November 27th, 2002


The Pre-Turkey Warmup...

We roasted our turkey on Saturday, and I think it's the best $4 turkey I've ever had. It'd gotten a decent, gradual thawing in the fridge all week, and I did something to it that I've always done with my roast chickens but had never thought to do with a turkey before...

I roasted it sitting on its breast for the first two-thirds of the time. I did 45 minute at 400, then 1 1/2 hours at 250. The legs and thighs and back can take the high heat and I wanted them more cooked than the breast. Also, with the breast side down, the breast got all the juices, drippings, and fat that was coming off the rest of the bird, so it was being internally basted automatically. I only opened the oven to swap sides halfway through the first part of the roasting. For the second part, I just flipped the bird (carefully, with much struggling with two and then four big wads of paper towels), and upped the heat back to 400 and stuck an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the breast meat and set it for 165 degrees.

When the alarm went off, I left it in for another ten minutes and then took it out onto a cutting board and let it rest for nearly half an hour while finishing the external stuffing, green bean cassarole, and gravy. The bird was perfectly browned on top, the thighs were at 179 while the breast was at 167, and perfectly done. Yeah, this wasn't the full Thanksgiving feast; just the parts we liked and would eat moderately of. It was probably the first time I actually wanted breast meat, as it turned out succulent, juicy, and marvelously tender. This on a sixteen pound bird, it's unusual when it's that huge to have all of it be that good. So we now have dinners tucked away into the freezer, some leftovers for cassaroles, soup, sandwiches, and at least another dinner in the fridge.

Last Sunday I made fifteen dozen cookies and only ate one. Hee. It's for the Longmont Home Tour, which has a bunch of volunteers decorate three local, historical houses, and take folks on tours through the homes. They have cookies at the reception and also have a bake sale and food sale. I was able to pack up one four-person turkey dinner for the frozen dinners sale. I also baked both oatmeal and molassas spice cookies that could be used at the reception and for the bake sale.

I've always admired good spice cookies, as they're hard to find. They need to have a good balance of spices, not too cloying, not too overwhelming, but they also need to be chewy, have that bite of molassas, and just crisp on the edges. I finally found a recipe after my own heart in The Best Recipe and I made a couple batches of them. It was fun to run my stand mixer in production mode, and just go at it. Two batches at a time. Jet had fun mixing things, and eating raw dough. He refused the finished cookies, though, which amused me.

I also bought the beginner's kit from Mumm's. It arrived last week, and I started a jar of the simplest thing, ever, the alfafa sprouts. I also did a jar of mung beans, which has to be kept completely dark. The alfalfa surprised the heck out of me by the sheer growth in volume in just four days. We now have crunchy, crisp sprouts for turkey sandwiches. Jet also eats them by the handful, straight out of the jar. I imagine that he may, someday, like growing them himself and eating them because he grew them. We'll see.

The mung beans are different than the commercially available mung bean sprouts. Not quite as fat a root. I'll have to see if I need to do something like pile weight on them, somehow. Still, they should be tasty enough in a pad thai, and better than having sprouts that just go to mush in the fridge.
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Low Price Turkeys

I'm mildly curious...

Locally, we have turkeys up to 16 pounds for just $4, 16-25 for $5, and 25 and over for $7. I don't remember seeing these kinds of prices in California or Washington, but things may have changed.

I'm just curious if folks in other places have these kinds of specials for Thanksgiving?