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Thanksgiving mishaps 2012

Well I left the potatoes in the garage and now most have developed sight. And the eyes appear angry. "J'accuse!"

I am giving them a relaxing hot bath in hopes that they will mellow their attitude.

Also, the only bread in the house is tortillas. Am sending the Duke out to raid the peasantry for bread; flat stuffing is not to be tolerated here.

Anyone else have malfunctions this year?

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  1. Three members of the family decided to run out for last minute provisions, after we admitted to spacing off the brussel sprouts last night. We now have approximately 8 or 9 lbs of them with only a few recipes we truly get excited about and no one here is vegetarian enough to take on that mass 'o sprouts

    1 Reply
    1. re: ThanksVille

      Do you like stuffed cabbage? I once saw TV chef Joey Nathan making a soup inspired by stuffed cabbage. He didn't give an actual recipe but I jotted down ingredients. He made stock from short ribs but quality purchased broth would do. This was added to a pot in which onions, garlic, and ground beef had been sauteed, along with rice, shredded cabbage, cranberries, maple syrup, and raisins. Everything is then simmered. When I made it, I used whole Brussels sprouts instead of shredded cabbage, and liked the final product.

    2. I forgot to buy potatoes. We've been doing low/no carb since July because of DH's dietary restrictions, so the usual 5 pounds I'd have in the pantry has ceased to be! I'm working late tonight, so I'm going to make sure to hit a supermarket before 10.

      10 Replies
      1. re: pinehurst

        My first time making a pie... and I burned it a little :( Pumpkin pie. It wasn't done when the timer went off so I said "oh I"ll just leave it in for a bit longer" then promptly forgot about it... for another 15 or 20 minutes. My mom said it looks fine, just a little brown, but I think she's being nice. I'm so bummed cause it looked so pretty :(

        1. re: juliejulez

          Whipped cream can be very pretty- and it hides a multitudes of baking sins.

          1. re: juliejulez

            I can't live w/out this kitchen timer; looks like Amazon is temporarily out of stock but Chef's, etc. will probably have it.


            1. re: walker

              Pray tell, what are this timer's main pluses? Thx for sharing

              1. re: wahine88

                Well, you can wear it around your neck or just stick it in a pocket, if you have one. Mainly, it's good to have a timer and set it and this one is very portable if I'm in another area of the house, not the kitchen.

                1. re: walker

                  So it's the portability of it rather than the specifics of this timer that are great? I've never had such a bar/stick timer, but interested in researching them. Thanks.

              2. re: walker

                I have a timer, a very nice one actually that has 4 different timers on it, plus timers on both the oven and the microwave. But a timer doesn't help if you forget to set it :)

                1. re: walker

                  My iPhone is now my go to timer! Just tell Seri how long to set it for!

              3. re: pinehurst

                Speaking of potatoes, and too many brussels sprouts. My husband went shopping with my list yesterday. The potatoes he got were too big. So today I went out and got some smaller potatoes. In laws arrived tonight with a present - 10 lbs of potatoes! One of their coworkers grows them :)

                1. re: sasha1

                  Lucky you! Use the ones your in laws brought you!

              4. Made a chocolate layer cake with a buttercream frosting. Something went VERY wrong with the frosting - no volume and very thick. When I first looked in the bowl, I convinced myself there was enough for between the layers and on top and all around - WRONG! After assessing the situation, decided the family will get a single layer, fully frosted, and DH and I will have a plain layer all to ourselves. Separated the layers, scraped all the frosting off one and left it bare. DH already had a piece sans frosting. Not sure what went wrong, but whatever. My cake is just an extra dessert anyway since niece and I don't care for pumpkin pie, and as she's 12, I don't think she will care much that it's not perfect. And this way I can leave the rest of the frosted cake with her and know that I still have cake at home for me! No feeling guilty for wanting to take cake away from a child!

                I would like to determine what went wrong, though. I'd rather this not happen again ;(

                1. So far things have been OK here, though I'm a bit worried about a new dressing recipe turning out soggy. We'll see what wonders a night in the fridge + a blast of heat tomorrow will do.

                  However, a friend of mine reported that she accidentally brined her kitchen floor. (While attempting to pour her brine into the brining bag, a great deal of it ended up missing its mark.) I assured her that the floor would just be extra tender and flavorful.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: jld234

                    This reminded me - I did an artichoke soup today that needed to be cooked then pureed in the blender. For whatever reason, after I put the first batch in the blender, I wanted to be sure the bottom was screwed on tight so it didn't leak. Turned it the wrong way of course. Much broth spilled out the bottom, onto the counters, into the drawers, and onto the floor. My husband gave me a look he usually reserves for the children...

                    1. re: sasha1

                      Off topic but would you share your artichoke soup recipe? I've googled a few recipes and they look good but would appreciate a "tried and true" version too. Thx

                      1. re: vanderb

                        It's not tried and true, because this is the first year I've made it. I'll post the epicurious recipe link here. I modified a bit - no cream for starters. There's enough butter in the rest of the meal. And for the artichoke/jerusalem artichoke, I used 4 1 lb bags of frozen artichoke hearts and 2 potatoes to smooth out the consistency.


                      2. re: sasha1

                        You need to add immersion blender to your christmas list! No more leaky blender issues.

                        1. re: tcamp

                          I've got one - but there was so much soup, and so chunky, I didn't really even think about the stick.

                      3. re: jld234

                        I was so fearful of this. Now my turkey is brining in a roasting bag resting in a roasting pan. but the liquid level is pretty high. I'm just crossing my fingers that it all stays where it should and no poultry soaked brine goes spilling onto my mom's kitchen floor or fridge. As I was ladling the brine in, i was having visions of brine all over the new flooring. fingers crossed it all works out ok...

                        1. re: jld234

                          I have brined my kitchen floor/counters/breakfast bar stools thrice. Count 'em! Three times!! For the record, NONE of them were my fault, unless you count having someone help me as my fault, lol. He would always not pay quite enough attention and let go of part of the bag, and whooooosh!!!! TIDAL WAVE!!!!! So annoying.... not only all the salt/sugar water, but the herbs, the apple cider, the dried cranberries, the apples..... SUCH a mess!!

                        2. Am catering a dinner tommorrow, just beginning prep now. Anticipate numerous mishaps so stay tuned for tomorrow. Have all produce now but have had no access to the turkey, so fully expect to arrive tomorrow to find it still frozen. Numbers have not been confirmed but the food has been bought for me, anticipate not having enough food. In a foreign country and the equipment is vastly different, so expect problems on all fronts with cooking. Sourcing traditional ingredients has been tough, was only able to get 75% of ingredients so already with some fun obstacles. And broke my toe yesterday so am hobbling around as best I can.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: TeRReT

                            I'm getting anxiety from your post and am very thankful that all I need to do tomorrow is frost a cake. Good luck!

                            1. re: rabaja

                              haha thanks, it will be interesting. I have everything mapped out and planned to and know how I am cooking the turkey and everything. Just got a phone call from my boss who I am catering for, he wants to pick me up 2 hours before I told him pick me up because he has been doing research and wants to slow cook the turkey. What way is better or not aside, I am practically doing this as a charity, and already have everything planned out. We won't have a dry turkey, and I am not changing how I am cooking things this late in the game. Tomorrow will definitely be interesting!

                            2. re: TeRReT

                              Turkey is in the roaster but the roaster sucks, no browning at all at the start, hopefully it will get some color eventually

                              1. re: TeRReT

                                And turkey is done well ahead of time, will have to hold it an hour more then anticipated, and did not brown, the roaster is not as fun as I had anticipated :P

                            3. Getting ready to make my sweet potato casserole. Will be feeding 15-17 people. Bought ingredients, Recipe says feeds 6-8. . Damn. No leftover sweet p. casserole this year. May not even be enough!! EGAD, Stores are closed.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: shaebones

                                Aren't most stores open til 4PM or so? Hope so, I need heavy cream to whip and cover the crack on my pumpkin pie.

                                1. re: coll

                                  I've seen on average stores open tomorrow 9-3

                                    1. re: Lfdallas

                                      My closest place usually opens at 6AM, so I'll find out shortly! Otherwise hope 7Eleven sells heavy cream. Can't believe I went through over a quart yesterday.

                                      1. re: Lfdallas

                                        Nope--Walmart is closed all day today and opening at 8pm tonight for "Black Friday"

                                        1. re: iluvcookies

                                          I went to the closest supermarket (open 6AM to 6PM for the holiday) and they were OUT of all types of cream. Then I remembered the other place I shop, they had heavy cream on sale this week for $1.97 a pint, while the place that was out was around $5. So another 3 minute drive and I grabbed two, I'm sure I'll need more in the next month or so!

                                          Just now realizing why I was so far behind on meal prep though. I think this is the first time I had to run out to pick up an ingredient the morning of.

                                      2. re: coll

                                        The 7/11 near me is open, at least this morning.

                                    2. Please Help! I put my turkey in the brine without ice. Brine didn't completely cool to fridge temp. Water was probably room temp. Placed turkey in brine, in cooler, in the fridge, added ice about an hr or two later once ice froze in freezer. Will it be ok?

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: Lfdallas

                                        How long was turkey at room temp? Can't tell if your sentence "Placed turkey in brine, in cooler, in the fridge..." was meaning initially or 1-2 hours later. MOST likely ok if max 2 hours out of fridge, but check governmental food safety websites to be sure.

                                        1. re: wahine88

                                          I took the brine out of the fridge, poured it into the cooler and noticed that it was about room temperature. Since I had already cleaned the turkey I placed it into the brine and put it in the fridge. Most recipes say that brine should be 40 degrees. I didn't have any ice too add til about 1-2hr later.

                                          1. re: Lfdallas

                                            No problem whatsoever. Your bird was not sitting out on the counter exposed to the air, it was submerged in salt water. Salt is a preservative. I never realized how MUCH salt is in Costco's rotisserie chickens until, having overshopped, I did not get to the one that was in the back of my fridge for an entire week after bringing it home. I thought I'd be boiling it up to kill enough spoilage that the dogs could safely eat it but to my surprise, it smelled fine. So I tasted it, and it WAS fine. The dogs lost out. I put it back in the fridge and ate it over the next 3 days. It never developed even the slightest off-smell.

                                        2. re: Lfdallas

                                          I have an idea for you. Call the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, which has dieticians on hand who are VERY food safety-conscious. I just called and they were wonderfully helpful. Found out about them in the NYT. Their # is -800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372)
                                          The lines will be busy, but keep trying! Hope all turns out well for you!

                                            1. re: Lfdallas

                                              Sure. Hope they helped you. Keep trying and you'll get through. They'll prob say if turkey was at room temp more than 4 hours, nix it. If you don't get someone who seems like they know what they're doing, perhaps you could ask for someone else/a supervisor? I called twice and got a very knowledgeable, middle-aged woman at first. Not to be reverse agist, but the 2nd time it was a woman who sounded young and she wasn't nearly as careful or helpful or knowledgeable. So hope you reached someone reliable! They take their time and don't rush you, either. Happy Thanksgiving.

                                            2. re: wahine88

                                              I had to call them this year (have other times, they've always been extremely helpful, friendly) to ask WHERE my string lifter was. Butterball, w/out warning, stopped including them. Maybe half the people threw them out but once you tried it and got used to it, they were helpful. Maybe, with enough complaints, they'll bring them back.

                                              1. re: walker

                                                My MIL's Butterball had a string lifter this year, which I had never seen before. Which makes me wonder, did she somehow get a really old turkey? (I know for sure she bought it this year - she is not the type to buy food and keep it in the freezer for a year.)

                                                1. re: lisavf

                                                  Strange, maybe they used up the stock of them they had. You could call Butterball hotline and ask. Hope they bring them back.

                                                  (They had them many years. One year I forgot to use it, saved it and the next year used it on a turkey I bought at WF, then went back to Butterballs.)

                                          1. Between everyone's schedule we cooked the big meal to celebrate yesterday with lots of plans for leftovers today! We ran out of white flour and secretly substituted about 25% with wheat. Then in a rush and a touch of disorganization added to much butter to my chocolate pecan pie turning it into a really tasty slightly soupy wonderfulness. I think we are going to break some up and mix into vanilla ice cream and refreeze.
                                            On a positive note we tried a new method for the turkey; America's test Kitchen braised turkey and stuffing, reducing the brine strength by half and eliminating the wine, nuts and dried cranberries (I think all would be tasty, democracy won today). My husband said it was the best turkey he's ever had. Good luck everyone, remember its about enjoying your day.

                                            1. No malfunctions yet but only because I was able to go next door to my neighbors for garlic, needed for both caesar dressing and black olive pesto. We're guests this year so my cooking duties are minimal.

                                              1. Got another (hopefully) minor one. The inside of my turkey was still frozen despite having pulled it from the freezer on Sunday afternoon. The outside/meat was just fine, but the neck had to be wedged out with a spoon. I also didn't get any giblets that I could tell, although as I was scraping the ice out with a spoon, I might have stabbed a heart as it was a little bloody. Either way, no bag of giblets. Oh well, I figure nobody eats the inside of the turkey, I'm not doing stuffing in the turkey.

                                                1. burned the bacon for breakfast... but don't start the turkey for a couple hours so no real mishaps yet. :) I'm sure there will be something!

                                                  1. turkey done WWWWAAAYYYY to early. does that count??? fortunately we are experienced at holding meat at temp from all DH's bbq. birdie is lovingly wrapped in foil, covered in towels stored in the cooler. will let ya know how THAT works, LOL!

                                                    1. My turkey registered as done - 170 degrees for the breast.....took it out & let it rest covered for 30 mins while the sides were prepped & gravy made.....well the breast was perfect BUT the rest of the carcass was almost RAW.....chopped it up & into the freezer it went for stock.....SIGH!

                                                      1. Per the recipe, I put my sweet potato casserole under the broiler for 3 minutes after adding marshmallows. The marshmallows were burned to a crisp. Thankfully they were easily scraped off and the rest of the dish was very delicious :)

                                                        1. So, I just got back from my sister's home where the family enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving. After the usual noshing, sipping and socializing, we sat down to a terrific dinner. There was the lovely brined Amish turkey, the ham, the mashed potatoes, the corn, the green beans, the biscuits, the salad . . . you get the idea. So I'm eating, thinking quietly to myself, "WTF . . . no stuffing?" Apparently, during the meal my 5-yo great nephew asked my niece several times for stuffing, but she shushed him.

                                                          Anyway, we're cleaning up in preparation for dessert and someone notices one of the ovens is on the keep warm setting. Yep, there's the huge baking dish of stuffing. My sister had decided to keep it warm until everyone was seated. Turns out everyone at the table (except my one sister, of course) was silently wondering why no stuffing, but we were all too polite to ask. That'll learn us . . . never be polite with family ;) Sis of course blamed BIL for not reminding her.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: gaffk

                                                            It's not Thanksgiving without stuffing!!!

                                                            My only real fail was blind baking 2 crusts .. they shrank and puffed up even tho I weighted down. Did not bother to make filling (pumpkin), will try again with a different recipe in a few days, when I'm recovered.

                                                            This year, I made a list and paid attention so nothing was left unserved from the fridge or oven.

                                                            My butterball, using probe thermometer, came out the best ever; I don't think Thomas Keller could have served me more tender, tasty turkey.

                                                            1. re: walker

                                                              This is the year I fell back in love with Butterball, I should have taken a picture of the finished product. Like Norman Rockwell!

                                                              1. re: walker

                                                                My mother tried a Butterball for the first time this year, and it was the best turkey she's ever served. I was a skeptic, but it was beautiful and tasty.

                                                            2. I started making the stock for the giblet gravy when we got the bird into the brine. Opened the plastic wrap and pulled the neck from the cavity, Felt around for the giblets - nothing. My sister searched. We used a flashlight. We rinsed the cavity. No sign of them even thought the label noted "giblets included".

                                                              I went back to the grocery. The meat dept. guys opened a package of the same type turkey, pulled out the neck - no giblets. They were very apologetic and sent me home with three frozen containers - hearts, gizzards and livers at no charge. Super responsive and terrific (yea Publix)!

                                                              After brining we poured off the liquid and flipped the bird over to drain into the sink. As my bil was holding the turkey I noticed something at the tail end. Sure enough - the missing giblets!
                                                              We felt rather sheepish, but the meat dept. didn't see them either!

                                                              Other issues stayed minor. Put the raw celery in with the stuffing mix then realized the celery needed to be cooked first. Poured a fresh cup of coffee and began the tedious task of picking out the celery.

                                                              Three hours after the meal my sister remembered the cranberry sauce was still in the fridge.

                                                              It all worked out to be a really nice meal!

                                                              1. Put acorn squash in the hot but turned off over just to warm up, totally forgot about them, and ate our whole meal without noticing they were missing. At cleanup time I realized I'd never served them, found them with blackened skins in the over. The inside might still be edible for tomorrow.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: bythebay

                                                                  Would probably make a nice soup!

                                                                  1. re: bythebay

                                                                    If you make soup and love it, you'll never be able to reproduce the recipe again.

                                                                    Just name it "accidental squash soup"..... ;)


                                                                  2. I did a prepared meal this year from Whole Foods and of course I managed to encounter a blunder although it's supposed to be easy heat and eat. I decided to doctor up the mashed potatoes with butter, cream and roasted garlic. I guess I added a bit too much cream as I ended up with a pot of potato soup. As the potatoes are usually my favorite part of the meal, I was bummed that I might have to nix them. I didn't have any instant mash on hand to thicken and couldn't find a good solution. I baked them in the oven uncovered for what seemed like eternity and to my surprise they turned out perfectly! Now if I could only keep my fork out of the container in the fridge...

                                                                    1. Two additional malfunctions:

                                                                      Brought food to friends, forgot cranberry sauce in fridge.

                                                                      Ran out of heavy cream and had to rummage fridge for dairy: found crema agria (itself a mistake, I had intended to buy sweet plain crema). Mashed potatoes are wondrous and will never be able to duplicate.

                                                                      1. I did two turkeys, one was a traditional roast in the oven and the other was a spicy turkey on the grill. They were both done hours before I thought they would be. The oven roasted one spilled its broth and oil all over the bottom of my oven..producing smoke so that we had to open all windows and doors and get out fans so the smoke alarms didn't go off. During the scrambling for clean air, everyone arrived for cocktails and apps so I decided to make cranberry margaritas in the vita mix. I didn't look before I flipped it on (it was on high) and bright red sticky drink mix shot into the air and down the counters onto the floor. I was starting to feel like someone was pranking me. My family thought this was hysterical.

                                                                        Everyone brought their dogs over so we dogs chasing each other in and out the open doors, smoke pouring out of the oven while we tried to clean it, but it was just too hot to get it out. Then one side of the double sink started leaking. Of course it did. A bucket came out, towels on the kitchen floor....

                                                                        We were scrambling to fire up the grill again and use the upper oven for all the sides (still not cooked) when one of my daughters decided to bake some gluten free biscuits. Seriously? Now? I told her okay, because I thought she was only making a few from a mix. It couldn't get any worse.
                                                                        No....she made the whole box on a gigantic baking sheet. It was never going to fit anywhere. I had a few glasses of wine behind me during this circus, and I said "how important are those to you?" and she said "very".....so I opened up the oven door a white billowy cloud of smoke poured into the kitchen....and threw them in.

                                                                        Everyone was laughing at the calamities and we had plenty to eat and drink. I was surprised none of the food tasted smokey, we ate on time, and all the different dishes were wonderful. But, my kitchen looks like a bomb went off in it. The oven is cleaning now and a plumber will be here Monday. Thanksgiving was perfect! hahaha.

                                                                        1. I roasted up my turkey neck, wingtips and backbone on Wednesday night and threw them into a pot with vegetable trimmings and 6 quarts of water to make some stock. Left it on LOW heat overnight, expecting to wake up to a couple of quarts of stock. Imagine my surprise when I found it had cooked down to just about a cup of super concentrated demi-glace. However, when added to the super-rich drippings and a bit of additional chicken stock, it made the best gravy EVER, according to my husband.

                                                                          Otherwise, no major mishaps. My apple pie is more like applesauce pie this year, but I think that was due to lackluster apples rather than anything I did.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: biondanonima

                                                                            my sister's apple pies looked the same. delicious anyway, but very runny. :)

                                                                          2. forgot the baked sweet potatoes, but we ate 'em on Friday instead.
                                                                            Wore a new blouse and of course, got turkey fat all over the front. Blue Dawn to the rescue!

                                                                            1. I thought I was going to have a complete disaster with the turkey, as it was my first year doing it. That, however, was fantastic and flawless.

                                                                              The only issue was I ended up with no drippings to speak of. Luckily, Mom had purchased all of the chicken broth in the county, so we whipped together a plan b.

                                                                              1. We do a co-op Thanksgiving at my sister's house with our families + nieces, nephews, significant others and grandkids (all under the age of 6). Tons of food, but somewhat chaotic. This year I was so busy helping/cleaning up, that I almost forgot turkey leftovers to take home. After my DH (I am using that term loosely) stomped into the kitchen and demanded to know why I didn't have a package of turkey, I grabbed one from the counter. The next day when he grabbed the package from the fridge, he threw another fit because I had stupidly brought home only dark meat. So Sunday, I trekked to the store, bought a fresh turkey and all of the fixin's and cooked a second Thanksgiving feast just so he would stop his whining. Right about now I really hate turkey.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: PattiCakes

                                                                                  Great story! Hope you made him do the clean-up!