knife
    Don't cube that bread! Ragged, imperfect pieces of bread have more surface area; it's those nooks and crannies that give you good texture.

    DON'T Add All the Stock at Once
    Speaking of texture, that's what stuffing is all about--you want a mix of crispy and soft pieces. We recommen

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