Thursday, November 29, 2012

22. grateful

The time surrounding Thanksgiving is very busy and tiring for me, as my day job in retail management keeps me running (literally) up to 12 hours a day this time of year.  On Thanksgiving day I am simply grateful for a day off.

This year I decided to cook a Thanksgiving meal for the first time on my own.  As good fortune winked my way a couple-friend of ours found an airline flight deal and came down to visit.  In hindsight I now know that a rookie Thanksgiving-day-meal-cooker should always have a veteran by their side.  As a team we successfully pulled it off.

Turkey:  I ordered a fresh heritage turkey, the farm recommended cooking it like this, Heritage Turkey Recipe.  The almost ten-pound turkey fit in my large Pyrex dish so I was not forced to purchase a roasting pan.  (I love Pyrex, another post altogether.)  I also successfully made gravy last minute without a recipe, I remembered the method for roux and tried to follow it as best as I could remember.

[Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM]

Stuffing:  Since the turkey farm recommends not stuffing a heritage turkey I tried this Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Pancetta Recipe which was incredible.  I am not sure if I will ever try another stuffing recipe and will likely make it again throughout the year.

Mashed Potatoes:  no recipe needed, of course.  I used redskin potatoes (leaving the skins on) and roughly mashed them (leaving good chunks) with real butter, sour cream, milk, salt and white pepper.  I love rustic mashed potatoes and white pepper blends much better than black.

Vegetable: I've never liked traditional green been casserole, but a number of years ago my newest sister-in-law made Alton Brown's Best Ever Green Bean Casserole and it really was the best ever.  His recipes are notoriously laborious and this one indeed had a number of steps but ended up wonderful.  The leftovers only re-heated well for a couple days though so it's best to consume quickly.

Pie: Thank you Whole Foods for a delicious pecan pie, a.k.a. "candy in a crust" -- I enjoy the art of cooking more than the science of baking.

[Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM]

Wine: lots.  Due to my work schedule I could not enjoy a glass of wine with each dish as I was hoping.  I did open a dry Riesling, a Beaujolais Nouveau (of course) and something else I don't remember.  In hindsight I should have taken some tasting notes.

The day was not without it's snafus of course.  I left the thermometer in the turkey only to find out an hour later that it was not a leave-in thermometer.  Then as I was basting the turkey I tapped the end of the glass baster against the side of the Pyrex dish and the tip broke off.

[Canon EF 50mm f1.4 USM]

As a whole, Thanksgiving Day this year was fantastic -- a day spent with friends being grateful for what we have and, more importantly, who we have.

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