Friday, November 28, 2008


I wrote this earlier in the day and saved it without posting. I just reread it and decided to post it unchanged. It is a great picture to me(since I know how my mind works) of how a snarky for no reason thought, idea, or day segues into happiness and jollity and explains- at least for me- why most nights I go to bed happy.
Yeah, I'm thankful that it's over and that the in-laws brought plenty of wine. Everything was delicious and on time except the turkey. It is still delicious btw but I have discovered that I really do not like the convection feature of my bottom oven. Sure it roasted evenly but my small turkey(only 12lbs), brined and butterflied took about 45 minutes longer to cook than expected. That's a long time plus 20 minutes resting, for everything else to hold. So we ate all the fixin's then turkey and then pie. It worked out just fine but I really hate it when something like that happens. So I'll just have to go get another turkey and repeat the process with traditional baking feature to see what happened. We like turkey enough that it won't be a problem. I must say that brining the turkey overnight really improved the moisture/flavor of the breast meat. I mean the juices were coming out of the meat like they do with a super juicy steak and it was so tender you could just about cut it with a glance. And Derek and I were able to share for the first time one of our favorite dishes from China-candied sweet potatoes. Now I know you think you know about this but those ingenious Orientals have upped the ante on us poor Yanks. These sweet potatoes are cut into bite-size chunks that are deep fried to crispy golden perfection and then........dipped in a sugar syrup at hard crack stage so that you are basically eating something like a candy apple-not caramel mind you-crunching through that hard sugar crust into tender sweet potato still hot from the frying is a delight for the senses. I should add that this particular treat is not for the dentally challenged as biting into it can sometimes result in that "jolly rancher"-like fusion of molars that strikes fear in the heart of kids everywhere. The sweet was balanced by a delicious baked polenta chock full of caramelized onions that managed to be super crunchy(like fried cornbread for those of you familiar with that deep south delight) and remain creamy and delicious in the middle(like cheese grits ya'll!), add roasted red radishes-yes radishes, try it you'll love it- and brussel sprouts with fried out country ham chips and golden raisins, a super simple homemade cranberry sauce and turkey gravy and you have a well balanced meal in every way. Flavors, colors, textures, smells all complemented each other so well that the extra wait time for the turkey was hardley noticed(except by me of course). And lets not even go into the pies. Ok Ok, I'll tell you about the pies. Briana made her now famous pie, this year peach flavor and boy is it good, the ubiquitous pumpkin pie showed its scrumptious face- which was promptly eaten with cool-whip of course- though I am most thrilled with the pecan pie. Finally, after years of tinkering and some really good pies I have discovered, or maybe simply reinvented, the most wonderful of pecan pies and the true secret to pecan goodness and I am willing to share. Maybe. If you say please.

So now you know- if you didn't before- that my greatest pleasure in Thanksgiving is cooking. Some of the eating and a lot of the visiting but mostly the cooking. Having a dish come out better than ever and introducing new and delicious foods to friends and family, seeing the suprise and delight on their faces with that first tentative bite is what I am most thankful for.


Derek Croley said...

Everything was absolutely delicious! The candy sweet potatoes were exceptional and a rare treat. Even though you were upset that the turkey didn't cook like the directions said it would, it was absolutely delicious. You have my express permission to make it again asap. Now you know why men generally disregard directions.

WanderingGirl said...

That's it, I'm coming to your house next year. PB's parents are nice and all, but I seriously can't handle cold turkey, canned peas, and instant potatoes at Thanksgiving. It's blasphemy.

Huff Daddy said...

I'm jealous, 2 ovens!

I just read the candied sweet potatoes part to Dinah, she wants some.

I used to be a big time pie guy. One of may favorites was pumpkin-apple pie. Yes it works. But my best is orange-cranberry.

Sounds like a wonderful spread. I bet the smells were AMAZING!

Brook said...

Wandering Girl: Come on over and bring the fam. Too much is not enough when you're eating good food with good friends(and drinking a glass of Big Ass Chardonay)
Huff Daddy: Don't be too jealous. I've got a double oven stove and I only ever use the small top oven. Seriously, in the 18 months I've had it I have used the fancy schmancy bottom oven maybe 5 times and I really haven't figured it out yet. Now the top oven I use almost every day and have tht one completely figured out, I mean I baked the pumpkin and pecan pies in it together and they turned out perfect so, sorry, I lost my train of thought. Oh yeah, it could be great and worthy of being jealous of if I knew how that sucker worked. I reread the owners manual and apparently the bottom oven automatically self adjusts your input when you push the convection button and that I believe is the cause of the turkey delay. I'll just have to get to cooking more in that bottom oven. Tis officially Christmas Cookie Season after all!