Sunday, November 25, 2007

T-Day Revisted

To the scene of the crime.
The original menu was pretty much completed.

All of the other components of the meal turned out well. The following were new additions that turned out edible and pleasing to the guests.

1) Corn soup concoction with reduced red pepper sauce.
Wow! A major surprise. The creamed corn soup was a solid base for the swirled in roasted red pepper sauce. We shall be having this again and certainly before next Thanksgiving.

2) The Bird. Couldn't just get breast this year. Sorry, folks! We'll have to deal with dark meat and drums. It'll be a 12-14 lb.-er from an Amish farm in Lancaster, complete with beard and straw hat.
We have not had a full bird in eons. Each year we simply got a huge turkey breast and left the folks with dark meat preferences in the, uhhmmm, dark. This year, due to poor calendar reading/interpreting skills of yours truly, turkey breast was not to be had at the usual preferred places. So, the whole bird, sans head, was ordered instead. All went well with the brining. The cooking the 12 lb.-er took only 3 hours. There was a lot of calamity about the latter as whole bird afficciandoes were protesting, in full lung capacity manner, as to both the temperature (400 deg. F) and the time (1 hr breast down, 1 hr 20 min breast up, 30 minutes post-oven de-shock activity) that I was implementing. All turned out well (I raise on turkey leg up to the gods of Heat and Time) and the cooking methodology made for interesting dinner-time banter between all the Me-Thinks-Me-A-Cooks.

6) Some kind of Stuffing.
First time in a long time, again. Went with a pork sausage, celery, day old Portuguese-bread-to-crouton transformation concoction. Pan-fried sausage was well-drained of the fat. Chicken stock was used as replacement liquid. The Portu-croutons, finely toasted in the oven after a sprinkling of rosemary-infused grapeseed oil, sopped up a good quart of the chicken stock. Stuffing was juicy but not squishy and the sausage? Well, I'm not asking what the Amish put into the meaty loaf, but I'm counting on their wholesome ways that the special spices are of nature's own.

Some notes to self and calls for HELP! (now out on DVD)

4) Mashed Potatoes - Plain
5) Mashed Potatoes - Garlic

I used a mix of Russet and red potatoes with goat's milk used for the Plain and cream cheese softened with 1/2 stick of warm butter and lightly browned 3 finely chopped cloves of garlic and some chopped rosemary (a MISTAKE!). Dash of salt, of course. Both tasted fine when very warm, but taste dropped off in direct relationship to the potatoes' heat. Sticking the pots in a warm oven didn't help; a bit of dryness set in. Next year's plan. Hold off mashing/smashing until 1st two courses are finished. Let folks at the table languish in bread, butter, and a finely filled glass of wine while I'm in the kitchen draining boiled potatoes and mashing the devil out of them.

10) Pecan Pie (done the egg custard, not the Karo Syrup, way)
Oh, what gods of baking had I offended? When compared to the same recipe, same pie from last year, this year's version was not within forking distance. Luckily, I was able to hide the pie so that no guest asked for its promised appearance. Besides, my daughter's pumpkin pies were in high demand.
Note to idiot self: When making a pie crust, don't be cute with the salt and use coarse sea salt. It's a bit odd to be eating a pie crust and bite into a small chunk of dried ocean water.

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