Thanksgiving weekend was a wonderful time at the BatesCentral Compound. It wasn’t the most boisterous Thanksgiving on record, we did not have any visitors from the East Coast and it was not the same without Uncle Tee here, but we still had a great time!
New Turkey Recipe
I tried a new turkey recipe this year. I brined the bird. For those of you who do not know what that means, I soaked the turkey in a salt water solution for about 8 hours. The brine I used was more than just salt water, it was made up of vegetable stock, brown sugar, all spice berries, candied ginger, peppercorns, and plenty of salt (kosher salt to be precise). After you brine the turkey, there is no need to baste the bird, because the juices are locked into the meat.
The funny part of brining the turkey is that you need a non-reactive container large enough to hold the brine and the turkey. We had a 19 pound turkey this year, not the largest one we have cooked (we had a 28 lb. turkey more than once), but it is still a large bird. A five gallon bucket from the Home Depot worked very well!
I thought that the turkey came out very nicely. I wasn’t blown away by the results, but I also made two grave errors. One, I did not realize that I used low sodium vegetable stock, so my brine was not as salty as it should have been and two, I left the turkey in a bit too long. It was not overcooked, but I think I should have taken it out about 20 min earlier. I will try the brining again for Christmas and then make a final decision on whether this will stay part of our tradition.
As for everyone else’s review… they all thought the turkey was good. No one was blown away by the results, but people did say they thought it was juicer than our previous turkeys.
Thanksgiving was not as hectic as previous years. We have traditionally spent part of the day making a Christmas themed craft. That worked out well when Jenn’s parents were in charge of dinner, but since the holiday moved to our house, it has been difficult to do! We won’t skip our Christmas crafts, we’ll just do them closer to Christmas.
We watched some football, but the hit of the day was playing hangman with Casey and Quinn. The kids have an art easel/chalkboard/whiteboard that we brought into the living room. We used the whiteboard side and played hangman as a family. It was a lot of fun and even Casey and Quinn were able to play!
While we were at at the dinner table I asked Quinn what he was thankful for. He replied, “I am thankful for all of my family and being together.” Even with family members scattered across the country, it was a good way to sum up the day!
The Friday after Thanksgiving was a very mellow day. We relaxed around the house. I have been working crazy at work lately and Jenn has been doing the same. It was good just to have a break for a day. Than night, Jenn’s parents watched the kids and we went to a movie.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving was a major “let’s eat leftovers” day! Mimi & gramps and Matt & Sanne came back over later in the day to watch the USC vs. Notre Dame football game. We also preformed the traditional ritual of cooking up plenty of bacon to make turkey sandwiches! Three pounds of bacon to be exact!
The other tradition that we have is to decorate the Bates Compound for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving. We no longer get a real tree. They are beautiful, but a real pain in the butt to keep up (and clean up after). We found a fake tree a few years ago that looks really good. We only got about 50% of our decorations up, but the tree is done, which is a big project.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving was another semi-rest day. As Quinn and Casey like to say, Sunday is football day! It was a big game this year, Patriots vs. Bears. Wow, the game was sloppy, but the Pats pulled it out! Some say it is a SuperBowl preview, but I don’t think so. No offense to the many Bears fans in my family, but I do not think they will make it past the NFC Championship game (and I have a feeling that they could go out first round). I think the Pats have a shot, but more realistically, it is a Colts year.
Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone and we managed to have a great time. I did not add any pictures to our online gallery with this post. Honestly, I was so busy all weekend, I only took a couple of pictures.Posted by Bill on November 27th, 2006 at 7:57 pm