Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas dinner

Just as I spent the better part of two days constructing Thanksgiving dinner, I've now spent two days on Christmas dinner. The mashed potato mix, the gravy, and the brownies for dessert were the same; instead of the elaborate veggie dish with tahini that I made for Thanksgiving I reverted to my standard plain sauteed veggies, because instead of stuffing from a mix I made Kamala Harris's homemade cornbread stuffing, the recipe for which had appeared in the paper on Thanksgiving day, which was a little late for it.

The recipe had suggested making the cornbread itself the day before, so I did that, along with the brownies, and the evening and the morning were the first day. Doing this in advance had the further advantage that I could use the same pan for the cornbread and the resulting stuffing. This included sausage (I used chicken sausage instead of the specified pork), onion and celery and apple, the last of which I'd never diced up for a dinner recipe before, and this was also the first recipe I've made to include all of parsley and sage and rosemary and thyme. (Footnote: When I first heard Simon & Garfunkel's recording of Scarborough Fair, I thought it was about two herbs and two people, the latter of whom were Rosemary and Tom.)

Then there came the turkey. For Thanksgiving I'd bought a 3-pound boneless turkey roast made of formed white and dark meat, which was suitable because B. likes the white meat and I prefer the dark. But I couldn't find another one of those and wound up with what said it was a breast. I'd imagined a fillet, but it turned out to be a small whole oven-ready turkey with the dark meat and the outer two joints of the wings removed. That meant it had the bones and all. It was also 7 pounds rather than 3. So this was another new cooking experience for me.

For Thanksgiving I'd monitored the meat with a pair of cheap plastic one-use-only devices which pop up when it's done; one popped up considerably before the other so I'm glad I used both. I couldn't get back to the store where I'd bought those so this time I invested in a pair of full-scale metal meat thermometers. Again I stuck them in disparate parts of the turkey and hoped for the best. Reading the thermometers was a bit of a challenge because the instructions said to consult the pointed end of the needle; unfortunately for this, both ends of the needle were pointed.

Oracles had suggested it would take close to 3 hours to cook, and as the time reached 2.5, I found that one thermometer recorded the inside temperature as either rather high or extremely low, depending on which pointed end of the needle you chose to believe. However, as the other thermometer's needle was definitely pointing to almost done, I chose to believe that one.

And yes, we got a turkey that was cooked through but still fairly moist, so I count this a success. Despite a knife that turned out to be ill-suited to on-the-bone turkey, I carved about half of it (something else I'd never done before, carve a turkey) and we ate most of that. After dinner I went to work on the rest, and filled our largest Tupperware container full of turkey, which should make, along with all the other leftovers, enough for a rerun dinner tomorrow plus a couple days'-worth substitute for the chicken breast meat I usually put in skillet sauce dinners. And the bony carcass went straight in the garbage so I don't have to worry about fitting it back in the fridge.

And that's the news on the kitchen front from Minnipin Cottage.

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