When I first became a culinary professional, I gave cooking classes in my flat on Leavenworth Street which had a stove with only one oven and four burners. Thanksgiving Dinner was a challenge to say the least. If you check out my Recipe Collection on tantemarie.com, you will find a complete Thanksgiving Menu that works well. However, here is my recipe for an alternative vegetable dish where all the vegetables are in the same dish, held together by mashed potatoes, which can be totally made ahead and simply put it in the oven when you take the turkey out to rest. (A great idea if you have only one oven or more.) The most important thing about this vegetable dish is that everyone can see it unmolded and that it is served with plenty of gravy from the turkey. Remember, cooking can even be fun on Thanksgiving if you make the vegetables ahead, put the turkey in the oven, and go for a walk.
To cook the potatoes, cut them in half, and put in a pot covered with plenty of cold water, add a teaspoon of salt, bring to a boil over high heat and cook the potatoes until they are tender when pierced with a fork. Immediately, drain the potatoes, and return the pan to the stove. Into the pan, put the milk, cream, and butter, heat gently. Peel the potatoes and put through a ricer into the heated milk mixture. Beat them with a wooden spoon until smooth and add salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, to cook the vegetables, bring another pot of water to boil, add a teaspoon of salt. Trim the beans the same length as the depth of a 2-quart souffle dish. Drop the beans into the boiling salted water and cook until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon, put into a colander, and run under cold water until they stop cooking. While the beans are cooking, trim the carrots to about the same size as the beans and drop them into the water after the beans. Do the same with the parsnips. While the parsnips are cooking cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets and then the broccoli into florets. Each time the vegetables should cook in the boiling water and then be refreshed under cold running water. Cut the zucchini and yellow squash into rounds and drop them into boiling water for about 30 seconds. Drain and refresh in cold water.
To assemble, generously butter a 2-quart souffle dish. Around the bottom of the dish arrange the rounds of zucchini and yellow squash. Around the sides of the dish, alternate carrots, parsnips, and green beans. Fill the dish half full with the mashed potatoes, layer the broccoli and cauliflower, then cover with the remaining potatoes. Cover this with the remaining zucchini and yellow squash. (This dish can be made three or four days ahead and kept in the refrigerator.) Twenty minutes before serving, place the souffle dish containing the Vegetable Charlotte in a 350 to heat. Turn onto a serving dish lifting the souffle dish directly up so charlotte stays in tack. Serve with roast turkey and gravy.