Monday, November 1, 2010

The times, they are a changing....

     Just like that and Halloween is over. I survived, however this morning my stomach was a little icky, and I really don't care if I ever see another candy bar. I didn't even eat as much as I potentially could have. Perhaps it was the order in which I ate the chocolate, or adding random bites of pizza between Milky Ways. Either way, the mere thought of chocolate sends my stomach into orbit.
     Now we trudge on in search of the perfect turkey to adorn my otherwise cluttered dinner table. I can say this, we always buy enough turkey to feed 3 families. I am not sure why my husband and I, feel the need to get a 20 pound turkey every year, but we do. The last six years of Thanksgivings, I actually was home for the whole event from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade to the Football games that lull our overstuffed families to sleep.
     I used to always leave around 6 am to open the kitchen for those that spent their Thanksgivings on the road. When my children were little, it was easier to justify leaving to go to work. In my mind, I believed that they could not yet, understand the concept of holidays. Somehow, that made feel better about the choices, I had made. One thing that I can say, is that you miss so much, like the parade. It is a tradition for us now, and I am like a kid in a candy store waiting for Santa to make his debut on Macy's Herald Square. After all these years, the kid in me still believes in the magic of Santa.
     Now that I am home to cook Thanksgiving, I get excited trying new things. I would love to deep-fry a turkey, however my husband is a traditionalist and his nose crinkles up even at the mention of it. One year, I wanted to try a Turducken, but with everything to do, my feet got cold thinking about it, plus not being fond of the flavor of duck, helped sway me in the traditional Roast Turkey lane again.
     I was born to two foodies, that exposed me to the delightful pleasures of good food early in life, perhaps that is why I pursued a career in cooking. I love nothing more tahn to fill my kitchen with the aromas of Thanksgiving. Throughout the day my boys and husband wander in for samples and critiquing. This was the way I envisioned a holiday of my own to play out. Life is not about the destination but rather the journey. It is the journey we need to pay attention to.
      I come from an Irish family, with a great sense of humor, and during holidays, I can remember sitting around laughing at ourselves and each other. All of my family gatherings had a healthy serving of humor.
     The temperature is dropping everyday , and my son came in last night in the midst of his trick or treating schedule to tell me, that it was snowing...WHAT??? I am not a snow person, although I enjoy it right up until December 26. Then it is out with prancing in the snow, and in with sitting by the pool. Oh well. This year I am going to brine my turkey, something that I have never done. But I am told that it results in a juicier, bolder more flavorful turkey. Brining is the process of submerging your turkey in a solution of salt and water for several hours.

My Brine

1 gallon Kitchen Basics Vegetable Broth(about 4 of them)
1/2 gallon of Cold Hollow Apple Cider
1 cup kosher salt
1 bunch rough chopped rosemary
1 bunch rough chopped sage
1 bunch rough chopped thyme
1 bunch rough chopped savory
1 bay leaf
2 oranges cut in half
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns,crushed
1 tablespoon allspice berries, crushed
4 whole cloves
2/3 cup molasses
1 14-18 pound turkey
1 gallon ice water

In a stock pot combine all ingredients except for the ice water and turkey. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 5 minutes. Cool liquid to room temperature. Remove innards of the turkey and rinse with cold water and pat dry. Combine the brine, the ice water in a 5 gallon bucket or anything that will hold the turkey. Place the turkey into the brine breast side down and weigh it down to ensure that the bird is completely submersed in the liquid. Cover and refrigerate or store in a cool place overnight. Turning the bird over halfway through the brining process. Remove turkey from brine and rinse well. Preheat oven to 350F and roast 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Important, don't add any additional salt to your bird as it has been brined in salt.

Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.~Erma Bombeck


Colleen said...

I think you will love brining. I tried it years ago, and haven't cooked a turkey since without brining. I added the extra step last year of air drying the skin (in fridge), for a couple hours after brining to help it crisp up better. Now, I want turkey!

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