Thanksgiving Feast

So it’s Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, which means we’re either defrosting the bird or have just picked it up.  I’m doing this today.  GASP!  Will it be thawed in time, you ask? Why yes.  Since last year I opted to buy a fresh turkey from Whole Foods that has not been brined.  Why fresh?  I read about the benefits of fresh turkey (I can’t find the article anymore) last year and how less sodium solution is added to a fresh turkey.  Frozen turkeys have this unfortunately to “plump up” your bird, which is why frozen turkeys are saltier than fresh turkeys.  They also do this to chicken, which is why they say to buy organic chicken.  Anyhow, the fresh turkey has a thin layer of ice, which can be removed by washing it.  So today, I’m pick up our turkey and avoiding all the last minute grocery shoppers tomorrow!

Last year, I made Alton Brown’s Good Eat’s Turkey, which apparently was the MOST downloaded recipe last year.

It was quite tasty.  But this year, my husband said to make something different.  He said the turkey was good last year, but suggested I try something new.  I cringed a bit when he suggested this, since last year’s effort turned out well.  I don’t want to mess up this year’s turkey with a new recipe.

But after reading a couple of recipes and reviews online including Gwenyth Paltrow’s website, I decided that I was going to try Martha Stewart’s Perfect Roast Turkey, without stuffing the bird.  I know it’s supposed to make the turkey juicier, but something about putting my stuffing in the cavity of the turkey freaks me out a bit.  The possibility of salmonella perhaps?  Yeah, you’re supposed to check the temperature of the stuffing when placed in the cavity of the turkey but I’d rather not and just go with the “safer” option and go with dressing.  I’ll just put aromatics into the cavity, which I’ve done the last two years and it’s worked out fine.

So today, I will prepare the brine for the turkey and chill it overnight, so that I can start the brining process tomorrow morning or afternoon.

I’ll also be cutting my bread today and leaving that out to air dry for the stuffing/dressing.  I’m trying something new this year, so there isn’t a recipe yet.  But instead of my typical cornbread dressing, I’m going to make it with sourdough bread and cranberry walnut bread this year.  🙂  I LOVE cranberry walnut bread.  Pretty sure my mother in law likes it too as she sometimes makes it or something similar with her bread maker at home.  I’ll be sure to share with you the recipe after Thanksgiving!  Hopefully it’ll be a success.  Fingers crossed!

I’ll also start preparing the Parker House Rolls today and possibly freeze or chill the dough to bake off tomorrow.

Which leaves me to dessert.  I have NO idea what to make.  Pie, I suppose?  Or perhaps I should just purchase it?  I may go the lazy route.  We’ll see.  Any suggestions?

turkey leftovers…

Here are a couple of ideas you can make with your turkey, cranberry, and stuffing leftovers.

I’ve had both of these sandwiches at a cute sandwich shop in Burlington, VT.  Of course because it was VT, it came with cheddar cheese and apples.  YUM!  (I took these images last year when I was in Vermont.  I’ve recreated it at home; however it did not look as pretty-ful as this.)

The Vermonter

Turkey slices, red onion slices, Granny Smith apple slices, cheddar cheese, cranberry sauce and mayonnaise

Thanksgiving Sandwich

Stuffing, Mayo, cheddar cheese, cranberry sauce, turkey

Another sandwich you could make is a California club:  Turkey, bacon, avocado, tomato, and colby jack and cheddar cheeses.  You could use my other lunch recipes from prior posts and replace the meat with turkey meat.

Another turkey leftover recipe I made was Turkey Tettrazzini from allrecipes.com.  SUPER easy and pretty good.  I added some peas to have the meal with veggies of course.  Anything with parm and spaghetti is a good thing!

recovering…

from a week of GLUTTONY.  My wonderful in-laws were in town this past week and as always when you have guests, you eat well.  Whether its taking them out or making them a meal to have them feel comfortable in your home, you’re bound for some good eating.  And we were INDEED.

It’s crab season right now in the bay area (which btw, totally throws me off because crab season is in the summer on the east coast.  still weirded out.) and Dungeness crab is prevalent everywhere.  I’ve seen signs on the road for crabs on sale or crabbing tours now.  There’s this seafood restaurant in the Bay called Boiling Crab which takes about an hour plus to 2 1/2 hours to get a seat.  Yes, it’s that popular and apparently it’s always like that.  The hubs and I have been planning to go but just haven’t had the time.  When we actually do decide to go we realize that it’s late and we’d probably wait longer than we’d like… so we pass and go with our next option.  My in-laws went with their friends and came home with time GINORMOUS dungeness crabs for me and the hubs.  While tasty and meaty (it really was good.), I must say… I STILL LOVE MY CHESAPEAKE BLUE CRABS!!!  Sweeter, smaller, and easier to handle.  I’m such an east coast girl.  I didn’t think there would be THAT much meat in those crabs and definitely had a food coma right after I was done eating.

Wednesday, I took my in-laws to wine country while the hubs was working.  I fortunately had the day off and my mother in law had wine train tickets she had to use before the end of December.  The hubs and I had used ours in August (Groupon had an awesome deal!).  I was planning to go to the outlets or go to other wineries that I like that were neighboring Napa, but weren’t on our way home, while they were on the train.   However, when I went down with them at the train station to make sure they got on OK, the both insisted I come along with them.  They didn’t take no for an answer.  Which was fine, I do like their company and I would just be wandering by myself around Napa buying who knows what.  The food was DELISH and just as good as the last time I went.  It was a bit heavy for lunch but so yummy.  Definitely had a huge food coma after that lunch.  Then when we got home from touring Napa and visiting friends we had a late dinner… and yet again STUFFED.

Then Thanksgiving day…gluttony persisted.  I didn’t get the bird started until 3ish.  I was trying to take off the chill and it was a fresh, not frozen plus it was a petite bird; so I didn’t put it in earlier…plus it was just the four of us, so there was no rush.  I really kept it low key this year and didn’t make as many sides or desserts (even though I really wanted to).  Everything was pretty good.  Here’s the spread and the links to the recipes I used or the actual recipe.   For dessert, our godparents from our wedding gave my in-laws an apple pie to give to us to devour for Thanksgiving (it was from Marie Callendar’s bakery.   it was pretty good).  So we warmed that up and had that along with some ice cream.

The spread

Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Apples by Art Smith

Homemade Cranberry Sauce by PioneerWomanCooks

Good Eats Roast Turkey by Alton Brown

Close Up View

Creamy Mashed Potatoes by PioneerWomanCooks (p.s. TO DIE FOR.  YOU MUST TRY THIS RECIPE!!!  Forget about the butter… it is DELISH!)

Sauted Garlic Green Beans by me (recipe on a later post)

I made the cranberry sauce two days ahead.  I also steamed and blanched the green beans the night before so that I could quickly saute them within minutes of having dinner.

Leftovers were eaten the next day.  Then the day my in-laws left we went out to a Filipino restaurant called Max’s chicken.  Again… heffer status continued.  I couldn’t help myself.  Filipino food is just THAT delicious.   🙂  Now its Monday and guilt has came over me for all the overindulging I did this weekend… so I went for a quick run.  I shall be performing my workout regimen again until Christmas.  Have a work holiday party and a graduation dinner within a week of each other and while my dresses may be forgiving… pictures are NOT.  Workout mode (well an attempt to at least.  I hope it’s successful) until Christmas.  Although… I don’t know how well that’ll work when I’ll be testing a couple recipes out the next few week for the family Christmas party.  😛