Cheer Du Jour

A little cheer to forget your troubles, and better yet, to toast with a glass of bubbles!

Happy Turkey Day!

on November 22, 2012

Whether you like dark or light (an interesting sidebar – these terms originated to spare modest diners from having to use such vulgar terms as  breasts and thighs – mercy me! I wonder how Hooters would have been received during those days), or even tofurky, may you enjoy delicious (and vast amounts of) food as well as great company. There are many resources devoted to the origins of the holidays, and countless recipes to make traditional Thanksgiving foods and trendy twists. Alton Brown shared many interesting facts on an Iron Chefs’ Battle Thanksgiving episode, but I forgot most of the tidbits (of course – how I miss my mind!). I will share two quick tips I learned the hard way, then I must get on to eating!

1 – Always remove plastic from the turkey. Now, this would seem obvious, and I would have laughed at the unbelievably foolish act of not doing so. That was before I cooked my first turkey. I researched all sorts of recipes and techniques to find the most reliable methods. I read and reread the instructions on the turkey wrapper. When I was ready to pop the bird into the oven, I admit I was a little leery about the plastic netting around the legs and part of the breast. Still, I had read that many people truss their turkeys, plus the label hadn’t mentioned anything about removing it (most likely because it was so ridiculously obvious). So, in went the turkey, plastic and all. Not too much later, we smelled the distinctive odor of melting plastic. We managed to remove the hot, oozing mess, and finished cooking the turkey. We scrapped the areas where the netting had been, and ate the rest (only slightly worried about the toxic fumes that may have penetrated the rest of the meat). We still laugh about it today – I can only blame youth and holiday pressure (yeah, that’s the ticket!) and, fortunately, have never repeated such a bone-headed mistake.

2 – When baking with cranberries, be sure to coat them with flour. In my usual haste (due to waiting too long and then having to make everything at once), I sprinkled a bit of flour on my cut cranberries and then tossed them in the mix. Last night, I made my first steamed pudding (after my mother finally found a proper pudding mold for me at Sur La Table – I had nearly given up after extensive searching). I found an excellent recipe for “Nanny’s Steamed Cranberry Pudding“, which turned out perfectly (note: I read the recipe’s comments and only steamed for 90 minutes, which was just the right amount of time). I was so proud of my effort, and couldn’t wait to impress my family with it. Unfortunately, when I looked more carefully, I saw sections with green bits that should have been ruby red berries. Horrified, I ran to my laptop and searched for “why do cranberries turn green when baked?” I learned that the berries react when they come in contact with baking soda. So, if I had been more careful to coat the cranberries, as the recipe clearly instructed, that probably would have been avoided. I managed to trim off the bottom of the cake, and subjected my husband and myself to testing the remnants, in case I had missed any other Grinch-berries. We seem to be fine, so I think all will be well.

So ends my humiliating tales – may you never suffer any such cooking problems….and if you do, try to laugh them off (and/or have a bottle of alcohol nearby).

Gobble Gobble to all, and to all a good eat!

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