Friday, November 23, 2007

Turkey Day

Well, I have recovered enough from Thanksgiving to blog about it. We had Jess' family over for dinner, a total of eight adults, two kids, and one baby.

For starters, I began my prep for the day on Monday, as I usually do. I bought a fresh Bell & Evans turkey from the local Italian market and brined it for 6 hours on Monday night. After brining, I rinsed it, dried it thoroughly, and then put it in the small fridge downstairs to dry out for the next three days. I prepared cookie dough for the chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips. Jess cleaned house and shampooed the carpets.

Tuesday night, I made the dough for rolls, and put together the pumpkin torte (I don't like pumpkin pie, but pumpkin torte is fab!) Jess cleaned bathrooms & sorted and threw out mail (if you only knew how much junk mail we get, you would know what a job it is).

Wednesday night, I made the sweet potatoes with pears and apples, and made the green bean casserole, and baked the cookies. I usually don't like green bean casserole, so I went onto to find a version I might. It called for making the mushroom mixture and the bread crumb mixture from scratch. Sounded like a good idea. Jess did more house cleaning and vacuuming.

Thursday morning, Jess cleaned and organized like crazy and I went to work in the kitchen. I started the turkey, put together the stuffing (I made a LOT so I would have leftovers) and boiled the potatoes.

I make a great stuffing, if I do say so, and I make it from scratch. Jess always likes the stuffing from the bird, because it's moister and tastier than the stuff made in the pan. But the bird doesn't hold that much stuffing, so most of it must go in the pan. For the stuff that goes in the pan, I used extra chicken broth and butter to make up for the turkey juices, and less egg. It worked terrifically. I also add cooked chicken (rotisseried chicken from the market works great) to it, as well as craisins for a sweet and salty combo. I also used fresh sage and rosemary in addition to powdered, which really made a big difference in the brightness of the flavors. It turned out so amazing this year that I will probably not be able to perfectly duplicate it, but I am going to try!

For most meals, there's always something that isn't that great, but to my surprise, everything was delicious. The turkey was so juicy, and the skin so crispy that it crackled with crunchiness on the outside and dribbled moisture on the inside. Coated in the fresh herbs and kosher salt, it was outstanding. I am not a big turkey fan because the dark meat is too strong-tasting and the white meat is too dry. But this turkey had neither issue.

The stuffing was amazing, and covered in gravy, was totally outrageous. As Brooklyn Bitch would say: So. Fucking. Amazing.

When I asked Jess' niece what she liked best, she thought about it for a minute and said, "Everything!" She's usually picky about what she likes, but when I cook, she usually likes whatever I make. She told me that there's almost always something that she doesn't like when she eats away from home, but that she always likes coming to our house because everything is always good. I was very happy with that compliment - her mother is a very good cook.

When Jess' nephew tasted the pumpkin torte, his remark to his mother was, "Do you know how to make this?" She replied, "No," and his immediate comeback was, "Learn how. This is so much better than pumpkin pie." Ah, my job is done.

All in all, wonderful. I think it was about the best Thanksgiving meal I have ever made. I wouldn't waste my time on the green bean casserole again. Sorry, Christopher Kimball. You are usually right on target, but I found your casserole to be overly garlicky, too onion-y, and just not great. I'll stick with my regular green beans or make them like my good friend Brad makes them (with water chestnuts, dill and red bell peppers). I also decided I would not use Hodgson Mill yeast again. The past two times I have used it, my bread has come out on the verge of I will stick with Fleischmann's.

How was your Thanksgiving?


At 12:55 AM, November 24, 2007, Blogger Jess said...

My Thanksgiving was wonderful. I had fabulous food and a wonderful time! Thank you, Bokey!

At 12:39 PM, November 26, 2007, Blogger Brooklyn Bitch said...

Sounds like you were one freakin' busy Turkey! Kudos on a job well done. Nothing better than being satisfied yourself, and satifying those around you.
My turkey day wasn't hardly as busy. I got up KINDA early on Thrusday to make my apple pie and pumpkin pie (which, I guess should be a torte next year). And I made Berry-Berry Bars the night before. My mom kicked some serious ass with her spread...and I am still waiting for my belly to deflate...
Gobble gobble! Glad to hear it all went off without a hitch!


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