Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Extremely Late and Extremely Long Thanksgiving Post

Sorry about the lateness of this post.  I kept putting it off, but plan on doing some baking this week, so thought I should probably get my act together before then.

Thanksgiving this year was a magnificent success.  I was told that it was the best menu to date and that all the flavors complemented each other perfectly.  It also was a small Thanksgiving, with only 13 people rather than our usual 20-25.  Thirteen people is a lot easier to deal with and meant that we could get all the food on the table at the same time and piping hot.  And when I say piping hot, I'm not kidding.  My father's complaint in the past was that by the time the food got onto the table it wasn't hot anymore, which was a valid complaint, but this year we fixed that.  The cure?  I think it was having the turkeys finish cooking an hour and a half early.  Made us move a little more quickly on the other items...

This year we made two turkeys.  We got two because we wanted the kosher all natural and the biggest they came was about 16lbs and we never have enough leftovers.  They were named Fred and George (after the Weasleys, my mother's choice).  We always name them and by the end of the cooking process, I always end up referring to them as Bubba and Joe.  One (George) was brined overnight in a water-salt-beer solution and they were both cooked on the grill.  They were done about 90 minutes before I expected them to be and they came off perfectly after sitting for a bit.  (Like wings fell off in transfer from pan to cutting board perfect).  I also seem to have mastered carving.  It was a good turkey year.

First Baste
Second Baste

Third Baste


I also mastered gravy, for the first time in my whole life.  The day before I boiled some mushroom stock, chicken stock, celery, onions, rosemary, sage and whatever else I could find.  Then on the day of I boiled the necks in other water, mixed it all together, added the drippings and some cornstarch and it was like magic.  Seriously, gravy is what stresses me out on Thanksgiving, and it was perfect!

Other items on the menu:
Classic stuffing with celery, onion, cranberries and apples.

Wild mushroom stuffing

haricot verts with roasted fennel and shallot

herb mashed potatoes

sauteed parsnips and carrots with honey and rosemary

Butternut squash with maple streusel topping
All of these recipes were altered slightly.  Some to take out the dairy (we do a kosher meat meal), some because they taste better and some because I used all the rosemary in the gravy stock without remembering it was supposed to go into the carrots...

For desserts, click here.

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