Friday, November 23, 2007

Turkey Aftermath

Had a very pleasant Thanksgiving at Kevin and Frank's place up the hill. It was a diverse crowd - the only ones I knew were Bernardo, Ahmed, Ken & Ken, and Elle. Even then I forgot that I had met Ellen years ago. I never did figure out how most of the rest were connected.

I spent a good hour cleaning the kitchen this evening (pics to come!). I thought it would take longer. Longer as in: all night. An hour wasn't too bad.

So the turkey came out fine. The stuffing was good, but not the knock-out punch I was aiming for. Kevin ended up adding pomegranates to his stuffing also - great minds etc. But I found, after three Turkey meals (Harris's lunchwagon Wednesday, dinner last night, and Mandalay for lunch this morning) that I'm seriously craving an old-fashioned sage, sausage, and celery stuffing. My avant-garde creation didn't even come close to the original.

Notes for next year, since I'll probably forget if I don't write it down:
  • Order the turkey online. The only choices we had were cheap Franken-birds or $40 free-range organic birds. Nothing in the middle. I went Franken-bird this year, and it showed. The meat was all white, which is a sure sign that the bird was a mutant raised in crowded conditions. It lacked any deep flavor, and there were almost no drippings. I couldn't find just a normal turkey - everything was injected with saline and oil! - and it would be cheaper to go through d'Artagnan and get a heritage bird than buy one of Safeway's mass-produced 'free-range' critters.
  • Frida's recipe cooks fast! Forget four-five hours - this baby was done in 3.5. Which meant it set for a long time, and that nice crispy skin lost its crispiness. Next year I'll time it down to the wire. Her way is still my favorite way to cook it.
  • Make sure you have a pan big enough to catch the drippings. Drippings plus gas = critical levels of smoke.
  • If you stuff the ass then tie then sew it shut well! Skewers aren't enough (as evidenced when the bad boy shat out half the stuffing in the oven). Skewers were fine for the main cavity.
  • Towards the end I started switching out roasting pans. I'd pull one, put the second in, and use the butter from the first to baste. Then repeat. This was much less dangerous than basting from the original pan.
  • One round I put the heart, gizzards, and some shallots in the basting pan under the bird. They roasted nicely, and were ono in the gravy.
  • And go with the sage stuffing, dammit! No one had it this year. I might need to cook another bird just to have some. Maybe I'll try a mincemeat pie next year - that should satisfy my urge for drama.

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