Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

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The 20 lb Bird

On Friday, while John and Jet were doing grocery shopping for us on Friday, without me. John made an "Executive Decision" and bought a $5 20 pound turkey. Hey! Twice the bird for just two more buck.

It thawed for the weekend in the extra fridge (while we were doing ten thousand other things, but that's another entry), and we figured it would be thawed enough for today. I figured five hours cooking time, and we wanted, originally, to go to the Rec. Center, so it would have to be done by four. So I figured I should have it started by 11.

At 8 I had my meeting. At 8:30, Jet decided on a smoothie for his breakfast. I had part of it as well as a slice of pumpkin bread and a cup of really gorgeous Mexico Oaxaca "Pluma Hidalgo" coffee. I'd managed, yesterday, to roast it to a perfect city+, deep chocolate notes and lots of sweetness and a tang that the Sumantra coffees I'd been drinking had been lacking and the addition was very pleasant. I was amazed. Especially with the body of the cup compared to the original review. But keeping it in an air tight container for more than 12 hours seemed to do it a world of good. Wow...

By 9:30 we were out the door, to Hobby Lobby, where we returned the knitting needles that I'd bought the other day and liked the ones from the real knitting shop better. They wouldn't let me have cash since I'd used a check for them two days before, so I got a gift card instead to the exact amount of the return. I thought that was pretty cool. I can use it on anything there. Jet had already picked out a set of paint brushes and three refrigerator magnets before I was even handed the card. The boy knows what he wants, I guess. I said, "No." to it all, and we headed to The Flower Bin and found a lady from church there! Hee. That was fun.

Jet and I wandered about, found an indoor watering can that would work quite well for everything, as the one I used to use is now cracked. I had found it outside in an unused flower pot, and the spout was cracked and dripped water everywhere when I tried to use it. So we bought me a new one. We also watched the fountain with the fish and duck (decoys) on it for quite some time. Then Jet picked a daffodil and I got a paperwhite and a forcing vase for it. The vase said, "Hycyninth Forcing Vase" but it couldn't fool me. I could use it for any kind of forcing bulb. I loved my mother's paperwhites from her garden, but in the meantime, unless and until I can get more of them, I'll make do with lesser varieties and the scent and green of spring in the teeth of the coming winter. Jet said that he wanted to plant his by a tree, and I thought that would be a great idea. So we'll plant it some time.

From there we hit the grocery store and picked up a bunch of low-sodium chicken broth, some celery, frozen French-cut string beans and a few other things that looked like we could use them. We did not get another dozen yogurts, chocolate pudding, or two bags of candy that Jet pointed out, but we did end up with tri-colored ice cream cones. :-) I guess with my going in and just picking what I want off the shelves, Jet's picking up the idea that he should help and pick out things as well.

Since we had frozen things we went right home, unloaded, and Jet started playing vid games. I checked on the turkey. It was crunchy with ice. Oops. It wasn't exactly frozen, but it wasn't exactly thawed, either. I found the Food Grade Five Gallon Bucket, filled it with the turkey in its wrapping and covered it with cold water. Then, because Jet had been bugging me all morning about it, we went to the Tube McDonald's and had lunch and he played in the tubes with Mrs. Incredible zinging about in one of his fists. I know, to be strictly safe I was supposed to change that water every half hour, but if I were doing an overnight thaw on such a huge thing I doubt I would have been up EVERY half hour...

As it was, when we got back, the outside was softened, the inside of the cavity was pretty rock hard with ice. Running cold water soon took care of that and I levered the neck out of there, and got a huge amount of ice to just flow out pretty quickly. I then found that my Big Roasting Pan did not fit in the new, smaller double oven. Convection or no, the darn pan just didn't fit. I tried the huge thing on my regular roasting pan and it overflowed the edges. Bleh. I finally found my half sheet pan just about right. I put a small cooling rack under the bird, and it stayed pretty much over the pan. Whew. I stuffed it in the preheated "Convection Roast" oven at 450, put a cup of water on the sheet pan to keep drippings from smoking, my usual start... and pretty soon the kitchen was full of smoke. Wha?

Turns out that the convection roast uses the top heating element to supply the heat while the fan blows the heat around the oven. It's still hottest at the top and on the conventional oven rack that HUGE bird was about an inch away from the broiling element. GAH! There is a drop rack that comes in the oven; but this meant moving the bird, rack, and shallow pan filled with liquids. Thank God for Kathy's Shark Mitts. She'd given to me a long time ago, knowing that I wrestle with hot Stuff in like situations. So I found them, and used them to pull the pan out. They protect so well that I could, with impunity, grasp the pan really solidly, even with a thumb in the "grease" and liquid in the pan on both sides for stability. It was a really good thing, too, when I found out, as I was putting it all back in the oven, that the damned drop rack had a lip (for *#@$&! sake) that meant that I had to put the whole pan on at the same time. I couldn't put part of it on and slide it on. With that monster bird on the pan it was just crazy.

But I did it and only spilled a little of the liquids on my stove top, where I'd parked it while swapping things out.

So thank you, Kathy.

The shark mitts really did the trick. I waited until the pan was nearly dry to turn the turkey from it's back to it's front, so that was much easier. When it was back in the oven I rewetted the bottom pan to keep it from burning. I also made giblet stock for the gravy, cranberry-orange sauce, and got "Home on the Range" from the RedBox at the McDonald's into the DVD player for Jet. That was when the dishwasher guys made it here! They came and pulled the old dishwasher, asking almost in passing, "You want we should take this old one?" "Uhm. Yeah. I don't know what we'd do with it." Okay, so it works and we might be able to sell it for a few bucks at work or something, but the hassle when they do it all the time. I know that they'd like to sell it, used, to someone that can use a working dishwasher, so it won't go to waste with them. Not like it's going to the dump or something. So that's cool.

Jet followed them around, trying to tell them about the Diesel 10 that he'd bought at the choo-choo store and how he really liked it and them and how they were spilling water on the floor from the hose they'd accidentally let go of from the old washer and...

He was talking a mile a minute. I finally sat down on the driveway with him in my lap so we could watch them, but the sun was in his eyes and Jet told me that his head was hurting and could I make the sun stop shining? I put my hand over his eyes and he said, "Thank you, Mommy." and held it there. He was kind of hot. Fever, likely, from Yet Another Cold.

The dishwasher guys couldn't get the protective stand off the dishwasher. They said that they had to go back to the store to get some tool to do it. So they left. Jet and I watched "Home on the Range". He drank juice. He got warmer. I thought about giving him something, but between skimming the broth, turning the turkey and other stuff, I just didn't get around to it before the dishwasher guys came back. And then Jet wanted me to hold him, and he fell asleep in my arms during the movie. I thought he might. I held him until he was good and asleep. I then laid down towels and a rolled up towel for a pillow, and put him on them while the dishwasher guys banged away on the dishwasher. I put his Cookie Monster blanket over him and let him sleep while they installed and I watched the last of the movie in relative peace.

At 4, the thermometer went off. I think the convection roast really works a lot faster than I usually think of it doing. It was done. John came home around 4:30. The trains in the movie woke Jet up at just about that time. John gave him ibuprofen and Jet's acting like he's complete fine. I then made gravy, stuffing, a two-person green bean casserole, and toasted Great Harvest Oregon Herb rolls. John and I then proceeded to eat way too much while Jet had some smoothie, a bit of cereal, and a glass of apple juice. Somehow, I think Jet had the healthier meal. I am Full.

I also made up packets to put into the Deep Freeze downstairs, and moved the nuts and chocolate down there as well. Easier to find in those baskets. I need to move all the green chilies, the dried mushrooms, and other long-term storage stuff down there as well. The thermometer read -4. I'm impressed. I spent more time packing away all the meat than I did eating it. The Pepperidge Farm stuffing was Too Salty, especially with the salts from the turkey itself. But the turkey, itself, is quite good and the gravy from the drippings wasn't that salty, given that half of the liquid in it was from the low-sodium chicken broth. I think it went okay. If I cook with the gravy and the meat, though, I am adding no more salt. Period.

Given all the possible disasters, it turned out well. Speck, the next door dog, was totally ecstatic to get the liver, heart, and other boneless, cooked giblets and some of the drier leg and wing meats. I could use the broth, but I never have liked the flavor or texture of chopped giblets in the gravy. She loved them, though. So that was all to the good.

Jet got better. He played games with John. There was a CD of games with Jet's last Hot Wheels car, and it has a demo and sampling of the other Hot Wheels titles, and one of them made John just break down with laughter. It's a "Crashing" game, where the object is to crash into as many objects as possible. I was totally appalled at the game, John was appalled, too, but he laughed so hard he almost cried at the first time the truck went tumbling end for end... Jet loved the laugh and kept asking John to "Do it again!" And they did. A lot. Hee.

But then Jet wanted me to read to him and staged a sleep strike until I did, so I finally did. Given that John tried for a good hour, it finally seemed the better part of valor to try and get Jet to just sleep. He's sick and John had a long night, last night, with Jet, as Jet got up restless and with a fever or something, and it took a while for the ibuprofen to take affect. I'll have to watch for that tonight.

My legs ache from standing so much in the kitchen today. We now have leftovers for the rest of the month, until Thanksgiving. Hee.

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