In which the author tells you how to run your life -- or at least how to make the most of the fun parts of it.

For instance, inside these pages you will learn how to weather a mortar attack in good spirits; how to avoid booking yourself on the Internet into a bed and breakfast full of twee quilts and dusty tchotkes; and how to plan a dinner party that will stun your guests with deliciousness and style and not destroy your will to live with the amount of work you have to do to pull it off.

These are things I know firsthand, and things people who know me often ask me about (though I usually just book them into bed and breakfasts myself -- identifying ruffled death traps is an acquired skill). I am almost always right about everything (food, style and travel-related, anyway, and often many other things) and if everyone would just do as I say, dinner would taste better, cupcakes would not be dry, your parties would be more fun (for you), and mortar attacks... well, they always suck. I can't do anything about them.

*except laundry. I can't manage my own laundry, much less yours.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Two Thanksgiving Tips and What I Just Learned About Purses from Poppy

OK, so it's been about 3 years since I posted. I had 28 views on this blog today so by god, I'm gonna post again (whenever I have something useful to say.) And I do.

Thanksgiving Tip the First: 

You can cook your massive turkey overnight.
Do it with a brined turkey to make sure it isn't dry (google brining turkey, or pick one up pre-brined from Red Apron in DC or Trader Joe's. I am sure Whole  Foods has them too). My turkey is from Fields of Athenry via Red Apron.

At around 10 pm on Wednesday, put it in a large roasting pan breast side up. Dry the skin. Smear it with olive oil or melted butter.
Salt it liberally with crunchy sea salt. Coarse grains are easier to control. Grind pepper all over it. Do whatever else you want to do. Don't stuff it though.
Pour at least a cup of water or wine or broth in the roasting pan. Throw in some herbs and whole peeled garlic coves if you like. A little orange peel? Why not? You do you.

Roast at 400 degree for 30 - 45 minutes until the skin is nicely golden. Cover the whole thing with foil, sealing it around the edge.

Then crank the oven  down to 200 and let is roast for another 8 hours of so. When you wake up, the house will smell of turkey. Wiggle the legs. If they are loose, the turkey is done. You can also insert a meat thermometer in the thigh (not touching the bone) to make sure it is done. Remove the turkey and let it rest and cool. Pour off the juices to make gravy. Put the bird in the fridge when it has cooled, and leave it there until it's time to reheat -- about an hour before dinner. Cover it tightly and put it in a 350 degree oven till it is warmed through. Or carve it, cover it with plastic, and leave in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature before you serve it, but cover it with hot juices (which you removed from the roasting pan earlier and boiled up) to warm it again.

Here are more details:

Thanksgiving Tip the Second:

OMG make your mashed potatoes in the slow cooker overnight. Right after you get the turkey in the oven, do the potatoes. Wash and quarter 6 lbs of Russet or Yukon gold potatoes. Put in  slow cooker with a cup or so of water and a couple of teaspoons of salt (I always undersalt until I can taste them. You can add salt but you can't take it away).  If you want to be fancy add the rind of a wedge of parmesan ... will impart a wonderful flavor. Turn it to warm, batten down the lid. Let it cook all night.
In the morning, the potatoes will be ready to mash. Turn off the slow cooker. When you want to mash them, turn it back on, pour in the milk and butter and mash right in the cooker, and let it warm up again. You may want to add a bit more milk to keep things from drying out.

Here are directions. 

What I Just Learned About Purses from Poppy:

Poppy is my new friend and idol and she showed me how to manage your purse. I spend an inhuman amount of time and effort trying to find things in my purse. The answer: get your hands on a bunch of mismatched zippered make up bags. One holds your wallet and receipts. One holds phone cords, ear phones, zip drives, other electronic stuff. One holds make up and odds and ends like tampons and advil. She has another for emergency snacks (a Luna bar and some almonds, maybe? Some gum and mints). Throw a Moleskine or similar notebook in your bag. Phone goes in a pocket, keys go on a lanyard and are clipped inside. When you switch purses you have 3 or four organized little pouches to move over and you are done. Nothing loose rattling around. Genius.

If you want to get super anal about it, order these with appropriate monograms (but I think different colors make it easier to spot the one you want)

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