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Nov 26, 2009 03:44 AM

Thanksgiving 2009 -- How early were you up to start cooking this morning?

just curious.

what did you cook first?

did you have a written list as a reminder?

do you have any special cooking "ritual"?

do you have helpers or are you alone (by choice) in the kitchen?

how many dishes are you making?

is turkey your primary meat -- or what?

are you trying any new dishes this year, if so, how did you find the idea or recipe?

for how many people are you cooking? at your place or somewhere else?

are you sad when everybody leaves, and all you have is leftovers? ;-).

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  1. Pumpkin Pie, 3:30 am
    Cranberry sauce, 3:45 am
    Coffee, 4 am
    No ritual, just stumbled through.
    No written reminder, just dreamed about pie all night.
    Curious cats as "helpers", they always get up early.
    Happy Thanksgiving, alka!

    5 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      happy thanksgiving, bushwickgirl! give the kitties a snuggle for me!
      ps, where's your turkey? anytime i ever made chicken or poultry of any sort, my kitty sally -- from the instant i pulled the raw poultry from the fridge -- would turn into the kitchen shark, circling and peering up to see where she could snatch some goodies.

      are you having many folks over? i think i'll add that to my questions, as i'm still in my edit window.

      1. re: alkapal

        Ooh, thanks! The kitties luv snuggles.
        The turkey is at someone else's house this year, along with the rest of the folks.
        So if it's not a good meal, it's not my fault, LOL.
        Not necessarily a bad thing...
        Have a glorious day!

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          For 16 years, my dearly departed Siamese twins (kitties) would leap up on the stovetop between the burners Thanksgiving morning as soon as the turkey went in and twine themselves together, then went to sleep dreaming of the feast to come. It was so hot up there I don't know how they stood it (although they used to sleep on top of the radiator too) Anyway, there was no way we were sneaking any turkey meat past them. I think of them every Thanksgiving morning, and always will: they were so happy about turkey: my cats now are way to fat to fit up there or even to jump up to investigate.

          I've been getting up around 2 or 3AM all week, but on the other hand I'm usually conked out by 9:00 anyway. Cooking commenced at 5AM.

          I had alot of work related things I had to take care of earlier in the week, with local food pantry emergencies, also doing a dogsitting job on the side, so I didn't really get going with dinner until Wednesday. I was having actual anxiety nightmares a few nights in a row. Turkey always goes in when the Macys parade starts, but I didn't sit down to watch as much as usual, just glanced over that way. I made a few last minute cuts in the menu but believe me, no one noticed, there was way too much as always. I had to keep revamping my To Do list (mine goes hour by hour but I keep moving things up until it's too late for anymore).

          After the guests left, I put away whatever perishables were left out, checked on the dogs one last time, and came home to do the dishes (took two hours, SIL got in a snit because I told her not to put my knives in the dishwasher so she stopped helping). I like company, but I do love when they leave too.

          1. re: coll

            <<SIL got in a snit because I told her not to put my knives in the dishwasher so she stopped helping). I like company, but I do love when they leave too.>>

            Laughing in empathy. :)

        2. re: alkapal

          happy t-day everyone!

          i got up at 4:00 after going to bed at 12- i made cranberry/mandarin relish two days ago and made the mashed potatoes, Ina's spinach gratin (added red pepper flakes), GBC, corn, glazed orange ham, and corn bread muffins this morning. put the bacon wrapped turkey in at 7:30 and having 10 guests come over at 11:30.

          fingers are crossed that everything will taste fabulous... best tip was to set the table which i fretted over last night. hope everyone has a stellar day!

      2. Well, I'm not cooking everything today so got up at 8 am.

        I have a corn casserole and my dressing in the oven right now. The ham cooked overnight in the slow cooker with a pineapple and clove sauce. I made the pumpkin cheesecake and cranberry sauce on Monday. Les will be finished his deviled eggs in a bit and I will whip the cream for the pumpkin cheesecake.

        When I do Thanksgiving at home, I can usually be up by 6 and get everything done in time. I don't normally make anything ahead but make a schedule in advance so I have my timing right. I follow my schedule and everything works great!

        1. Because of my husband's work schedule, we did our big dinner last night. So today is a lazy day. Planning on taking a long walk this morning, then leftovers for lunch. Hooray for a lazy Thanksgiving!

          1. sitting with my coffee now at 9:30. Went & gave the horses a couple Thanksgiving carrots with their breakfast already. Made pumpkin & apple pies yesterday.

            I'll get started soon with the sausage for the stuffing. Going simple this year, it is just us (5) today. Turkey, stuffing, potato, & cranberry. Tomorrow is a family get-together here, so I am cooking a different meal for that.

            No written reminders, I do turkey often so it is all in my head. I am primarily alone in the kitchen, but my daughter (8) has asked to help, so I will get some company.

            I LOVE the leftovers!

            1. Happy Turkey Day, everyone! :)

              First cooked a pound of Jimmy Dean--using some for a breakfast scramble and the rest for a delicious Grand Marnier apricot stuffing made with last night's cornbread. I have a photocopy of a page from an old colleague that looks like it comes from a Sheila Lukens cookbook (if you have one of her cookbooks, you'd recognize the format). I found the recipe here, too.
              I skipped the liver, heart and almonds. Stuffing's all set and ready to go.

              I have my list of recipes/inspiration in a folder (so sort of a list).

              The ritual is not a cooking-related, but the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade is on TV and I can't wait to see the new Pillsbury Dough Boy balloon. It will make me think a giant version of FoodFuser is flying down the streets of Manhattan. ;


              Yup, turkey is primary this year. Trying a new recipe for us from Tyler Florence:

              I made a different stuffing but am psyched to baconize our bird! What's not to love?

              I like watching Tyler's Ultimate on Saturday mornings. His "Pork Thanksgiving" episode inspired today's riff on mashed potatoes. I can't go whole hog (whole cow?!) with all the heavy cream his recipe calls for, but am very much on board with his inclusion of coarse ground mustard...will boil Yukon Golds with garlic and thyme in chicken stock (instead of the recommended cream and milk) and will add sour cream to the mix.

              Other new recipes this year:

              Old standby--crinkle cut carrots, already peeled and cut and ready to cook.

              Cooking at home for four.

              Mom is baking apple pie this morning and will be bringing her own cranberry orange relish, both of which are big favorites of mine.

              I'm happy when the day is done and we can kick back and relax and zone out with some old movie on TV and the real kattyeyes on my lap. Oh, and my feline alarm clock gets me up early each and every morning...I managed to grab a few extra winks and hop outta bed at 6:30.

              alkasis, no fair asking all the questions and not sharing your answers with us. ; Whatchoo up to this morning?

              24 Replies
              1. re: kattyeyes

                sistakat, as an inveterate insomniac, i was up all through the night. create tv, law and order, and usa network shows (like the new "white collar" -- yum) keep me busy. i played it easy this year, and mr. alka and i went down to the national gallery of art to take advantage of a light early holiday attendance. we had our coffee from the gallery's cafe, in front of the big subterranean cascading fountain that graces the underground corridor between the east and west galleries. bagels are a deal at $1.65, but cranberry muffins at $4 a pop are not!

                after leaving, we went to harris teeter grocery, where i was looking for a pre-cooked turkey breast deal, which i found. i also bought at a super deep discount a 12-1/2 pounder fresh whole turkey for $3.08! and i also bought two fresh turkey breasts at similarly crazy markdowns. they're all in the freezer for later. i also got a deal on some beef filets. (i love that meat dept!).

                we had my cornbread stuffing and some buttered broccoli. that's it. oh, i also made a cream gravy with a glace de veau i had from williams-sonoma, and i put the turkey breasts in that to warm through. we had no dessert, although i have some apples that i may stew up today and make my mom's easy cobbler.

                so now, i can make turkey and dressing sandwiches -- with cranberry jelly from ocean spray (yes, i AM an ocean spray jellied cran fan)! yip yip yip yahoo!

                ps, sk, go to trader joe's and get their cranberry covered chevre log, and buy the tamari "savory" crackers to smear the cheese on. man, is it good.

                1. re: alkapal

                  What a gorgeous way to start the day!

                  I will eventually post my pictures as I am thrilled with how my bacon-wrapped bird looked and tasted (NOTHING like what someone teased was a "Leatherman" looking turkey that keeps popping up on the right-hand panel of these boards--I think that other turkey looks like an armadillo with its turkey banding).

                  I would like to make turkey quesadillas with stuffing--a stolen idea from one of our favorite hometown spots, Coyote Blue.

                  Cran-covered chevre sounds terrific--thanks for the tip for it and the crackers!

                  I would love to hear if anyone deep-fried a turkey. I'm fascinated by this idea. I also love a virtual visit to everyone else's tables, so I hope the reports continue to roll in.

                  1. re: kattyeyes

                    we have deep fried in the past. it's the best!

                    ps, the crackers are called "savory thins" and are in a plastic covered 1/2 cardboard sleeve.

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      We've done deep fried turkeys before and it's actually my favorite - cooks quicker, frees up the oven, and juicy and moist with nice crispy skin. For me, it's just easier to roast (and less expensive with the cost of peanut oil), or I would do it more often for Thanksgiving.

                  2. re: kattyeyes

                    k-e, I'm curious. Why do you and others use Jimmy Dean? Do your markets not carry bulk sausage? Or is there something in particular you like about JD? It seems to get mentioned on occasion. I'm not a sausage-snob (well, a bit actually) but using that for a really special meal wouldn't have been my first choice. You're such a good cook that I figured you were the right one to ask. Tx, kiddo.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      I like the flavor and consistency of Jimmy Dean. Plenty of our local markets carry bulk sausage (I live in an area where Italian roots run deep), but I always use JD for both stuffing and biscuits 'n gravy.

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        it is lean, too -- leaner than bulk sausages (in general).

                        1. re: alkapal

                          More pics!
                          * plated turkey
                          * Alton Brown's Brussels sprouts - I substituted tart Michigan cherries for cranberries. Total keeper recipe!
                          * Ma's apple pie
                          * April Katt gazes up at the dining room light, having inspected the table to ensure all is in its proper place. She and I wish you all a pawsatively purrfect holiday season with all your favorite people and foods! :)

                          1. re: kattyeyes

                            thanks, katty eyes. it looks like a feast. (i see your spoonula in action with those brussel sprouts. ;-).

                            1. re: kattyeyes

                              That's a good looking pie and April Katt is simply gorgeous!

                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                Your pie is a work of art! Wondering if the cherries you used are dried ones or not?

                                1. re: karykat

                                  I will be glad to convey everyone's compliments to my mom, the pie baker. :) It's nice to share her artistry with a larger audience than usual.

                                  For the Brussels sprouts, yes, dried cherries. I like them in salads, too...and as a cookie add-in!

                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    Are dried cherries at least a little tart?

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      See original entry--they are "tart Michigan cherries" by name, so yes, they are indeed tart and quite tasty. :)

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        You can buy both dried sweet (Bing) cherries and dried sour (tart) cherries, though the latter are a bit harder to find/less common in stores.

                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                          It's the funniest thiing about the tart Michigan cherries. Of all places, they are easily found in my neck of the woods in one of our discount, no-frills supermarkets, Price Rite. I first picked them up when I made my crazy Magical Piggy Bars and have kept them on hand for salads, oatmeal and general snacking ever since.

                                2. re: alkapal

                                  Jimmy Dean is the best, my husband is very unhappy if I serve anything else. It comes in bulk one pound tubes, and that comes in sage or maple flavors besides normal, so no problem there. Oh wait I forgot they downsized the tubes to 12 z

                                  1. re: coll

                                    i think only the "special" flavors like maple are 12 oz -- as i recall they always were..
                                    the regular pork sausage is still 16 oz.
                                    i just bought a roll the other day, too. (i'd grab it to verify, but it is hiding in the freezer, behind the turkey and two turkey breasts that i got on a super deal.). the sausage freezes very well.

                                    btw, i've tried the "natural" variety, and didn't notice much -- if any -- difference from the regular.

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      alkasis, that's correct. The reduced fat version is also downsized:
                                      but bold, regular...those are all still 16:

                                      Bold kinda makes me chuckle. Seems like a strong adjective for a roll of sausage. :) But I do like it! Bold is right up there with sassy for me. :)

                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        i usually pay $2.25-$2.50 on sale -- per one-pound roll.

                                    2. re: alkapal

                                      Yes, I don't buy breakfast sausage often and I don't put it in my turkey stuffing, but Jimmy Dean has remained very lean over the years--quality has not diminished as so many products' have--and size of package is still (hold onto yourself). pound, ta-da! Major accomplishment also since so many package sizes have decreased and price has gone up or remained the same. JD is still a gold standard in my book.

                                    3. re: kattyeyes

                                      Thanks. For the very first time, we went out for dinner due to some physical limitations of my MIL. It was better than a lot of homecooked meals we've had and the dressing was a standout. It had sausage that was actually distinguishable from the breading and also walnuts. My family never used such items but I'm going to try to recreate this. And it was SO moist and perhaps that came from a not so lean sausage. I don't care for stuffing just dressing and this was the best.

                                    4. re: c oliver

                                      My mom always uses the jimmy dean maple sausage in her stuffing, always turns out great.

                                    5. re: kattyeyes

                                      Sending a big THANK YOU to Tyler Florence for his Maple-Roasted Turkey recipe. I cook quite a bit, but up till this year, had never made my own turkey. IT WAS FABULOUS, tender, infused with maple-y bacon flavor, visually stunning.

                                      Here are before and after pics of the bird along with the stuffing and mashed potatoes. I boiled the Yukon Golds in stock and milk and added the "potato water" back into the spuds as I mashed them with butter, sour cream and mustard. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!