Thanksgiving Dinner

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I prepared a (reduced) Thanksgiving feast for our small, nuclear family. Still – cooking for 3 or 7 is not that different and I did spend a fare amount of time in the kitchen. Enough to realize that there is no way I’ll be able to cook Xmas dinner next month – when I’ll be almost 8 months pregnant.
Dinner came out well, but nowhere near perfect. The problem was clearly that I didn’t pay enough attention – pregnancy brain, tiredness, I have tons of excuses. I did leave tons of dirty dishes for Mike to cook, however.
We started with a sweet pumpkin soup, made from a Trader Joe’s base I’d previously bought. All you have to do is add some sour cream and milk, and it’s very good but very sweet. A jar should be enough for four as an appetizer, as you can’t quite handle too much more of the sweetness. Mika liked it and ate quite a bit as well.
Then it was time for the main meal.
I made Roast Turkey with Prosciuto-Hazelnut Crust from this recipe at epicurious.com.
I started by brining the chicken (a free range, organic 12-pounder) in a solution of kosher salt, sugar, dried thyme and bay leaf the night before. Then I rinsed it (note, some of the thyme leaves stuck to the turkey skin), dried it and let it sit in the fridge for several hours before cooking. I cooked it according to instructions, but I wasn’t able to baste it as part of my baster was inexplicably missing. I also overcooked it somewhat. I’d checked the turkey and it had been at 172 – when I checked 10 minutes later it had shot up to 180. Clearly I should have taken it out at 172. Live and learn.
The turkey was very good, I found the drumstick a tad too salty but Mike found the breast was fine. It was, however, too dry – though Mike said he expects that from turkey. Still, I wanted something jucier. Mike loved the skin where the butter had been.
The accompanying gravy was rich and thick and tasted quite good, but the bits of meat made its consistency too disconcerting. The recipe didn’t call for it, but it should definitely had been filtered. In any case, I wasn’t able to palate it – knowing that it was made from the internal organs gave me a case of the willies. This even though I have no problem eating foie gras or pates made out of innards. Oh well, let’s blame it on pregnancy.
I made mashed potatoes from the Zuni’s cookbook recipe. I’d previously made it and loved it. Once again, they were a big hit – I’ll make them again for Xmas and quadruple the recipe. This time they were too lumpy, I didn’t spend enough time mashing the potatoes and I should have probably whipped them for longer (I was afraid they’d get gummy – they didn’t), but the taste was all there. Oh, and this time I didn’t use buttermilk, just whipping cream.
Finally, I made Stove Top stuffing, which I like so much that I never see a need to make any other kind. We made the sourdough kind with salted butter, and I found it a tad too salty – Mike didn’t. I had meant to mix it up with grilled chopped apple-chicken sausage, but I totally forgot. Pregnancy brain again.
I had also meant to make green beans, but we left them in the plastic bag overnight and they had mold by then.
For dessert I made an apple pie. I used frozen Marie Callender pie crusts and they were very good, they tasted great in combination with the apple stuffing. They were too thin, however, so it wasn’t possible to cut off a piece of pie without having the whole thing disintegrate, and my proportion of apple-stuffing to crust was too high (I used four granny smiths, next time I’ll use 3), but the pie was delicious, in particular with some Ben & Jerry’s vanilla ice cream. I had meant to make a sugar-free pie, using Splenda instead of sugar, but once I started adding the spleanda to the apples I realized the taste just wasn’t there so I used probably twice as much sugar as splenda. My other ingredients were cinamon and a dash of nutmeg and ground cloves.
Today our leftovers are mostly turkey and pie. The pie held up great and Mike said his turkey sandwich (bread, turkey and mayo) was awesome.

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