It's nearly time for Tom Turkey to appear on dining tables nationwide.
If you're one of those who procrastinate buying your frozen bird until days before the big day, here are some defrosting tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that will ensure your turkey is tasty and safe to eat.
Whole frozen turkeys will need 24 hours in the fridge for every 4 to 5 pounds of weight. A 12-pounder will take three days, a giant 20-pound bird will need at least five days.
No time? Clean out the sink and fill it with cold tap water. Submerge your turkey -- still in its plastic wrapper -- in the water. Change the water every 30 minutes until the bird thaws.
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That will take about six hours for a 12 pound bird.
But if you opted for the big 20-pounder, you're likely to lose some sleep because it will need 10 hours in its cold water bath to completely defrost.
Better bet? Buy a fresh bird -- no defrosting necessary.
The Tri-Cities Herb Club will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at the First United Methodist Church in Kennewick, at the corner of Dayton Street and Kennewick Avenue (use the Dayton Street entrance).
The program will be "Mini Thanksgiving with Maximum Thanks." Mini samples and recipes for a Southern Thanksgiving meal will be available for tasting.
For more information, call 541-289-0656 or 735-7278. The annual membership fee is $15.
Next time a recipe calls for zest -- the thin, tasty outer skin of lemons, limes and other citrus fruits -- follow this tip from a chef on the Food Network. Pichet Ong, of Spot Dessert Bar in New York City, sees no reason to grate the zest into a separate bowl or waxed paper. Instead, he holds the zester over the mixing bowl and grates the zest directly onto the butter or cream. The aromatic citrus oils that are sprayed into the bowl will give the dessert a zesty finish.
The book: 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes: Quick and Delicious Mouthwatering Dishes for the Healthy Cook by Carol Fenster, Ph.D.
Best for: The author covers every meal from breakfast to dinner and doesn't skip dessert either. She's also made the recipes dairy-free and egg-free to accommodate a wide variety of dietary needs and preferences.
For the meat eaters among us, Fenster has included a section with instructions on how to add meat protein to certain dishes so everyone will leave the table satisfied.
*Loretto J. Hulse: firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive a recipe via email each Tuesday, register at tricityherald.com and click on newsletters. If you already are registered, click on edit account and newsletters to select Recipe of the Week.