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ktinkel
11-24-2005, 06:03 AM
We are staying home, just the two of us. Since I spent yesterday having another dental implant (4 hours this time!), I am thankful to stay home, especially since the weather is kind of iffy.

We found an 11-lb free-range turkey, which I will roast unstuffed at high heat (450° F). The technique works really well with chickens, and I hope it works for this big bird as well.

Just learned a neat trick: do not tie up the legs, and cook the turkey with the drumsticks facing the back of the oven, which is hotter. That way the dark meat should be done before the breasts are overcooked. We shall see.

I have tried every trick in the book over the years — cooking it upside-down or turning it over every little while. Butterflying it (one thing with a chicken, quite another with turkey — had to get out a saw for the back!) Having the butcher cut it into pieces, which is really fast and works fine but makes for a disappointing presentation. The advantage of this high-heat process is that it requires very little wrestling with the bird, hot or cold; and it cooks pretty fast that way (especially when unstuffed).

I used to baste or do what my mother always did (place oiled cheesecloth over the breasts), but no longer bother. One year I tried rubbing seasonsed butter around just under the skin — ick! I have never tried to brine a turkey (but do salt the skin all over, which has a somewhat similar effect, not sure why). And did not succumb to the craze for deep-frying, either.

I will make stuffing, in a casserole (stealing some of the turkey drippings to make it taste more authentic). If I get my act together to make turkey stock this morning, even a good gravy. And braised carrots. And maybe a light salad of belgian endive and raddicchio in a vinaigrette.

That’s it. Quite enough to wear me out, and more food than we can possibly eat in a week! (A friend is passing through tomorrow, on her way home from visiting relatives — I hope to persuade her to take some of the turkey.)

Anyway, hope you all have a wonderful day. No strife, good company, food that satisfies the occasion, a nice glass of wine. And, if you have the urge, even a football game or two.

annc
11-24-2005, 12:01 PM
As it's now mid-afternoon for many of you, I hope you are all having a wonderful Thanksgiving. Is the main (turkey) meal taken at lunchtime, or in the evening?

Do let us know how your turkey turns out. I've never attempted to cook turkey, but find that the mixed (microwave/convection) method in my oven does a great job of chickens. It recommends putting the bird breast down for the first half, then breast up for the second half, and I find that the breast does stay much more moist, while the bird browns nicely. I remove the yucky supermarket stuffing, and leave the legs untied.

ktinkel
11-24-2005, 12:07 PM
As it's now mid-afternoon for many of you, I hope you are all having a wonderful Thanksgiving. Is the main (turkey) meal taken at lunchtime, or in the evening?I think it is often served not quite at lunchtime, but around 2 or 3 p.m. (sort of the p.m. version of brunch — “linner”).

We will eat more or less at our normal time. I am just taking a break before putting the turkey in the oven.

Do let us know how your turkey turns out.Will do. This method works terrifically with chicken, but that is much smaller. I do think I may have to tent the breasts with foil for a while if only to keep the skin from scorching.

I have tried turning turkey over in the middle of cooking, but a hot, slippery, 12-to-20 lb object with no secure handles is a non-trivial task that I will never try again!

I will let you know how this experiment turns out.

annc
11-24-2005, 12:20 PM
I think it is often served not quite at lunchtime, but around 2 or 3 p.m. (sort of the p.m. version of brunch — “linner”).Ah - that tends to happen to us on Christmas Day, although not usually as late as 3 p.m.

I have tried turning turkey over in the middle of cooking, but a hot, slippery, 12-to-20 lb object with no secure handles is a non-trivial task that I will never try again!Can't say I blame you! A medium chicken can be difficult enough to do without doing it some damage.

I will let you know how this experiment turns out.Thanks! I look forward to hearing how it went.

donmcc
11-25-2005, 04:20 AM
Our family feasts (we did Thanksgiving six weeks ago, and will do Xmas in 4) usually involve a 2-3 p.m. eating time. This allows those who drive several hours to the meal time to get here, visit, help with the prep, and at the end to have time to drive home without being up all night.

ktinkel
11-25-2005, 07:05 AM
Thanks! I look forward to hearing how it went.It was terrible! Worst turkey story since I was 20-something and learning to cook!

Not entirely because the approach was wrong — probably because I tinkered with it. I tented the breasts with foil for an hour, which was probably a mistake. The legs were over-cooked, the thighs not quite, and the breasts were still a bit raw-ish on the interior. (All that, even though the thermometer did not show any less than 170°F at any point!)

Weirdly bad. Fortunately, there was enough to eat and both dressing and gravy were good. And my simple cranberry sauce (just berries and a bit of sugar boiled for 10 minutes) covered some of the flaws.

At least it happens at a good time (for me): I cannot eat sandwiches or anything that calls for biting with my front teeth for three weeks, so I will not miss the leftovers. Just go right into turkey tetrazini, turkey hash, turkey soup, and so on! <g>

ElyseC
11-25-2005, 09:42 AM
Our target hour yesterday was 2:00-3:00 but it ended up being just before 4:00. Kept the kid happy, though, snacking on crackers and fruit.

Once the meal was cleaned up (except for dessert, which we opted to put off until dinner settled), we all sat down to enjoy the movie The Polar Express which my mom had brought to give to our son as an early holiday gift. When movie was done we had apple dumplings for dessert (also brought by Mom).

A crackling fire in the wood-burning stove kept the place very toasty and created great atmosphere. It was very chilly out (in the teens F), especially with the high winds, but very nice inside! :)

terrie
11-25-2005, 03:23 PM
kt: It was terrible! Worst turkey story since I was 20-something and learning to cook!
I'm sorry to hear that...there was an article a week or so ago in the Washington Post food section about cooking at 425-450 and the writer said that she didn't think it would work and was very surprised to say that it did...quite well in fact...

Terrie

ktinkel
11-25-2005, 04:26 PM
Our family feasts … involve a 2-3 p.m. eating time. This allows those who drive several hours to the meal time to get here, visit, help with the prep, and at the end to have time to drive home without being up all night.In theory, that sounds like our way as well. Except that turkeys are notoriously unpredictable.

And so are the football games that keep (some of) the men preoccupied.

But we always manage to survive somehow!

ElyseC
11-25-2005, 06:09 PM
Unfortunately, football games don't work on hungry five year olds. They tend to stay underfoot and pestering for munchies, especially when there are no other kids to be distracted by.

fhaber
11-27-2005, 03:22 PM
Odd parallels here in Manhattan...

I was suffering through my first two implants (a final stage, where you have little metal caps that look like Odd-Job from the Bond movies). I just loved bleeding all over the pillow for a night.

The turkey here turned out a lot better than yours (I think), but it wasn't quite up to standard, and most of that was due (again, IMHO) to a new stove, calibration, etc.

I'm not the turkey-cooker*, and I hid in the shop and delivered a repaired machine to the son of a friend.

*Isn't it strange how these things are better talked of later? Better part of valor and all that? Science and the post-cenam can wait. Someone correct the case, which I'm sure is lumpish in the extreme.

JVegVT
11-27-2005, 04:08 PM
16-year vegan that I am, I don't eat or cook turkey. I do make all the other traditional foods for Thanksgiving, however, and of our usual guests, my daughter and her family are vegetarians and my mother and husband have decided they can do without the turkey.

This year, though, we were invited to dinner at my second cousin's house, twenty miles away. I brought stuffing baked in a casserole, vegan mushroom gravy primarily for myself, and two pumpkin pies made from a pumpkin we grew. My cousin's wife made a lovely dinner (including turkey) with plenty for everyone, including me, to eat. We had a wonderful time.

We were supposed to have three to six inches of snow on Thanksgiving starting in the afternoon. The snow started a little after noon and it looked as if we wouldn't be able to go, since we don't like to drive in bad weather unless it's life and death. However, the snow stopped around 1:30 and dinner was scheduled for three, so we were able to go after all.

We were sitting around drinking coffee and finishing dessert at 6:30 when we looked out the door. Yikes! A veritable blizzard! We quickly gathered up our stuff and left for home before it got even worse. The driving was TERRIBLE. My husband pretty much had to guess where the road was. Fortunately, there was little traffic, so not many cars going the opposite direction to dodge. At least the roads weren't slippery. We inched along for about 8 miles, when the snow let up a bit and we could at least see the road. By the time we got to the road that goes 8 miles to our house, the snow had stopped although the road conditions were still bad.

We made it home safely and so ended our big adventure. Our daughter and her family weren't able to come due to the weather and things they had to take care of at home. But all in all, it was a very nice Thanksgiving.

Sorry your turkey turned out so badly. At least you didn't have a bunch of guests to apologize to.<g>
--Judy M.

ktinkel
11-27-2005, 04:25 PM
I'm sorry to hear that...there was an article a week or so ago in the Washington Post food section about cooking at 425-450 and the writer said that she didn't think it would work and was very surprised to say that it did...quite well in fact...I actually think it should work. But my tenting with the foil interfered somewhat.

And I have the fanciest lousy stove in North America (came with the house!). The oven is completely uncontrollable — if you want 450, you set 375 and fiddle. Takes about half an (expensive) hour to get it settled, and then as soon as you put any food in, it goes kerblooey. Phooey, is what I say. But I am (so far) too cheap to replace the dratted thing.

I will try this again, skipping the foil tent. I have been cooking chickens that way for years, with great success. But 4 pounds and 11 pounds are different critters. Sigh.

We did not starve in any event. I was just mortified, that’s all.

ktinkel
11-27-2005, 04:36 PM
I was suffering through my first two implantsI am on my 8th, after many years with bridges and other folderol. I love my implants! Do hope you come to feel the same way.

This new one was what my dentist called an “immediate load.” That means that I have a temporary crown instead of a “flipper” (this is in the front of my mouth), but I cannot bite anything, not even a marshmallow, for three weeks. And then have to be careful for another ten weeks.

But I suspect it will be fine. And in the end, things are wonderful.

… the post-cenam can waitAltar boy, were you? <g>

It is more interesting to talk of the meal, good or bad, afterwards!

ktinkel
11-27-2005, 04:43 PM
We made it home safely and so ended our big adventure. Our daughter and her family weren't able to come due to the weather and things they had to take care of at home. But all in all, it was a very nice Thanksgiving.

Sorry your turkey turned out so badly. At least you didn't have a bunch of guests to apologize to.<g>Thanks. It was okay. At our age we do not eat all that much (and I suspect Jack would happily dine on stuffing!) I had intended to give at least half the bird to a friend who was passing through the next day, but decided not to risk poisoning her with half-cooked fowl, so we kept it.

But true, it would have been worse (but an even more humorous story in the long run) if we had had a roomful of hungry guests!

The silliest thing was when I got home with the turkey and was looking at the receipt I discovered that we were to get another "free” turkey (any time before 12/31)!

I think I will give it to the shelter. Enough already. For Christmas we traditionally have cheese soufflé. While I may not be a vegetarian, enough with birds for awhile! <g>

terrie
12-02-2005, 02:23 PM
kt: I actually think it should work. But my tenting with the foil interfered somewhat.
Yeah...I tried to find the article for you but wasn't successful...do let me know if it works without the tenting...

>> The oven is completely uncontrollable — if you want 450, you set 375 and fiddle. Takes about half an (expensive) hour to get it settled, and then as soon as you put any food in, it goes kerblooey.

Given the little cooking I do, I probably wouldn't replace the stove but knowing how much you enjoy cooking, I can't believe that you've not replaced it...'-}}

Terrie

ktinkel
12-02-2005, 04:26 PM
… I probably wouldn't replace the stove but knowing how much you enjoy cooking, I can't believe that you've not replaced it...'-}}Well, you see, I am married, and that carries a bit of constraint, especially when it comes to spending money!

<g>

terrie
12-03-2005, 02:46 PM
kt: Well, you see, I am married, and that carries a bit of constraint, especially when it comes to spending money! ROFL!!!

Terrie