Friday, November 25, 2005

On thanksgiving cooking

Well, that wasn't so bad. I made a full-fledged Thanksgiving dinner for six of us yesterday, and nothing failed, to my great surprise! I got a fresh semi-organic semi-free range turkey from one of the yuppie groceries, and roasted it without stuffing. It was fine (if not finished until an hour later than I expected), and my guests agreed. I even made the gravy without screwing it up this time. The only other time I've made a turkey (a Butterball), I made one of my most dramatic cooking mistakes ever. The gravy wasn't really thickening, so I said to myself, "self, why don't you thicken it with a cornstarch mixture, like a Chinese sauce?" So I grabbed the yellow box off the shelf, made a paste with some water, and whisked it into the gravy. Well, started to whisk, 'cause as soon as that paste hit the gravy, it erupted just like a science fair volcano!

Yep, wrong box. Instead of the cornstarch, I grabbed the baking soda. Turns out that gravy's a bit acidic. Well, it is until you stir a couple tablespoons of baking soda into it. It didn't impact the flavor noticibly, and when I added the contents of the right yellow box, it thickened right up...

In my opinion, the best dish this year was Bourbon Baked Sweet Potatoes, courtesy of a blog called 101cookbooks. I made it without the spicy pecans the recipe called for, since I was too lazy to chase down decent pecans. I think if I had used the pecans, it would sorta compete with the pecan pie, which is sorta unfair. I'm not sure to who -- the pecan pie (brought by an esteemed guest) was mighty good! In any case, the sweet potatoes were an interesting two-step process. First they were peeled, sliced, and oven-roasted with olive oil. Then you add a bunch of flavorful ingredients over the top: bourbon, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, lemon zest, maple syrup, and parmesan, and bake again. I definitely recommend doubling the recipe...

For the record, I also made a cornbread dressing (cooked separately) and caesar salad, and we had bread, wine, and the three traditional pies, the aforementioned pecan, plus an apple and a pumpkin. And very wonderful guests who washed most of the dishes last night! Thank you!

(And no, the picture isn't me, it's just one off of Google. I never made a volcano for a science fair. I think my science project in the 4th grade was to see if talking to plants made them grow faster. In fact, if I remember right, the only difference was that the one I insulted (for weeks!) grew a bit taller!)

1 Comments:

At 2:05 PM, Blogger Mona said...

That is hilarious. We encountered the same problem of thickening the gravy and mom opted for putting in more flour. Though no eruptions took place we definitely had to fight the clumps of flour, so we used a big metal spatula to squash the clumps. I'll have to remember corn starch for next year.

 

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