Stuffed Date "Emergency"
I'm having guests for dinner tomorrow and planned to have the turkey roasting when they got here, and was going to serve bacon-wrapped dates (from Epicurious) as an hors d'oeuvre. Problem is -- the turkey will be roasting at either 325 or 350 and my dates need to cook for 10 minutes at 450.
Is it at all possible for me to cook the dates at 350 for a longer amount of time?
Conversely, should I make an attempt to have my turkey done *before* my guests arrive? I've never cooked a turkey before and know it needs to sit for 30 mins before cutting, but can I leave it for closer to an hour?
Sure you can. It's easier to carve when it's a little cooler anyway. Besides, what happens if it takes a little longer for that turkey to cook than you planned? Get it done early!
The most important thing is that you relax! Think of that turkey as a big chicken and don't let it scare you.
I'm going to dinner at a friend's tomorrow and when I spoke with him a little while ago, he said he was going to cook the turkey earlier in the day because he thought it tasted better close to room temperature. So there you go! Personal taste!
Everything will be fine. Merry Christmas!
I agree that you can do the turkey ahead of time.
Or: I believe that the increased cooking temp on the dates (450) was so that the bacon crisps, but the date doesn't overcook and get mushy. You could cook the dates before the turkey goes into the oven (broil for 1/3 mins JUST to brown the bacon) and then set them aside then, when people arrive, cook them at 325/350 (turkey temp) for 5-6 mins to warm them up. That way you don't fiddle with the turkey at all.
Relax! Everything will be great.