Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Thanksgiving weekend...

In a word: rough.

Here's a summary of what went down:

- Felt a little handicapped by two new recipes for the mashed potatoes and stuffing/dressing (the previous recipes I could do with my eyes closed).
- Was completely confounded by a new turkey-trussing method, which, ironically, was Alton Brown's. Every year, I forget how to truss turkey (I guess I need to make whole poultry dishes more often), so I look up the same instructional video on Food Network -- except I couldn't find it this year. Aren't you supposed to be making this easier for me, Alton, instead of delaying my turkey from getting into the oven by half an hour?
- Took out the turkey too early because I am apparently unable to properly use a thermometer. I just could not get in sync with my turkey this year! My stuffing and sweet potatoes were taking up space in the oven by the time I realized that my bird was a few degrees away from saying "GOBBLE," so I had my sister make a frantic run to my aunt's house where Thanksgiving is hosted (luckily only 3 minutes away) with the turkey in the passenger seat, while my car was beeping incessantly warning her to buckle in her 20-pound turkey child.
- Made a mess in the oven by forgetting to place my springform pan, containing my post-Thanksgiving pumpkin cheesecake, on top of a sheet pan. I felt really bad about it because my mother had just made the oven all spic and span when she cleaned up the turkey splatters. After that, I cleaned it up myself of course, but not without forgetting to use kitchen gloves. So now I have a scaly monster for a right hand.
- Finally: contracted a really, really annoying cold/cough.

BUT. Despite all the mishaps, Thanksgiving was a success. After we cooked it all the way through at my aunt's, the turkey was still super tender and tasty. The two new recipes -- caramelized shallot and sage mashed potatoes and hazelnut, sage, and mushroom stuffing -- were well worth the extra effort. I added a little oomph to my turkey stock this year, resulting in a superbly rich gravy.

I just hope next year's Thanksgiving runs a tad more smoothly.

Now, please join me as I look back on reaping the rewards of a rough weekend!

Counter-clockwise from top left: my mom's salad with peanut dressing -- a staple at any family party (oh, forgot to mention that we always have American + Indonesian food at Thanksgiving), BBQ chicken, mac 'n cheese, corn spoonbread, baked sweet potatoes and apples, turkey turkey, Honeybaked ham, creamed spinach and corn (a dish I'm retiring to the dismay of a beloved cousin), fried bakmi, Oma's bakso soup, krupuk, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberries. I only made seven of these dishes.

The stuffing was among my favorites this year. I used a Pullman loaf from Poul's Bakery in Orange instead of a box of dried bread cubes. I'm definitely not opposed to shortcuts, but using real bread is WORTH it. The creminis are great, and the hazelnuts make it so festive!

Aaaand this is why I love having a pastry chef for a cousin.

YES that is a mini crème brulée next to the mini fruit tart, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and brownie!

A pretty good first attempt at making cheesecake, if I do say so myself. The crust is made from gingersnaps, pecans and candied ginger; the topping is sour cream and marshmallow. All of it is creamy, dreamy and wonderful.

Thanksgiving is still my favorite holiday.


Kitt said...

A 20-pound turkey child! That's so funny, though it probably wasn't so much at the time.

Looks like a very successful and tasty dinner in the end!

cha said...

RIP creamed spinach. You were godly.

Val said...

Hi Kitt!
Oh, I still found it funny. But a frantic sort of funny. And yes, everything was great in the end. I can't wait to do it all over again in a year. :)

Chas. I will teach you how to make it so you can have it anytime of the year!