Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving - and a few related recipes

First, just a small aside about the holidays.  I am not a fan of holidays.  No, really, I'm not.  They're too much headache, too much stress, too much running around in circles, and not enough down time, enjoying family and friends, and reconnecting with loved ones.  Thanksgiving is my hands down favorite holiday all year.  They've tried really hard to commercialize it with Black Friday, but the holiday itself is still today what I remember it from being a little kid.  FOOD!!!  Lots and lots of good food shared with good friends and close family.  No greeting cards, no presents, no mandatory decorations, just the good stuff.  

This year was the first year I've really done a lot of cooking for Thanksgiving.  Until this year, the only things I'd made at Thanksgiving were pumpkin pie and pumpkin mousse.  This year, on the other hand, I did a turkey, broccoli casserole, mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, buttermilk pie, banana cream pie, pumpkin pie, and sweet potato casserole.  My neighbor made puppy chow, dressing, corn, green bean casserole, and a spaghetti squash, and another friend brought a chocolate pudding cake that was (still is actually, half of the cake is still on my table) excellent!

 Fin cleaning up after our puppy chow adventure.  Who knew that chocolate, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and chex would be quite so awesome?  Messily fabulous lol!

 The turkey!!!   This turkey turned out so good.  I was really happily surprised.  Turkey is usually so dry and bland.  I'd much rather have a goose or a duck.  Even better would be a venison roast.  But, cram a pound of sausage mixed with minced onion, bread crumbs, and spices under the skin (not in the cavity), and wrap that booger with bacon.  It'll be a juicy bird.  Yes, I know, your arteries are hardening just looking at it.  But it's only once a year!

I also discovered that I can make my own powdered sugar.  The only thing I needed powdered sugar for was whipped cream.  I don't like CoolWhip.  The stuff is an abomination.  To make your own whipped cream you just need:
whipping cream
powdered sugar

Use about half as much cream as you want volume of whipped cream, and make sure you use a bowl that is bigger than the amount of whipped cream you hope to have.  Turn on your mixer and watch the cream grow!  Put in however much powdered sugar gets the whipped cream as sweet as you want it, and add a dash of vanilla.  Add the sugar and vanilla while you're whipping the cream.  Ta-da!  Easy peasy.

To make your own powdered sugar, just put it in the blender, food processor, spice grinder, coffee mill, whatever you have that has spinning blades.  1c sugar = 1c powdered sugar.  You can even grind it to your own specifications.

B was excited, lol.  Everyone was excited.  Fin and I were cooking for two straight days.

 After we finished eating, the midgets got turned lose in the yard.  It was close to 80 degrees that day, so we just ate outside.
 Fin is being sad panda because she was so excited to eat, we were all so hungry, she ate less than half her plate and was stuffed.
It's hard to tell, but the expression n B's face is overstuffed misery.  Pup was slightly less miserable, and the kids were just pinging from sugar and disrupted schedules.

It was fun, and I am definitely going to be looking forward to next year, though Fin and I have agreed that we will try to scale the food down some.  We made way too much for our small gathering.
I've already started my turkey carcass boiling for 10 day Turkey Soup, and have a container of leftovers in the freezer that is ear marked for said soup.

10 Day Turkey Soup takes ... you guessed it:  10 days.

This is going to sound gross, but I promise it isn't.  Take the carcass and break it up so it fits in your largest soup pot.  Pour in any leftover stock, drippings, etc., and then cover the carcass with water.  Bring it to a rapid boil for at least 10 minutes, then reduce to a simmer.  Cover and let it simmer all day.  Turn it off before you go to bed.  In the morning, bring the water level back up if necessary, and repeat.  No, I didn't forget to tell you to put it in the fridge.  Who has room for a stock pot in their fridge for 10 days?  Every morning, when you bring it back to a boil for 10 minutes, you're pasteurizing it.  Repeat this for 9 days.  Before you turn the heat back on on day 10, sift out any bones, skin, etc. that might still be solid.  Add in the leftovers that haven't been eaten.  Everything.  Dressing, turkey, veggies, mashed potatoes, (I don't recommend adding sweet potato casserole), even cranberry sauce or jelly.  Bring it to a nice boil, turn it down and let it simmer all day.  Really watch it today (stirring, checking water levels), because the starches sometimes settle to the bottom and want to burn.

And now you have 10 Day Turkey Soup.  Or, if you don't want to throw all the leftovers in, you can freeze the stock in batches.  It's wonderfully rich and flavorful.


  1. Your comment about Cool Whip versus whipped cream...AGREE!! Real is tasty and so easy.

    10Day Soup makes me think of an episode of Jacques Pepin's old cooking show and he mentioned his mother kept a permanently simmering soup pot on back of the stove into which any leftovers for that day went even wilted lettuces. He said everyday the soup tasted different, but was always good.

  2. I might try that. We wind up with odd bits and pieces sometimes that wind up in kitchen sink soup, but just adding in tidbits as I go would waste a lot less. I guess if boiling it every day and keeping a high temp constantly keeps poultry safe, there's no reason I couldn't do it with vegetables and other stuff.


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