Thanksgiving dinner: Help for last minute problems

Food emergencies happen. You’re getting ready to serve Thanksgiving dinner and you realize you don’t have any rolls, or when you take out the turkey there are no drippings in the pan for gravy.

What to do? Don’t worry. Peter’s Weston Market at Weston Center has got your back. The market is open until 3 p.m. this Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, so you can get any last-minute items you need to make your dinner great.

Peter’s has a wide assortment of Thanksgiving holiday food all prepared and ready to go.

For starters, it has deli cheese platters, fresh fruit platters, veggie platters, and shrimp platters with fresh cocktail sauce.

The market has all the traditional side dishes, including mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, creamed pearl onions, and asparagus or green been almandine. It also has fresh cranberry sauce with mandarin oranges available for purchase by the pound.

Peter’s offers two kinds of stuffing — sausage or cornbread — and its famous store-made turkey gravy, which it sells by the gallons every year.

New this year, Peter’s is offering gluten-free versions of turkey gravy and sausage and cornbread stuffings. The gravy is thickened with quinoa flour rather than wheat-based flour. “More and more people have allergies and we’re sensitive to their needs,” said Jim Magee, owner of Peter’s Market.

For dessert, Peter’s has quite a selection of storemade pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, cranberry nut bread, bread pudding, and apple crisp. It also has fresh fruit pies, including traditional apple and pumpkin, as well as decadent ones like pecan pie, coconut custard, banana cream, and wild blueberry crumb. Sugar-free apple pies are also available.

A few tips

For first time turkey cooks, before cooking, make sure you take out the little packet of giblets and innards that can be found inside the turkey.  There also may be a small packet on the other end too. Believe me, every home cook had made the mistake of not removing all the packets at least once.

If time is tight on Thanksgiving, or you oversleep, consider spatchcocking/butterflying your turkey (removing the backbone and flattening the breasts). Your turkey will cook in about half the time than it usually would, and will be moist and delicious.  Here are details about spatchcocking in a series of pictures from Martha Stewart. If you have time the day before, you can have your butcher spatchcock it for you.

Crockpots are your friend! You can make mashed potatoes hours ahead of dinner and keep them hot in a crockpot. They will stay piping hot and taste fresh. Stuffing can also be made in the crockpot. Make your favorite stuffing and pur it into the crockpot and cook it on high for about one hour and then low for about three hours until cooked through. You can also brown a turkey wing or drumstick and and place it on top of the stuffing in the crockpot to give it extra  inside-the bird-flavor kick.

One of the best friends a holiday cook can have is available on Thanksgiving Day by telephone. The Buterball Turkey Hotline is operating all day Thursday. So if you have any questions at all about cooking or serving the turkey, you can call 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372).

Last-minute wine 

For those looking to buy wine or beer at the last minute, Peter’s Spirit Shop is open today, Wednesday, Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The shop is closed on Thursday.

Owner Larry Vavrek said he has a lot of good wines on hand in all price ranges. “For reds, we have some nice pinot noirs, and for white we have some crisp chardonnays that go very well with turkey,” he said.

He recommends finishing dinner with a nice port. “We have a great selection of ports,” he said.

The shop also carries artisanal craft beers, which Mr. Vavrek said are a lot of fun. “We have Bad Elf, Lagunitas and selections from the Michigan Founders Brewing Co. The Founders beers are very good quality and have a 95-to-100 point rating,” Mr. Vavrek said.

For those looking to dine out on Thanksgiving, they’ll have to go out of town unless they have an advance reservation at La Roue Elayne at Cobb’s Mill Inn. The restaurant is fully booked for Thanksgiving and is not accepting walk-ins. It will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but will be open on New Year’s Eve.

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