Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving: The (upside) run-down

Yes this looks almost the same as last year, but why mess with what works?

Whenever you cook a giant meal, somethings got to give, and depending on what that something is, you either have a giant success, or a giant mess. Before I tell you what this year's "something" was, I will say, this year was a giant success.

Worth every OCD-inducing minute.

Here are some things I learned this Thanksgiving:

When you have an old oven, you must be prepared to sit there and watch as your oven thermometer goes up and down with no rhyme or reason, or concordance with the actual temperature-dial.  This oven assumes you have nothing better to do.

Even if you cook several things beforehand, there will be an hour when you are absolutely nuts, when you can't stand people coming into the kitchen, and when you are a bit of a terror. It's the price of a good cook.

Gravy - good, from scratch gravy - is a bitch. For those who like to have a complex savory-yet-sweet flavor, it is a long road. Also, gravy never comes out the same every year. You may find yourself putting odd things into it, but it really doesn't matter - it's your secret.

Getting baked.

No matter how many pies you make, they will be gone very quickly - if not that night, the next morning. (We are all animals when it comes to homemade pie. Especially pecan. Damn

And finally, some things that are completely wrong come out completely right. Case in point: this year, I cooked the turkey upside-down. I shall explain: My turkey came in a bag that was hard to see through (spices and such) and when I shoved it in the oven at 9 am I must have missed the fact that it was in fact, face-down (breast-down? whatever). I didn't notice it was thus until, whilst carving, I wondered why there was no breast meat on my turkey.


BUT - as it turns out, this works. Cooking the turkey upside down ensures that the dark meat is done and that the breast meat is very moist - perfectly so. All the juices go to the bottom of the bag and hang out in the white meat. My fellow diners suggested that I should make this mistake next year. Who knew?

This year, I am thankful that my mistakes turned out to be blessings, and I had people I love to share them with - even if those people drove me crazy, I am thankful that it's always a good day.

Coming up: a pie you need to make.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving 2012: This year’s menu!

All hail the one holiday that is purely about food!

I find myself repeating the same dishes for Thanksgiving, mainly because I don’t get to eat them any other time of the year. This year, it seems like Thanksgiving came so quickly with little time to plan, but I’m going to try to fit a couple new and “new” items onto the menu this year.


A Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

* Starred items are those which can be made the night before (thankfully).

For Dinner:
  • Roast Turkey (last year I used Jennie-Os Oven Ready Turkey, and it was really good and super easy)
  • Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
  • Sweet Potato Casserole *
  • Steamed and Sautéed Green Beans
  • Canned Cranberry Sauce, a new way (since everyone seems to like the canned version more than the homemade, I’m tweaking it a bit) *
  • Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls *
  • Gravy (Secret: use Mandarin Orange juice for a tang)
For Dessert:
  • Pecan Pie *
  • Apple-Cranberry Pie *
  • Dairy-free whipped topping
I can’t remember the last time I made an apple pie, and I’m quite excited to try one with cranberries. There’s no pumpkin pie, but the sweet potato casserole makes up for it.

This year the oven in our apartment is tiny (think 1960s), so I’m a bit concerned about a turkey fitting. The oven itself also has a habit of getting way too hot with no logic to it, so I fear I will be checking in on the oven thermometer religiously (do you have a temp gauge for your oven and fridge? If not, I recommend getting one asap – so important!).

Definitely a “make it work” moment, folks.