Well first that I made myself entirely from scratch that is.
Thanksgiving Dinner is done, guests showed up and a great time was had, we ate well, rested, had some pie & coffee, then played some card games between rounds of washing dishes.
I’ll post photos of the pie shortly but a few thoughts on the pie and on the meal.
First a bit of a negative, my pie crust was missing something – somehow it didn’t entirely come together (some bits did, but others didn’t fully cook) so, as one of my guests commented, guess that means I have to experiment a bit more… (and I think buy a few more kitchen gadget – I think I really do need a small food processor which would likely solve some of the issues with my pie dough)
On the other hand, the pie filling was very tasty. I kept the spicing very mild (cinnamon, vanilla, and a hint of powdered cloves) which meant that flavor of the pumpkin was strong. These were fresh pumpkins which I baked and pureed by hand last night, so the texture was also not smooth and dense but natural and yes, lumpy in places. The recipe I used involved eggs and milk (i.e. custard) and rather unique but very cool effect occurred – the pie was in three layers – a top layer of pumpkin, a middle layer of custard, and the crust. I didn’t intend on this effect and something tells me I may never be able to duplicate it again (but since I rather like it, I think I will keep trying).
But I need to do more work on the pie crusts. Something in my process resulted in dough that didn’t set as I expected it to – even with my pre-baking (I wonder if I didn’t pre-bake them long enough? that’s the first thing I will try – also I think I need a better surface to roll out the dough upon)
I was generally fairly pleased with the rest of the meal, my current run of luck with poultry kept up – my turkey was very juicy, very flavorful and not overcooked. The skin was crispy and very tasty, the dark and white meat were both extremely good. And I should note I didn’t do anything very fancy – I stuffed the bird with a very simple stuffing (which I should note was the only dish essentially completely eaten up by my guests) and I rubbed a very simple dry rub then a light layer of very good olive oil. I cooked the bird with a minimal amount of vegetable broth (about 2 cups) and basted it regularly and checked the temperature.
I started the bird on its back and on a large, very serious roasting rack. I then rotated the bird after about 2 hours of cooking (all told the bird took 4 hours and 45 minutes to cook, which for a 16 lb bird is almost exactly right).
I probably checked the bird a bit too often and as I was roasting vegetables on the upper rack of my oven, I did have to open the oven every 30 mins or so. But in the end that doesn’t seem to have hurt the bird at all.
We also did let the bird rest for a good amount of time before carving, so I think that also help in keeping the bird juicy.
Of my side dishes, my roasted yams and parsnips were okay but got no comments (I think some could have been done a bit longer), but the carrots and the Brussels sprouts were both popular – and the phrase “These Brussels sprouts are very good” was in fact said (and then noted as not being something she ever expected to say and could only remember saying once before at my last dinner party).
So overall I am very pleased with my Thanksgiving and thankful for my friends here in San Francisco, online, and in cities across the world.
(photos will be posted soon…)