Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 OR Diary of a Turkey Virgin

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 
Thanksgiving turkey, 
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 &

Thanksgiving morning, 
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!


Mike and Beth said...

What a wonderful Thanksgiving. Love the pics and the descriptions...wish I had been there to enjoy your scrumptious cooking. Love you.

Susie P said...

Everything was great and delicious!

love, Susie