Our Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving just passed us by and I’m sure there was a lot of tradition and innovation in all of your kitchens. Our kitchen was more of a collaboration than usual. The reason I say that is because when I was little it was basically my mom cooking. Then when I learned how to cook and learned that I enjoyed cooking, I took over. My mom would step in from time to time to answer a question or two but she very gladly handed it over to me. One of the dishes I did own, however, was the cranberry sauce.IMG_1123Basically a cup of OJ, a cup of sugar and let it cook until the cranberries start to pop. Never having done it before I was a little skeptical that it could be that easy if we’d always been cracking open a can of the jellied stuff. Yet, here we were.

IMG_1125It was delicious. I really wanted to have a can-less Thanksgiving and I’d say we’re about 90% there. This, I believe, was a huge step in the right direction. It was a little more liquid than I would have preferred but the taste was spot on. Everyone loved it and I think it will continue to feature in future endeavors.

IMG_1134The pie, on the other hand, was quite the collaboration. The apple pie on the bottom was brought by our guests. The one on top was our pumpkin pie. My wife took care of the crust, my mom made the pumpkin puree and I put it together. I severely underestimated the size of that pie dish so we were very short on filling!IMG_1127The turkey. This is the centerpiece of any Thanksgiving meal. I was influenced by Serious Eats post on Spatchock Turkey. You can read the full description by clicking on the link but the short and sweet is to cut out the backbone and push in the breastbone until it cracks. That way you can lay it out flat. We happened to not have a sheet big enough but here you can see me trying to fit it on.

IMG_1126Under the turkey I put together a mix of carrots and celery. This way the turkey stays above the fat and as they cook the aromatics will steam the bottom with flavor. Supposedly. IMG_1129What is true is that by doing it this way you’ll get a beautifully golden skin, juicy evenly cooked meat in about 80 minutes. One big difference is that it isn’t the most presentable of birds so you have to cut it up. IMG_1131I portioned the turkey by cutting the drumsticks, the wings (into a drumette and a mid wing) and sliced the light and dark meat so it would be easy to serve. All in all, everyone was very happy with the results.IMG_1132When you have a full spread like this, the little things are forgotten, the company is enjoyed and the conversations ensue.