Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Countdown: The Day Before

We have one day left for preparations.  The first thing I want you to do is check that turkey defrosting in the refrigerator.  Is it still rock solid?  I am going to recommend something that all the official "turkey" sites will say is anathema:  Take the turkey out of the refrigerator today for a few hours.  Don't completely defrost it, but it should be almost there before you put it back in the refrigerator.  If you do this make sure you roast your turkey until it is 165 degrees fahrenheit in the thickest part of the thigh.  If it is still partially frozen tomorrow put it to soak in a sink of cold water until defrosted.

Today I will make the cornbread stuffing/dressing using the cornbread I baked yesterday.  I will fry chopped onions and celery in butter and pour over diced cornbread.  Then I'll add some salt and poultry seasoning to taste.  Moisten it all with broth until very moist, but not soaking wet.  If you have excess milk from dairy animals you can substitute milk for the broth.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 1/2 hour.  You will want a light brown crust on top.

I will also make the pumpkin pie.  Super easy; just follow the directions on the can of pumpkin.  You can make your own crust, but the Pillsbury crusts are very good.  The pie will be served with cream whipped just before serving.  I don't use artificial whipped toppings and I don't sweeten the cream.  Let the pie provide the sweetness and the cream richness.

Dear daughter and I will finish cleaning floors, iron the turkey patterned tablecloth (delightfully tacky), set the table and wipe down the bathroom.  Provide fresh towels for your guests and put out a new bar of soap.  They will notice these considerate, hygienic touches.  Sweep the front porch and walk for a good first impression.

Let's talk about roasting the turkey.  If you've roasted a chicken you can roast a turkey.  Remove the giblets, rinse the bird in cold water, push softened butter under the skin and massage around, place cut up onions and citrus in the cavity, salt and roast according to the directions given by the processor or your favorite cookbook.  It is done when it registers 165 F in the thickest part of the thigh.  Make sure the thermometer is not touching bone when you take the temperature.  If it starts to get too brown before it is done cover with aluminum foil.  When done take the turkey out of the oven, cover with a tent of foil and let rest for 15 minutes before carving.

My confession:  Because I will have so few meat eaters at my table this year I have decided not to cook a whole turkey.  I am roasting a half a breast and two thighs.  We will have turkey aplenty to eat and for leftovers.

Friday I will be at the grocery store bright and early to find those post Thanksgiving sales.  I hope I get a couple of fresh turkeys for canning and broth.  Cranberries to can as preserves and already canned pumpkin for the pantry.

Happy Thanksgiving and God bless,

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