Monday, November 29, 2010


My attempts to blog telepathically have proven to be less than successful. I will admit defeat this time and do an old-fashioned type-it-yourself post, but know that I will continue my efforts to control the Universe with my mind. If I can't control the Universe, I'm hoping to at least be able to fold clothes with my mind. Can you imagine?! That would be delightful.

In the meantime, I give you a quick recap of Thanksgiving...

With a name like that, you don't give yourself much room for anything but total pumpkin domination. This particular pumpkin has been chillin' in the garage for the last month, just waiting to be a part of this festive eat-fest. I roasted it, let it cool, pureed it (5 cups, in all), and stuck it in the fridge. I also tossed the seeds with melted butter and cinnamon and roasted them. I was impatient, though, and they weren't dry enough to be roasted, so they turned into a gooey mess rather than a tasty treat. Lesson learned: let the seeds dry on a sheet pan overnight and then roast them.

The Brine. Oh, the brine! We brined an 11-pound free range turkey this year. Luckily, it fit in our giant stock pot, so I didn't have to use a plastic bag (phew!). I had never brined a bird, so I was a little nervous, but it worked wonders. We kept it simple--water, apple juice, kosher salt, brown sugar, rosemary, peppercorns, garlic, and one orange peel. I brought it to a boil and cool it to room temperature by setting it out in the garage for a couple hours.

The rosemary was frozen.

The garlic was frozen, as well, but those are just garlic babies.
We won't eat them until spring.

Oooh to the la-la-la! My first turkey ever. Well, my first turkey at home, to be more precise. Not to shabby, eh? After an overnight brine, I rinsed it off and stuffed it with an onion, an apple core, and some fresh thyme and sage. The bottom of the roasting pan had chopped apple (except for the core), celery, and water. Rubbed it down with some canola and that's it. So simple, but so darn tasty. We roasted it breast down for just over an hour and then flipped it to finish. I am convinced this is the way every turkey should be cooked. There ought to be a law: breast down or deep fried. These are the only acceptable ways to prepare a turkey.

Homemade Buttermilk Bread--from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, of course

The plate.
Turkey, Fresh Green Bean Casserole (with bacon!), Cranberry Apple Wild Rice, Sweet Potato Casserole, and bread. Yumalicious to the max.

But wait! There's more!

Just ridiculously wonderful. I used the pureed Winter Luxury for this pie and I will never go back to canned pumpkin. The pie recipe came from the new Sunset Cookbook and the crust is from Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller. Best pumpkin pie meets the best crust meets me and I literally had tiny little tears in my eyes after I took a bite. I couldn't help it. I worked so hard and everything was so magnificent. It was the first time I'd ever done Thanksgiving on my own and it ended up being one of the most delicious meals I've ever produced. If figure skaters can sniffle as they leave the rink, I can cry at the dinner table.

In an uncharacteristic, food-coma influenced state, I let Mr. Mallard do the dishes. Most of them, anyway. I also let him pick the meat off the turkey and get the carcass ready to make stock. I never let anyone help me. I'm kind of (read: totally) an asshole in the kitchen. It's fine. I said it. It's true. I spent so many years in front of so many stoves, being held responsible for every plate that went's hard for me to trust that someone else can do things the way I want them done. I did it though. I let him help. And it was awesome.
...and then we made turkey stock and had some fun.

Hope you all had a great day, too.

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