Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving #5: What Had Happened Was

Whenever you hear, "What had happened was ..." please know you are in for some foolishness. Not one to disappoint, let me tell you about my first day of cooking.
You know I have everything mapped out. Today was an easy day. I got sidetracked and it ended up taking me a lot longer than it should have. Phone calls, a glass of wine ... where does the time go? By far, the biggest loss of time was when I decided to fix my automatic soap dispenser. I refilled it yesterday and today it stopped working. I don't know how long I fooled around with that thing -- I'm all on the Web trying to find the manufacturer's site. I eventually found the answer right there on the instructions I'd already read three times. I think the problem was I tried to fix it after the glass of wine.
Let's get to today's to do list. I started with the brine. I made some adjustments to the recipe.
Here's Mr. Turkey taking a quick shower before he gets his aromatherapy soak. Remember how you always had to stand under that cold sprinkler before you could get into the pool? Or did we only do that in Little Rock? Why do you have to get wet before you get into water? I'ma Google that.
I digress. It's not that I mind rinsing the turkey or making the brine. It the clean-up afterward. I'm sure people use less caution trying to disarm a missile. Here's a trick I learned from Aunt Carolyn: if garbage day is too far away, put all of the meat wrappers and whatnot into a plastic bag and freeze it until garbage day. It keeps your trash can and kitchen from smelling like spoiled meat. She uses a grocery bag. I'm using a Ziploc, so I put mine into the trash can.
Anyhoo. I was smart enough to clear space in the refrigerator this year for the brining pot before I made the brine. Now of course when the pot was full, there was no way I could get it on the top shelf without sloshing turkey juice around. I took out the bottom shelf and two of the shelves on the door. (My refrigerator door only opens 90 degrees because it's flush with a wall.)
On to pie crust. I needed to get this right the first time, so I went with the foolproof recipe.
Start here.
Ta -da! The shot of my perfectly rolled dough will be more impressive.
Next on the list was the stock for the gravy. People, I have a confession to make. I make stock in my Crock-Pot. This is my second time doing it. I dump the stuff in there and when I wake up at some point during the night, I have stock. My Crock-Pot overheats anyway (the food actually boils.) If I crack the lid once the boiling starts, I get the evaporation you'd get from the pot on the stove. I strain it and put in the refrigerator. Once it's cold, I pick the fat off the top.
Here are the vegetables going for a swim.
The recipe called for browning the turkey parts beforehand to add additional flavor. You do that that all the time for braising; I don't know why I never thought of it for stock. There was nothing I could do to make this a beauty shot.
After everything has browned, deglaze the pan and add that to the stock.
My last task for the day was cubing the bread for the dressing.
See ya tomorrow!
Tools of the trade:

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