Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gobble Gobble

"Give me some turkey, human."

I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving and you enjoyed your stuffing, or filling, or dressing, or whatever they call it in your neck of the woods.  Since we hosted our very first Thanksgiving, there was much preparation underway.  Here's a pictorial of the build-up to the feast:

Matt declared that no one shall be cold at our holiday get-together.  And I think he just really likes blowing insulation.  Here he is looking like an alien (I like that in a man).

While he was busy insulating our house I prepared by eating these pumpkin cheesecake bars.  I took my job very seriously.

OK: now we're getting down to business.  Matt just unwrapped our turkey and is fondling it.

He looks confused as to what to do next.  It took him like 10 minutes to find with bag with the gizzards and such.  (Turkeys are a new thing for us.)

Then the turkey had to get a bath.  We decided on Alton Brown's (recipe below) turkey recipe and brined that sucker overnight.  Here it is sitting in it's bath of ginger, allspice, veggie broth, and other yummies. 

While Matt's bathing beauty was soaking, I made some spiced pecans in the microwave.  Super quick and super delicious (recipe below).

Cue the Hallelujah chorus!  The turkey is magnificent!

"Yeah; I made that."

Action shot of Matt trying to figure out how to cut a turkey.  My mom finally had to intercede.

Time to eat!

5-Minute Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

  • 1 (16 ounce) package pound cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, on low speed, combine cake mix, 1 egg, butter and 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice until crumbly. Press onto bottom of 15x10-inch jellyroll pan.
  2. In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese on low until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk, then remaining 2 eggs, pumpkin, remaining 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, and salt; mix well.
  3. Pour over crust; sprinkle with nuts. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until set. Cool. Chill; cut into bars. Store covered in refrigerator. 

 Easy Microwaved Spiced Nuts
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 cups pecan halves


  1. Melt butter in a 4 quart glass casserole dish in the microwave. Stir in the brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and water. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir in the nuts so they are well coated. Microwave for 4 to 5 additional minutes on high, stirring every minute. Spread cooked nuts out onto parchment or waxed paper to cool. 


 Alton Brown's Terrific Turkey


  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey  

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:

  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil


2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.


  1. Aw, look at Penny lookin' all fabulous and sweetly curious. Delightful.

    Seriously. That turkey is ready for the cover of your favorite foodie magazine. I should've asked you to save me a turkey leg :) Yums.

    Dressing. It makes my Thanksgiving each and every year. In fact, I refuse to engage sage at any other point because that's just how much it makes my meal and my entire holiday experience. Divine.

    Also, what a loverly tablescape!

  2. Many thankeroos for the sweet comments!

    Yes: that was one of Penny's "fall" bandanas. Obviously we just put on a fabulous winter one this week. That dog be stylin'.

    PS: Do you recognize the leaves on the table? For $1 at Target they dressed up all my autumnal get-togethers!

  3. Yes, indeedy, that was one lovely delicious bird. Brining is the way to go! I made a wonderful turkey noodle soup with the carcass. MONG

  4. Wow, those pumpkin cheesecake bars look soooo yummy! I must make them. The turkey looks good too, but it's always dessert that I look forward too. Especially pumpkin desserts! :)

  5. DJ:
    The pumpkin cheesecake bars are delicious - definitely better the next day. I wouldn't be against adding more cream cheese either, to really hone in on the "cheesecake" part of the dessert!