Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thanksgiving, 2014

Thanksgiving was a great success, again. For the first time ever, I had my sister to help with things, which was just great. The table got set up on Wednesday night, and was fully set by Thursday morning. We didn't have to go digging through everything to find the right dishes at the last minute. We got the serving pieces out and all the glassware ready to be filled with ice for water (sparkling or flat) and a variety of wines or non-alcoholic bubbly drinks.
 The table set for dinner for 14 in the living room. Lots of space with only 14.
One place-setting without the glassware. Noritake Adagio china, Gorham Etruscan flatware.

Setting the table early made me feel a whole lot more relaxed. In our old house, it was impossible to get the table up early because Thanksgiving required moving furniture into the yard to make way for the make-shift folding table extravaganza that was needed for up to 23 people to eat. Not much room for moving around, either. I am very happy this is no longer the case.

One roasted 23 pound turkey, stuffed.

We stuffed the turkey. Because it was a frozen bird, I felt no need to brine it. I did, however, cook one more turkey this week. It was a fresh turkey, so I mixed up a dry brine of 1/3 cup kosher salt with 1 tablespoon of sugar, and sprinkled the mix all over and inside the bird. You can leave it on for 8-24 hours, but I had only about 15 hours before it had to go into the oven. I did rinse it before I cooked it. There seems to be some disagreement about whether that is necessary, but I'm pretty sure it is. We also roasted it for the first couple of hours with the breast down (we did that with the Thanksgiving bird as well) and that did result in faster cooking and moister breast meat. Dry brining is a whole lot easier than wet brining.

My friend Jim made wild mushroom turnovers for appetizers. They were delicious, both on Thanksgiving and for leftovers after. The recipe is definitely a keeper and I'd like to get it from him.

My sister (right) did the very Italian thing of baking pasta as a side.

Now it is time to plan for Christmas and our Twelfth Night Party. Christmas will be six people, but Twelfth Night (except it's on January 3) will be a whole lot more. I see panettone in my future. Falalalala, lalalala.