Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas...2 Days Late

As I always say, better late than never. We finally had our Christmas dinner together. Between the weather and work schedule and a whole myriad of other reasons, the holiday was postponed a bit. But after 2 days of non-stop cooking, digging out cars as they arrived at our home, retrieving our car from the Safeway parking lot and picking up those who don't drive, we made it. And it was amazingly worth it. This year because of several different sets of circumstances we decided not to exchange gifts. It was so nice to not have that stress this year. And I was able to focus completely on my cooking. And if I do say so, I out did myself. The sad part is, I was so caught up in the preparation and serving that I didn't take any pictures. Oh well. I definitely have a long way to perfection. I'll still tell you a little of what I did.

This year I tried that brining thing with the turkey thing that seems so popular. OH MY GOSH!!! I will never do another turkey any other way. I used this recipe from All Recipes.Then I opened up my newest edition of the "The Joy of Cooking" and followed their recipe for the baking of a brined turkey. I rubbed the turkey cavity with salt, placed fresh onion, carrots, celery, and parsley inside, and basted it with melted butter to which I had added smokey paprika. I had a 24 lbs. turkey, so I roasted it breast side down for 3 hours at 325 degrees. Then I flipped it over, and roasted it for another 2 hours. During this time I basted it about once every hour, sometimes with the butter mixture and sometimes with pan juices. Now I cooked this the day before...that's a whole 'nother story. After I let it cool I removed the meat from the bone, and saved the carcass (it took 3 Ziploc bags) for stock, and put the pan drippings in a bowl to save for gravy the next day. I was amazed at how juicy and flavorful the turkey was! Juice literally dripped out of the breast meat as I sliced it. And it was just as good the next day. And the drippings made incredible gravy. And thanks to reading my husband's niece's blog, I knew that I should not put the hot pan with the brine in it outside on a glass patio table to cool. Evidently, cold glass and hot pan bottoms don't mix. Thanks for that head's up, Carrie.

One other new thing I tried this year was from The Pioneer Woman blog. One of her many readers who hales from the Netherlands sent Ree a scrumptious recipe for braised red cabbage. It was a definite hit at our house. You all should really try it.

Everything was really your typical fare and very informal. But you know, as my second son observed today, food is just the excuse to get together. It really doesn't matter what you have to eat as long as the family is there. So true... so next year...PIZZA!

Now, I want to leave you with a picture of the best part of the day.

My grandbaby in his new sweater and hat from his uncle with a monkey in matching outfit. I mean, really, can you get any cuter?


Anonymous said...

He is so cute and glad everything turned out. Sometimes good things come to those who wait. Barb T

Janet said...

I want to do something with my turkey carcass, also brined. Any recipes?