Thursday, March 10, 2011

Virtual Turkey

Yes, I know what you are thinking. What do you care about thanksgiving when it is what, March 10th!? I know, I am months behind the times. I actually started this post on November 28th! It has been quite some time since I posted anything. Well, life has kept me rather busy between getting a new job, poof! and getting married! double poof! Yup, marc and I went to the courthouse on Feb 4 to tie the knot!
So I debated even bothering to upload this post. However, this whole site is about my culinary adventures so I figured I might as well throw it up there so I can remember how it was when I cooked my first Thanksgiving bird. So here goes....

I had to work on Turkey day so I decided that Marc and I should have our gobble feast the day before. I didn't want to miss out on traditional food but i never made a turkey before. We had our Colombian friends Catalina and Francisco over as guinnea pigs for our virgin turkey attempt.

I must say I am quite proud of our feast. We had pancetta-sage turkey,  with pancetta sage gravy,  mashed sweet potatoes, fennel salad, shallot string beans, chestnut apple leek stuffing, and pomegranate cranberry sauce, finished with apple pie and vanilla ice cream for dessert. oh and how could I forget, Francisco and I were drinking apple cider with goslings black rum and seltzer for our turkey cocktails.
I will post the links to some of the recipes (like the turkey which i had to follow verbatim) and then the details for the ones I made up. but let me first say that the best way to give your turkey a rub down with spices is to have your sweet boyfriend do it for you. (it makes icky noises and feels grose on the hands so it totally should be a genderized much as i am against all that i think marc enjoyed it...).

The turkey was fantastic. We used the shortcut stock but made the stock and the pancetta butter the night before to make it easy. The recipe was from Epicurious.

Then while Marc read up on how to carve the turkey, in Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, I made the gravy.

 The turkey came out looking nice. By accident about a 1/2 hour into cooking we realized that the dial had been accidentally turned from 325 to 500 degrees!!!! Fortunately we caught this and lowered the temperature. Then I set the timer for 2 hours to just check on how it was doing and at 2 hours, this 9.5 lb bird was done!!!
Carving Time...


The chestnut leek and apple stuffing recipe was also from Epicurious. I decided that while I never make anything with white bread, I would follow this recipe exactly and splurge on the calories (since the rest of the stuffing is not healthy you might as well just go for it). I left the bread out on the counter overnight so that it could become stale in lui of broiling it. This stuffing was amazing! I definitely recommend this recipe.


I followed the recipe linked above. I definitely added way more than a pinch of ginger and cinnamon. Also, I added about a cup of water because I didn't want my sauce too thick. Additionally, I used agave nectar to sweeten it.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Shallot Green Beans

Fennel Salad
I wanted to serve this salad so that there would be something raw, fresh, and light on the menu to balance the rest of the gluttony. I used one fennel bulb and finely sliced it in the food processor. The I added freshly squeezed lemon juice, freshly grated sea salt and black pepper, and a splash of extra virgin olive oil adjusting all of this to taste.

I used Marc Bittman's apple pie recipe. I am not gonna lie, this was not the highlight of the dinner. I think that I underbaked it. Also, it doesn't call for enough sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Basically, I wouldn't recommend this recipe. That being said, I sliced the apples and made the dough in the food processor. This was a very different experience than the first and only other time I made real apple pie--with a fork and knife for the apples and dough! I will definitely make another pie now in the food processor which I never thought I would have attempted again.

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