Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I consider myself to be richly blessed and thank God for my blessings regularly. Having a nationally recognized holiday to do so is wonderful. In my family, I have taken over Thanksgiving responsibilities in the last few years and relish the opportunity to cook up a feast. And a feast it truly is.
This year our menu was as follows:
Appetizers:
Baked Salmon
Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
Pickled tomatoes (store-bought)
Hummus (store-bought)
Smoked fish (store-bought)
Goat cheese bruschetta
Seafood Salad
Roasted Red Pepper Salad
Roasted Asparagus

Main course:
Vegetable Soup
Mashed potatoes
Turkey

Dessert:
Spice cake
Puff Pastry “strips”
Meringue cake (store-bought)

The turkey I’ve made in the last 5-7 years has always been moist as a result of both brining and baking it in a bag. However, this year it was absolutely superb. Please don’t think that I’m boasting. I did absolutely nothing differently from years past. The difference is in the turkey itself. I ordered a turkey at a farmers market earlier this year through Rueggseger Farms. The turkey was never frozen, it was “harvested” on Tuesday morning and we took delivery in the evening. It was astonishingly fresh and well-cleaned and absolutely lip-smacking when cooked.

Additional Recipes will be coming soon.

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.

Thanksgiving Part 2

The day is finally here and I’m giddy with excitement. I started cooking late last night and continued today. One of my big realizations was that everything except that was cooked, except the boiled potatoes, was baked. My oven fulfilled its baking duties fully. I love my stove/oven but as my mental list of my dream kitchen grows longer, I’m adding double ovens to that list. Or maybe it should be triple ovens.

Today, we got together around 2:30 and people left after 8. We laughed and toasted and chatted and reminisced and remembered. And ate. And ate. And ate. That’s the “Russian” way.
This year, as we toasted to the things we were thankful for such as family, health, friends, and other such things, we also added “having jobs”. Face it, it’s a blessing to have a job currently.

But as much as I love this day and as much as I look forward to it all year, I am also not sorry that this day is drawing to a close. Finally sitting down in my comfy PJs and running a load of dishes in the dishwasher, I am truly thankful for all that I have, but especially for being here and being able to celebrate this wonderful holiday.

But without further delay, here are the pictures to accompany the menu in this post.

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.