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Thanks Giving

Thu Nov 29, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

Let me just start by saying that I’ve never actually cooked a turkey. I’ve roasted chickens before, but nothing as big as a Thanksgiving turkey. So you would think that I’d listen to my folks, who have years of turkey cooking under their belts, regarding how long our 13-pound free range bird would take. You would think that I’d trust the calculator, dividing pounds by minutes instead of the mathematically deficient brain that struggles to compute the correct tip for the pizza guy. You’d think.

But…I didn’t. While most families eat their turkey meals mid-afternoon and then veg out on the couch watching football, my parents, boyfriend and I went for a long hike after lunch and then started cooking around four o’clock. I figured the turkey, which I’d brined overnight with brown sugar, coarse kosher salt, juniper berries, Tellicherry peppercorns, fresh bay leaves, rosemary and thyme, would take two and a half to three hours to cook. Not so. We finally plucked the bird from the oven at 8:30, arms flapping as we sautéed Brussels sprouts, baked sweet potato pie and honey and sage cornbread while the turkey rested. My dad started carving as my mother and I frantically threw the dishes on the table, our stomachs grumbling. At least I realized before the turkey was done that there weren’t enough pan drippings for gravy and started making one using mirepoix, dried sage, dried rosemary and chicken stock.

The meal finally hit the table around nine o’clock and, to be honest, I think it was good, but am really only saying that based on leftovers. By the time we sat down to eat I’d started to get a migraine—from not eating. Half way through the meal I was on the couch with a hot compress over my head.

I’m thankful for a lot of things this year, but most of all I’m grateful for my boyfriend who encourages me to translate my cooking into words, my father who takes my words and makes me think twice about them and for my mother, who never once said “I told you so.”

Brined Free Range Turkey
Mom’s Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallows
Cranberry, Pear and Ginger Chutney
Sage and Honey Skillet Cornbread
Brussels Sprout Hash with Caramelized Shallots
Spicy Pear Tart

Ariston Carte Blanche Brut
’03 Thanisch Graacher Himmerlreich Riesling Spätlese
’05 Moric Blaufrankisch


the bird
The Bird

The Gravy

fried sage
Fried Sage

Honey & Sage Skillet Cornbread

Brussels Sprout Hash

the table
The Table

the plate
The Plate

Coming soon: Spicy Pear Tart Recipe

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2 Responses to “Thanks Giving”

  1. Brooke Says:

    What a great story! The first Turkey is always the hardest. And from what I can tell from your pictures…you NAILED it!

  2. Thanksgiving Warm-Up | SpicySaltySweet Says:

    […] not making the turkey this year, and after last year’s debacle with turkey-timing, if we were eating at home I might be making Cornish game hens. This year I’m responsible for […]

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