John Ross' 5 tips for the Thanksgiving feast

John Ross carves a roasted turkey at his John Ross carves a roasted turkey at his home in Southold. (Nov. 3, 2013) Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

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Here are John Ross' tips for making the feast:

1. Mix up your cooking methods

Once you've purchased a nice variety of vegetables, prepare them using different cooking methods to get a variety of textures and tastes. Ross boils his potatoes, roasts his cauliflower, and sautes his Brussels sprouts.

2. Mix up your seasonings

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Ross likes to begin the meal with an assertively seasoned dish, such as the Moroccan spiced mini pumpkins, to wake up the palate. He wouldn't use exotic spices, however, for his turkey and vegetables, since he wants to let the flavors of those ingredients shine. Fresh herbs lend plenty of flavor to roasted carrots, parsnips and turnips without overpowering them.

3. Take care with your turkey and stuffing

A couple of years ago, Ross started brining his turkey and found it is an effective way to add flavor and moisture.

Ross cooks the stuffing separately. That's because a stuffed bird has to cook until the stuffing reaches a safe temperature, and at that point the white meat already may have overcooked. An unstuffed bird can be pulled from the oven as soon as the meat is done. Always use an instant-read thermometer, says Ross. It's the only way to judge doneness accurately.

4. Include old favorites

Although he likes to try new recipes, Ross makes sure to cook some favorite dishes year after year. Not only does this create a sense of tradition around the table, but it makes cooking less stressful, since it means you'll have some experience with parts of the menu.

5. Keep the food simple, and serve it fresh

In keeping with his North Fork philosophy, Ross prefers fresh food, simply prepared, to fancy dishes that have to be made days in advance. He's not a big fan of reheating. Recipes such as sliced and sauteed Brussels sprouts in this menu work well because they cook in 10 minutes, while the turkey is resting.

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