Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving erupts all over the place: notes on a turkey dinner

I wanted to post individual pictures with comments but the blogger is moving so slowly tonight that I don't think much is possible. I'll post the slide show at the bottom so you can see the whole fest. The new camera takes great pictures, as you can see. Our friends thought we looked too stern in this picture but we agreed, this is our look.

Regis and Amber were the first guests to arrive. I love Amber's new hair-do. Regis provided a lot of hearty laughter, as usual.

Kramer was allowed to be part of the party since Ella didn't arrive until later. He has terrible cataracts and doesn't respond well to small guests so he gets locked in a room when she's here. Kramer that is, not Peter.

Peter, Tiffany, and their Mama. Tiffany's baby Elliot is due in February. She is the cutest pregnant person ever. She loves to eat and always enjoys the meals at home so much. Peter crossed his eyes in one of the pictures and I thought it would serve him right if I posted that one.

Here are the notes on the turkey: We bought an organic (21 pound) turkey at HyVee. Here's what Regis wrote about the process:

The Brined Bomber

Turkey was thawed over a period of several days on the porch in a soft sided cooler. Air temperature on the porch was about 45 max during the daytime on the porch and near freezing at night. Turkey was moved to a cooler full of water and ice cubes where it remained for about 12 additional hours.

The Brining

Basic recipe for the 21 lb bird was 3 gallons of water, 1.5 C salt, and 1.5 C brown sugar. Also added to the plan were quartered oranges and onions. Spices were Rosemary and Tyme. The turkey was placed in a plastic bag into the cooler along with the solution. It sat on the porch for an additional 12 hours.

The Cookery

Turkey was removed from the brine, rinsed, and the cavity stuffed loosely with apples, oranges, onions, more spices, and garlic. It was salt and peppered and liberally coated with olive oil.

The bird was set breast side down on a V shaped rack and cooked in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour. It was then flipped over, the breast covered with foil, basted with chicken stock, and the oven was reduced to 350 degrees for an additional 3 hours and 20 minutes. It was basted with broth every hour. The breast was 165 to 170 when it came out and the thigh was 175.

And here is the result....

Reggie and Peter were flat out stuffed after the meal.

Bob, Emily, and Ella arrived after spending the day in Truamn with her family. Alex is set to arrive in February, same day as Tiffany and Eric's baby.

Betty and Tom cut quite the dashing figures. Tom looked like he stepped right out a Dublin pub and Betty had on a gorgeous jacket she said she got at Fleet Farm. I told her to say Dayton's Oval Room instead. It was black velvet with croched trim and tiny mirrors.

Betty has a repertoire of songs that Ella loves to sing. Ella's not the only one; I heard the whole living room erupt in song at one point.

We had a great day!

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