I couldn’t help reminiscing about Thanksgivings past – the people, the places, the varying menus – all of which I treasure the memories. As a child, my matriarchal grandmother would insist the entire family convene in Des Moines. These were formal celebrations we dressed up for, sang, played piano, shared the latest events in our lives, and, of course, had the odd squabble synonymous with large family gatherings.
Then there were the celebrations on the road, and with friends in London. One of my favorites that I sadly do not have photos of, was when Grace Jones’ mother made a Jamaican Thanksgiving feast in Belgravia while Grace was there filming A View to a Kill. I remember vividly how my taste buds jumped to life with
each bite as Nick and I thoroughly enjoyed the company of Grace, her mother and brother, Dolph Lundgren (her then boyfriend), Antony Price, and Manolo Blahnik – such a divine evening! Another year I got to experience Thanksgiving with a Puerto Rican twist when my friend Lisa B’s mother made drool worthy homemade empanadas, and more recently a soulful Thanksgiving in Las Vegas with my friend Nile Rodgers’ family – all so excitingly different (and tasty) to the traditional dishes I’d grown up with.
Then, of course, there were the Thanksgiving celebrations I myself threw in both London and Paris, and for clients when I opened The Roving Stove here in Los Angeles. So many wonderful memories, and delicious food each year. The floodgates of my past have happily opened into my present as I realize how lucky I am to have almost all of those people still in my life, thanks mostly to Facebook for hooking us all back up across the globe.
Enough of looking back – I’ll bet many of you have a ton of Thanksgiving leftovers you would like to know how to heat to eat? It is always important to know safe food guidelines, but also the Personal Chef Approach secrets to storing and heating your food, so it tastes as fresh as when you first made it.
1). As soon as people have finished feasting on the day – you need to cool the food completely to room temperature (quickly and safely) then package in airtight containers with a layer of plastic wrap over the top of the food to protect from freezer burn if you choose to freeze some of your goodies. Yes, you can freeze that sliced turkey in baggies or containers to defrost and eat in sandwiches for the next couple months if you like!
2). The microwave is your PCA friend. They are inexpensive to purchase, and the fastest at heating food back up. Microwaves got a bad rap back in the 70’s and 80’s, but they are perfectly safe today and the only way to heat to eat a cooked piece of poultry, meat, or seafood without cooking it further. Be sure you are using microwave safe containers (metal will cause sparks to fly, and you probably don’t want to risk your great grandmother’s fine China).
Turkey Dinner Heat to Eat Instructions
Turkey: All microwaves heat slightly differently due to varying wattage’s and amounts of food you heat at once, so these are general guidelines. Heat your turkey on 50% power for 3-5 minutes, turning the slices midway to distribute the heat evenly. Heat in one-minute increments if additional heating is required. If you’re still microwave shy, preheat a 325° F. oven. Wrap the turkey in foil, and place on a sheet pan for support, then heat in the preheated oven until the turkey reaches 165° F, but not longer or it will dry out.
Stuffing: Heat in the microwave on full power for 2-3 minutes, stirring midway to distribute heat evenly. Heat in 1 minutes increments after that if more is required; or heat in a casserole dish next to the turkey in the 325° F. preheated the oven.
Gravy: is probably best heated in a saucepan over medium-low heat until hot, and beginning to boil, about 10-15 minutes; or you can vent the lid of a microwave proof container and heat for 3-5 minutes on full power, stirring midway to distribute heat evenly.
Alternatively, here are a few turkey recycling ideas I like to do this time of year (members can find these recipes in the library).
Curried Turkey Replay Salad on Cantaloupe
PS: So tell me in the comment section below, what are some of your favorite turkey replays?