This morning I woke up and found a package on my doorstep.
On my doorstep.
Squee! My first delivery from the Farm Fresh to You organic produce club! I met a sales rep at a party two weeks ago and thought it sounded like a great idea: locally grown organic produce, delivered right to my door. It wasn’t expensive, so I signed myself up! I chose the non-cook selection with a delivery rate of once every 3 weeks.
The contents of the box!
Inside was: 2 bunches of broccoli, one bunch of fresh spinach, one head of romaine lettuce, a bunch of carrots, a bunch of radishes, a dozen clementines, 4 satsuma oranges, 3 fuyu persimmons, 3 kiwis, 4 firm apples and a small box of fresh cranberries.
Now we are deep in pre-T-day prep. Due to the dietary constraints of my mother (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, legume-free, peanut-free), I made some changes to the traditional menu. Instead of stuffing, we will have wild rice with chestnuts and mushrooms. Instead of wheat flour to thicken the gravy, I will use sorghum flour (it works very well as a sauce thickener). There will be no Mac-n-cheese. And I’ll make a crustless portion of the pumpkin pie.
(organic romaine with spinach, carrots, radishes and apples with Trader Joe’s Orange Champagne Vinegar and Olive oil on the side for those of us who dress our salads)
Green Beans with Almonds
Sauteed in Olive oil with fresh garlic
Optional Butter on the side
Wild Rice Stuffing
Korean Wild Rice Mixture cooked in broth with added Quinoa, Mushrooms, Chestnuts, Onions and lots of Garlic and just a hint of toasted sesame oil
The star of the show, Brined and Roasted, Carved to order
Cranberry Orange Relish
Courtesy of Trader Joe’s
Sweet Potato CasseroleYams, Pineapple bits, fresh grated ginger, a dash of rum and brown sugar,
topped with miniature marshmallows
Featuring coconut milk instead of dairy
I decided to try brining the turkey this year. I have heard so many chefs wax lyrical on NPR as I drive around town that I just had to try it for myself. So the first thing I did was google “Brining a turkey”. I found two recipes that looked interesting: one from Sweet Savory Life and the other from the House Goddess herself, Martha Stewart.
Alice from Sweet Savory Life had the brilliant idea of using an oven bag to brine her turkey in! I don’t own a big enough bucket and the thought of leaving my turkey in an ice-filled cooler in the garage (a la Alton Brown’s suggestion from an interview on All Things Considered) just seems foolhardy in this SoCal climate (it was 73F at my house today, November 27, 2013). But an oven bag contains the liquid and fits in any container that I would normally use to store a turkey in the fridge.
Alice’s recipe calls for salt, sugar, water, apple cider vinegar and some spices. My hubby hates vinegar of any sort, so I took inspiration from Martha Stewart and used a dry reisling instead.
My Brine Recipe for a 13lb Turkey:
1 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup dry reisling6 bay leaves
1 bunch rosemary
1 bunch thyme
1 bunch sage
Herbs fresh from the garden except for the bay leaves
1 tbl garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
12 cups water
1 oven bag
Dissolve salt and sugar in 4 cups of boiling water and allow to cool. Add the rest of the ingredients. Remove giblets and neck from turkey. Rinse turkey and put into bag. Pour brine mix into bag which is in a large container. Close the bag. Put the whole thing in the fridge until ready to roast. Rinse well before rubbing with butter or olive oil and lots of crushed garlic. Roast as usual.
I am debating butterflying the turkey and resting it on top of the stuffing. There is much talk about how stuffing a turkey creates a salmonella factory in your oven… but I’ve always stuffed my turkeys… for the past 30 years, and no-one has ever had a problem. I’ve also always used bread for my stuffing. This year is different and we shall see how adventurous I feel in the morning.
That is the plan. I will report the results tomorrow.
Do you have a game plan for your Thanksgiving Day dinner?
Today’s Haiku for the challenge:
Chop, mince, dice, prepare
Cook what I can in advance