This year, for the first time, my husband and I hosted Thanksgiving dinner. I felt pretty relaxed about making it, as the only thing I've never made before is a stuffed turkey. I was more nervous about getting Nana's dressing to come out properly than the turkey itself. Here's a summary of our Thanksgiving cooking adventure!
I bought the turkey from Maple Lawn Turkey Farms. It is just a short drive from our house, and I was happy to support a local business! Being a former vegetarian, it is a little sad to see the happy turkeys wandering around before you go into the shed to pick up his sister, but I got over it.
I had to take a picture of our fridge, since it's the most full I've ever seen it! The turkey was brined the night before and left in the fridge, uncovered, to dry in order to promote a crisp skin while cooking.
The night before, I made the dressing, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie. My Nana's dressing is my favorite, so I used the family recipe from our family cookbook. There is alot of butter and bread in dressing. Here, the celery and onions cook in lots of butter on the stove.
Butter, celery, and onions!
Cooking Thanksgiving dinner was also an excuse to get myself a proper cutting/carving board. The proper supplies are important when cooking!
Supplies (and turkey)!
The stuffed, roasted turkey recipe from the book "America's Best New Recipes" by America's Test Kitchen guided me through the whole process, from brining to carving. Here, I spread some aromatics in the bottom of the roasting pan before placing the turkey on the V-Rack. (I also heated the stuffing to 130 degrees F before placing it in the bird!)
My husband took a picture of me trussing up my first bird a la Paul Child.
It is tradition in my husband's family to also have fried oysters during the holiday. He took care of this task perfectly.
Fried oyster coating assembly line!
The turkey came out of the oven and looked amazing! Thanks America's Test Kitchen!
The only aspect of cooking Thanksgiving dinner that I found challenging, was getting everything onto the table at the same time. It seems like you wait forever for the turkey to be finished, and then you have to cook the veggies and the mashed potatoes all at the same time! But, we did it, and everything arrived at the kitchen island hot and ready to eat!
For dessert, I made traditional pumpkin pie with freshly whipped cream. It was the best tasting pumpkin pie ever. Another successful America's Test Kitchen recipe!
Pumpkin Pie and Freshly Whipped Cream!
Overall, this dinner was fantastic. I will put the turkey in about 1 hour earlier next year. Dinner wasn't ready until 3pm, and I would have liked to serve it at 2pm. I am glad to have this cooking experience under my apron! Until next year...