This Thanksgiving was a day of firsts:
our first Thanksgiving in Colorado,
our first visitors (Z's parents & brother from NC),
our first time hosting the meal,
and my first time cooking a turkey.
As a long-time vegetarian
I was a little nervous about cooking a
but as a food/cooking enthusiast,
I felt up to the challenge.
I decided not to take any chances with a frozen turkey
and ordered a fresh one from our local market.
Then I searched online for recipes.
After reading that brining is the best way to avoid
dry meat, I settled on a recipe from
Hard to go wrong with her
(unless you are on a diet).
So the brine was made and the turkey guts pulled out
(I didn't use them in the gravy, so I just tossed them out),
but then there was the little problem of
finding a brining bag.
I could not find them in any grocery stores.
A couple of specialty food stores had them,
but they were outrageously priced,
so I had to be resourceful.
I bought some Ziploc XL bags (10 gallons)
poured in my brine & my 11 lb turkey,
then fit it all into my biggest stockpot, cinched it
with a chip bag clip & let it soak overnight.
Thankfully it fit perfectly, so I didn't have to turn it!
I also made the cranberry sauce &
chocolate caramel tart ahead.
with the turkey thoroughly rinsed & the potatoes cubed,
we headed over to watch Z run in the Turkey Trot.
It was a glorious 65 degrees & sunny,
which was great for the spectators but too warm for the runners.
A very Parris Thanksgiving.
Back at home, we had to get down to business.
Z & his brother baked a pumpkin pie from scratch
while I got the turkey going and worked on the
fontina & parmesan potato casserole.
Here's the turkey part-way through.
Unfortunately since I was keeping so busy
basting the turkey, making the casserole,
brown sugar shortbread, brussels sprouts, & raspberry tea,
I didn't have much time to take pictures,
but believe me, that bird was golden brown in the end.
The set up was a little crazy, too.
We don't have any real eating area in our place,
so the plan was to set up two tables
and all 9 chairs that we own in the living room &
use the side table as a buffet.
It actually worked well, but since everyone was gathered
in the living room watching football we didn't get to set it up
until right before we ate, so again I failed to take any good photos.
This gives you an idea, but it actually looked much cozier & pretty.
Some friends of ours brought some delicious sweet potato casserole,
2 types of dressing, and Z's cousin brought the rolls.
I really enjoyed cooking everything, and aside from
an issue with the gravy (really hard to season something properly
when you can't taste it...oh well) I thought I did pretty well...
for a turkey virgin.
Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful, too!