Sunday, November 25, 2007

gone, gone, gone

I polished off the pie this morning.

I figured I should say something about the holiday, and the accompanying feast. The day was quiet, and cool, and lovely. We ate our Thanksgiving dinner at mid-day, outside, and it was perfect. We had the usual menu: roast turkey, gravy, pureed cauliflower, acorn squash, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, and rolls.

Wednesday was an all-day-in-the-kitchen affair. With the kids' help, I made pumpkin pie with graham cracker crust, then an apple pie, and a cherry-blueberry pie. I went with a combination of 2/3rds organic shorting and 1/3 unsalted butter for the pie crust, and was very pleased with both the texture and the taste. After the pies, I attacked the veggies, and got the cauliflower, squash, and green beans into their appropriate dishes ready to be reheated the next day, and then moved on to the stuffing. The bread I cut into cubes and let air dry; the onions and celery I let carmelize in sweet butter. I used my own chicken stock to moisten the dried bread, and was it ever fantastic. For once I ignored the Bell's Seasoning box directions and kept adding liquid until it seemed right; I'm tired of too-dry stuffing, and the dense bread that I use definitely sops up the liquid much more than your typical supermarket bread would. I ended my long day in the kitchen with Cook's Illustrated Anytime Dinner Rolls, a new recipe for me: alas, I misread it, and used 1+1/2 cup of milk, instead of 1+1/4, and that left me with very sticky dough, into which I had to knead a lot more flour (I couldn't bear to chuck it and start over, although I probably should have.)

Did I mention I brined the turkey for the first time, ever?

On the day itself, I put the turkey in the oven, breast-side down, at 400 degrees, at 10AM, and flipped it breast-side up at 11:30-ish. It came out, perfectly roasted, just before noon. The rolls went in at 12:20 for 25 minutes at 375, and then the cauliflower, squash, and stuffing went in at 350 when the rolls came out.

Somehow or other, it all worked out. Everything was delicious, and I had turkey stock simmering on the back of stove all Thursday night. The only problem is, we've already run out of turkey -- the bird was only 11 pounds. I'll have to get a bigger one at Christmas. I'd like to have more.

And I'd like some more pie, too. The kids devoured the apple much too quickly. Not so much with the pumpkin and cherry-blueberry, although they were eaten, too. I just think next time I'll make two apple pies and get it over with. I used the Cameo apples this time, and while I did see a little bit of shrinkage, it was really fine, using the corer/peeler/slicer gadget. And it was really, really delicious.

Ironically I haven't had much of an appetite for the past week or so; I think it's the new medication the g/e has me on. I even appear to have lost a few pounds, which seems odd, timing-wise. I can't explain it, but that's OK, because I've been having pie for breakfast, guilt-free. Don't know what I'll do tomorrow, now that it's gone.

1 comment:

Sissy Willis said...

Pie for breakfast. That's a venerable New England tradition where I come from. Yours sounds delicious -- I, too, use a combo of shortening -- in my case hydrogenated lard -- and unsalted butter for the ultimate flakiness PLUS taste . . . My father claims it's the best crust he's had in all of his 88 years. :-)

I totally agree with your cooking philosophy expressed by "I kept adding liquid until it seemed right." Come to think of it, that could serve as a metaphor for just about everything in life.