Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving! Part 1


I can’t think of a better way to have spent my short Thanksgiving break from school than by cooking for TWO ENTIRE DAYS! It was pretty epic, not to mention delicious. And just about everything turned out exceedingly well considering most were first-time recipes. My dear friend Diana came into town from Oklahoma City for the holiday and was my partner in crime for the cooking extravaganza. Together we made a feast to rival any other!

So, where shall I begin?

Saturday-Sunday I put the turkey into the fridge to defrost and planned our menu. I knew I would be brining the turkey, strictly following Alton Brown’s oldie-but-goodie episode of Good Eats: “Romancing the Bird”. My family always used the Reynolds Oven bags for our turkey, and it was always hit or miss. I kept getting the oven-bag advice from naysayers of the brine, but knew that my man Alton would not steer me wrong (I am a faithful Good Eats-ite from way back). For the rest, I took a turn from the foodnetwork.com website on their “Classic Thanksgiving” menu and subbed/added some of my own classics from home:
  • Giblet Stock Gravy (I sort of made this one up as I went)
  • Cornbread Dressing (Pepperidge Farm bags, my Dad’s tweaked recipe)
  • Mashed Potatoes (basic Yukon Golds w/ butter and cream)
  • Roasted Carrots and Parsnips with Thyme
  • Green Bean Casserole (Old-school with canned beans/soup/onions! Nothing gourmet here!)
  • Canned Jellied Cranberry Sauce (Can-mold intact!)
  • Kat’s Angel Biscuits (Recipe to Follow)
  • Pumpkin Pie (again, went the easy route with the canned stuff)
  • Double Chocolate Pudding Pie (for Steven)
  • Schminnabons (to eat whilst watching the Macy’s parade!)
  • Deviled Eggs, Cheeses, Pickles, Olives, (for munching!)
So, Wednesday Diana and I carefully planned out what we should cook when. The pies and biscuits were to be baked that evening, the cinnamon rolls would be all-but-baked, the turkey would be put in its brine, and the eggs would be deviled. A tall order. But by doing our calculations, analyzing oven temperatures along with baking/rising times, we handled it in style!

The Angel Biscuits, I must say, turned out unexpectedly well. I’ve always had trouble with biscuit dough being too messy to work with, and it was looking like it would turn out that way this time, but with a little flour at hand, it was quite painless! My good friend Kat has told me this is not a secret family recipe and shared it with me willingly, so I figured I could share with the two people who read my blog (parenthesis emphasis = mine):

Angel Biscuits
5 c. (yes, that is correct) AP flour
1/2 c. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. butter (unsalted)
1 packet dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water
2 c. buttermilk (and no, not that milk-with-vinegar stuff…the real, full-fat, thing)
Additional butter for melting/dipping (you’ll use about 1.5 more sticks)

Preheat oven to 400F. Combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter with pastry blender (till mixture resembles crumbs). Dissolve yeast in warm water; let stand 10 minutes. Add yeast/water and buttermilk to dry ingredients. Mix well. Knead until elastic. Roll out (on parchment dusted with flour) to 1/2 in. thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter, dip in melted butter, and fold in half. Place on baking sheet and allow to rise in a draft-free warm place (We let em go for about an hour, and they didn’t rise all that much. No worries, as they were still delicious.) Bake for about 12 minutes (and then resist eating every last one).

(Yield: about 2/2.5 dozen depending on the size of your biscuit cutter)

Fear not my friends. Part 2 is soon to follow. For now, alas, I still have schoolwork to accomplish.

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