I made my first turkey yesterday. It came out perfect, nice and juicy. The only downside that I can see so far is that the house still smells like turkey, and not as much in a good way today. Time to open the windows.
I used a Martha Stewart recipe that a friend recommended. It involved swaddling the turkey in cheesecloth that was soaked in 3 sticks of butter and a whole bottle of pinot grigio. Anything that involves that much wine and butter was bound to be good. The cooking, the basting, etc. all went fine. All my issues came at the front end of the morning: maneuvering a turkey that was defrosted yet still freezing cold and still containing some ice chunks and sheets. Excavating its cavities was fun.
The bird definitely almost ended up on the floor a few times. Thank God it was only 16 pounds. The first half-hour, it was supposed to be cooked at 450 degrees. My smoke alarm did not like that. But after that, when the heat went down to 350, it was smooth sailing, and it was done in 3.5 hours.
The next hurdle was the gravy. Luckily, my mom was there for that part. I turned to Martha again for a recipe to follow, because I can’t just wing it: a pan gravy recipe using giblet stock that I made earlier in the day. It also came out pretty well, if a little thin. Everyone seemed to like it, except my husband.
My final culinary contribution to Thanksgiving was an apple crumb pie, recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
This was awesome, if I do say so myself. If I made it again, I would tweak the spices downward just a teench. The cloves and ginger were a bit strong. I used a mix of organic Braeburn, Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples (as well as organic butter and spices — I stopped at Whole Foods — with a Pillsbury pie crust).
I love getting small amounts of spices at Whole Foods instead of buying those expensive McCormick containers that end up going to waste.
I enjoyed putting the pie together. It was a peaceful way to pass Wednesday afternoon. Thanksgiving itself was great. We had 8 adults and 4 kids total. The weather was mild, so the kids and their cousin were able to play outside. Now that the kids are more independent, holiday hosting is way easier than it used to be. I have much more time to clean and prep, and the hostessing is easier too without small people wailing for me to pick them up or needing to be put down for naps. It’s been slowly getting easier all along, of course, but the difference really stood out to me yesterday.
My younger son, as usual, got really into decorating for this holiday. His paper turkeys, cornucopias and pumpkin pie slices from school decorated the dining room, as well as many other turkey tableaux he drew over the past two weeks. He also, of his own accord, made a chain in fall colors that we ended up hanging from the chandelier. Today he asked me if we could get out the Christmas decorations (a question I handily deflected).
When we sat down to dinner, we tried to go around the table and say what we were thankful for:
“Elves,” said son #2, “because they make all the toys.”
My daughter went next and repeated his answer verbatim.
My oldest went next, and he was being a turd about it, so I ended up making him read aloud the little booklet he made at school of things he was thankful for. By the time he was done, none of the grownups wanted to say what they were thankful for — they just wanted to eat!
So I am not shopping today, but rather trying to be outside enjoying the continued nice weather. Leftovers for dinner tonight, for sure. Over the weekend I’ll have to get back on track with cooking at home. I was sick Monday night and lost a day of prep on Tuesday, all of which combined for fast food Tuesday night and pizza Wednesday night. I also need to wrap up the budget for November and see how bad it was…
Happy Thanksgiving. 🙂