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Saturday, November 14, 2009

HOW TO ROAST A TURKEY

For some of you out there who might want a safe adventure, if you’ve never before had this opportunity, you might want to consider roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving. Me, having never purchased a frozen bird before, nor cooking it, it turned out, actually, to be a relative breeze.


I noticed that Safeway was charging for any turkey 16 pounds or less only $3.99…not per pound, but per whole fowl. (Later I learned that Times had a similar offer, but 50 cents cheaper.) For the price, I would have been satisfied with a pigeon-sized bird, but the smallest one I could find was 11 pounds. Then, I couldn’t check out because the fine print said I had to have a bill of at least $20. But, no problem, I bought a few more necessary items. Unfortunately, at home, I couldn’t fit it into the refrigerator, so placed it into one of those insulated bags for defrosting.


The next day I learned from my golf group that it would be smart to first soak the bird in a saline bath to kill the salmonella and such, and add some taste. I did not quite have enough salt, so again went to the market and bought a whole standard model cylindrical container of salt for all of $1.07. Amazing, considering the weight and shipping cost. I then thought about cranberry sauce and sweet potato, but, no, this was not really that day yet, and I would see too much of it on November 26, so went home only with the salt. However, circumstances prevented my actually placing it in the oven that day, so I added ice as necessary. Already it was much more work than I wanted, especially as I don’t like turkey.


Rather than the internet, I noticed a large brown Treasury of Great Recipes in the kitchen, so found “Roast Turkey Wayside Inn.” I hate cloves, parsley, thyme, neck and giblet, so purposely left them out. Oh yeah, you need to remove these organs stored in the inside of the turkey. There was also a plastic contraption which served no particular function, so with great difficulty, I removed it.


I have also not particularly liked bread stuffing, so I created my own: cooked rice, can of corn, water chestnuts, and chopped macadamia nuts/mushrooms/onion. I found some bacon, and with some irony noted that it was made of turkey. So that’s what Pearl was feeding me. Anyway, I crispied the bacon and worked it in with a raw egg and some salt and pepper, The whole concoction perfectly fit into the turkey and I tied the legs to keep everything in place, barely. Into a large pan with aluminum foil lining, I also added two cups of water and a quarter pound of butter.


The main parameters of interest were what temperature (325 degrees F) and for how long. How’s this for uncertainty: ten to twenty minutes per pound. Thus I could have left the oven on for less than two hours or nearly four hours. I arbitrarily selected three hours. The directions called for basting every half an hour. Basting? What’s that, and how? Well, that’s somehow getting the liquid part in the pan spread over the bird to keep it moist and, ultimately, tastier. This can be a dangerous process as the oven is hot.


Well, three hours later, perfecto. After a cooling period, I didn’t bother with careful carving because that I also never learned, and instead cut selected portions for my dinner. The recipe called for gravy, but why bother with another pan and flour. I just used the liquid portion as necessary, found some mashed potato in the freezer from a previous experiment, the outstanding stuffing ala Takahashi and fixed a lettuce and tomato salad with blue cheese dressing. With a glass of cabernet sauvignon, no, make that two, I had one of my better meals, ever. You know, maybe now, I might begin to appreciate turkey.


The leftovers filled eight Ziploc bags, and should last me the lifetime of the freezer. For $70 I could have bought a whole prepared turkey with all the trimmings from Zippy’s. But, of course, this was for the experience, plus incredible economics. Heck I even had more than 50 cents of salt left for future use.


My next adventure will need to be toilet paper. Something I’ve not yet had to buy in my life.

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There is a new tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean, but all the other oceans are quiet.

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Once a week I recap the statistics regarding visitors to this site. Since I began subscribing to the tallying service (about a year ago):


The first number is the total visitors: 16,173

The second represents total e-mail addresses: 8019

The third is the number of countries: 121

The fourth represents new visitors this week: 346


16,713-8019-121-346


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