Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Perfect Thanksgiving (and some ideas for leftovers!)

We were blessed to have lots of family here this weekend for Thanksgiving. Everyone has gone home now, with a belly full of the best turkey dinner I think I've ever eaten.

This year I tried brining a turkey. It's supposed to make the meat juicier, and let's face it, turkey usually isn't known for being juicy. I used Epicure's recipe for Canadian Maple Brined Turkey. (Instead of ice, I added about 12 c. water to cover the turkey.) I brined it overnight (about 14 hours)and then rinsed it off, patted it dry, and rubbed it with butter and Turkey Rub (even underneath the skin.) I cooked it at 325 F for about 3 1/2 hours, and each time I basted it, I glazed it with maple syrup as well. This made the gravy sooooooooooo delicious!!!(Sorry, that's a terrible picture. It fell apart when we lifted it out of the roaster, plus this is only my second attempt at cooking a turkey, so I haven't mastered the art of a beautiful looking bird yet. But it sure tasted good!)

I also made Cranberry Apple Stuffing, with some slight modifications to the recipe. Instead of bread crumbs I used cubes of french bread (from our wine & cheese the night before.) I also used less Cherries & Berries, more apples and onion, and I used Sage & Apple Stuffing Seasoning. I made it the day before and tossed it into the oven in tinfoil packets for about an hour while the turkey was cooking. It was delicious, although I must admit, I do still love Stove Top Stuffing!
One of my favourite dishes was the Maple Roasted Root Vegetables. These were amazing. When the turkey was cooked, we wrapped it in tinfoil to let it rest, so we just poured the gravy drippings into another container and used the roaster to make the veggies (because this recipe makes a huge batch!) I followed the directions exactly and they turned out perfectly.
We also had some garlicy mashed potatoes that I forgot to take a picture of. I think we all know what they look like. Potatoes, butter, milk, and (perhaps a little too much) Garlic Potato Topper all whipped together.
But the highlight of the meal was my sister's Pumpkin Cheesecake, topped with Crystallized Ginger.
It was as good as it looks... huge, tall slices of rich, creamy cheesecake, topped with real whipped cream. She also made Lemon Meringue Pie from scratch, but I didn't take a picture of that either. It was just as fabulous - my sister is an amazing baker!
Now if anyone is wondering what to do with their turkey leftovers, here are my suggestions (and if I don't blog this week, it's because I'm eating one of these three things and the recipes are already on here.)
  1. TV Dinners - Get some pie plates and serve up a portion of all your leftovers onto each plate. Pour some gravy overtop, and wrap in tinfoil. These are handy to keep in the freezer and pull out on cold winter nights. They do take a while to heat up in the oven (maybe an hour?) but it's nice to have a turkey meal sometimes without all the hassle.
  2. Coq au vin - Instead of cooking the chicken, just add leftover turkey instead. If you boil the turkey carcass to make broth, save some to use in this recipe.
  3. Turkey Enchiladas - Another favourite recipe I haven't made in ages, and it's also great for freezer meals (if you don't want to eat turkey all week.)

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!!! Enjoy your leftovers!

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