The edge of insanity

Saturday morning Mr. G and C hauled all of the Christmas storage tubs out of the attic.  And stacked them in the middle of my living room, and kitchen, and family room.  It made my brain hurt.  Then I walked thru the living room to the laundry room and found MORE tubs stacked behind the sofa.  That was when I wanted to cry.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love Christmas and I love all the decorations but the pre-decorating and post decorating chaos makes me feel anxious and crazy.  Adding to the anxiety is that Mr. G and I have completely different approaches to projects like this.  I want to do one room at a time, get that room completed before moving on to the next, clean up as we go, etc.  That is not his approach.  I will leave the details to your imagination—-we’ll just say that it is different from mine.

To add to this insanity holiday fun, E had asked very sweetly if we could PLEASE have two Thanksgivings, i.e. one this weekend at home and then the “regular one.” So in between unpacking storage tubs I was cooking for Thanksgiving #1.  It is possible that these were contributing factors when, Sunday morning, I treated my children to a  10 5 minute lecture on how they could be more helpful around the house, and have a better attitude when asked to do something, and until they became helpful and cheerful their allowance was suspended until further notice.  I’m just saying that it is POSSIBLE that there were other things going on, besides their behavior, that prompted me to have this discussion with them.  You know, MAYBE….

On a more positive note, my turkey was FABULOUS!!! My father in law does NOT like turkey and he said that “this was a really good tasting turkey!”  He asked me what I did different to make it taste good.  Well, here is my secret….brine.  Now, if you have never done, or heard of, this before it may sound crazy.  That’s what I thought the first time I heard about it.  But I promise you the meat will be tender, juicy and flavorful.  Try it, just once, and I think you will taste the difference.  We did this for the first time about 10 years ago and we have brined every turkey we have cooked ever since.

If you look online, you will probably find lots of recipes for brine for your turkey.  I use the original recipe I used 10 years ago.  I got it from Alton Brown, I saw him do this on his show “Good Eats” that used to come on Food Network.

Here is the recipe….

1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
For the brine:
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/good-eats-roast-turkey-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

You can click on the link to read the full directions but this is what I do.  I put the salt, brown sugar, stock, pepper, and allspice in a LARGE stock pot.  (I leave out the ginger just because I never have that on hand and I’m not going to buy it just to use it once a year.)  I also added in an onion and large orange,both cut in half, and the top halves of a bunch of celery.  (I guess a “group” of celery is called a “bunch”, buy one “thing” of celery cut the stalks in half and throw the top halves–with the leaves in the pot).  Bring it all to a boil, turn it down to simmer, and just let it go for a few hours.  Check on it every once in a while and give it a stir.  You want all the flavors from the stuff you added to come out into the stock.  I probably let mine hang out on the stove at a low temp for 3 hours or so.  Turn it off and let it cool completely.

Now you need a CLEAN 5 gallon bucket.  Go to Lowes or Home Depot and buy a brand new one.  Don’t recycle and use the one that your pool chlorine or laundry detergent came in!  Make this brand new bucket your “turkey brining bucket” and don’t use it for anything else.  Rinse your turkey off, remove the giblets and put Tom into your bucket.  Pour the cooled stock, with all the celery and stuff, into the bucket with the turkey.  If you live some place warm, fill the remaining space in the bucket with ice and add some water to bring the level of the broth up so that it covers the turkey, put the lid on it and set it out of the way for the next 12 hours or so.  If you live some place cold, fill the bucket with water to cover the turkey, put the lid on it, and set it out in the garage for the next 12 hours.  Our garage this past weekend was in the low 30’s so I felt pretty confident that the turkey was going to be cool and I didn’t need to add ice. 🙂

The next morning, when you are ready to roast your turkey, take it out of the bucket and give the skin a little rinse off.  Put it breast up in your roasting pan.  Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a LITTLE sage (a little sage goes a long way!). I also cut a lemon and an apple into quarters and put the pieces into the cavity.  Cover with foil and put in the oven at 375.  About an hour before the turkey is finished, (a 13 lb turkey in my oven took about 4 hours) take the foil off so that the skin can get that pretty crispy, brown look that you see in the pictures.  Now my turkey had the implanted pop up thermometer, but you can use a regular meat thermometer to check for doneness.  When it is done, remove it from the oven and put the foil back on the turkey.  Let it sit for about 30-45 minutes before you carve it.  This is important!!! If you carve it as soon as it comes out of the oven all those yummy juices are going to run right out and then your turkey just lost all the moisture and yumminess you spent the last 24 hours working to achieve.  Use that time to finish your gravy, mash your potatoes, etc.  After that you can slice it up and accept the compliments!

Blessings friends,

Tracey

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