November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving, the aftermath

Well, here's the spread:

I guess I didn't need to add the leaves to the table (dying laughing). We ended up moving the chairs/place settings so we didn't feel like we were miles apart.

The turkey was delicious, but I overcooked it a bit. I'm not quite as daring as the folks who cook their turkeys to ~155-165, but I made the mistake of following the directions of the package and cooking it for 3 hours, which resulted in 180+. Next time I'll probably pull it out at 170. It was still pretty tasty though - just sayin.

The mashed potatoes and gravy were delicious as usual - thanks Dovie! We made sure to make more gravy this year because it's always the first thing to run out when eating leftovers.

I kind of screwed up the rolls, presentation-wise this year. However, they're more delicious than I ever remember. I decided to experiment and rise them overnight this year rather than doing it on the same day, and after reshaping them I did the second rise while the turkey was cooking. They grew really huge - I probably should have split them into two pans. What I ended up with was a pan-shaped mass of roughly divided (but delicious) bread.

The big new thing was the chestnut dressing. I thought it was good, but I don't think I'd put it above our usual stuffing recipe. This recipe has you shape the stuffing mix into patties and cooking them on a cookie sheet, which I've never seen before. The result was good, but I think I still like our regular recipe better. From a practical perspective shelling all those chestnuts was...interesting. I managed to cut myself under my fingernails on three seperate fingers while shelling them. Chestnuts are delicious though, so it was worth it. Next year I think I'll just add chestnuts to our usual recipe.

I also made some Cranberry daiquiris, courtesy Keith Law and bon appetit. I made them last year to mixed reviews, but I thought they were better this year despite the liberties I took with the recipe. I only use one type of rum, and this year I used the cranberries from canned cranberry sauce (GASP) instead of regular whole cranberries. They imparted more flavor, especially considering I didn't pick up any cranberry juice to dilute it. It was still pretty strong, but very drinkable. Klaw's warning is very important - I drank one glass during dinner but drank the rest while making stock with the carcass afterwords.

Pie-wise, I just made an apple pie, which disappeared rather quickly over the holiday weekend. It's not necessarily my best pie (see: Peach-Blueberry/mixed berry pies for the champ) but it's probably my favorite and one of the easiest. Pie making is so easy now that I've learned how to use my obliterator for makign good pie crusts. I've earned the ire of my mother for trashing her traditional family pie recipe (which IIRC uses Crisco) for being waaaay too dry. I'm glad I've found a butter-based crust I like, and is incredibly easy to make.

Kira, of course, enjoyed Thanksgiving (her favorite holiday). I didn't get any pictures of her confusion about mashed potatoes, sadly. It's a good thing everything smelled so good, as she's pretty much blind now :( she's still hanging in there and is a happy girl, but I think she misses her buddy and is a bit lonely these days.

Final injury tally:
4 cuts (3 below fingernails, one minor one on thumb that I didn't notice until an hour or so later). One minor burn while basting turkey.

Overall: WIN!


Blythe said...

Your dinner looked amazing! I'm so jealous... I haven't gotten to cook for Thanksgiving in like 4 years. Next year will be a unique opportunity to have Thanksgiving dinner with my family, so I'm already planning my menu.

I bet Kira had a great time, too. Did she get to taste everything?

Berselius said...

She just got turkey, potatoes, and gravy. I think we've given her some dressing in the past, but since this year's had chestnuts in them we didn't give her any. I have no idea if they're bad for dogs though.

Dogs find mashed potatoes very confusing - it's hilarious to watch them eat them. Zeus was especially confused when he was around for last year's thanksgiving.