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Thanksgiving 2011 Disaster Stories

Anybody had any blow-outs or melt-downs with their pre-planning?

I dumped a gallon of turkey brine all over my kitchen floor yesterday.

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  1. So far so good. I burned the fond in my caramelized onion pan, but I had already removed most of the onions so it was all good. The gallon of brine does NOT sound like fun - a gallon of water doesn't seem like much when it's in a jug, but spread it around and it makes a hell of a mess!

    3 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima

      And when it's salty, sugary, raw turkey water, the mess is nearly impossible to clean up! I guess I should just be thankful the turkey didn't end up on the floor with everything else.

      1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

        I forgot to put the butter on the apple pie mixture. I ended up pushing chunks through the vents. It looks good, but I'm worried!

        1. re: DaisyM

          i've done that before too! i ended up just making more slits so the "pattern" would still be there on the crust, and it was no worse for the wear. how did it turn out?

    2. Stay tuned.... there are so many things that can go wrong with my version of 5 hour duck, if I don't burn the house down in the process. The duck will rain it's fat down on 2 levels of roasting vegetables below it, and then collect in a pan beneath, with various turns and punctures hourly for all 3 levels, and ingredients, while the fat renders off for about 2 hours.

      I'm not in my own house.

      I'll provide a post-game report, if it is noteworthy, as I expect something will go terribly wrong.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Veggo

        I'll google for 5 hour duck. I'd love to hear about how that comes out. It sounds wonderful.

        1. re: AsperGirl

          One word -amazing. 3 hours @ 300, half hour @ 350. Simply amazing. I filled the cavity with apple slices, and finished it with an orange glaze. Veggies were good. Pan dressing with oysters, mushrooms and chestnuts was of concern for the contrast to the sweetness, but it worked deliciously with so many strong flavors competing equally. I would do it again with company when I don't have the flu.

          1. re: Veggo

            That sounds fantastic, veggo! Add in that dressing and it sounds even better! I wish I'd been at your house for Tday...

        2. re: Veggo

          My experience is that it's better as 4-hour duck, and the meat's a bit overdone at 5. Skin amazing regardless. YMMV.

          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

            Thanks, Caitlin. I noted similar comments to the Saveur recipe, and I plan to throttle it back to 4 hours.

        3. No disasters thus far, but one of our cats did get his head caught in the paper handle on the Trader Joe's grocery bag and ran around frantically, knocking over everything in his path.

          Oh, and I did forget to buy a can of evaporated milk for my classic pumpkin pie, so I made the Paula Deen pumpkin pie recipe instead. Also, Trader Joes was out of canned cranberry sauce (!) so I couldn't make the congealed cranberry mold. No biggie, I've got lots of regular homemade cranberry sauce and will make the congealed salad for Christmas.

          5 Replies
          1. re: amyatkendall

            one of our cats did get his head caught in the paper handle on the Trader Joe's grocery bag and ran around frantically, knocking over everything in his path.
            ~~~~~~~~~
            LOL!!!! that's a priceless visual. thanks for the laugh :)

            a tip on the evaporated milk: if you have room in the pantry, buy a few cans the next time you're at the store. the stuff lasts a long time and you won't get caught without it again.

            1. re: amyatkendall

              The cat in the bag handle is a weekly occurrence here, one I never tire of. :) The cats think I shop there just to get them bags.

              1. re: amyatkendall

                my friend's cat did the same thing with a plastic bag. tore around her place like a bat out of hell. and we wanted to help her, we really did, except well, she was moving so quickly, and frankly, we were pretty busy being doubled over in hysterics.

                1. re: amyatkendall

                  My cats love going in shopping bags, I've learned to snip the handles so they don't get caught. It's funny and sad at the same time. At least they get some exercise!

                  No disasters yet but the day is young.

                  1. re: amyatkendall

                    Here is a decent substitute for evaporated milk. I've used it in a pinch.
                    * 2/3 cup non-fat dry milk
                    * 3/4 cup water

                  2. The bag of cranberries is in the chest freezer in the garage. But the garage door is being held closed with a length of twine from doorknob to drawer pull and I made the knots too solid for my too-short nails. So no cranberry sauce tonight.

                    I'll work on some better drama for tomorrow. :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: DuchessNukem

                      This sounds like it might be an interested tale.

                    2. I am not happy with the cornbread I made for my dressing but used it anyway. I hope it doesn't ruin the cured Spanish chorizo that favors the dressing. The rest of my family was begging to sample the sautéed onion, celery, chorizo mixture I sautéed. I should have just served them that and not mixed in the bad cornbread. Wish me luck.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: suburban_mom

                        The cornbread is just the vehicle for the other flavors! It should soak up the goodness of the onions, celery and chorizo and be fine. :)

                        1. re: weezieduzzit

                          That is what I'm hoping for. I briefly considered making more corn bread until I realized I would have to go to the store for more buttermilk. That wasn't happening tonight.

                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                            i agree on this one. the cornbread is just a way to spread out the deliciousness of the chorizo onto a broader eating surface

                        2. No problems with pre-planning, because I wasn't planningto cook Tday dinner. then our hosts had to cancel due to a flu bug burning through their house and surprise! I'm making dinner tomorrow.

                          I did have a minor casualty. The half-pint of Half and half that I impulse bought at Target ended up in the same bag as the light bulbs, and I left it out on the counter overnight. Not sure what I'm gonna use for liquid in then pumpkin pie tomorrow...does that count as a disaster ? :)

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: gimlis1mum

                            got any coconut milk on hand? it's fabulous in pumpkin pie.

                          2. Ugh, my first cheesecake of the day (making two) was a disaster. Everything was going well in the oven, no cracking, all beautiful, until I decided to take out of the water bath to put it on the cooling rack. I just didn't have a good enough grip on the springform pan and SPLAT, the whole top just slid off to one side and forget it. My bf wanted to save it but I have way too much pride. So I ended up going back to the grocery store and baking three times today, only two of those successful.

                            1. My daughter was making some desserts at her boyfriend's parents house earlier this evening. First thing she's ever baked for his family. She made a big tray of the Fat Witch blondie recipe blondies and a tray of lemon bars. Soooo, her boyfriend is injecting their turkey (???) with some spicy juicy stuff (again ???). He was doing this right next to her completed and cooling desserts. Somehow he slipped and splattered the bowl of turkey goo all over her desserts. Apparently all they could salvage was a few of the brownies. He feels bad of course and she's pretty disappointed. She retreated to their couch to study for her LSAT test coming up and doesn't want to talk about the incident at all...
                              This is her first Thanksgiving disaster. Yes, she is still speaking to him :)

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Mothership

                                It must be love!

                                1. re: suburban_mom

                                  You know, Actually I think you might be right. Luckily, he's a very nice young man. Happy Thanksgiving!

                              2. Update: I somehow managed to screw up my failproof CI vodka pie crust when I made them (with care!) on Saturday. I blind baked one for a pumpkin pie and it shrank like crazy - flavor and flakiness fine, but it shrank to a sad little disc in the bottom of the pan. I was concerned that the rest would do the same since I made them all the same day, but I hoped against hope that the fruit in the others would keep them from shrinking too badly. The apple pie turned out great, but the cherry looks a bit mangled - I had too much filling anyway, and the overfull pie plus shrinkage meant a ton of overflow (luckily not on the bottom of my oven). However, I had to make another batch of pie crust and redo the blind bake. Of course, the hastily prepared crust was perfection. :)

                                Once the crust crisis was solved, I went to mix my pumpkin pie filling and discovered that the sour cream had frozen solid. Luckily, there was a tiny bit at the bottom of the container that was still soft, so I popped the whole thing out of the container like a nasty sour cream popsicle and salvaged just enough for my pie. All in all, not as bad as it could have been! :)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: biondanonima

                                  to avoid shrinkage, personally, i freeze my crust for at least 1/2 an hour or overnight. and don't grease my tin... learned that mistake once a long time ago with non-stick spray. oy, the dismay.

                                2. Burned the crap out of my thumb yesterday making cornbread. Know what? Cast iron stays hot. Yeah, I've known that forever too. Don't ask me how it happened.

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: shanagain

                                    Ouch, oh there's nothing worse than a cast iron burn. My sympathies.

                                    A couple of days ago I put a cast iron skillet on my linoleum thinking the skillet had cooled down, and it destroyed a portion of the linoleum. The linoleum got so hot it let out a gunshot loud POP and cracked and then the linoleum stayed hot for hours. Yeah, I don't think we're getting our security deposit back.

                                    1. re: amyatkendall

                                      We came back from vacation Monday night, so Tuesday am I went to pick up the fresh kosher turkey. The store that I always get one did not receive any this year. Slightly panicked I drive to next store that has them. They sold out on Monday. Go to Trader Joe's they have ground turkey and whole chickens. Grab whole chicken with thoughts of trying to pass it off as baby turkey. Call husband paniciked, he's out shopping in another part of town. We each go into another store. I get the last kosher turkey at Whole Foods. Call him to let him know, but there's no service. Leave grocery and get a message that he just bought a turkey.

                                      So, 4 people, 2 turkeys, 1 chicken....priceless.

                                      1. re: DaisyM

                                        LOL @ "baby turkey"

                                        1. re: amyatkendall

                                          It was that or tell them that we just decided to go vegetarian and there'd be no turkey this year!

                                          1. re: amyatkendall

                                            "baby turkey"

                                            I have tears and can't see straight from laughing.

                                          2. re: DaisyM

                                            I'm doing duck for 1 - we could have teamed up with turducken for 5.

                                            1. re: Veggo

                                              Love it! Happy Thanksgiving!

                                            2. re: DaisyM

                                              funny... lots of leftovers and no fights over light or dark meat?
                                              i always do chicken now... so much moister, juicier, and enjoyed by the fam. gravy was particularly good tonight :)

                                              1. re: Emme

                                                normally i'd agree with you on the chicken, but i have to say the bone-in turkey breast i made last night may have been the juiciest, tastiest poultry i've ever roasted. i was simultaneously surprised and pleased :) the gravy was awfully tasty too, but i'd love to hear details about yours...

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  i'll bet with you behind the helm everything was awesome.

                                                  gravy, i always play... boiled the drippings, skimmed most of the fat. put some earth balance, 1-2 tbsp, and potato starch, 1-2 tbsp, in a pan, and cooked em together... this was more challenging, and i forgot that i intended to do a earth beurre marie. c'est la vie. added my drippings along with some of the fennel, onions, carrots, and thyme from the chicken's bed. i also added just a bit of fresh parsley tears and a bay leaf. also some black pepper and chicken stock. i simmered, and it wasn't thickening... at all, so i took a bit more stock and mixed in just a tbsp or so of cornstarch and added that in. boiled... and simmered... and simmered. i didn't add a whole heck of a lot of thickener, so i'm not really surprised. nonetheless it thickened ever enough for me to call it. skimmed the veggies and big pieces of herbs out. and that's all she wrote. my stepfather is a gravy fiend, so i was more nervous that he'd like it. which he did. and one of my stepbrothers took the entire thing of leftovers of that home. along with a hunk of my Plum Butter Glazed Balsamic Fruit Custard Tart... the man who doesn't eat desserts. i took it as a compliment.

                                              2. re: DaisyM

                                                LOL! that's great :) i'm glad you wound up with too much instead of none, because now you'll have plenty of leftovers to tackle all the ideas in the zillion "what to do with leftover turkey?" threads ;)

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  Let's just say that our two dogs are feeling like Rockefellers.

                                          3. Forgot to drop the temperature on the buttermilk pie from 40 to 325 after 10 minutes, so I had to throw it out and bake a new one. Oh well, that's why we bake the pies the day before!

                                            1. Not a disaster, but a screw-up. In the middle of making pumpkin pie this morning, discovered that the recipe called for evaporated milk, and I'd bought sweetened condensed. Fortunately the stores in our area are open.

                                              Ran over to the grocery store; took 2 minutes to locate the evaporated milk and about 15 to check out, with so many people who were doing last minute shopping. I think it was payback for my self-congratulations earlier in the week that I'd managed to complete my T-giving shopping on Sunday and would not need to go to the store on Tues. or Wed. evening.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: masha

                                                I think you could have used the condensed milk, and reduced the added sugar to compensate. Key lime pie is routinely made with sweetened condensed milk.

                                                1. re: paulj

                                                  I did not realize that I'd bought the wrong milk until I was at step three in the recipe. I'd already added the sweetener --- Splenda, actually, not sugar, because we've got family members with diabetes. And, with the diabetes issue, I did not want to make the recipe any sweeter. No question there are recipes for pumpkin pie that use condensed milk.

                                              2. Sigh. The disaster began in the morning. My friend and I were making poached eggs for Thanksgiving morning breakfast, and she was using a pressure cooker to boil the water....she had never used one before, but I think she ran out of big pots so she turned to it. When she tried to lift the lid, the boiling water burst out everywhere -- all over her stomach and leg...I got less, but it still hurts quite a bit. She went to the ER.

                                                Then I came back to my apartment come to make food to bring over for dinner. Made cheddar biscuits while trying to keep my leg and stomach cool. Wasn't paying careful enough attention and realized after I had mixed in EVERYTHING (flour, cheddar, buttermilk, egg) that I had forgot to cut the butter into the dry flour mix. They still taste fine, but...

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: betterbeheaven

                                                  I hope you and your friend are alright -- that sounds horrible. And hey, if the biscuits taste fine, then I say enjoy them!

                                                  As for me, what started as a quick pre-dinner cleaning turned into a massive whole-apartment scrubbing that has taken up most of the day. The kitchen was in such disarray that we got the turkey in late and it won't be done until 8ish. As we're still not sure if our neighbour will be back in town in time to come over, and it will probably just be me and my boyfriend for dinner, I've decided not to think of it as a disaster. Nothing wrong with a late dinner.

                                                  Although there is still cleaning to do. Quite a bit of it. And I haven't started any of the potatoes or veggies yet.

                                                  1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

                                                    You won't be the only ones eating late! The turkey will come out of the oven 7:30-8 and will then have to rest. I'm just now starting to think about getting the stuffing and veggies going. :)

                                                    Its our normal dinner time, though. The man gets off work at 8 on work days.

                                                2. I did the turkey brine on the floor thing the past two years!! Both times it was when removing the turkey from the brine Thanksgiving AM, and GALLONS of brine (including herbs, dried fruit, salt, sugar, and turkeyness) went all over the counter, cookbooks, and floor... I didn't cook this year (went to my parents house), so I got to escape the chaos! Cleanup was a pain though

                                                  1. i think your experience is yet another argument in favor of dry brining ;)

                                                    no major disasters here, which was kind of a miracle since i've never cooked a multi-course meal like this in Mom's kitchen, the temperature is inaccurate in both of her ovens, and i didn't start a single thing until 9:30 this morning.

                                                    had a mini-freakout when i discovered after i had everything mixed & prepped for the pumpkin custards that Mom apparently got rid of all her ramekins. i opted for a large souffle dish instead, and when i checked on it after 45 minutes the edges & bottom had a thin coating of set custard and the rest was complete liquid. ack! i pulled it out, whisked it to re-incorporate the little bit that did set, and then whisked in some cornstarch to tighten it up. popped it back in, and breathed a huge sigh of relief 15 minutes later when i opened the door and the surface was finally firm enough for me to sprinkle on the streusel topping. the interior ended up being a little looser than i would have liked - more of a pudding than a baked custard - but at least we weren't drinking pumpkin soup for dessert!

                                                    1. nope, no problems.
                                                      our kids decided to get the meal ordered from the M.
                                                      it was really pretty good.
                                                      they could improve on the yams but other than that, not disappointed and no ooopsies.

                                                      1. Marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes rebelled in a crowded oven, catching on fire along one side and dropping a mallow overboard to splat on the heating element and burst into flame. They later cooperated for a slightly surreal photo op.

                                                        Then I knocked a dish of pine nuts off the counter sending them scattering all over the floor. Ran out to the only open store for replacements and forked over $9.99 for a tiny container that turned out to have been imported from China.

                                                        On the bright side, our 25 lb. local fresh turkeyzilla came out surprisingly well, evenly cooked and juicy/tender throughout, after only 4 hours at 325F (unstuffed and untrussed; initial 30 min blast at 450F, then foil-tented breast and didn't baste).

                                                         
                                                         
                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: JP_nyc

                                                          Chow has a chowtip on how to deal with burn marshmallow top - just lift the burnt layer off, and apply a new one.

                                                        2. I under soaked the stuffing - it was too dry but then recooked it so it wasn't a disaster.

                                                          But, thought the boyfriend was out of hearing range when discussing a delicate topic! Bigger oops then the cooking one :)

                                                          1. I pre-cut a bunch of my veggies for side dishes on Wednesday. Everything went into ceramic mixing bowls and was covered with plastic wrap.

                                                            I went to open the bowl with my potatoes for mashed potatoes yesterday and half of them were blackish-green. Ick. Luckily I had enough potatoes in the pantry for a do-over!

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: ForFoodsSake

                                                              Next time you prep the potatoes ahead, cover them in cold water. Cooks Illustrated had a thing a year or two ago that you could prep potatoes up to 24 hours ahead and leave covered in cold water and you can't tell the difference when cooked.

                                                              1. re: GretchenS

                                                                Thanks for the tip! Will definitely keep that in mind for the future.

                                                            2. Just one minor issue this year. I was using the immersion blender on my curried pumpkin soup and was hurrying and trying to do too many things at once. I accidently lifted the immersion blender up above the top of the liquid while it was still running and splattered hot soup on myself, the stove and the floor. Hopefully the turmeric colored stains will come out of my shirt!

                                                              1. Unfortunately my family showed up. The horrors.......

                                                                1. Not really a disaster per se, but woke up yesterday sick so didn't even make Thanksgiving dinner at all. I was glad that no one had been invited over, etc. Still not feeling well today, so unsure if I'll cook it today or not....

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: jenscats5

                                                                    Jen, sorry to hear this. Feel better.

                                                                    1. re: DaisyM

                                                                      Thanks Daisy!

                                                                  2. Evil sister-in-law claimed she announced, "Does anyone know how to make gravy?", then proceeded to put the pan full of drippings down the garbage disposal. She then went on to proclaim it was okay as she had a dry package of instant gravy that was better. Ohhhhh, I was literally banging my head on the table.

                                                                    Evil husband of SIL somehow tore the turkey they served apart with his hands, it was not sliced, just torn apart. Ugh! Other evil SIL ruined my veggie side dish she stole from me. A niece stormed out because someone criticized her vegetarianism. Lovely day. Needless to say I'm nursing a bad hangover.

                                                                    It was the first year without my mom and dad and our traditional dishes and preparation. It was every bit the nightmare that I expected it to be with my dysfunctional in-laws. No wonder the one SIL I love the most escaped to Arizona for the holiday.

                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                    1. re: justalex

                                                                      Time for you and hubby to start your own Thanksgiving traditions, methinks. Without the in-laws.

                                                                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                        perhaps in Hawaii?!

                                                                      2. re: justalex

                                                                        dumped the drippings???? thats almost as big of a sin as my dad throwing away the carcass post-carving!!

                                                                        there goes my hopes for delicious turkey stock!!!

                                                                        1. re: mattstolz

                                                                          my sister dumped the carcass too. granted it was only from a bone-in breast, but i still could have coaxed a small batch of stock from it!

                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                            The same scene plays out every year at our house -

                                                                            Turkey is carved. Mr. CB heads towards the trash can with the carcass.

                                                                            Wailing and tearing at clothing ensues.

                                                                            None of the wailers will take the carcass home. They just think it is a crime that we aren't willing to cook down the carcass.

                                                                            (we don't have the time or storage to deal with it.)

                                                                            1. re: cleobeach

                                                                              ours wasn't quite so dramatic. i realized it after she helped me with the dishes, and i decided it wasn't worth getting crazy over because she wouldn't understand anyway...boiling water for tea is about the extent of her cooking skill. so i just pouted about it to myself after she left the kitchen :)

                                                                          2. re: mattstolz

                                                                            my mom dumped my chicken carcass too! i was so upset!

                                                                            she also dumped the ham bone... even after i suggested she make a great stock from it. she looked at me like i was nuts. i don't eat ham, but she told me i could make it for her. however, she said i had to take it with me last night or siyonara... sadly, i have no room in my fridge or freezer. whatsoever. sigh.

                                                                            1. re: mattstolz

                                                                              mattstolz...your post made me remember a TG time of angst...

                                                                              my uncle severly scolded my mother one year for dumping the water off the ''hours old cold in-water'' cooked potatoes. he said it's always been his secret to perfect gravy......... < whatever..........like anyone knew that............I went in and got close to taking his head off. he's a bullying Greek guy, great cook but honestly, it was an honest mistake and made her cry. aaargh

                                                                            2. re: justalex

                                                                              take comfort in the knowledge that she's going to have some major plumbing headaches if she's so blase about what she dumps down her garbage disposal...?? :)

                                                                            3. This was the year for pie problems. The first batch of piecrust was a disaster and had to be thrown out. Second batch was OK, so I made the apple pie. In a rush, I misread the cookbook and failed to turn the oven down after the first 15 minutes. When I looked at it and the recipe 45 minutes later by some miracle it hadn't burned. I poked at the apples through one of the vents, and they were still hard. Ended up covering with foil and baking at the lower temp until the apples were done. Disaster was seemingly averted, but as I was wrapping the pie in foil to transport it, my cat, attracted by the crinkling and shininess of the foil, leaped onto the counter, landing on the pie with both front paws.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: lawhound05

                                                                                oh dear, I'm sorry but that is hilarious -- great mental image! I am very sorry though about your pie....

                                                                                1. re: lawhound05

                                                                                  Oh my goodness... that poor pie was doomed from the beginning - the cat was just the coup de grace. :P

                                                                                  1. re: lawhound05

                                                                                    lawhound

                                                                                    OML....
                                                                                    you and your poor pie story, hate those pies that are stubborn.
                                                                                    mom lives near apple orchards and one year she and I went to pick some beauties.
                                                                                    I got stamen winesap for the pie I was gonna make.
                                                                                    that's been years ago and those sliced apples NEVER did soften up, chucked the entire pie.

                                                                                  2. My bossy SIL demanded that I make apple crisp, so I brought CI apple cranberry pie and a lemon tart instead.

                                                                                    There were TONS of leftovers, and she tucked all of the into their fridge for themselves. Nobody brought any leftovers home. Not terribly surprising, but irritating nonetheless. So tonight I made a batch of my FIL's famous stuffing, some cranberry sauce, and I have a big pot of mashed potatoes to make tomorrow morning.

                                                                                    1. after getting my mizz in place for flourless carrot cake. i discover that my kitchen aid stand mixer is dead. i turn it on and NOTHING happens. can't remember the last time i used my hand mixer, and have no time to figure out where i stored it. thankfully, my immersion blender had a whisk attachment and i can get the eggs and sugar beat to a ribbon because, ya know, there's no flour.

                                                                                      then, after i've got the batter in the pans -- 8-inch pans -- i realize that while i had turned the oven on, nothing was happening. call my apartment's property manager. the maintenance guy inspects the oven and tells me he's not sure if they'll be able to find the parts and will likely have to replace the stove. i live alone and almost never use the oven (why i didn't realize it wasn't working), relying instead on my toaster over, which, thankfully, is big enough to hold a single 8-inch pan. so i bake them one at a time.

                                                                                      then, i have to make the cream cheese frosting, which involves whipping a cup of cream, adding 8-ounces of very soft cream cheese, then a cup of confectioners sugar. the cream is no problem, but the whisk attachment balks when i add the cream cheese, so i finish that by hand.

                                                                                      after all that, my 12-year-old niece said the cake looked like one in a magazine.

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: wonderwoman

                                                                                        after all that, my 12-year-old niece said the cake looked like one in a magazine.
                                                                                        ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                        that must have made you feel so good! persistence pays. was the cake part from Martha Rose Shulman's recipe in the NY Times?

                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                          yes, i was gratified -- and it got great reviews for taste, as well.

                                                                                          i did tinker a bit with the schulman recipe -- reduced the sugar, substituted pecans (this year walnuts) for the almonds and eliminated the lemon zest.

                                                                                          1. re: wonderwoman

                                                                                            glad to hear it was so well received after all you went through to make it happen.

                                                                                            you know what's funny? i was having a deja vu moment when i read your comment about the pecans, and i figured out why...
                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7495...

                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                              LOL -- forgot about the ginger. maybe next year. funny thing was i made it last year because one of the guests had gluten issues. even though that guest wasn't joining us, we like it so much i made it again.

                                                                                              one final challenge: we had decided not to do an apple pie, hence, no homemade pastry. but my nephew was not happy. so about 10pm on wednesday, we pull a pillsbury pie crust from the back of the freezer. while that thawed, the kids peeled, cored and sliced a couple of apples and we made a crostata in a cast iron skillet.

                                                                                              thankfully, their oven was working.

                                                                                        2. re: wonderwoman

                                                                                          wonderwoman:
                                                                                          that's an expensive dead kitchen item. ough! :{

                                                                                          I killed my sons Cuisinart two weeks ago, the big one, the 11 bowl size........ouch here too :{

                                                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                            just out of curiosity -- how did you kill your son's cuisinart?

                                                                                            i got some good news when i called kitchen aid this morning. they asked if it was plugged into a wall outlet. it was in a power strip -- made necessary by the configuration of my kitchen. the customer service rep told me plug it into a wall outlet. so, i carried the beast to the outlet and lo -- the motor fired up.

                                                                                            she told me that the stand mixers draw so much juice, that sometimes the power strip won't work, which is strange since it's worked for 7 years. so, i just have to pick up a new power strip -- with a 15-ft cord -- $20.

                                                                                            and the property manager told me my new stove should arrive by the end of the week.

                                                                                        3. My only failure was forgetting to put the turkey in the oven. Appetizers, salad, side dishes, desserts, homemade bread, house ready for company, etc.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Sydneyeats

                                                                                            just a small omission!
                                                                                            My friend made turkey stock yesterday from the carcass. She then poured it through a colander..forgetting to put a pot or bowl under it. It all went down the drain.
                                                                                            oops!

                                                                                          2. My disaster was minimal compared to many others here, but ran out of BOTH trash bags and dishwasher detergent halfway through the day -- doh!

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: mebby

                                                                                              Oh, that would have been a tragedy for me - I must have run the dishwasher 8 times in two days!

                                                                                            2. Let see, set the timer for about an hour before the turkey was supposed to be done. This way I could check it and get a good read of where we were so that I could time the cooking of the sides.

                                                                                              Dip the thermometer into the breast...........205. Legs & thighs: 201.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: dynastar

                                                                                                Oof!

                                                                                                A similar thing happened to me last Christmas with the seven rib prime roast. The thermometer was still rising after it hit 145 (which is when I quit looking at it.) The entire, very expensive piece of meat was nice medium brown all the way through - not a sign of pink anywhere. It was very juicy and still tasted fine, I guess... My heart was so heavy by the time we sat down to eat, I don't really remember what anything tasted like.

                                                                                                I blame my mother's fancy convection oven. I'd never cooked prime rib in it before.

                                                                                                1. re: agoodbite

                                                                                                  note for next time: convection cooking reduces cook time by 25-30%...so either reduce the oven temp by 25 degrees and cook for the same amount of time, or keep oven at the same temp and shave 25-30% off the cooking time.

                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                    Yes. Your advice is sound. I've made many a successful Sunday dinner using that oven, but it was the first time with prime rib. I shall be much more careful next time around.

                                                                                              2. No total meltdown moments, just little things that are laughable.Was prepping roast veggies, including red onions, and totally forgot to clean cutting board. My daughter used the same cutting board a few moments later to slice kiwis for her lovely sugar cookie fruit pizzas...we found that out later, of course, the kiwis had a subtle hint of onion. Bleccch.
                                                                                                On the dessert theme, daughter's wonderful BF asked if he could bring anything over-I had forgotten to buy ice cream for the apple crisp, and he offered to bring some over. NO problem, Walgreen's is open on Thanksgiving, right? Later on, we were ready for dessert and I opened up the carton he had purchased...only to discover about 1/4 of the top was already eaten. I called him in and teased him about it- but he swore that he had NOT opened it, and none of my other guests had touched it. Which meant that he brought it home like that, and probably one of the Walgreen's employees had eaten from that container. He did bring it back there later on, and the mortified manager gave him his $$ back and offerred a free container.
                                                                                                Last event-day after Thanksgiving-made a wonderful rib roast my popovers did not POP. GRRRR. Note to self- buy those popover tins!!

                                                                                                1. We celebrated yesterday (college kids had a big game to attend Thursday night). I had a beautiful 22lb bird thawed out and yesterday was just running too smoothly. Pumpkin trifle with a glorious homemade gingerbread (made with fresh ginger when I realized I was out of ground), gluten-free trifle, pies, sausage dressing, deviled eggs, everything was just humming right along. Until I checked the turkey about two hours early and it read 165 in the thigh. Ack. But ok, no big deal, we'll let it rest, it'll stay hot and juicy, life is good.

                                                                                                  Until we pulled the foil off... Moral of the story, don't be a dumbass, take at least three readings. Pink juices all over the platter, even though the pierced thigh ran clear. We ended up carving the breast (which was delicious) and throwing the rest of the bird back in the oven to finish for leftovers.

                                                                                                  (Also, if you let college-kid's-girlfriend make the deviled eggs, supervise heavily. Not saying they were a disaster, just... I might be a bit anal-retentive about some things.)

                                                                                                  1. My dressing. It was way too soggy so I turned up the heat on the dutch oven to boil off some of the moisture (rookie mistake) and burned a bunch to the bottom of the pan. The whole thing was ruined. My DH bought boxed stuffing from the store the next day because he really wanted some, then felt really bad for buying boxed when I had tried so hard for homemade. Dude, I ruined it! You're fine! :-)

                                                                                                    1. No disasters or even bumps in the road this year...

                                                                                                      A tale from a Thanksgiving past -

                                                                                                      The one and only time the ILs were invited to our house for Thanksgiving was an emotional and culinary disaster.

                                                                                                      We had more food than oven space so Mr. CB decided to cook the dressing and a pan of yams on the gas grill. He filled the yam pan to overflowing with real maple syrup. No surprise, it cooked over and the entire grill burst into a fireball. It was quite spectacular.

                                                                                                      MIL starts screaming at the top of her lungs and then bursts into tears. Mr. CB calmly opens the lid, grabs the pans and throws them into the yard. Thankfully, there was at least 8 inches of snow on the grounds so the pans didn't burn too long, just long enough for me to have a smoke and a glass of wine before going back inside.....

                                                                                                      MIL never got over the trama and was on pins and needles for the rest of the day.

                                                                                                      1. while browning meat for stuffing, I was grinding pepper from a bottle grinder and the top came off and the entire contents went into the meat. Soooooo. . . rather than attempt to remove more than 200 peppercorns, both stuffings were vegetarian.

                                                                                                        Lost: 1 avocado and 1 pkg cream cheese. Have not been seen since last Thursday.

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: laliz

                                                                                                          did you look under the car seats?

                                                                                                          1. re: rabaja

                                                                                                            yea, not there, but that was the first suggestion ~~ thanks.