Aggie's Kitchen

Turkey Day 2009…

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Is everyone enjoying their long holiday weekend?  We’ve really enjoyed ours so far…lots of family time at the house with the kids… playing games, enjoying the nice weather and watching lots of football and basketball.  Not kidding when I say LOTS of football and basketball…the Magic have played 3 times already since Wednesday and then of course yesterday our Gators had their BIG game in the Swamp!

Now, let’s talk about Thanksgiving…this year I hosted the big meal at our house.  I’ve hosted one time before, but the difference this time was that this time I did pretty much all of the cooking…and loved every minute of it!!  I started my prep early in the week and planned things out so that I wouldn’t be overwhelmed Thanksgiving morning.  I’m happy to report it was all a success…the food turned out great, we had lots of yummy leftovers and I was able to totally relax and enjoy the day with my family!

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(Showing off the spread… 🙂 )

I tried something new at the last minute that I’m excited to share with you…brining.  This may not be new to some of you, but I’ll tell ya, it was new and a bit intimidating to me and I’m so glad I tried it, with the help of my food blogging friend Ninette from Big, Bold, Beautiful Food.  Ninette has taught me so many things in the short time that I’ve “known” her…we keep in touch on Facebook so I’m very often in the know of what she’s cooking for her family and friends.  This woman can cook.  I saw her post something on FB about brining her turkey so I asked her how she did it and here’s what she told me to do:

In two gallons of water dissolve 3/4 – 1 cup salt and 1/2-1/3 cup sugar.  To this I added several crushed cloves of garlic, a quartered onion, sprigs of thyme and rosemary, a few celery stalks and a small handful of whole peppercorns.  I put my turkey in a Ziplock turkey bag (the big one!) and poured the brine solution in it.  We have an extra refrigerator in the garage so that is where I stored the bagged turkey in a roasting pan placed in a baking sheet for extra stability.  If you have no room in your fridge to store the turkey, then place your bagged turkey in a cooler full of ice.  I brined my turkey overnight, for about 14 hours.  I read online somewhere that a good rule of thumb for how long to brine is 1 hour per pound….and not to “overbrine”.  My turkey was a 16lber so 14 hours was plenty.  When ready, rinse turkey very well and discard brine.  Prepare your turkey and cook as desired.

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The purpose of brining, I’ve been told, is to keep the meat juicy and flavorful.  And that is exactly what it did.  I could see the juices running when my grandfather was carving the turkey…it was awesome.  Bye bye dry turkey…

Now, I’ve also been told that brining is good for everyday cooking of chicken and pork chops…I’ll be experimenting with that soon.

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(My brother in law, Nonno and hubby getting ready for some turkey…)

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(The kid table…)

Here’s  a little sampling of the rest of our Thanksgiving eats…I’ll be sharing recipes with you throughout the week so check back in!

ThanksgivingFood2(Cranberry Orange Quick Bread)

ThanksgivingFood10.JPG(Roasted Green Beans with Shallots and Almonds)

ThanksgivingFood5.JPG(Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Pecan Streusel)

ThanksgivingFood4.JPG(Nonna’s Stuffing)

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17 Responses to “Turkey Day 2009…”

  1. katie posted November 29, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Are you going to post a recipe for that quick bread? I love cranberry/orange combinations.

  2. Bellini Valli posted November 29, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    It looks like your Thanksgiving was full of joy Aggie and so much to be thankful for.

  3. Erica posted November 29, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    How exciting! I think we’re doing thanksgiving next year and I am already excited. Everything looks just PERFECT. Can’t wait for the green bean and sweet potato recipes. You are such a fantastic chef

  4. Lisa posted November 29, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    Your pictures look wonderful. I made your stuffing and it was great! We finished the last of it last night.

  5. Lina posted November 29, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Ok the pic with Rob is hilarious! The food was delish!!! Thanks for everything. We had a great time.

  6. pamela posted November 29, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Looks like a delectable turkey day spread! I’ve been curious about brining for a long time and I am thinking about giving it a try over the holidays! That turkey looks so yummy! Hope your Thanksgiving was a blast!

  7. Jamie posted November 29, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Aggie,
    Your Thanksgiving feast looks delicious! Looks like you had a wonderful day with the family. Thanks for sharing your cranberry sauce recipe with me (you should post that one), it was a sucess at my Thanksgiving gathering. How cool you brined your turkey. Have never tried that but have always wanted to. Good for you for giving it a try and that your turkey turned out so moist (it looks wonderful)

  8. Melissa posted November 29, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    That stuffing with the ditalini browned SO beautifully. Just fabulous.

    I’m so glad you brined. I started doing it in 2007 and haven’t looked back. It really makes a world of difference. I thought I didn’t like turkey most of my life, but I was wrong. Hooray for moist turkey!

    Orlando won 2 out of the 3, yeah? We’re playing the Nets in an hour. I must say, I want to win, obviously… but um, those poor Nets LOL.

  9. teresa posted November 29, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    oh yum, what a fantastic spread! glad to see that your t-day was so nice!

  10. Bridgett posted November 30, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    I am looking forward to seeing your recipes. The feast looked amazing and I can’t take my eyes off of that stuffing!

  11. fittingbackin posted November 30, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Yummy eats! Thanks for all of the great recipes – love the picture of the kid table – too cute! 🙂

  12. Maria posted November 30, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    I love your photos. Glad you had a nice holiday!

  13. Ninette posted November 30, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Glad you got to try something new! If I’m brining something for just a couple hours like chicken breasts or chicken wings, etc., I strengthen the brine, So for 3/4 cup kosher salt, I’ll use only 1 gallon of water instead of 2 gallons for the turkey.

  14. Leslie posted November 30, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    What a wonderful Thanksgiving Feast!!!
    I ALWAYS brine my meats.

  15. susan maxcy posted December 1, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Aggie, of course, my favorite pic is the kids at the “kid table!”
    I don’t think I EVER graduated to the adult’s table in my Italian grandmother’s dining room!! I always remember the wine being all the way at the OTHER end and a full eight hours of amazing courses, one right after the other……..THEN some coffee and something sweet!!!…What amazing memories you have stirred up!..and great recipes too!!

    • Aggies Kitchen posted December 4, 2009 at 11:21 am

      Oh Susan, so happy to have helped stir up such great memories! Isn’t it great that we have known each other since I was at the kid’s table! 🙂

  16. Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen posted December 2, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Your Thanksgiving meal looks delicious! I may have to try brining next year!

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