Thanksgiving. I never really liked the holiday when I was younger, but ever since I started cooking I’ve enjoyed it more and more every year… and I really think I outdid myself on this particular meal. Every single recipe I made came out exquisitely, and I think I have to quit now.
My spread :
Roasted Turkey – I loosely follow Alton Brown’s Good Eats brined turkey recipe http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html , and I’ve made three turkeys using it. This year I picked up a 21.5lb Foster Farms fresh turkey. My brine was made of about 1/3 gallon turkey stock, 1/3 gallon chicken stock, and 1/3 gallon apple cider, cooked with the salt, allspice berries, pepper, ginger and salt of Alton’s recipe. I don’t water mine down with a gallon of water, I generally throw the turkey in the brine mix and then throw in a bunch of ice. And I use his recipe for the aromatics… they make an incredible gravy! I roasted for the first half hour at 375 then turned it down to 300 for about five hours, maybe a little more. The only time I open the oven is after the first half hour, when I cover the roaster in a tent of aluminum foil. When I pulled the turkey out to check the temperature, it was fully cooked, still moist, and absolutely insanely good tasting. My only problem? It completely falls apart. Completely. It is so moist and amazing that it is LITERALLY fall-off-the-bone delicousness. If I had to pick some problem to have in my meal… I’m happy that was it.
Gravy – To make the gravy, I take 3 tbsp of butter and melt it in a pan. Add 3 tbsp of flour, then add some of the pan juices and a little chicken or turkey stock. Mix, cook til boiling, and it gets nice and thick and delicious.
Mashed Potatoes – I am a never ending spout of disappointment, because I absolutely cannot make mashed potatoes. I over-boil them and make them gross and I know it is a weakness. But where I am weak, Trader Joe’s is oh so strong. They have FROZEN mashed potato pellets, and they are wonderful. I used an entire bag, but they’re made so you can make as many servings as you need. I threw an entire bag into a pot on the stove with about 1/2 cup of milk and a few tablespoons of butter. As the pellets melted, they combined with the milk and butter and transformed into a fluffy and delicious mashed potato dish.
Green Bean Casserole – I’ve made this enough times that I know never to use a recipe. Recipes use too much milk and make it too mushy creamy. This year, I used all Trader Joe’s products for this. Two cans of green beans, one container of condensed cream of portabella soup, and one can of fried onions. Drain green beans, add entire container of soup, mix in a bit of onions, mix in a bit of pre-cooked pre-diced bacon pieces, add a little bit of milk (I probably add a half cup or so?) until a little creamy but not WET. Cover with a layer of onions, bake until hot. The end!
Stuffing – This is an amazing recipe. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Awesome-Sausage-Apple-and-Cranberry-Stuffing/Detail.aspx My changes – I use pre-made cubed stuffing, the kind in a bag. I made it with bread once and it just didn’t come out nearly as well. I don’t use the turkey liver, and I probably add a bit more stock… since I don’t cook it inside the bird, it has to be significantly wetter before it goes into the oven. Generally, put in enough stock until it looks like something you’d want to eat, then add a bit more. I baked this alongside the green bean casserole at 350 degrees until they were both nice and hot.
Random Veggie Mix – Trader Joe’s had some bags of veggies andddd I just couldn’t resist picking them up and attempting something strange. I used half a bag of cut sweet potatoes, half a bag of cut rutabaga, parsnip and turnip, and a whole sliced fennel. Threw it into a pan with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. AWESOME.
And last but not least… Rolls. I used this recipe http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Blue-Ribbon-Overnight-Rolls/Detail.aspx to the letter, since I am terrified of baking with yeast. I’m always convinced I’m going to do something horribly wrong. The dough rised overnight, then I rolled it and cut it as described, but instead of rolling them into horns, I took each section (1/18th of the total recipe) and divided it into three small balls and put them into a greased muffin pan. Then I let them rise all day while I was cooking dinner, put them into the oven at the end of my cooking, and they came out as delicious pull-apart yeast rolls perfect for sticking a slice of butter into. I will probably make these 100 times in the future, they are amazing and so so easy. Best if served hot, straight from the oven.
And now to share with you my current food obsession… http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/panini-with-chocolate-and-brie-recipe/index.html
Brie. Chocolate. Basil. Sourdough. It sounds really weird… but trust me and make these right now.
AND for a completely different level of food euphoria… add diced bacon.
/dies of a delicious food coma