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Sunday, November 24, 2013

TURKEY #1


I will have four turkey meals during the Thanksgiving season.  This all began yesterday, a tradition I initiated in 2009, as covered by the Huffington Post:

 How to Roast a Turkey

I have refined my cooking technique, especially for the stuffing.  Most recipes use any combination of cloves, celery, bay leaves, parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage and day-old bread.  I used none of those ingredients.  Here is my secret formulation (which I just perfected):
  • Chop up the gizzard (I have an aversion to organs in general and threw away the heart, liver, neck and rear--and this package, by the way, is really hard to find, hidden in a crevice inside the neck--and, incidentally, these various pieces together are called giblets...the gizzard is kind of a second stomach for birds to grind seeds), and fry in truffle oil and butter with some pieces of foie gras (yes, an organ, but his is goose liver).
  • Pre-cook the rice (to replace the bread--I've always had the uncomfortable feeling that stuffing consisted of really old bread).  I chose two kinds of brown rice, regular and sweet.
  • To the rice, add a small can of corn with the liquid.
  • Chop up onions and water chestnuts, mix with rice.
  • Add pieces of macadamia nuts and pine nuts (skip the latter if you wish, for just a tiny packet costs $7).
  • Add a couple of teaspoons of sake.
  • Add a little bit of salt, some black pepper and a tablespoon of Red Devil hot sauce.
  • No, Prozac is not one of my ingredients, but something to consider for the future.
The turkey part is a slam-dunk (remember, there are only three colors:  white is not ready, black is burnt and brown is the objective):
  • Purchase the cheapest turkey you can find, and this year, Foodland gave me a gift just under 13 pounds, for free.  I noticed that most of the turkeys were 14.5 pounds plus or minus a pound, so it was difficult to find a fowl that small.  Then, after I brought it home, I wondered if this was a stunted deviation from the norm.
  • I got this fowl the day before, and it was frozen.  So I placed it in a bucket of brine.  But it kept floating, so, I smartly filled a pot with water and placed it on top and kept it in submerged overnight.
  • I largely followed the Wayside Inn instructions on roasting a turkey from Mary and Vincent Price's A Treasury of Great Recipes, printed in 1965.  And, yes, believe it or not, this is THE Vincent Price of movie fame.
  • Of course, I still have no idea which setting to use on my oven (click on the above, for it's hard to tell if you use this appliance only once a year).  There are too many dials and options with no instructions.  I arbitrarily set it to what could have been "convection oven" because some fan came on, but am not sure because I'm not certain exactly where OFF is located (I see OFF, but as the knob circles, nothing happens until you adjust the temperature. and I couldn't tell exactly where 325 F was,  However, there was this ancient oven thermometer, and after the pre-heating stage, it sort of read something slightly over 300 F.
  • I rubbed truffle butter, salt and pepper on the skin, and placed an eighth of a pound of soft  butter below the turkey in the pan.
  • I kept basting every half an hour, but had some concerns that the whole roasting process took only 2.5 hours (it should have been 3-4 hours for this size, but I thought perhaps the convected air--I'm a chemical engineer--would hasten the process), and, in any case, that red plastic thing (in Year One, I had no idea what this was, so, with great difficulty I pried it out for fear it would melt) popped up and the skin looked perfectly brown.

My first real turkey meal of the season:


A large tomato, onion and cabbage salad and bottle of 2007 Trione Cardinal Cuvee from Alexander Valley. accompanied the main course.  This red is very similar to a Bordeaux, with 57% Carbernet, 35% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdoc and 4% Malbec.  I watched LSU stifle Johnny Manziel and beat Texas A&M.  No cranberry jelly nor yam because I figure everybody else would be serving those sides.  Also on TV, the University of Hawaii football team lost its 11th straight game, at Wyoming, for the second week in a  row in overtime.  However, later in the evening, the Rainbow Wahine volleyball team took revenge on Cal State at Northridge.  The Hawaii team has won 20 games, lost only 4, and is rated #10 in the nation by RPI rating (not worth explaining).  They also celebrated senior (half the team is graduating) night.  Oh those leis:


Emily Hartong is their All-American, Dave Shoji has been coaching for 39 years and the fans said thank you.

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