Thanksgiving: the food parts

Despite all the good advice I received, I did not brine the turkey.

My family… well, they’re slow to embrace change.1 And, to keep everyone happy, I made a non-brined, but still very good turkey instead.

Alyce’s recommendation of Martha Stewart’s turkey recipe was spot on. Cooking it at 450° for 30 minutes, then turning it down to 350° for the remaining cooking time was genius. The skin turned out so lovely, nutty brown and crispy. I didn’t try laying the cheesecloth on it (again, didn’t want to freak anyone out) but I did baste it with the white wine and butter combo every 30 minutes, which resulted in a really moist turkey.

my turkey totally looked like this

Yeah, I was way too busy to actually take any photos of the turkey. It looked like turkey. You do the math.

I made the mashed potatoes with Yukon Golds — another bold change I decided to implement. I picked them up at the Greenmarket and they were huge. HUGE huge. Bigger than a baby’s head huge. I only bought 5 potatoes — weighing 6 pounds total.

ghost potato

Regardless of their size, Yukon Golds are now officially my most favorite potato cultivar. They end up buttery and creamy; even reheated later, they were amazing.

I also made the same pie as last year, this time with fresh pumpkin instead of squash. Despite the fact I forgot to add the last 1/4 cup of sugar, it was even better than last year. It puffed up even higher than last year’s, which concerned me a bit, and the surface browned considerably more, but it was just as light and fluffy as the one from last year. It was the only pie that we polished off, so I think it was a good one.

Next: everything else I did in the last week, including attending my 15 year high school reunion.

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  1. To wit: I made my butternut squash with nutmeg (!) and ginger (!!) — and my mother asked if I was going to make a separate, “non-specialed up” squash as well. What can you do? []

7 thoughts on “Thanksgiving: the food parts

  1. “Slow to embrace change.” Yep. I know what you mean.

    Brief excerpt from a convo last week…

    Jay: Does steak sound good for tonight? (The in-laws were still with us, and the turkey was gone!)

    F.I.L: Don’t put any of that stuff on mine.

    Jay: Stuff? You mean the marinade?

    M.I.L.: Yeah. Not on mine either. Meat’s just fine as is.

    Yep. ‘Cuz I apparently run a diner.

    Oh, fyi, since they’re my wife’s parents, I let them have their steaks “their way.”

    On another note: Yukon Golds are amazing!

  2. Heh. My mom would never be quite that up front about it. I think she would just say, “No no no! It’s good! I like… stuff… on meat. Really! It’s good!”

  3. I love it! “I like… stuff… on meat.” That would be classic.

    Now, my Mom… When she was alive and I was a kid, conversations about dinner went something like this:

    Me: What’s for dinner?
    Mom: Food.

    Don’t get me wrong, my Mom was a great cook; being a kid, the problem was that dinner was just as likely to be sweetbreads as chicken… Or whatever struck her fancy from whatever new cookbook or Gourmet magazine that she had just picked up. But I think that’s where my silly outrage over the whole ridiculous steak issue has it’s base:

    Dinner is what I’m fixing, how I’m fixing it.

    Hope everyone likes sea urchin with tomato foam as an amuse-bouche…

    Now that, even I might complain about…

  4. Kristen—Your dinner sounds lovely! And Thanksgiving isn’t exactly the best time to mess with traditions. Especially when it comes to your crew, apparently. Regarding the potatoes, a huge revelation for me was that mashed potatoes COULD be made slightly ahead and then reheated. Can’t even begin to tell you how much side dish-related stress that has relieved.

  5. We bought a kosher turkey from Trader Joe’s that CAME brined. It was awesome. Next time just don’t tell them what it is…I do that with my kid all the time.

    p.s. I concur: yukon golds are da bomb.

  6. Oh my god, you just reminded me… at the risk of publicly embarrassing her, I have to tell you, my 14 year old sister (a proud product of local public schools) seriously asked:

    “Do Jewish people have Thanksgiving?”

    [shakes head sadly]

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