Well, ladies and gentlemen, I hope that Thanksgiving treated you well, and that you got to spend it with loved ones. My Thanksgiving was excellent as I got to spend it with my mom, our very own Chiquita. While we ate with friends on the day itself, we prepared a turkey and the affiliated tasty goods so we could have leftovers of our own.
This was the first time I have ever prepared a turkey. We bought a 12 pound fresh bird from the market (we didn't have the time to allot for defrosting one of those bad boys). We went home, and Mom rested her eyes while I started the bird. I did the rinse and pat-a ritual which I don't fully understand, but who am I to tell the recipe books they are dumb? Then, in a small food processor I mixed salt, pepper, lemon zest and rosemary. I rubbed down my bird in oil, feeling as though I were preparing it for some sort of bizarre muscle show, then liberally sprinkled it with the salt mixture.
I shoved a couple quartered onions in its cavity, and then fretted at length about how I was supposed to "bend the wings up and behind the back to prevent from overcooking." My worry was that I would break the poor birds arms, forever crippling...wait a minute. It's already dead. Twist and bend, and just like that, the arms were doing their thing, and the Turkey vaguely looked as though he were getting ready to sun himself at the beach: arms back and legs kicked up.
At this point, my four recipes all have different ideas about what temperature I should start my roasting at, and then for how long I should cook it. I went with the old preheat to 425, throw the fowl in, and immediately decrease to 325, then cook for 4 hours. I modified this by putting a piece of foil over it like a small tent. It worked. Like a charm. The bird was AWESOME. While it was cooking, we threw caution to the wind and went into town for coffee and shopping.
Once fully cooked (you can tell by wiggling its leg. I don't really understand this concept, but my grandfater, the godfather of turkey cooking, has always checked it this way, and when mom did and said it was done, I wasn't going to question her), pull the bird out and let it rest. It is rather tired.
This birdy siesta is a good time to prepare your cranberry sauce. There is NOTHING like fresh cranberry sauce. And its easy. Boil water and sugar, and add cranberries. Throw in a little orange zest for an extra kick.
We also had a super delicious salad. Mom brought me an EXCELLENT avocado, which we chopped up and threw together with some clementines, pomegranate seeds and pear, tossed with a little raspberry vinegarette. It was so good. The whole meal was awesome. And who knew I could cook a Turkey??
What did YOU do for Thanksgiving? What are you going to do with the leftovers?