Happy Thanksgiving from Canada!
Yesterday was my first time hosting a Thanksgiving dinner - Actually, yesterday was the first time I even roasted a bird....that's right kids, I have never even roasted a whole chicken but thought I would dive into roasting a 12lb turkey. How hard can it be?
I will say the roasting part is the easy part...just wait while it cooks and make sure you have a meat thermometre you trust... personally I didn't trust mine for the first hour...or to be more specific, my ability to use it properly. However, no one died of salmonella and we didn't choke on dryness - to me, that's thanksgiving success.
When taking on this challenge I asked around on AR about tips and even watched "how-to" videos on you tube to understand everything involved, and I am so thankful I did. There are so many little things you can do to enhance flavour, ensure moistness and just basically not screw it all up. I decided to brine my bird in a salt and brown sugar bath overnight and I guess it worked. Having never roasted anything brined or not brined, what do I know about the difference? It was quite the task man-handling Bessie (I named my turkey) in and out of her cooler bath, rinsing under the sink and oh, trying to tuck her darn wings behind her back. The videos made it look so easy! "Oh, you just tuck them like this so they don't burn" as they very easily bent them. Let me tell you - those wings don't bend. Or Bessie had issues with her wings because I struggled with them to the point where I was going to break them. Then I got fed up and said, "whatever! I don't care if your stupid wings burn" and then I had one of those redeeming moments.....I made her foil mittens and stuck it to those "how-to" videos that obviously use rubber turkeys.
Once she was all buttered up in garlic butter and filled with rosemary, bay leaves, onion and a whole head of garlic, she went on into the oven for 3.5 hrs and bit. I moved the thermometre approximately 8 times because I didn't trust it, but in the end it didn't fail me.
I realized on Thanksgiving that you're not running around like a maniac making dishes - instead you do a lot of waiting. Waiting for the turkey to defrost: 3 days....waiting for the turkey to brine: 12 hours....waiting for the turkey to get cold again in the fridge for crispier skin: 1 hour...waiting for the turkey to cook: 3-4 hours. I really hate waiting so this annoyed me a tad throughout the day. I badgered my bf to entertain me because I was bored....instead, he napped. I, in the meantime wrote neurotic FB status updates to let everyone know that I was not enjoying my Thanksgiving preparations.
ANYWHO, so when it came down to crunch time - I got my other easy dishes together and thankfully I didn't even have to think about dessert because Ms. Sarah Molavy was in charge of that department, and she did a magnificent job. My other friend Voula also was in charge of the potato dish and she also did a fantastic job making gorgonzola mashed potatoes.....drool....
And I have to share this one tidbit because it's too funny: My friend Voula asked me if Sarah was mad at her because she had called her earlier and sensed tension and attitude. Without hesitation I said - it's her dessert. She is angry about her dessert. Being a bit of a skilled cook now with some dinner parties under my belt - I know what it's like that day. I will yell at my bf for chopping too slow, not understanding what I mean when I say small pieces and will lash out at him for simply sitting there while I am slaving away in the kitchen. Sometimes you get a little crazy trying to perfect things in the kitchen. :) Sarah, welcome to my world. :)
Okay, I think I have rambled on enough... here are some pics!!!
This is a mixed greens, strawberries, goat cheese, red onions and poppyseed dressing salad - more summery than fall but oh well!
A side of honey garlic sausages because I don't like ham all that much so this is what I subbed it with.
Honey Garlic Sausages
The veggie for the evening: proscuitto wrapped asparagus, with some feta in there too. Soo good. Even got the bf to take one bite. :)
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
Voula's gorgonzola mashed potatoes - so creamy... :)
Gorgonzola Mashed Potatoes
My concoction: Stuffing with red peppers, onions, garlic and chourico with some beef stock. :)
I also had garlic bread but there is no picture. AND of course, then there was Bessie - the star of the show. After all that preparation and cooking, I knew... I just knew I would forget to take a picture of it. :(
Carving a Turkey
As he was carving I cursed aloud to my guests that I had forgotten to take a picture. Then, my friend out of kindness or fear ( one of the two) took a tricky photo to try and salvage the moment.
Bessie the Turkey
Oh and we can't forget the assisted host of the evening: Crantini
And I had to take a shot of my plate because Thanksgiving plates are all about a mix-mash of food piled to the max on a plate. :)
An image I always enjoy seeing after cooking for guests. :)
Oh we're not done yet - a little sugar coming your way... Ms. Sarah Molavy's cake!
We had to figure out what to call it since so much was involved: Layered-Angel Cake with Chocolate Cheesecake Frosting & Filling.... drool...
And to finish....Kylie, my rambunctious little cat all tuckered out from Thanksgiving dinner. She basically symbolizes all of us after that meal - I was ready to just sleep under the dinner table....but I guess that wouldn't have been very "hosty"...so I refrained and just laid my head on the table.