So what did you learn from your Thanksgiving meal?
- Wendy Lai
I learned that even though it saves time, it's not a god idea to pre-slice potato and soak in water. While the water keeps them from turning black, it leaches out the starch and curls up the slices so that they don't lie flat, both of which were important in making a gratin!
I also learned that many things can be done ahead of time nicely. I made the cranberry relish a week a half ago, and they were still delicious. The cornbread chestnut dressing was made the night before and re-heated up after the turkey vacated the oven, and was also delicious. The other veggies sides, braised artichokes with pancetta and preserved myer lemon and spicy shitaki with green onions all can be done early in the afternoon and nuked before serving.
Oh, here is my menu.
Alice Water turkey brine
Vegetarian cornbread dressing with chestnuts
Braised artichokes with pancetta and preserved lemons
Sauteed fresh shitaki with pancetta and green onions
Sweet potato and potato gratin with sage
Turky pan gravy with mushroom
Cranberry and pumpkin upside cake
All in all, it was a delicous and successful Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!
What I have learned is I was WRONG in my final post about nobody having a solution to the white/dark meat variation in cooking times. Several of you do have the answers...Several of you suggested things I'd tried in the past that did not work.
Whereas I have always thought I spend a lot of time in preparing my turkey, I have not. If I'd commit to a brining process and forgo stuffing the bird, I could accomplish my purpose..moist breast and fully cooked dark meat.
Thanks for all who took the time to educate me. I do understand this now.
Just a note: brining really doesn't take very much actual work. Sure, you have to do it the night before, but if you have your turkey, brining it is hardly no work. Combine some stuff on the stove until the granules dissolve, add enough water to cool it, pour it over the washed-off turkey in some plastic bags. Really, it took me less than a half hour.
agreed. The hardest aspect of brining my turkey was finding a container suitable to hold the 20 lb turkey during the brining, after I discovered at the very last minute that the cooler I had planned to use had a serious leak!
finally found a plastic box I use to store scuba gear , washed it out very well, worked great. Note to self: buy a new cooler before my next camping trip. :-)
Like Tom Meg, and as I mentioned in another thread, I learned that meat thermometers have their limitations, and now I don't feel so bad about avoiding them all these years. guess I am a believer in more old fashioned approaches to determining 'doneness' (feel, smell, look, gut instinct).....
...sigh. I learned that when it tastes like there's enough garlic in the preparation stage, there's actually too much. Way too much. I think I ruined my mashed cauliflower by adding too many cloves of fresh garlic with not enough time to cook all the bite out.
Also, next time, I'll be more careful with the adding flour to the gravy. Goodness, it's spreadable. With a knife.
Lastly... fresh pumpkins really aren't that much work, and they're so much more rewarding. Though, I think I did something similar to the pie with the ginger as I did to the cauliflower with the garlic.
Regarding the pie... I had made a super tasty mix of stuff for the crust: gingersnap crumbs, ground hazlenuts, ground almonds, brown sugar, and butter. The idea was to make sort of a graham cracker crust without the graham crackers. But, like all the times I try to make a graham cracker crust, it came out really wet. Why does it do this? I am not much of a baker. Help?
Autumn - don't know what you mean by too wet. If it looks greasy, it may be a bit too much butter. I personally like it that way.
But, the reason I'm posting is this particular idea for a ginger snap crust was done in So Florida by one particular restaurant for their key lime pie. It is fantastic!
I learned that my fancy electronic instant-read thermometer is about twelve degrees off. Turkey breast was a little dry despite brining and hitting the target temperature of 165. I later dipped the thermometer in unsalted boiling water at sea level and got a reading of 200F.
Live and learn!
I learned that I really hate to eat out on Thanksgiving. It was a nice place, beautiful setting, good service, okay food...but I would much rather be dirtying every pan in the kitchen and having fun doing it.