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Get Off the Couch: Turkey Time

Chris boldly goes where he's never gone before in the kitchen in part two of his Thanksgiving feast.

Even though there were a few hitches in the road, last week’s cooking went pretty well.  That gave me the culinary courage to embark on part two of my running diary.  This week, Get off the Couch will show you how to cook a pumpkin pie, and the all-important turkey.  Since I only have one oven, I thought it best to spread out the baking over a two-day span on Friday and Saturday.

Friday afternoon

12:30 - Walk into and start getting my ingredients. I found out that frozen turkeys take about three days to defrost, so I'm going to have to buy a fresh one. Even though the turkey I have in my hand is clearly soft to the touch, I idiotically ask a Dave's employee if the turkey is frozen because it feels very cold.  She politely smiles and says no its’ fresh.  Common sense - 1, Chris - 0.  

12:40 - I have been aimlessly walking around Dave's for 10 minutes trying to find pumpkin filling.  Obviously I refuse to ask an employee for directions because I am a male.  

12:45 - Finally find the pumpkin filling.  Thankfully it has a recipe on the back of the can so I can figure out what else I need to get for my pie  Oddly enough there was no recipe on the turkey. Very inconsiderate.  

Friday Evening

4:55 - Starting the prep work on the pie.  Once again, due to my short-term memory loss, I need to read the recipe about 10 times.

5:12 - Prior to mixing all the ingredients, I add my not-so-secret ingredient, Sam Adams Winter Lager.

5:15 - Pie is in the oven, now time to clean up.  For some reason I like cleaning. (Yes ladies, not only do I cook, I also clean)

5:20 - My house is starting to smell like Schartner Farms when they pull the pies out.  I must be doing something right.

6:05 - Pie is done, and now just needs to cool off.

6:30 - Dinner is served. Wow, this pumpkin pie is delicious.

Saturday Afternoon

1:40 - Found a turkey recipe online, and I have no idea what I'm doing. My sous chef this week is my brother Mike.  Lets just say he's not as qualified as my previous sous chef, Megan.  

1:51 - Definitely added too much water to the stuffing.

2:00 - Pulling out the neck and the giblets from the turkey is pretty gross. 

2:05 - My sous chef leaves. He's not getting any turkey.

2:15 - Recalling my conversation with my friend Brian from the UConn sailing team about how he cooks his turkey. While he didn't have anything real specific about what to put on the turkey, he said its about 'free styling' with ingredients. So, I started adding a plethora of spices.  This turkey is loaded up with minced garlic, oregano, sage, butter, salt, pepper, minced onions, sliced onions, garlic cloves, and some high quality Narragansett Lager.

2:35 - Turkey is in the oven.  Now it’s time to wait. Good thing there is pumpkin pie still left over.  

4:13 - Basted the turkey for the first time, I guess I probably shouldn't have waited halfway through to do that. Oh well.

4:45 - Every time I baste this turkey I just want to eat it.

5:35 - The turkey should be done by now but the temperature of the turkey is still at 145 degrees.  Need to cook it longer.

5:55 - Temperature at 153 degrees. Need to get to 160 degrees before I pull it. Almost there!

6:25 - 160 degrees! 

6:30 - Oh lord I don't want to wait another half hour for this to sit.

7:00 - This turkey is amazing.

7:10 - Took the turkey juices from the roast pan and add it to some flour and butter and cook on low heat on the stovetop for gravy.  

7:20 - This gravy is amazing.  Finally time to eat.

 

Well after two days of cooking, I finally have finished part two of my Thanksgiving feast.  Less went wrong this week than last but I do have some tips for you. 

  • If you stuff the turkey, plan to cook it longer.
  • Cover the turkey at first with tinfoil, but then uncover it to help it brown with about 45 minutes left.
  • Listen to my friend Brian: do some free-styling with your turkey.  Add different spices that compliment each other and have fun with it!

Thanks for listening to my rambling for the past two weeks. Hopefully, if you have never cooked a Thanksgiving meal, you will do it this year!  And, if you have a recipe that you like to use, feel free to share it below.

 

Sarah Simeone November 21, 2011 at 10:03 PM
Love this style, Chris! Can you do more cooking adventures? So much fun to read. PS when do I get to be a sous chef? I'll bring beer.
Chris Simeone November 23, 2011 at 03:50 AM
Thanks Sarah! And yes I plan to do one at Christmas!
Liz Senft November 23, 2011 at 06:39 PM
Loved it, Chris! Your cooking commentary is exceptional. BTW, Sarah is a very good sous chef. And chef.

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