Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanks a lot!

Well, my first turkey is just hours away from being done. Technically I suppose it was hours away from being done when I first put it in, but that was at 8 this morning. It's quarter past 1 now, so things have come along quite well. The bird is browned and covered in seasony bits and I'm basting the beast every 20 minutes. For the record, basting the beast probably IS a euphemism somewhere, but that's not what I mean.

I don't have pictures of the naked bird, or the part where the giblet bag exploded inside and we had to fish out the giblets. Yeah... you heard me. It wasn't pleasant. We cut off the tail, gave it a bath and then I made stuffing. The bird got stuffed up both ends, rubbed with butter and some spices, shoved in a pan and now rests in the oven, getting all...em-brownened.

It's... it's really brown. Is it too brown? Have I totally screwed this up? Mom won't let me screw this up. I love my mother's method of cooking. I knew I was in good hands when I had a bowl full of bread cubes and she plopped some bottles of seasoning down in front of me: rubbed sage, celery salt, lemon pepper. I asked the question I was pretty sure I already knew the answer to: How much of each do I put in here? She just sort of looked at me and said, "Some." See, that's my kind of kitchen witching.

I'm going to share with you my super-unsecret recipe for twice baked sweet potatoes:
Sweet Potatoes (1 potato per 2 people)
Brown Sugar

Notice there are no amounts on there? Because I don't know. I microwave the potatoes until they're cooked, cut them in half, scoop the innards into a bowl and then mix them with brown sugar and bourbon until they're smooth, creamy and taste right. Then I sprinkle just a little nutmeg, put the innards mix back into the halved shells, top with the marshmallows and then put them in oven, and broil on low until the 'mallows are browned. It's not science. I don't want to say it's necessarily art. It's just... witching. Turkey has a lot more variables, and I'm a bit more worried. My brother is here now, so he's added his meat-cooking-expertise to the mix. I'm trying not to let too much heat out when I baste... I wasn't before, but he told me, and now I am.

Right now there is peeling going on... eggs for deviling and potatoes for mashing. And basting! Always the basting! There is a lot of liquid in that pan... that might be... problematic later. (Spoiler: It was. The turkey tasted great, but fell the hell apart when trying to transfer from pan to platter. Many points for flavor. No points for presentation. Here's a picture of it in-pan before disaster struck!)

I'm glad I have Mom here to guide me. We were talking (my mom & I) while driving into town (they kind of live in the middle of nowhere) to fetch my grandparents, which isn't surprising, since I get my chatty nature from her... and my dad... but we were talking about the things we take for granted. I take for granted that I have the same 4 grandparents and 2 parents that I was born with. It's just... normal for me.

So I'm giving thanks for being surrounded by family that I not only love, but LIKE. And for having a 21.77lb turkey to cook with the guiding hands of my mom. And for you. For reading this and making this space so much fun.


Beylit said...

The bird looks lovely. Good job. Sometimes it is more about how it tastes than how it looks.

Swistle said...

Oh, man, that is my LEAST favorite kind of hands to be in! Like when my late mother-in-law gave me her cinnamon roll recipe, and it was to make dough and then add some cinnamon, some sugar, and some butter. I need SOME guidelines! "Pinch" is fine! "Handful" is fine! "Maybe like a quarter cup, or maybe it's more like a half, I don't know" is fine! But "some," or the name of an ingredient, doesn't tell me if it's a quarter teaspoon or a cup! I CAN'T WORK UNDER THESE CONDITIONS!!!!!

Elsha said...

Flavor is definitely more important than presentation! And I'm with Swistle. I need at least *some* idea of how much of an ingredient I need.

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