02 December 2009

the thanksgiving chronicles, vol. 2

This is the much more fun part: posting all of the yummy food pics.

Before I do, a few lessons learned this year:

1. The "deepest part of the thigh" that everyone talks about as the ideal site for taking the turkey's temperature is a site that has eluded us on many poultry roasting attempts. We finally found it, but I would really describe it as the part of the very upper thigh close to the torso, with the thermometer going in toward the ribs. This year's tom suffered several stab wounds while we learned this through trial and error.

2. Don't rush the roux. Undercooked roux equals sad, sad gravy. Even when fortified with tasty Madeira. Also, giblets smell terrible when you try to saute them for gravy. Just toss them out or save them for stock.

3. The stuffing should not stay in the oven to keep warm indefinitely. That equals crisp-bottomed stuffing. While I may like that for casserole, it's a bummer for stuffing.

4. Dry salt roasting is the best turkey cooking method ever. EVER. It's easy -- much easier than brining -- and delicious. And no rubbery bird.

Now for the pictures...

The cranberry kir royale that we enjoyed while cooking.

Monsieur Turkey, finis.

Mark has become quite the carving pro.

The full spread.

The carved bird, cooked to a perfect 165 degrees.

Blanched and briefly sauteed green beans.

Roasted Brussels sprouts and pancetta. (I normally like them more al dente, but I loved these. I ate them cold with my hands Saturday morning... okay, too much information.)

Boozy cranberry sauce and Mark's mashed potatoes.

Delicious but slightly too crispy celery sage stuffing.

A plate of deliciousness. (Also the maiden voyage for the china I slowly compiled through eBay.)

The finished pumpkin pies. (We only intended to have one, but ended up with enough filling for two. Tragic!)

Perfect end to the meal.

The girls look on forlornly.

Chelsea plays hyena.

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