Turkey Day 2009…
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!
(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.
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.
(My brother in law, Nonno and hubby getting ready for some turkey…)
(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!
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