Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Turkey Makes a Turkey

Here's an unfortunate secret about my foolish prideful self: All it takes for me to pull out all the stops is to perceive that someone thinks I am not capable. (Yes, this has repeatedly gotten me in trouble--like an unfortunate piercing 14 years ago that only lasted a couple of weeks but made for an unfortunate pregnancy stretchmark on my navel...but I digress.)

I am not a cook. I can follow a recipe and produce decent results, but I am horribly out of practice, short on time and surrounded by little people who think new things are "bluck-y!" Because my husband is rarely home at dinner time, I prepare kid-friendly foods on the fly (lots of fresh fruits and steamed veggies) and generally warm a precooked meat. Or we eat out.

You can therefore imagine the raised eyebrows I have gotten from almost everyone who knows me well when I mention that I am cooking a Thanksgiving turkey this year for 20. Never one to back down from a challenge, I spent last week researching methods and this week practicing. I successfully prepared a turkey 4 years ago, but that was pre-children and as you know that means my memory of it is all but lost.

I have fallen in love with a cooking website that is entertaining, simple and shows step-by-step (with beautiful pictures) the process of delicious recipes. I am feeling inspired! I spent yesterday afternoon brining and as I type at 7:25AM my bird has been thoroughly washed and is roasting in the oven.

I have already learned some great things as a result of a trial run.
1- My garage refrigerator is abnormally cold. It took 5 days for a 10 pound bird to defrost.
2- When twine is not available, dental floss makes a great substitute.
3- It is a good idea to remove the extra racks from your oven BEFORE you preheat.
4- Managing a large, slippery bird can only be compared to wrestling a wet child from the bathtub.

Here's to trying new things--even if it is neurotically. It is times like these I am especially grateful for keeping my laptop in the kitchen. Next stop, turkey gravy!

UPDATED: I learned at 9:52AM that some thermometers melt in a 375 degree oven. This is why we practice, I suppose!

UPDATED AGAIN: It is done. This bird is so tender, juicy and delicious! I may have to become a cook now. Seriously, brining seems to make all the difference in the world. YUM! Excuse me now while I go take a big tummy-full-of-turkey nap before the children finish preschool. I wish. :-)

18 comments:

Renee said...

Wow! You did not tell me you were cooking for 20. I'm struggling with 8 adults, 4 little boys, and a little one. I'm sure you'll have fun thougth and that all will turn out wonderful! And you won't be the only one with your laptop in your kitchen. Mine will be right there with me as I'm trying to make some of her other dishes. My husband loves it when I experiment when company is coming. :)

Happy roasting!

Seized by Hope said...

Loved the floss idea, I've never thought of that! And I agree wrestling a turkey is very akin to wrestling a child OUT of the bathtub! Hope your dinner for 20 is a great success.

Sarah's In the Midst of It said...

Wow, I am impressed! Good luck with all your fixins :) We've been buying a smoked turkey from a meathouse for the last several years, and I swear it has saved me each Thanksgiving.

And thanks for the cooking link--I'm going now to check it out!

I heart you too :)

fAiThFuL cHiCk said...

Oh, honey - I have that same unfortunate stretch mark from the exact same unfortunate piercing decision. Ugh!

Good luck with the turkey. I am sure it will turn out great. Don't you just LOVE Pioneer Woman? She is spunky!

Blessings...

Sarah's In the Midst of It said...

Okay, I've just checked it out, and I'm RUINED! I promised myself this year not to try any new dishes for Thanksgiving, and to just keep it very simple. And then I saw the Spanish Green Beans and the Butternut Squash Puree and . . . I'm in trouble :)

What a great site!

Jenny said...

Don't you just love the PW cooks site?!? I have tried a couple of her recipes and loved them. It's great to have the step by step and with pictures too! I'm sure your turkey will be fantastic! Blessings on your family this Thanksgiving!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

If you need someone to help you consume your practice runs, call me.

I've cooked Thanksgiving dinner for years for family and friends, because I thrive on adrenaline in a really unhealthy way. But I've never tried brining, and I've always wanted to.

I also love the Pioneer Woman Cooks site. Like a Pavlovian dog, I still drool instantly when even thinking of her cinnamon rolls.

Renee said...

Your thermometer melted?!? Oh dear. And that is one thing I forgot to add to my list. Mine is not even sufficient to think about roasting a turkey with.

Courtney said...

the PW is from nearby where we live! I have heard of her, but I can't get her cook site to work?

Lisa@Take90West said...

I am going to brine this year too thanks to the PW. Glad to know your trial run turned out well. I am going to do her mashed potatoes, too. I should do a trial run, because I'm not much of a cook either, but I'm also lazy.
Good luck!

Tiffany said...

WOW! What a great cooking website! And she's hularious! I've read her blog before, but never her cooking blog! I just wanted to stop by and say HEY! and how much I enjoy reading your family adventures! Have a blessed day!

Beth/Mom2TwoVikings said...

*clap, clap, clap* Good for you! Brava, kiddo, brava! We have started smoking chicken, turkeys, etc. instead of roasting. One perk? The brining process you describe. The second perk? It's out on the grill which leaves the whole oven open for other dinner and dessert goodies.

keri said...

cooking a turkey is one feat i have yet to take on!! its so scary to me. did you touch those yucky inside things!? ick! i'm very proud of you j!! and great idea to have a trial run this week!!

Perri said...

Go for the cooking bag! It's impossible to mess it up.

ATLKrafts said...

I melted a thermometer because it was a candy therm and not a meat one... oh well-- good job on the practice run

Christi said...

Good for you, good for you! I'm glad it turned out so well!

Room for Grace said...

THANK YOU for that website. I read her other website, but had never checked out the cooking one, and I love it! Just what I needed. I am cooking for 13 next week - whew, should be fun!
Thank you!

A Place For Ministry Wives said...

I have never cooked a turkey. And I would practice first, too. You're my kind of gal. :-)