Tag Archives: holidays

Turkey – Thanksgiving and any other day

Turkey

Turkey - Extra moist and delicious

I was completely new to baking a turkey a few years ago.  In fact, the first time I tried to make a turkey (for Thanksgiving) I almost burned down my kitchen.  You see, I was following 2 different turkey recipes at once and made a pie earlier.  When the pie filling oozed out ever so bubble-ishesly right between the heating coils, I didn’t give it much thought.  Until I needed to crank the oven to 500 degrees.  That was the day I found out that burned sugar and high temperatures don’t mix, for when I went to put the turkey in the oven, I saw flames! shooting up inside the oven.  You have to image this: me standing in front of the oven, barely holding pan with a very heavy turkey at eye level, in complete shock.

In the end, it all worked out.  We had a really moist and tasty turkey.  So moist that people with dentures were able to enjoy it as well.  You can see in the picture that it’s so moist it’s practically falling apart.

Here is the recipe that I adapted from Alton Brown’s on the Food Network.

Brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

Baking the Turkey:
For this, I use Reynolds Oven Bags. Here are the instructions from Reynolds (which are also found inside the packagin):

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Shake flour in Reynolds Oven Bag; place in large roasting pan at least 2 inches deep. Spray inside of bag with nonstick spray to reduce sticking, if desired.

3. Add vegetables to oven bag. Remove neck and giblets from turkey. Rinse turkey; pat dry. Brush turkey with oil. Combine sage, thyme, rosemary and seasoned salt. Sprinkle and rub herb mixture over turkey, turning to coat evenly.
4. Place turkey in oven bag on top of vegetables.

5. Close oven bag with nylon tie; cut six 1/2-inch slits in top. Insert meat thermometer through slit in bag into thickest part of inner thigh. Tuck ends of bag in pan.

6. Bake 2 to 2 1/2 hours for a 12 to 16 lb. turkey, 2 1/2 to 3 hours for a 16 to 20 lb. turkey, and 3 to 3 1/2 hours for a 20 to 24 lb. turkey, or until meat thermometer reads 180°F. For easy slicing, let stand in oven bag 15 minutes before opening.

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Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Spread

Thanksgiving Spread

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, in large part because I love all the cooking.  Most people dread all the cooking, but I even take Wednesday off so I can make a few “spares”, just in case something doesn’t turn out and people still leave with overstuffed bellies.  I still love the holiday, despite the mandatory family squabbling.  But without further delay, here is the menu I’m planning (and yes, I take help where I can):

Appetizers:

  • Chicken wings (not a Thanksgiving staple, but I love them and they seem to go over pretty well with the family).  See above
  • Seafood puffs (puff pastry stuffed with seafood, store bought, and I hope they’re good).
  • Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Pizza Bites
  • Smoked Mackerel (this can be found in most Russian food stores; ask for “skumbria”)
  • Baked Asparagus with Cheese
  • Shrimp with sauce
Whole fish

Whole fish

Fish in pieces

Fish in pieces

 

 

 

 

Salads:

  • Seafood salad
  • Olivie? (a French salad, and every cook in former USSR has her/his own twist on it. This one is a maybe since I don’t like peeling potatoes or cutting cooked potatoes.) I decided not to make it this time.
  • Egg salad and mushroom
Turkey

Turkey

Main Course:

  • Baked potatoes (my family is averse to mashed potatoes with skins and I am averse to pealing potatoes)
  • Stuffing (of the StoveTop variety. My family will accept no other.)

Dessert:

Zephyr in Chocolate

Zephyr in Chocolate

  • I bought two pies at Sweet Pies of Door County and we’ll have that. They’re yummy, try one.
  • I also bought a Russian-style dessert called Zephyr in Chocolate. I’m not exactly sure what’s in it, but it seems a marshmallow-type substance covered in dark chocolate.

Recipes and pictures for all these to follow.