I took this whole week off. I have been getting a lot done with the Laurel, MD blog posts, going through the Big Journal and scanning any J. pieces I need and inserting scans and photos into blog post drafts and editing the text. I have also been doing Thanksgiving Prep all week.
While working in D.C. (when we lived in Laurel) I had an office mate who hated to cook. She didn't understand why anyone would spend so much time planning and preparing a meal that you consumed in 15 minutes. I laughed. We often prepped and planned and cooked only to consume an awesome meal in 15 minutes. This week was much more planning and prepping than usual, but it is Thanksgiving and we wanted to have a nice meal this year. We usually don't do a big traditional meal when it's just the two of us. I don't even remember last year's Thanksgiving but Steve recalls that we were kind of broke and did a beef roast which wasn't very good.
This year Steve wanted to go traditional. He asked our local butcher, Butcher's Block, about special-ordering a fresh turkey breast (rather than a whole bird). On Saturday we made a big list for shopping and a plan for the week.
Monday I made the Cranberry Sauce, homemade vegetable broth for the brine, and I oven-roasted the onions and garlic and put them in the blender (like our chili sauce for chili) for our Cornbread Dressing.
Tuesday I made the brine - I added brown sugar, salt and more peppercorns to the vegetable broth and brought it to a boil to dissolve everything, then let it cool and chilled it. I also made the cornbread, and we had some fresh for a light dinner with a salad.
Wednesday I made the carrot souffle: I boiled the carrots in water until tender. I blended a few of them and added to the onion sauce and stirred that into the crumbled cornbread for the dressing. I made and baked the carrot souffle. And I made the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pudding (it's No Bake Cheesecake but we never put it into a crust so we call it Cream Cheese Pudding). When Steve got home he brined the turkey:
It fit perfectly into the pot of brine.
Steve was up in the middle of the night, so he rotated the turkey breast; then again when he got up and then again when I got up. I slept in and he brought me coffee in bed.
Steve 'spatchcocked' the turkey - he flattened it out and broke some ribs to get it to lay flat. (We learned this from Martha Stewart). The turkey breast fit perfectly into our roasting pan lid.
We baked the Cornbread Dressing. Then heated the oven to 500 degrees and put the turkey in for half an hour, then turned the oven down to 375 and baked till it was done. We learned this method as well as the Brine from Alton Brown.
I took Vines of our dinner and dessert, but no photos. You can get to my Vine via my Twitter. I'm typing this on my Kindle so I can't copy and paste links.
Everything was so good! The turkey was juicy. Steve loved the carrot souffle but I thought it was a tad watery from adding broth to aid the blending. I loved the cornbread dressing - the blended vegetables were so much better than cut up chunks. And of course my sister's Cranberry Sauce recipe. And the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pudding with more Reddi Whip (and I made it with Reddi Whip rather than whipped cream which makes it too rich; we don't use whipped oil, I mean Cool Whip).
After his dinner, Symon wanted to play in a paper bag, so Steve tossed one into the living room for him:
After all that planning and shopping and days of prepping and cooking...was it all worth it? Totally.
UPDATE: Here are the links to my Vines, which didn't all post for some reason. We think the internet was overloaded on Thanksgiving Day. They were saved on my Kindle so I posted some to my Tumblr.
Here are photos of our dinner (leftovers):