As my digits dance along the keyboard in flurry of confusion, millions of ovens across the country are cooking turkeys resting on roasting racks in 300-plus degree heat. But in my apartment, the is probably sitting at a cooler 76 to 78 degrees as I have no turkey cooking for family.
The only time I cooked a turkey was in 2009. It was my first Thanksgiving living at home since I was a senior in high school and I decided I was going to take the helm and put together most of the more common dishes: the green bean casserole, two pumpkin pies and the turkey.
My turkey was cooked with roasted grapes and thyme, my green bean casserole with bacon and almonds, and we had a pumpkin cheesecake and a regular pumpkin pie served with Chai ice cream. I was so excited.
The turkey came out pretty decent for an off-the-cuff recipe. I made an herb butter and used it in between the skin and the flesh of the big bird. I kept some as reserves to use as it cooked coating the outside for a nice caramelized skin. The grapes and thyme sprigs went on the bottom of the roasting rack and inside the bird I used a bundle of thyme, a bunch of grapes, some red onion and a half a lemon for some aromatics. The trick was to crush some of the grapes and leave help the cooking along. It made for a surprisingly flavorful gravy in the end also. The grapes took away from the saltiness of the turkey drippings.
The green beans weren't the best, to be honest. I think they needed some sort of binding agent to make it all cohesive. Sliced almonds were the way to go since they were easily the same size as the pieces of bacon. I was thinking a creamy cheese may have been the best idea for a binding agent, but I didn't have anyone hand. Next time I'll get it though.
The pies were a hit. Though I should admit I used some recipes online for the pies since baking is more a science than an art. You have to get the ingredients fairly accurate if you want the right results. Adding too much cream or an extra egg can be the difference between a soupy mess or a fluffy custard filling. I followed the recipe as best I could and they came out delish.
The Chai ice cream, which was spectacular by itself, was great. Fresh ice cream is made with an egg and cream mixture and is cooked before going through the ice cream machine. I used a regular vanilla recipe and just steeped a few bags of Chai tea in the cream as it cooked. The hard part about making ice cream though is making sure you have the right kind of pot for the custard, aluminum reacts to eggs and can give an off color or taste. Nonetheless, any vanilla recipe sans the vanilla is a good base recipe for ice cream. Once you have that down, you can make most any kind of ice cream, and we all know that ice cream is a great end any big meal involving lots of family and friends.
Bon appetite and Happy Thanksgiving to you all.
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