Thursday, November 22, 2007

Let the Post-Thanksgiving Blogging Begin

Not my turkey. My turkey was even better!

It is well known that when no one else is around and I am left to my own devices complete chaos tends to break out. Sadly, or possible fortunately, no one else is ever around to witness the insanity. But then again, if someone else was around, the chaos would probably not ensue, because I'd have someone to help me and help prevent the near disasters.
Cooking my first ever Thanksgiving meal on my own was one of those times. To say I was nervous about cooking several recipes I have never tried before for my cousins (Merry Brooke, Savannah, Chris and Rob) would be an understatement. And thanks to the discussion boards on LDS Linkup, I got really wrapped up in the excitement of something called "brining* a turkey." One week ago I had never even heard of brining. But then, somehow, thanks to my online friends, I decided to attempt it.
That was my first mistake.
Several more followed.

Here's what I wrote on the subject late Wednesday night (with a few edits)

I'm not sure which was my favorite part of the last hour
1. when the olive oil bottle fell off the top shelf, hitting the tiled floor of the pantry, shattering all over the place, BEFORE I got all of the necessary ingredients out of the walk-in pantry.

2. when the effing turkey slipped out of my hands and went sliding across the counter, NEARLY falling off onto the really not clean floor, so that i had to dive across the counter to save it, slipping in my socks on the tile floor-

3. when i finally got the 15 lbs *&^%* bird into the trash bag and filled up with brine (so that the bag now weighs closer to 30 lbs or more) just to discover the little plastic ring thingy had a sharp edge on it and popped right through the indestructible hefty bag, spraying brine all over me, the floor and the counter i had just cleaned

4. having to leave the freaking turkey naked in the sink while i rescued the rising dough for the Aunt Toots' rolls, sanitize the counter so i could knead the dough, etc

5. wrestle the slippery blasted turkey into an oven roaster bag

6. have to stop mid-wrestle, soaking wet, wash hands, and again knead the dough

7. return to attempting to get the damn 15 lb turkey and 10 gallons of brine into a new bag and onto the top shelf of the refrigerator (which is about eye level for me) with my sore back and bad shoulder

7. get it onto the top shelf just to realize that the bag now falls to the side and the brine is no longer covering the dang bird, THEN realize that the crisper drawer, if emptied of all the veggies, just might be the perfect size

8. move dumb stupid fowl from the top to the bottom while NOT slipping on the soaking wet floor, again with my bad back and shoulder

Am now completely covered in raw turkey and brine.

This had better be the best damn turkey since the freaking Pilgrims landed on effing Plymouth Rock!!

To wrap up the story, it did turn out to be the best damn turkey since the freaking Pilgrims landed on effing Plymouth Rock. It was amazing. I took it out of the brine at 9 am, stuck it in the oven with no seasoning whatsoever, and pulled it out at 12:30. Perfect. Amazing. I have never had a better turkey. When we went to go carve it we had no reason for a knife. In fact, when I picked it up to move it from the cooking pan to the prettier display pan, the legs just slipped off. It was that moist and tender. The legs just fell off the turkey. 5 people, 15 lbs turkey, and we ate nearly all of it. The rest of the food was amazing as well- mashed potatoes, cranberry relish (Jules, your recipe was divine- again we ate nearly all of it!!), "Aunt Toots' Rolls" (a 3rd generation family recipe), sweet potato souffle, salad, fried apples, and more. It was all good.

After we ate and digested I talked them all into playing Settlers with me. Robert kicked our trash. I think a rematch may be in order. And now they are crashed out on the couches watching my Tivo'd shows. And in about 6 hours Savannah and I will get back up and brave the Black Friday craziness. And then I have to go to work. That should be fun!

It was a great Thanksgiving!

*brining- (from wiki)-
is a process similar to marination in which meat is soaked in a salt solution (the brine) before cooking. Brining makes cooked meat moister by hydrating the cells of its muscle tissue before cooking

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