Thanksgiving Day is almost over in our part of the world, and I’ve been cooking pretty much since
yesterday Tuesday. Despite the recent post about spice jars, I realize that this is not a cooking blog (and it’s a good thing too, because if it was I’d only be posting once or twice a year being the reluctant chef that I am! 🙂 ), but I do want to share a bit about our Thanksgiving dinner here simply because I’m so chuffed that it turned out as well as it did!
When it came time to plan the menu, I was just feeling sort of lazy, and I didn’t want to think about whatever it was that I usually make and go recipe hunting, so I did a Google search for “Thanksgiving menu” and came up with this Thanksgiving 101 Menu from Martha Stewart. I thought it looked good, and everything was all in one place right on my computer screen, so making the shopping list was easy because I do that in the computer too. I made the turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes and cranberry orange sauce from the menu, and supplemented with my favorite cornbread stuffing recipe, mashed potatoes, green beans and plain old Libby’s pumpkin pie.
I have to say that everything turned out really well except the gravy. The cranberry orange sauce is yummy and oh so easy to make, and I’m going to make some scones for breakfast over the weekend to eat with the leftovers of that. The gravy tasted good, but didn’t get thick enough, which was really disappointing since it was really the most painful thing to make from the whole menu. Lots of steps and many pans for not much payoff, so I’ll have to consult with my cooking adviser (that would be you, Mom) about what I did wrong. Something to do with stirring the flour into the drippings, I’m sure…
The sweet potatoes were a total smash hit, being the best sweet potatoes I’ve ever had bar none, though the next time I make them I’m totally skipping the part about putting the potato mixture back in the skins and using a casserole dish instead, or even single portion ramekins if I’m feeling really hoity-toity. I can certainly add the toppings to the potato mixture either way and save the painful messy bit with the skins and it will taste just as good and probably look better too. But despite the tastiness and hit value of the sweet potatoes, the turkey itself was the most satisfying part of the cooking surprisingly enough.
I dread cooking turkeys, okay? I’m just not good at it, and they never turn out wonderful with lovely golden brown skins on the outside, and tasty, moist meat on the inside. They. just. never. do. I’ve tried cooking in bags and cooking upside down (the turkey, not me) and they always seem like such a letdown for so much work. So we’ve tried buying smoked turkeys and turkey breasts and turkey rolls, but none of those are very satisfying really. I so dread turkey cooking that in past years I’ve been known to let ITMan spend untold amounts of money going to Garmisch for the entire Thanksgiving holiday weekend so that he can have his turkey dinner courtesy of the Edelweiss Hotel, and I don’t have to fail at the turkey myself.
But this year, Martha made me a hero, or perhaps became my hero, one of the two. The turkey was perfect. It was! I think I’m still in shock, really. It was perfectly cooked and it looked just like the one in the picture by the recipe on Martha’s site. Well, minus the little frilly bits of sage and perfectly positioned apples anyway. And I had to take a picture of it, just to prove it:
See? It was pretty darn close, and probably as close as I’m going to get in my tiny oven with my tiny roasting pan…It actually looked pretty—well, as roasted turkeys go anyway. 😀 It was crisp and golden brown on the outside, and moist and juicy on the inside. (And Mom, I remembered what you said about Butterball turkeys, and bought an Armour; maybe that was part of the success?) Even LittleOne ate a proper serving of the turkey (definitely not normal), and then asked for another small helping because she thought it was so good! I expect that even the leftovers will be fairly good, and though I won’t be fighting ITMan for them—they are still “leftovers” after all (except for the sweet potatoes; I will get at least my share of those!)—he won’t have to consume it all himself this year. So I’ve finally cooked a decent turkey at the almost-middle-age of 42 after taking Turkey 101 with Martha. Perhaps I need to resubscribe to Martha Stewart Living after my 13 year hiatus?
Other than the fact that my dinner was a big success this year, there’s a lot to be thankful for in our lives, and not just at this particular moment. There are all the things like having good jobs that pay the rent and let us play a little bit when we want to, kids that are healthy and happy, and being healthy and happy ourselves. But there are also a couple of other things in particular that I’m thankful for at this moment, like Shadow being healthy this year, as opposed to last year during the holidays (so far, anyway) and the fact that we’ll be moving into a different house soon!
I’m also exceedingly grateful that I have friends like you. Thank you for reading, commenting, and supporting. I appreciate each and every one of you! I hope your Thanksgiving holiday is filled with laughter, love and joy, and the presence of friends and family. (And a well cooked turkey! 😉 )