Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Feast!

Thanksgiving; Good Food, Company, and Booze.

The night before:
Chopping of veggies. I chopped onions, celery, shallots, and mushrooms. I left only the green and potatoes for me to prepare veggie wise the day of.

I made beautiful pumpkin pies the night before. One of them I traded my mom for fruit salad and a delicious cranberry salsa recipe she found in the newspaper... (That salsa may have stolen most the attention for the night) The pies were made from roasted fresh pumpkins, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and a tiny hint of nutmeg and vanilla. I thought for sure they were going to be runny inside, because I added more pumpkin and no more eggs...It took so long to bake that at midnight and after an hour and a half of baking time and the knife still not coming out clean i said "screw it, I have way to much to do tomorrow to wait all night for pumpkin pies." The surprise was on me at the end of the Thursday night when the pie was a perfect finish to meal.

Even though I don't eat Turkey, there is something about Injecting the Turkey I have a guilty pleasure doing. I combined vegetable broth, orange zest, butter, fresh garlic, salt, pepper, rosemary, and hot sauce. I let these ingredients simmer to make sure they would blend together in taste then ran my immersion blender through it to combine all the herbs... You fill the syringe then stab the turkey. Injecting the mixture it makes it expand likes lips getting collagen. My helper had no interest in what I was doing until the breast started expanding.

Thursday arrived:
To do; stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, sweet potato souffle, mashed potatoes and gravy:) mmmmm complete thanksgiving.

Stuffing: Fresh dried bread, lots of butters, onions, celery, (a small handful of mushrooms only because I had a few mushroom haters to fool), fresh sage, thyme, fresh parsley, poultry seasoning, veggie broth, and of course salt and pepper to taste... I like the caramelize everything then add the bread crumbs to toast up a little bit more in the pan.... I add enough broth to make the bread damp but still with a little crisp. It sits in the fridge and continues to absorb the liquid... and who like mushy stuffing? If it still has a crisp when you put it in to bake add a cup more of veggie broth evenly dispersed on top.

Cranberry Sauce: More like relish, processed a bag of cranberries with an apple, fresh squeezed o.j., orange zest, ginger, and honey. I ran out of honey so I cooked it all together for about 5 minutes. It brought out the sweetness and made it bright pink!

After the cranberry sauce I juiced my oranges and thinly sliced an unjuiced one. Stuck that in the fridge as it was a main ingredient for my turkey rub. I needed to take a break, load up the car with the dogs, a pumpkin pie, and some cranberry sauce. I was going to make a trade with my mom. Pie for fruit salad.

My mom made the best dish of the night by far... Or maybe it was the fact that everyone was starving and all we had to munch on was my moms cranberry salsa. (She takes no credit I think the recipe may have come out of the Denver post) Cranberries, dried cranberries, roasted jalapenos, red onion, lime, agave, cilantro, salt, and pepper. It was SO good, and unusual. Salty chips and sweet salsa. Killer combination. The fruit salad was pretty good too. :)

Once I got home it was spring into action time. Orange Juice, butter, thyme, sage rosemary, salt and pepper into a pan to simmer for a minute or two. Then the grand finale, I take this yummy buttery liquid and smear it all over the turkey. I pull the skin up and drench the meat with this. No skimping whatsoever. I Put sliced oranges on top of that but still under the skin. (I am so bummed I didn't take any pictures) Think pork roasting with an apple in its mouth. That's the feeling you get when you pull out a beautiful golden brown turkey with dark orange imprints in the skin. 325 oven for a couple hours... (It was only a ten pound turkey.) Wrong time estimate. Planning for 5:30/6 dinner turned into sitting down and eating at 7:30. I think the oven may be very slightly off temp. Every 30 minutes or so after the first hour I brushed my yummy orange butter on the top. Keep it most and browning up evenly.

Next I peeled Yukon gold potatoes and stuck them in water. They can sit like that for hours and not turn brown.

Green Bean Casserole: This is by far my favorite dish. I cleaned up the green beans and par cooked them in boiling heavily salted water. You don't want to put them in complete uncooked because they don't cook at all, but if you give them a slight cook they are still crunchy after its baked together. I sauteed mushrooms and shallots with some rosemary salt and garlic in they were good and brown. Bechamel sauce consits of a roux which is equal parts butter and flour melted and combined together, then cold milk whisked in... I season with a pinch of cloves and nutmeg, salt and pepper. Traditionally you are supposed to cook it with half of an onion with two to three cloves pressed into it. I took the short cut. You let this cream sauce cook until it is nice and thick. I then added some Colby jack cheese and the sauteed mushrooms. Poor over the green beans and Voila all you need is those yummy already made fried onions. (Yes its true I take all sorts of shortcuts)

Sweet Potato Souffle: Thank you Sam. I followed the recipe to the tee, and it was phenomenal. Yummy sweet potatoes baked with eggs and sugar, than brown sugar and pecan topping. I would love to elaborate but this is not my recipe and I don't feel right just giving it away. Hats off to Sam Craw!

Now it was time to wait I put everything together. Everything needed to be baked and the turkey was taking forever...

Finally I got a reading of 160 on the thermometer in the turkey. I pulled it out. Carryover cooking will bump it up to 165. In went all the sides, stuffing which i pulled the stuffing out from the inside of the turkey and put it on top of the rest to bake. Better to be safe then sorry when it comes to uncooked turkey juices and whatnot. Green bean casserole and sweet potatoes all in the oven to bake for a half an hour or so. Potatoes get turned on and the gravy.... I make a roux and let it cook until it is brown, then i added pan drippings and vegetable broth. Did I mention most of our food had an orange glow to it. Veggie broth has tomatoes and carrots... It brings a little more color to everything. The potatoes were boiled, i drained them and added sour cream, butter, salt and pepper. Sour cream makes them creamier than milk hand down. I whipped those up in the Kitchen Aid. The kitchen aid truly does everything a person can ask for. Seriously.

Dinner time was phenomenal. Friends, Family, good food, and good beer. Also no t.v. to distract everyone with the football games.

Food done the way I want to. God I love the Holidays.

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