Friday, November 27, 2009

DSS - Thanksgiving - Day 3

Working the day after Thanksgiving is not the happiest time for some of us. Especially if you're one of those Black Friday shopping enthusiasts. I am not. I'm more than happy to avoid that crazy madness. But if I have to work, I at least want my co-workers and I to have some tasty food to knosh on while we're hard at it.My free range, heritage turkey was incredibly delicious. I brined the bird the night before resulting in a juicy, tender and flavorful turkey. The dark meat on the legs wasn't dried out and tough, the breast meat was so good it almost converted me from a dark meat fan to a white meat fan. I can't wait to use the leftovers in some other dishes...dishes that won't need a lot of ingredients masking the dry breast meat. My union carpenters also gave it the Hearty Men Seal of Approval. One more note on cooking the turkey, I followed a method from the folks at Cook's Illustrated which calls for cooking it at high heat and flipping the bird every 15 minutes 4 times. I would happily do all of these tricks and methods again to reproduce that succulent goodness.My Wild Rice Pilaf with Cranberries and Pecans wasn't nearly as popular as the mashed potatoes. I knew that was going to happen but being the good sports that my co-workers are, they at least tried it. It helps when you train them on all the sweet goody experiments that they trust you enough to try something different. I love this dish. It's from Martha Stewart's Thanksgiving issue of her magazine. The only thing I didn't do was add the flat leaf parsley which might have added another layer of flavor but with the toasty pecans and plump, sweet cranberries and golden raisins, I didn't think it needed it. Another great thing about this dish is that if you substitute vegetable stock for the turkey stock I used, you could easily convert this to a wonderful hearty vegetarian side dish. Plus it's so easy to make and store ahead of time. This one goes into my side dish rotation.Cranberries are one of the few truly seasonal fruits. You can only get fresh ones now and happily for me now is the time to enjoy my favorite cranberry recipe, Cranberry Sauce with Port and Tangerines from Epicurious. If you like your cranberries jellied and decorated with can ridge indentations, this is probably not the recipe for you. Tart cranberries dancing in ruby port with a hint of sweetness and a brightness provided by the tangerines. I'm mixing into my oatmeal tomorrow morning. Take advantage of the fresh cranberries while you can.The not very fancy but certainly nap inducing lunch spread. Normally if I'm having Thanksgiving with my family back east, my mother would have added a side dish of sauerkraut. A throwback to my German immigrant heritage. She also makes a light lunch Oyster Stew and pops a few plump Chesapeake Bay oysters into the turkey stuffing.Since I was doing all the savory dishes, my co-worker Tina, came through with two apple crumb pies. Thanks Tina, pie for everyone!

Karmic Kitchen 2009 Thanks - Thankful that I have a job and can work on Black Friday during one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression.

We're thankful you have a job too because dog food's not cheap! Can we have some turkey?


Boxer said...

you brought the pack to work today? yay!!!!!

I'm glad all of your hard work paid off. It's not easy making the perfect bird. Even I know that.

Happy Black Friday! I bought nothing.

Dani said...

Puppas at work. They are just the cutest! If they were at my house yesterday they could have shared the turkey with Ollie and Kitty. Minus the broken shards of pottery dish of course.

I'm so doing the wild rice dish!! I think it looks and sounds delish!

Have a great weekend Shamy. Love yah.

I bought nothing either. John maybe. I saw him scanning the internet last night looking for a replacement pottery dish. :)

LaDivaCucina said...

Shamu, your turkey looks sooooooooo good! I think brining is really the key. As for turning it you really think it helped? I get great results just from brining and also the quality of the turkey too. Looks SOOOO good!

I like your side of the wild rice pilaf but think I would prefer mash too as I'm a carboholic purist! But, that side would go great with pork loin, yeah? Yum.

Our family would throw in family ethnic dishes in for Thanksgiving too. We not only had turkey but home made ravioli in tomato meat sauce. Talk about being stuffed....of course there were cannoli with pumpkin pie too!

I think it's cruel that people have to work the friday after Thanksgiving and used to find the day quite a waste to work (when I was in advertising) as most civilized businesses were closed for the day and I couldn't reach anyone for anything anyway! I hope your day was at least a bit more productive to make it "worth it."

Finally, La Diva didn't have a thanksgiving as on Wed. night I got a severe stomach bug and have been violently ill and in bed ever since. No beach party turkey day with friends. Poor hubby went to Boston Market for his dinner and I had some yesterday which prolonged my illness. I'm on day three with severed headache and getting pretty sick of gingerale and freakin' crackers.

Glad to eat vicariously through your blog, Shamu!!!

LaDivaCucina said...

PS: Are those your doggies? I LOVE THEM!!!!

Ok, back to bed....

Dani said...

((Hugs Diva))Feel better.

Making Space said...

Get well soon, Diva!

Those dishes look fabulous, and the dogs look ready to jump all over the table. Juuuuuust held back by that expert training... lol

Congrats on a great feast, Shamy!

moi said...

What great photos of your co-worker and Shamu's Pack o'Hounds! What I love best about the holiday other than the delicious food is that everyone is just so ding dang happy. And that wuv gets spread around and around and around like full fat, non-salted butter on a steaming hot cross bun fresh from the oven.

Big Shamu said...

Boxer, I did bring them to work and everyone else kicked themselves for not bringing their dogs. Good for you on avoiding the Black Friday Plague. I've with you sister.

Uh oh, Dani, did we have breakage? A little unexpected sumthin' sumthin'for the pets? I hope it wasn't a favorite dish? (Good man, that John, already replacing what was broken). Another convert against the Black Friday Plague. You will love that rice dish, it's awesome.

Diva, so sorry you're under the weather. I'm sure someone will have leftovers left by the time you're well. Do I think turning helped the turkey...I might say no had it not been for the juiciness of the legs. Yes, brining helps but every part of that bird was juicy I think in part to having the juices run down into the parts that normally would have been dry. All I know is that it was good on the day of, it was just as good after sitting in the fridge and then sitting in a small toaster oven to reheat. If they said dance a jig with the Wii Bitch to produce that good a bird, I'd do it.
I'm totally with you on the mash. My mother makes the best so I still have a ways to go. Still I like having options for folks who are not of the same mashed mindset.
So Diva, the stuffing seems to be where folks family heritage seems to express itself...what kind of stuffing went into your bird? I love hearing about the ravioli and pumpkin stuffed raviolis.
Working after Thanksgiving is a must since we are a company that has Union workers. It's not a day off for them so some of us are called upon to come in. I actually got some work done so it helped me. Plus I like my guys. They know the best places to eat lunch and bring me venison. It's a good thing.
Glad I could bring you Thanksgiving through the wonders of the Internet.

MS, if you look at the picture of all the food on the table and check out the far upper left hand corner you can just make out a dog snout stealing illicit sniffs of delicious turkey. What? Are you telling me to get away from the table...but I'm old and deaf...when I need to be....

Moi, it is a great holiday, one of my favs. Fat and happy should be the theme to be followed. I hope you had a good one.

LaDivaCucina said...

Sham I grew up on the trad stuffing of white bread, sage and celery. But, I do home made corn bread and pork sausage stuffing with apples and loads of fresh sage. YUM! And in the bird it goes, oh yeah!

After getting ill on the turkey brought home from Boston Market, I didn't think I'd ever want turkey again. But I do. Right now for breakfast a nice little sammie with some dressing would do me just fine. Oh well.....I lost 3 lbs. instead of gaining five! haha! Guess I gotta be thankful for something this weekend!