Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I decided to make my first Thanksgiving dinner. Hooray! I decided to brine my turkey, then stuff it with apples and cook it in white wine. All was going well.

Thank goodness Mom warned me to thaw the turkey for four days. On day three, it was time to rub the turkey with kosher salt, and there were still big chunks of ice inside! I don't own a pot big enough to brine a turkey, so I put the salted turkey in a large plastic bag, put them in a roasting pan, and filled the bag with cool water. I then put the whole thing in the fridge.

Yesterday I also pre-chopped all my veggies and made a practice batch of stuffing in my little Crock Pot. I accidentally used oregano instead of sage (!) but I decided to go with it. I added some fresh, chopped garlic and called it Italian stuffing.

Today it was time to dump the brine down the sink. I took the pan out of fridge and carried it to the sink. I needed to lift the turkey in the bag. I tried to lift it and...the bag exploded! The top of the bag popped open, and water whooshed into the air and splattered in every direction. My roomate was stunned. Todd had looked over just in time to see the burst of water. We grabbed tons of towels and rags and paper towels to sop up all the salty turkey water. Ew.

After that was cleaned up, I stuffed the turkey and finished preparing it. Once it was in the oven, I started a new, more traditional batch of stuffing. I also started "roasting" pecans in the microwave and halving them for pecan pie. Then I peeled and chopped potatoes to cook and mash. Mashed potatoes are actually quite easy. Todd provided green beans. I used a few store-bought items for dinner: gravy, a tube of biscuits and a pre-made pie crust. Thank goodness I did! As it was, my whole day was taken up on cooking, eating or cleaning up.

I like the turkey recipe I chose. The advantages to cooking a turkey in white wine are moisture and flavor. The disadvantage is it is terrifying to try to lift the heavy pan of turkey. I was scared I would slosh boiling-hot liquid on myself. Todd came to help. As a team, we lifted out the pan to flip the bird and returned it to the oven. My turkey actually cooked an hour faster than I expected. It's a good thing I peeked in at it! The little button thing had already popped up. Todd helped me pull out the oven rack to check the bird's temperature, so we lifted it out again and slid in the pie. Later we slid in the biscuits. It all turned out just about perfect!

Todd carved off a drumstick for each of us, and we covered our plates. I only ate one plate of food, but ended up stuffed to the gills. After the meal was over, we finished carving up the turkey and packed everything away into Tupperware. Then we went on a walk to a little man-made lake a few blocks from the apartment and took a turn around campus. At 9:30, I finally had just enough room to taste the world's tiniest sliver of pecan pie with a little dollop of vanilla ice cream. YUM!

I hope all of you had a happy Thanksgiving with your families or friends. If you had it by yourself, I hope you found reasons to give thanks anyway.

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