Wednesday, November 25, 2009

prep continues

Dad did himself proud by baking two pecan pies last night-- his first-ever attempt at making something other than rum cakes. Today, he's got two rum cakes and two pumpkin pies to make. My sense of smell was coming and going yesterday, despite the arrival of my neti pot (which did help somewhat), but I noted with satisfaction that, thanks to Dad's baking, the house smelled like Thanksgiving late at night.

My own prep also continues. Yesterday, I made some cranberry sauce, a sweet strawberry sauce that will go atop slices of rum cake and vanilla ice cream, and a gallon of mulled cider. Today, the main goal is to prep the elements for the stuffing that will be completed tomorrow, and to initiate the turkey-brining process. I've never tried brining a turkey before, but it's all the rage in this Food Network era, so I've been reading up on it and watching the TV gurus demonstrate various ways to do it. The point of brining the turkey is that it keeps the meat very moist through the baking process and also adds flavor. However, the experts also note that a whole turkey shouldn't sit in the brine for more than 12-15 hours. Beyond that point, you've got a bird that's super-saturated with salt.

So I won't be brining until very, very late at night-- say, 11PM or thereabouts. I can check the turkey at noon tmorrow, have it in the oven by 12:30 or so, and have it out by 3:30 or 4PM. We're supposed to eat between 4:30 and 5PM, so this ought to work out just fine.

There's nothing else on tap for today. Dad says he wants to get Mom's advice on making the pumpkin pies; I don't know what she can tell him, but I'm happy that he's engaging her in the Thanksgiving-prep process. Mom often likes to sit at the kitchen bar and watch the goings-on; I hope it amuses her to see her husband in there. Dad-as-chef is a rare sight in our house.


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