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Cdn. Thanksgiving Help

Tracey_Krause's picture

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Hi - my mom always does the family dinners, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc., mainly because she lives in the house, and I'm in a condo. Well frankly she can't cook her way out of a paper bag (nor is she interested in improving). So my solution, is I'm going to volunteer to cook the whole thing at her house. Now, for about 12 people I'm figuring on about a 18 - 20 lb Turkey. Is fresh that much better than frozen? I have my eye on the Sweet Potatoe Gratin in this months FC and that I can make the day before at home.

My mom and my grandma are very plain eaters and I know won't touch the Gratin, anyone have any ideas for plain but good and different that I can serve?

For Dessert, I know she'll have pies, but I was going to take a Grand Cayman Rum Cake that's in my freezer and make some Rum Sauce any other suggestions? Chocolate Pecan Pie??

Thanks for your input.

Tracey

Gretchen_'s picture

(post #61394, reply #1 of 56)

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I buy the biggest turkey I can find every T-giving--in the 24lb. range, always frozen. I am not sure I have ever seen a fresh huge turkey--could be wrong. I find that they have already been injected with salt==brined, after a fashion. I get high high marks on my bird!
In the south scalloped oysters are a traditional side dish and take little prep or time to cook.
Have a great time!!

Pi's picture

(post #61394, reply #2 of 56)

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Do they like cranberries? I have a great recipe for cranberries with port.....If you like, I'll repost it....

Thanksgiving dinner is one of my favorite meals....Check out epicurious.com for recipes, too....

Tracey_Krause's picture

(post #61394, reply #3 of 56)

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Cranberries and Port - oh yes please.

Thanks for the tip.

Tracey

MEAN_CHEF's picture

(post #61394, reply #4 of 56)

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Get fresh and make sure you brine it. Numerous discussions in the archives.

My favorite way to serve sweet potatoes (the orange kind) is to simpley bake them like regular potatoes. Serve with butter, salt and pepper.

The ginger praline pumpkin pie from fine cooking is to die for.

Pi's picture

(post #61394, reply #5 of 56)

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Here you are, Tracy

Cranberry and Port Sauce

12 oz. bag of cranberries

1 1/2 cups sugar or to taste

1 cup Tawny Port

1 t. freshly grated lemon zest(I always add more)

2 T. fresh lemon juice

In a large saucepan combine the cranberries, the sugar, the Port, the zest and the lemon juice, simmer the mixture, stirring occassionally for 15 -20 minutes, or until the berries burst and the mixture has thickened and let cool....Spoon the mixture into a 1 quart decorative mold(I don't do this, I just leave it in a bowl) and chill, covered for at least 3 hours or overnight....Run a thin knife around the edge of the mold, dip the mold into warm water and invert it onto a serving plate.......Serves 8

Even my kids, who don't like cranberries, like it......I have also added chopped walnuts on occasion......

Enyoy

Pi's picture

(post #61394, reply #6 of 56)

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I agree about sweet potatoes baked......

I made the ginger praline pumpkin pie last Thanksgiving and it is delish.......

RuthAnn's picture

(post #61394, reply #7 of 56)

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I have to second Mean on the Brining - really improves the frozen birds too - get the kind without all the goo injected in them, if you can.
DH has always done the TG dinner for his family.
DH's mom is REALLY set in her ways - she won't even buy a new car because it would involve change. After our first TG I refused to cook a bird by her method - it was cooked in the MICROWAVE! It wasn't bad, very moist, but no crispy skin, which is my favorite part. So the next year, we did two birds - one nuked, one brined and then grilled. the brined grilled bird was stripped bare. the micro one was leftovers. and lots of them. We don't nuke the bird anymore.

Tracey_Krause's picture

(post #61394, reply #8 of 56)

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Nuking a turkey??? Holy cow and I thought my mom was bad.

Just so you guys don't think I'm exaggerating about my moms cooking, she knew my brother like cream of corn she thought she'd buy it for us as a special treat. Well she opens the can and oh my God, she looks at it and thinks it's gone bad, so out comes the strainer and under running water she strains this can of cream of corn. Well as you can imagine all us kids are left with is husks.

The other sad part of this story is she would feed her kids canned cream of corn that she thought had gone bad by just rinsing it.!!

Cooking_Monster's picture

(post #61394, reply #9 of 56)

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Make cranberry pecan pie, using the recipe in the T&T folder, under pecan pie. The cranberries are a variant, just throw a couple of handfuls of fresh berries in with the pecans. I've been plugging this for a couple of years, waiting for someone to try it. It is truly outstanding.

MadMom_'s picture

(post #61394, reply #10 of 56)

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Tracey - I wonder how many of us come from homes where the cooking was "dysfunctional" to say the least. One time, my Mom fixed baked potatoes, and she asked me "would you like some Kool Whip on that?" I had to ask her to repeat it to make sure I understood, then I asked her "why on earth would I put Kool Whip on a baked potato?" Her reply was "it's just like whipped cream." All I could do was shake my head and wonder "why on earth would I put whipped cream on a baked potato?" My mom had a horrible habit of putting leftovers into the fridge, not in Tupperware or anything like that, just in the dish they were served in. It was not uncommon to open her fridge and find seven or eight shriveled peas laying in the bottom of a big vegetable dish. I think I learned to cook out of self defense!

Tracey_Krause's picture

(post #61394, reply #11 of 56)

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"I think I learned to cook out of self defense!"

I think I learned out of self preservation :)

chiqui_new_orleans's picture

(post #61394, reply #12 of 56)

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Tracey...I always get great results using a cooking bag from Reynolds...here's how I do it:

Chiqui's ITALIAN STYLE ROAST TURKEY

OF COURSE IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING.......THE TURKEY MUST BE COMPLETELY THAWED OUT BEFORE COOKING. ALSO, REMOVE THE NECK AND BAG OF GIBLETS FROM THE TWO CAVITIES.
RINSE THEM WELL AND PUT ALL THE GIBLETS IN A MED. SIZED SAUCEPAN AND COVER WITH LOTS OF COLD WATER. SEASON WITH A LITTLE LEMON-PEPPER, SALT, GRANULATED GARLIC, PARSLEY, A LITTLE SLICE OF ONION OR GREEN ONION (LEFT WHOLE) A BAY LEAF AND A PINCH OF THYME. LET IT SIMMER ON THE STOVE FOR AS LONG AS THE TURKEY IS IN THE OVEN. ADD MORE COLD WATER AS IT COOKS DOWN. (I USUALLY DON'T LEAVE THE LIVER IN TOO LONG BECAUSE IT GETS TOUGH...MAINLY THE HEART, NECK AND GIZZARD...THEY HAVE THE MOST FLAVOR.)

NOW FOR THE BIRD. THIS IS WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

AN ALUMINUM ROASTING PAN WITH HANDLES
A REYNOLDS COOKING BAG FOR TURKEYS
A COOKIE SHEET TO SUPPORT THE PAN

1 LARGE ONION CUT INTO FOUR WEDGES
2 CARROTS CUT INTO FOUR CHUNKS EACH
2 RIBS OF CELERY WITH THE LEAVES LEFT ON, ALSO CUT INTO FOUR CHUNKS EACH
ABOUT 3 STICKS OF SALTED BUTTER....NOT MARGARINE
GOOD OLIVE OIL, ABOUT 1/2 CUP
2 HEAPING TABLESPOONS CHICKEN SOUP BASE (SAM'S)
(IF YOU DON'T WANT TO GO TO SAM'S...SOME GROCERIES SELL IT; YOU JUST NEED TO ASK FOR IT.)
DEHYDRATED ITALIAN SEASONING
2 BAY LEAVES
LEMON-PEPPER
GRANULATED GARLIC OR 2 CLOVES OF FRESH IF YOU PREFER
2 TABSP. FLOUR

I KNOW THAT THIS SOUNDS LIKE A LOT...BUT BELIEVE ME....IT WILL BE THE BEST TURKEY YOU EVER ATE.

NOW FOR THE PROCEDURE.....AFTER YOU HAVE RINSED AND PATTED THE TURKEY DRY, SEASON IT INSIDE AND OUT WITH THE LEMON-PEPPER AND GRANULATED GARLIC. USING YOUR FINGERS, GENTLY SEPARATE THE SKIN OF THE TURKEY FROM THE FLESH. GO AS FAR DOWN THE BREAST AND THIGHS AS YOU CAN. THIS WILL HELP KEEP THE SKIN FROM TEARING AS IT COOKS. TAKE 2 STICKS OF BUTTER AND CUT THEM INTO FOUR, LENGTHWISE. IT WILL RESEMBLE STICKS. PLACE TWO OF THESE STICKS IN EACH OF THE BREASTS UNDER THE SKIN, AS FAR DOWN AS YOU CAN PUSH IT...REPEAT WITH THE THIGHS.

NOW PREPARE THE COOKING BAG. PLACE TWO TABLESPOONS OF FLOUR INTO THE BAG. HOLD THE END CLOSED AND SHAKE WELL TO DISTRIBUTE THE FLOUR AROUND THE INSIDE OF THE BAG. PLACE THE BAG INTO THE PAN AND INSERT THE BIRD. PLACE HALF OF THE QUARTERED VEGETABLES INSIDE THE BIRD AND ARRANGE THE REST OF THEM AROUND THE SIDES OF THE BIRD, INSIDE THE BAG, OF COURSE. NOW PLACE THE CHICKEN SOUP BASE AND THE REMAINING BUTTER (AT LEAST A HALF STICK) INTO THE BIRD'S CAVITY. RUB THE OUTSIDE OF THE SEASONED BIRD WITH THE OLIVE OIL AND SPRINKLE WITH THE DEHYDRATED ITALIAN SEASONING. ADD THE BAY LEAVES AND 2 CUPS OF WATER INTO THE BAG AND CLOSE WITH THE TIE PROVIDED. MAKE THE REQUIRED SLITS IN THE TOP OF THE BAG AND PLACE THE PAN ON THE COOKIE SHEET AND THEN INTO THE OVEN. BAKE ACCORDING TO THE BAG DIRECTIONS.

WHEN THE TURKEY IS DONE, HAVE SOMEONE POUR THE DRIPPINGS THROUGH A LARGE STRAINER INTO A LARGE POT (A DUTCH OVEN IS PERFECT FOR THIS) ALSO, STRAIN THE GIBLETS THAT HAVE BEEN SIMMERING FOR THE LAST FEW HOURS. IN A CUP, PLACE 4 TABLESPOONS CORNSTARCH AND ADD ENOUGH COLD WATER TO DISSOLVE THE CORNSTARCH
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POUR THIS INTO THE GENTLY SIMMERING DRIPPINGS. AS THIS HEATS UP, IT WILL THICKEN. THE GRAVY WILL NOT NEED A THING.....IT WILL BE PERFECTLY SEASONED. AT THIS POINT YOU CAN CUT UP THE GIBLETS AND ADD THEM INTO THE SAUCE IF YOU WISH.....I USUALLY LEAVE THEM OUT. NOW...YOU JUST SIT BACK AND WAIT FOR THE COMPLIMENTS!!!!!!!!!!!

BELIEVE ME...I KNOW IT MAY SEEM REAL COMPLICATED, BUT IT IS REALLY EASY. JUST GET ALL THE COMPONENTS READY AHEAD OF TIME AND IT WILL BE A BREEZE!!
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Sorry about the "all caps" I typed this ages ago for a friend who doesn't know how to cook.....that's also why there is so much detail in the directions. Besides being a bit lazy...I don't have the time to re-type it!! :0)

BTW..I did a brined Turkey last year and didn't find it any better then my old standard way of cooking turkey..and my way was a lot less tr

Glenys_'s picture

(post #61394, reply #13 of 56)

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Tracey (yes, I'm still speaking to you inspite of the PR you provided for the show), you could do a combination of two methods by having the butcher bone the bird and then brine it. It would cut down on cooking time at mom's and give you a great product. Use the bones to make a great brown stock for gravy.

If you're not into making pumpkin pies, remember the variation on vegetable timbales using pumpkin? Like crustless pumpkin pies, serve with whipped cream and caramel garnish.

Tracey_Krause's picture

(post #61394, reply #14 of 56)

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Glenys - glad to see you are still speaking to me.

Thanks everyone for your help. I have to run now to Mommy Dearests for dinner (i'm taking the lasagna).

Thanks

Tracey

Cissy_'s picture

(post #61394, reply #15 of 56)

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Cranberry Sauce and CLS Pumpkin Cheesecake

are two recipes that were great hits at our 2000 TK table.

The cranberry sauce is really easy:

1 bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tsp almond flavor
3 Tbsp slivered almonds

Comgine cranberries, sugar and water in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until cranberries pop. Stir in almond flavor. Refrigerate until service. Just before serving, add almonds.

For dessert, I recommend CLS's Pumpkin Cheesecake, the recipe for which was posted here last year. It drew rave reviews.

Pumpkin Cheesecake by CLS

CLS version One 10-inch round cheesecake

Crust:
3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 c. finely chopped pecans
1/4 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Mix all ingredients together and press firmly into the bottom of a 10" springform pan. Chill.

Filling:
1 1/2 c. pumpkin puree (solid pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)
3 lg. eggs
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (makes a big difference)
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
three 8-oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 tbl. heavy cream
1 tbl. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tbl. bourbon

Whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, spices and brown sugar.
In a mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese and granulated sugar on low speed until combined, soft and creamy in texture. Add the cream, cornstarch, vanilla and bourbon. Mix on low speed just until combined then add the pumpkin mixture and mix until combined.

Pour into the crust and bake at 350 degrees in a water bath for about 50-55 minutes, or until set. Cool on a rack, then cover and chill several hours or overnight.
Garnish with whipped cream and pecan halves.

Freezes for several months beautifully.

Martagon_'s picture

(post #61394, reply #16 of 56)

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If you're looking for a fresh turkey, either check out the local farm market on Saturday morning, or the local butcher in a nearby small town (unless of course, you're in Toronto, in which case there is no nearby small town.) You probably should order ahead, this coming Saturday would be the very latest.

Glenys_'s picture

(post #61394, reply #17 of 56)

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Fresh turkey, free-range, organically fed- none are hard to find here. Sometimes smaller birds go faster -12-15 lb.range- but lots around. One thing to note with farmer's market vendors is to check the grade of turkey being sold; receiving a turkey missing a wing may be fine for utility grade sales but sad for presentation.

Gretchen_'s picture

(post #61394, reply #18 of 56)

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If you cook in a bag it doesn't brown, does it? That is the best part of a turkey particularly in presentation. Might as well boil it.

MEAN_CHEF's picture

(post #61394, reply #19 of 56)

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Speechless.

Jean_'s picture

(post #61394, reply #20 of 56)

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Amazing!

FlavourGirl_'s picture

(post #61394, reply #21 of 56)

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Tracey-

Here's the link to the Brining info in the Tried and True Folder. Once you brine you will never go back. Let us know if you have any questions.



I'd wish you luck but from your previous posts it sounds as if you don't need it.

Tracy_K's picture

(post #61394, reply #22 of 56)

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Here's the apple brine that MC posted a while back.. . we did this for Thanksgiving last year and it got absolute rave reviews from the whole family, even though my mom was somewhat suspicious!

Apple Brine

2 qts apple juice
1 lb brown sugar
1 c kosher salt
3 qts water
3 ea oranges -- quartered
4 ozs fresh ginger -- thinly sliced
15 ea whole clove
6 bay leaves
6 clove garlic -- crushed

bring apple juice, sugar and salt to a boil over high heat, skim foam, let cool to room temperature.

Add remaining ingredients.

Brine turkey for 24 hours

NOTES : Sufficient for a 14 lb turkey

Li_'s picture

(post #61394, reply #23 of 56)

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This gratin is simple and delicious:

from FC #36 (?) by Martha Holmberg

b Classic Potato Gratin

Try to get a good-quality Gruyère or Emmental, which will be moderately assertive yet mellow and nutty. Serves six to eight.

2 lb. Yukon Gold or russet potatoes, peeled
3 cups whipping or heavy cream
1 tsp. coarse salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
3/4 cup finely shredded Gruyère, Emmental, or Comté

Heat the oven to 400°F. Using a very sharp knife or a mandoline, carefully cut the potatoes into 1/8-inch slices (no thicker).

Put the potatoes in a large heavy-based saucepan and add the cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat until the cream is boiling, stirring occasionally (very gently with a rubber spatula so you don’t break up the slices). When the cream boils, pour the mixture into a
2 1/2- or 3-qt. baking dish. If you don’t want a tender but garlicky surprise mouthful, remove and discard the garlic cloves. Shake the dish a bit to let the slices settle and then sprinkle the surface with the cheese.

Bake in the hot oven until the top is deep golden brown, the cream has thickened, and the potatoes are extremely tender when pierced with a knife, about 40 min. Don’t worry if the dish looks too liquidy at this point; it will set up as it cools a bit. Before serving, let the potatoes cool until they’re very warm but not hot (at least 15 min.) or serve them at room temperature.

MadMom_'s picture

(post #61394, reply #24 of 56)

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If this isn't in Tried and True, it should be. I did this last year, doubled the amount for a 25 lb turkey, and it was excellent. Even the leftovers were moist three or four days later.

Tracy_K's picture

(post #61394, reply #25 of 56)

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This was the first recipe I ever tried from Fine Cooking... it's the reason I subscribed, in fact!

I like to call these the Yummy Potatoes of Death. As the article says, they're also quite fabulous barely rewarmed for breakfast.

Tracy_K's picture

(post #61394, reply #26 of 56)

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It's in there! Such a lovely mahogany color... and the smell while cooking was incredible. I might have to do a chicken in this brine this weekend!

Jean_'s picture

(post #61394, reply #27 of 56)

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I totally agree. This is my default brine. Wonderful stuff.

Wolverine's picture

(post #61394, reply #28 of 56)

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fresh yes. brined, no. (must present another opinion!!)

I get my TG Turkey at a local organic turkey farm. They have some big ones, but I usually by the 19 to 20# size. I think it makes a big difference. I have bought some small turkeys in the store during the summer, the fresh ones, maybe around 12 #'s - I use the rotiserrie for those.

Wolverine's picture

(post #61394, reply #29 of 56)

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i Once you brine you will never go back...

I realize I am in the minority here, but - I don't like brined chix or turkey. I will never make them again.

Wolverine's picture

(post #61394, reply #30 of 56)

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how odd. I never have problems with leftovers being moist. I found the brine to be too salty for my taste. Combine that with the fact that there are some members of my family that like "wet" stuffing - and there you go!