Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009 - A Little Progress

I am a genius! In a stroke of brilliance yesterday, I decided to take a nap at 4:30. I wasn't officially up until 12 hours later! So, I'm a wee bit behind on my schedule, but no worries. Let's recap the progress. My goal is to really blog about everything I make this year; even if I done an entry about it before. Here we go.

First was the cornbread for the dressing. If you're new to the blog, let me tell you now that I'm in love with Cook's Illustrated. Most of my recipes are theirs. They were no slouches with the All-Purpose Cornbread recipe either. This has the sweetness of Jiffy with a better texture and real corn flavor.

First, and this is where my heritage meets the recipe: heat a cast iron skillet so that it's screaming hot. Cornbread should be made in cast iron. There, I've said it. I put the skillet into the cold oven (on the baking stone) and heat it as the oven preheats.


Next, process the wet ingredients: buttermilk, corn and brown sugar.


Add the eggs.


Perfect! Thick and creamy with bits of corn.


Before I start with the dry stuff, I take the skillet out of the oven and add canola oil. Do not use butter or extra-virgin olive oil. They will burn. I put the skillet back in the oven while I finish the batter.


Now, grab flour, cornmeal and and a scale. (Baking is a science; measuring is necessary.)


Add the leavenings and salt. Table salt for baking, kosher for everything else.


Whisk together and make a well for the wet stuff.

Grab a spatula and fold unitl moistened. I like to have a few dry bits left before I add the butter.

Bring on the butter!

Get the skillet and plop the batter in there. Hear that? See those bubbles? That's exactly what you want.


Smooth out the top and bake!


Golden brown and delicious! Just look at that crust! That piece is for the cook and the chili I pulled from the freezer:-)


Once cool enough to handle, break it apart and leave it out to dry out overnight.


Now for the trukey brine. This is recipe is from Emeril Lagassee.

Grab a stockpot. Orange juice, wine (dry please) start us off. I chose a pino grigio.


It is a brine - salt and sugar are required.


Add peppercorns, ginger, thyme and bay leaves. Take a moment to rough up the thyme a little to release the flavor. I got lazy and didn't chop the ginger. If I had been putting the turkey in immediately, I would've chopped it. I added the water last.


I refrigerated the brine separately. My intent was to add the turkey a few hours later, after the flavors had melded. They certainly melded since I fell alseep and the turkey didn't make the introduction until this morning!


Butterball added a gravy packet this year. That went straight to the trash along with the gizzard, heart and liver. I don't like gravy just enough to know it should be homemade. I have to be in the right frame of mind to eat organ meats, especially gizzards. It happens once every few years.


Do save the neck and tail. (Butterball didn't think I needed my tail) Use those to make stock for the gravy. This is missing some herbs. I'll add those later. I still have to get some parsley.


Tools of the trade:

I'll add these later.

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