here we are friends… Thanksgiving week. For some it is exciting, for some it is a difficult time of the year.
I have been on both sides if that coin throughout the years…I wish that I had advice for friends of mine having a tough time this year.. just know that I am thinking of you
If you have been following me for a while, or happen to know me personally, then you know that cooking Thanksgiving dinner is my FAVORITE thing to do in the world! To me it’s not a chore, it’s a privilege. The days leading up to Turkey day are just as much of a holiday for me as the actual day, You can read more about that HERE..
Today is the Tuesday before, which I have dubbed ‘ big shopping day’…. NO not he day where everyone comes out at 1 am in their pajamas and runs over fellow human beings also in the holiday ‘spirit’ in order to save a buck on GI joe…. I;m talking about the day that I get up very early, go shopping for all of the food that I will need to prepare my meal.
Being organized is key. If you know me then you know that organization … yeah… not so much for me, *I* am a multi-tasker. A multi tasker of epic proportions…
in fact, while I am typing this, I am doing laundry, wrapping Christmas presents ( the 2 that I have) talking to Ali, listening to some pretty music and bandaging up my finger.
All at once. So to calm my self to a place where I focus on *JUST* shopping for this one meal… it’s a challenge. But I work myself up for it… and each year I succeed.
early in the morning, the grocery store employees are really nice… not that they aren’t nice later in the day, but they are tired.. really tired. And who could blame them?
You also met other nice ‘early morning’ people… I met a lady this morning who went out of her way to tell me what a great buy the sweet potatoes were. And where to find them. I told her about the nutritional benefits of them, next thing you know, we were having coffee and we booked a trip to the Bahamas for a weekend retreat together.
just kidding. everything beyond the coffee part was silly…. but people can be so nice sometimes that it makes you remember why you are thankful.
***** she’s a- rambling again*****……. ok.. down to business.
on big shopping day, I don’t really do a lot of cooking.. a lot of it is prep….
A few years back, Scott and I decided to try to brine our bird. Brining does a lot of things…. the salt brings out the impurities, the flavor of what you brine with gets taken into the bird, and the salt helps hole the moisture , making for a very moist, delicious bird… But there is one extra benefit that we discovered after a few years of trial and error.
stick with me here….here is what is in my basic brine
Kosher salt ( very important to not use baking salt) I use Morton’s in the big blue box
Sugar… I used brown sugar
citrus… assorted.. have fun with it!
I onion, peeled & chopped
fresh thyme, parsley, sage, and Rosemary
In the past we have tried to mix the brine in a large bowl and keep in in the fridge…. one year we brined in the sink, taking turns to get up and add ice al night long ( to keep the temp cold enough.
to you it may look like a cooler, but for our turkey of the year, it is a deluxe bathtub…..
I start by boiling about a cup of water… add the salt and the sugar to the *clean* cooler then add the boiling water and stir until salt and sugar are dissolved.
cut the citrus in wedges and squeeze the juice in with the mix & drop the rinds right in there. Rough chop the herbs, dump the peppercorns and fill the cooler halfway with ice.
Next, rinse the bird ( by now you should have named him….. our bird this year is Theodore ) and careful submerge him in his custom made bath.
The only thing that is REALLY important here you need to keep the temp 38 degrees or lower… this is easy to do by adding ice cubes along the way… just use a thermometer .. because you are using a cooler, the temp stays more regulated than if you used a bowl or bucket… Just make sure that you put the cover on tightly…
Now here Teddy is, all soaking…and you may be wondering.. what are the cranberries doing in there???? Truth is… I ran out of ice and the temp wasn’t low enough…. but I did have an extra bag of frozen cranberries in the freezer……. so I added them, and presto, temp right where I wanted it to be
I usally brine for close to 48 hours. anything for 24 on is fine.
the other cool thing about using a cooler, is that it frees up space in your fridge! Teddy cam right from the store to his bath.. leaving my fridge open for all of the veggies that I look forward to preparing tomorrow!
sadly, after I got Teddy Bathing, I cut my finger pretty bad on broken glass in the basement.. timing couldn’t be worse.. So I’m slacking on a little bit of the prep work this afternoon and taking it easy….. but I have all of the necessary things to wrap and protect it, so I’ll be ok.. and full steam ahead in the morning!!
If you are cooking, have fun with it…. it you are a guest, have fun with that…. and if you are looking for a crazy after dinner tradition, come over to my house…. things get a little wierd Thanksgiving afternoon.
I can’t wait to share it all with you
be thankful <31
PST***** Happy Birthday to my litte sister, Jodie!!!!!! whoo hoot!!!