Friday, November 23, 2007

Blogging Thanksgiving Part 8

I spend the morning back-tracking my cooking time requirements. I need to pre-heat the oven at 1:30 and put the turkey in at 1:45 to make my 4:30 serving time. I call my sis at 1:25 to preheat the oven. At 1:45, I'm just leaving my apartment complex. I get the turkey in the oven, breast down at 2:08.

I spend some of the next 45 minutes doing geek things. I've brought my laptop with me to blog the event, but that doesn't happen. However, I do respond to email: Jana tells me she's 30 minutes behind. I do the math and tell her I'm 23 minutes behind. I set up my cooking time line as a spreadsheet on Google Docs, making each oven-based event take place a certain number of minutes after the previous event. That way, I can just adjust when I actually do things, like put the turkey in, and see how that affects everything else I need to do (and to get an idea of when dinner will be).

So geeky.

An inspection reveals we don't have enough chairs. I run home to get some folding chairs, and return to find the Remy clan has arrived. Ghene and Romina follow later on.

Flip the turkey breast side up. Take dressing out of fridge to warm to room temp. Take turkey's thigh temp. Uh oh. 141 with 15 minutes to go. 30 minutes later, it's 145. The breast is already over 170, and I act to save my white meat. I take out the turkey, carve the breasts off, covering them, flip the bird over, dark meat up, and stick it back in.

It comes up to temperature in another 30 minutes, and I remove it to rest. Dressing into oven. Rolls come out of freezer and Jana puts them onto cookie sheets. I warm the gravy, and with Jana's help, strain the pan drippings into it. Veg goes back into the roasting pan for de-glazing with broth and wine. Reduce, and strain into a bowl for flavoring of gravy. Jana de-fats it for me, and then whisks the gravy for me for the next 30 minutes or so. It thickens. Dressing browns. I begin to carve turkey to serve it. Breast is still juicy, thank goodness. But not as juicy as it would have been 5 degrees sooner. Wish I knew how to fix that. Longer time breast down?

Cassidy and Charlie show up. Now it's a party! Oliver rolls in. Now it's really a party.

Dressing comes out and rolls go in. Rolls finish and I call people for dinner. They ignore me and continue to watch Harry Potter. The food's getting cold. I realize why my mother hates that box. It competes for attention with dinner.

Oliver brings two potato mashes, Sachi does cornbread and a cool quinoa pilaf. Sweet potato chips, salad, it starts to blur together...

I have to say that the gravy kicks some serious ass. I mean, it's maybe the best gravy I've ever had. I think the dressing is OK, but I prefer my mother's cornbread based dressing. I think I'll look for a variation which uses that. The caramelized onion version was better than the straight onion version, but it was overly oily, as I feared it might be. I think that's another effect of white bread instead of corn bread. The bread isn't substantial enough. Perhaps whole wheat bread next time? I'll look into it.

The group hits the "can't eat any more" point, and we take a collective rest. Oliver starts watching the USC game, Sachi and Cassidy start washing dishes, and I start chatting. We start chatting about favorite movies, and no one knows most of mine. I'll try to do a post on them.

Sachi and Cassidy start preparing to watch a movie in the other room, and as part of their prep, start breaking out the desserts. GameBoy asks me if dessert is forthcoming, and I say .... "Yes!"

Pumpkin cheesecake from Cassidy (sooo decadent), Jana's pumpkin pie, guava rolls, and Lemon Lush. Charlie made what we alternately called Lemon Thing and Lemon Lust, and he's stepped out to call his family. We speculate about what's in it for a bit, and he finally returns to confirm lemon pudding, vanilla pudding and a crushed walnut crust. Or something like that. He promises to get us the recipe.

Mmmmmm.... getting sleepy, and so are the guests. Oliver slips out, and the rest filter out. What an awesome night!!!

I finally help Sachi clean up, get the turkey carcass into the stockpot, pack up some food for home, and load the car. We both are stunned that our mother would do this on her own. How, exactly?! Get home and unload the car.

I loved all the food, but I think I'm most thankful for great friends, great conversations, and great company.


  1. Thank you so much for including us! It was a treat to see you in cooking mode, though I wish I could've helped out even more.

    The gravy WAS amazing. Yes, definitely the best ever. Everything else ranking pretty high up there, too!

    Can't wait to see your movie list and update my netflicks queue! :)

  2. An Emeril tip:
    If your turkey breast meat is dried out, then place it in chicken or turkey broth to "juice it up" again.

  3. That's an interesting tip.

    Ultimately, I'd prefer to cook the bird so the meat doesn't dry out in the first place. :-(