Turkey Time

Shopping List:

ABC by the Jackson Five

Nana Mouskouri singing the cover title for the soundtrack of Le Parapluies De Cherbourg

Video by India.Arie

The Sweet Smell of Success by Elmer Bernstein

You can get these on i tunes; you can buy them for 99 cents.

From the grocery store:
1-Turkey (and be sure to measure your oven before you leave for the store.  I like an 11 pounder.  If more people than that will feed (6 with leftovers) insist on coming, buy 2 11 pounders.  A great big turkey is easier to overcook out of panic from thinking there is no way on God’s earth that it could ever done.)

1-2 pound bag of carrots.  People are going to go on and on about how they don’t like carrots, and how no, they’re not ever going to eat carrots, until they try these.  Cook them in simmering water with a few tablespoons of butter, a bay leaf, a sprig of thyme, a garlic clove, a pinch of sugar and a half a shallot. (salt the water)  When they are tender, strain them, give them a good few pinches of sugar and another few tablespoons of butter.  Saute without moving too much until they are caramelized on the bottom.
5 pounds of potatoes; I like yukon gold.  Remember that you can peel and hold potatoes in water for an hour or so before boiling.

A lot of butter.  You can never have enough.  Buy 3 pounds and freeze one in case of an emergency.

The best olive oil you can get your hands on.  It’s a holiday for goodness sake–if you can, treat yourself.  Your salad will never taste so good.

Chestnuts.  They’re fun and they’re cheap.  Roast them in the oven at about 375 degrees, making an x on the flat side with a sharp small knife before they go in.  If you’re nervous, forget about the chestnuts.  Nerves and small knives have no business in the same room.

Cranberries.  FRESH ONES. Follow the recipe on the bag. It’s really good.  Secret ingredient:  a knob of fresh ginger cooked along with the cranberries.
A bottle of really good vinegar.  A four year old balsamic is always good, or try sherry vinegar.  Even if you don’t use it.  In case some asks for it, you can say “oh yea, there it is, help yourself.”

3 Small pumpkins or 1 butternut squash
1 dozen eggs

Some beautiful mushrooms

Fresh sage.  If the grocer doesn’t have it, you could either pick this moment to let him have it so that you can vent now instead of later, or just forget about it and head over to
1 bunch of celery (I started crying when I ate a piece of Standard American Celery this morning.  That’s how good French celery is.  The celery alone is worth the plane ticket to France.  When you get there, find the closest open market and make a stop at the cheese truck for a beautiful bleu and tiny walnuts just picked from the tree for a salad to knock your silk stockings off.

1 can of pumpkin pack (recipe on the back of the Libby’s can.  Instead of condensed milk, use half milk and half cream.)

8 beautiful apples, using at least 3 varieties

1 lemon (comes in handy; halve it and rub it on your tongue to freshen your breath for kissing)

1 orange

1 box of brown sugar.

1 box of cinnamon

1 box of whole nutmeg

1 box of ground cloves

1 bunch of parsley

1 bunch of thyme

2 bags of onions

4 heads of fresh garlic

1 box of heavy cream

1 quart of whole milk

1 box of kosher salt

1 bunch of white roses; they look great all together in a jelly jar with some sprigs of English ivy and a couple of gourds thrown around with whole walnuts.

1 bunch of rosemary

2 loaves of excellent bread for eating.  (unless you are making biscuits; and if somebody says they don’t like biscuits, may they have bread instead, you have my permission to turn around and walk away from that person.)

2 more loaves for stuffing.  It seems like a lot, but people eat a lot of stuffing.

2 pounds of string beans or 2 bunches of collards or 2 10 ounce packages of FRESH baby spinach.  (No, I do not support frozen, and that’s that.)

1 head of radicchio

2 heads of endive

1 bunch of watercress  (forget the traditional leafy salad; the bitter crunchy leaves tossed with a mustardy vinaigrette, stand up to all the cooked food on the plate.)

1 bar of dark chocolate (it’s good for the nerves.  Keep it hidden in the fridge for yourself)

Here we go.

All you need for app’s are either what everybody is bringing or cheese, crackers and nuts.

If your turkey is frozen, TAKE IT OUT OF THE FREEZER RIGHT NOW AND PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE.  A turkey is not a chicken.  If you are reading this after Wednesday afternoon, you can put the turkey in a huge pot and keep a small stream of COLD water running into the pot so that the water is constantly replacing itself, until it’s thawed, but I suggest get a fresh turkey.  Much easier.  When it’s ready to go, pull out everything inside.  If there is neck in there, get in a pot, cover it with plenty of water and drop in a carrot, a celery rib, an onion, a garlic clove with skin, a bay leaf, and a sprig of fresh thyme.  If there is no neck, just clip the wing tips off at the joint and use those instead.  Pat the whole thing dry with loads of paper towels.  Season inside and out with kosher salt that you have in a dish.  Give it a grind of pepper.  Stuff the inside with a few heads of garlic and a big bunch of rosemary, thyme, parsley and sage.  If you have the courage, sear the thing off, breast side down.  When it’s golden and gorgeous, take it out and rub butter like you have never rubbed butter before, all over the thing.  If you don’t have the courage to sear such a big bird, forget about and put it on a rack in pan in a 450 degree oven for half an hour with the same butter treatment to get the skin going.  Turn the oven down to 325 degrees.  After 10 minutes, baste with cold water.  Keep basting every 10 minutes, using pan juices instead of water as soon as they start happening in the bottom of the pan.  The juices should run clear when you stab the thick part between the thigh and leg with a small knife.  Or a thermometer will read 155 degrees.  (It will continue to cook after it comes out of the oven.)  DO NOT SLICE for at least 30 minutes.  The juices need time to settle.

With the rest of what you bought, here is your menu:

Pan roasted onions with balsamic, a pinch of sugar and olive oil (salt and pepper)

String beans with whole garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and pepper

Mashed potatoes with lots of butter

Smashed roasted butternut squash with fried sage and garlic

Stuffing with sauteed onion, celery, garlic, fresh thyme, sage, bread barely soaked through with hot chicken stock and melted butter.

Either sauteed mushrooms to go over the turkey or in the stuffing
Salad of endive, radicchio and watercress

Pumpkin Pie

Apple Pie

You can do this. You got a friend by the name of Faye.

6 thoughts on “Turkey Time

  1. Thanks – I was absolutely confident you would give me what I needed!!!!! Thankfully my turkey is thawed already….. and brining in honey and kosher salt, but the roasting was my question. Thank you, thank you, thank you for a fabulous week of memories in France. All the ladies are still ravin’ ’bout it!!!. Hope you enjoyed the family photo. Love and hugs to all of you!!!!

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