Friday, November 25, 2005

All good things

I am writing this with my laptop on my knees and Gus the cat on my lap, with full tummy and Iron Chef Battle Tofu on TV. The beautiful Herself is asleep on the couch, under a blue blanket Lemming knitted us as a wedding gift, with Hardee the cat sleeping next to her.

If I just had a Jedi Mind Trick to get the remote and a beer (not necessarily in that order), it would be perfect. As it is, it's more than I deserve.

I can't remember ever having just stayed home for Thanksgiving. It's kind of nice to be in your own place, to have your lovely guests come and then leave. Plus, it gives you control of the leftovers.

I'm pretty proud that we had a relatively locally-grown meal. The pickled okra and green beans on the relish plate, the white potatoes, the turkey itself, and the acorn squash Herself turned into pie - all raised inside the county. (Squash pie, by the way, tastes pretty much like pumpkin, but has a texture a little more like sweet potato.) Locally-grown is important for a lot of reasons; I'll evangelize some other day, but think about it, will you?

I wish I'd been more aggressive in seasoning the turkey brine. I was inspired by Rick Bayless' roadside chicken marinade, which is firey hot. His marinade only has to be on for 30 to 45 minutes, but I was planning on 12 hours or so of brining. I also got scared at the sheer amounts when I scaled it up from 3/4ths cup to about 2 gallons. So I went very conservative. The spices didn't come through except as a little depth of flavor. The brining part worked like a charm... keeps the meat moist and adds all the salt you need.

In the interests of culinary progress, I present:

Joe's Cowardly Turkey Brine

2 quarts OJ
6 quarts water
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp cayenne
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cinnamon
2 pinches of cloves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
About 3 shots of Tabasco sauce

Heat the water and dissolve the sugar and salt in it. Cool and combine all ingredients. Submerge a 12-pound turkey in it for 12 hours or so.

The water-juice-salt-sugar ratio is about right for a brine this long. A little more OJ wouldn't kill it. Next time I'll double or triple the spices to try to get some zing. Maybe I'll experiment on some chickens; just scale back the liquids.

Well, the cats have hopped down and are reminding me that they haven't had Thanksgiving dinner yet. Which means I can get that beer and that remote.

I am so damned grateful for all the good things in my world that sometimes it feels like my heart will burst. And I will endeavor to keep giving thanks tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that too.

Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for your support.


Blogger TeacherRefPoet said...

And to you too, Joe...

9:50 PM, November 25, 2005  
Blogger lemming said...

am thoroughly complimented and delighted that my gift was useful adn enduring.

Thanksgiving is the best holiday, imho, as it encourages us to count our blessings, large and small. Knowing you is definitely large. :-)

2:01 PM, November 28, 2005  

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