The Holiday Food Season

Wow did the Holiday season fly by this year!  I had more time off from work this year than last year, but didn’t seem to be able to get any more done at home (or write about it).  A couple of the highlights:  Thanksgiving Turkey was a free-range organic heritage turkey from our local Randle Farms.  It was a 16 pound turkey, never frozen.  We brought it home on Wednesday, ready to prep it for Thanksgiving dinner.  I had my biggest stock pot out and ready to prepare the brine.  When the turkey arrived, he (or she?) was much too big for even my largest pot.  Hmmm…. Okay whats bigger than a pot? A five gallon bucket.  So we scrubbed and bleached a 5 gallon bucket and in went Mr./Mrs. Turkey.

Along with him went the brine: water, about 2 cups of salt, 1 cup of sugar, lots of black pepper, 1 celery heart, chopped into 3 in pieces, 1 onion medium chop, 8 cloves of garlic peeled and smashed, 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 3 fresh rosemary sprigs, one orange quartered and whole grain mustard.  We stirred it up and added lots of ice on top (since a 5 gallon bucket won’t fit in the refrigerator) and let it sit overnight.  In the morning we removed the turkey, rinsed it, put it in a roasting pan and stuffed the cavity with 1 orange quartered, 1 onion quartered and several cloves of garlic.  On the outside I sprinkled a salt-free seasoning blend and some freshly ground salt (so that I could control the amount of salt).  The Turkey roasted for about 3 hours, to a perfect dark brown on the outside and juicy meat in the middle.

Our turkey was accompanied by Matt’s Mashed Potatoes, Barbara’s Green Bean and Corn Cassarole, Aunt Kitty’s Rolls, cranberry sauce, gravy and at least a few other things that I forgot. It was all delicious and was finished off with desserts: Chocolate Pecan Pie, Oreo Pie, and Pumpkin Roll.

Our Christmas meal started off with an Apple Breakfast Braid, Popovers and tea.  After FOUR HOURS of present opening (we had eight people opening presents and I like to do one present at a time, so it tends to draw it out a bit) we started Christmas Dinner.  We had a pre-smoked turkey, compliments of my boss at work, green beans, mashed potatoes with roasted garlic, Aunt Kitty’s Rolls, Barbara’s Sweet Potato Cassarole, gravy, cranberry sauce and all the fixin’s.  A delicious and decadent end to a wonderful Christmas.



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