Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pre-Turkey-Day Ramblings...

Rampant Rambling Ahead (You have been warned!)................

Oh me, oh my!  Where DID the time go???

Thanksgiving is upon us and - O' woe is me! - my friggin' feet are a MESS!!!  I'd gotten an email from The Mountain Winery, advertising their Thanksgiving Buffet (for $70.00 per-person).  I actually seriously considered suggesting it - but then I realized that Hubs (on the road, yet again!) probably would prefer a Home-Cooked Meal.  I just hope my feet let me stand-up long enough to pull it off!

So yeah, gonna do another Organic, Range-Raised, Birkenstock-Wearing, Granola-Eating, Prius-Driving Natural Turkey.  Headed over to Snob Hill Foods and looked for another Diestel Turkey Breast - to no avail.  They only carried whole birds (and I didn't want to tackle Whole Foods - this close to Thanksgiving!)  (Nob Hill on the Monday before T-Day was bad enough!).  So I got a 12# whole bird.  Lotsa food for the two of us (which means TONS of leftovers - yummm!!)

I've gotten the propane jug refilled, and I've dragged out my Big Easy Turkey Cooker (Love-Love-Love my Big Easy - because it *totally* frees-up my kitchen - Yay!).

(And no, nobody "gave me anything" nor do I get any linky-$$ for posting the link.  I legitimately Love-Love-Love my Big Easy!)

Now I'm running through all of my recipes from Turkey Days' Past and deciding what we're gonna have this year.

I think I'm sticking with last year's rub recipe (Pioneer Woman's original here).  That brine is simply indescribable in it's deliciousness! (It's AMAZING and totally worth the extra work!)  And it "carries over" nicely into the injection marinade AND stuffing!

Soooo...  Brining will begin tomorrow!  I've got 2.5 gallon ziplock baggies and I think I can use the big-pot from my steam canner for "containing" everything during the brining process.

Side dishes:  

Classic Green Bean Casserole but I think I'll be adding freshly cooked bacon ("Mmmm  Bacon!").  And probably cheddar cheese.  There are about 800-jillion variants on Green Bean Casserole. Google away!

Annnnnd... Of COURSE! We'll be having Gulliver's Creamed Corn (Orgasmic!).

Mashed 'taters.  Hubs *insists* on fresh mashed 'taters, so I think I'll put HIM in charge of those!

Baked Sweet Potatoes (with butter, brown-sugar and a sprinkling of cinnamon/nutmeg):  Hubs didn't care for 'em, but I think I'm gonna toss a couple of yams in the Cooker with the bird.  If they cook-up nicely - great!  If not - "Oh well!"

Stuffing: Duhhhh!  With freshly cooked breakfast sausage (NOT from Spreckles though :::GASP:::), and maple syrup, and chopped pecans and Craisins.  I'm pretty-much just going to duplicate last year's stuffing (Cheater-style with Stove-Top Stuffing Mix, finished-off in the oven).

Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (Yes - I'm a cheater!!!) (But they're "traditional" right?!!)

Cranapple Jam - which tastes like Cranberry Sauce - only better (but I also bought a can of whole-berry-style sauce, too - for hubs)

Gravy:  I've found that pan-drippings are minimal with the Big Easy, but I'll scrape-up what I can...  Most likely, the majority of the gravy will come from a jar (Eeeek!) with giblets and assorted accoutrements thrown-in.......


I bought a pumpkin pie from the Snob Hill Bakery, and I'm also gonna try experimenting with canned pumpkin and sugar-free "Cheesecake" flavored pudding mix.  No clue WHAT'S gonna happen there, but I really do want something nearly-carbohydrate-free for dessert (for me).  And if it turns out good, I'll post a recipe!  Deal?!

So today I'm trying to map out my "Plan of Attack" for T-Giving...

Tomorrow, I'll begin brining the bird, and I'll reserve some of the brine for the injection marinade and stuffing.  I'll probably also make my pumpkin/cheesecake-whatever, and hope it refrigerates overnight, okay...

Thursday morning: Inject the bird, let it rest for an hour, then cook the turkey and sweet 'taters in the Big Easy.  That'll probably take a couple-three hours...

Set the table (so I don't have to worry about it later!)

Maybe an hour after plopping the bird in the cooker, I'll start assembling the Green Bean Casserole and Stuffing.  GB Casserole will go in a casserole dish; stuffing will go into 8x8 disposable cake pans, and they can hang-out in the fridge 'til showtime.  They'll both go in a 350* oven for appx 30 minutes (just before the bird comes out of the cooker).

The rest of the stuff is "Stove-Top" - peel, chop, boil the russets in salted water; The Gulliver's Creamed Corn is also a stove-top creation (Ridiculously easy to prepare, actually), as is the gravy...  So, really, the last 30 minutes (while the bird is resting) will be the crazy-busy time

So yeah...  I think I've got a Game-Plan for Turkey Day!  Honestly, I really DO enjoy cooking Thanksgiving.  In fact, when I lived on the boat, I really couldn't "cook" at all (I had a mini-microwave oven, and a 2-burner plug-in cooktop) (and I could only operate ONE electrical item at a time - srsly!), so every T-Giving, I would descend upon my mom's house and banish everyone from the kitchen so I could get my "Cooking Jones" out of my system for one year!

So yeah, I do enjoy cooking.  I just hope my hands and feet (which are flaring miserably right now) will let me make it thru the day!


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