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I'm thoughtful like that. And guess who admitted that they "hate cooking?" If you said my MiL, then you would be correct. Maybe this means that she won't try to take over holiday cooking... "You seem to really like cooking...." UM, YEAH. Glad you noticed after 10+ years.

But back to the fantastic bird I roasted and the chai spice cake that was crazy delicious. If you're not brining your turkey, you are missing out. It's so simple, requires less work over all (no basting!) and makes the juiciest, most flavorful meat ever. My recipe and instructions for brining under the cut. (And don't feel bad if you don't know how to cook a turkey. Neither do any of these people. LOL.)

I had an 18 pound bird, so I brined my bird for 18 hours. Can you figure out the math on that? :D 1 pound = 1 hour. A twelve pound bird would be brined for 87 hours, then. I learned math while being Christian home-schooled, I should warn you. (Lol.)

Brining Ingredients:
1 1/2 C of Kosher salt (can also use sea salt, but NOT Morton's pourable table salt. It's too fine.)
2 TBSP black peppercorns
1 C apple cider (you want some sugar/molasses/etc. in a brine)
1 handful sage leaves (stems and all)
1 handful thyme leaves (ditto)
1 large apple cut into slices
1 gallon of water
MASSIVE container, large enough for your entire bird to be covered COMPLETELY with the brine. Clear out your fridge, or get a cooler that can hold it and some ice.

Bring to a boil making sure salt is dissolved. (If you put sugar in, you want that dissolved, too.) Set aside and let cool completely. You can do this the day before the day before. I did it a few hours before I soaked the turkey. I did this in my large stock pot. Put the turkey in the container and cover with additional water (cold) until the bird is covered. If you need to put a can on the turkey to keep it under the water, do so. Refrigerate or put in the cooler until time to start cooking, again, each pound is one hour of soaking.

Carefully carry the container to the sink, dump out all liquid and herbs/flavorings. Those need to be trashed, you will not use them again. Rinse off the turkey with running cold water, inside and out. You don't want a salt lick on the outside. Turn on your oven or smoker (we use a smoker.) I used hickory chips that had been soaked in water. I couldn't find apple wood here in Texas.

Stuff the cavity of the bird with another chopped apple, a handful of sage leaves and a handful of thyme. Tie the legs together. * Rub butter or olive oil on the outside of the bird, season with thyme and black pepper. Transfer to a roasting dish. If using a smoker, add the wood underneath, pour water over the brick and add the damper to the brick.

We kept our smoker at 300 and the bird was cooked in just over 6 hours. The only time we did anything with the bird was when we'd change out the smoker chips - every hour and change. (We kept a bowl of water outside with the chips soaking it in. Pull out the smoker box, dump the chips into the conveniently located compost pile, pour in new chips, put back in the smoker, close door, drink beer.) If you're using an oven, leave that oven closed. No need to baste - it will self baste, that's why you brine. :) I used to do this elaborate thing with sage butter under the skin, a cheesecloth soaked in stock and herbs draped over the breast until the last hour, basting every half hour... No more! I liked the less work method, personally.

After six hours, we stuck our thermometer into the fat thigh, it registered 180, that's done! (It'll continue cooking to 185 after you pull it out. If you don't remove it until it's 185, it'll be dried out by the time you've let it rest and start carving.) Transfer to a platter and let rest for 20 minutes or so. (No less than 10. Everyone can wait, trust me. Just look mean and smack their hands away. Btw, a good method to time things: when you've pulled out your bird, pop your rolls in. When the rolls are done, so is the turkey. No jostling for precious real estate in the oven, either.)

I made some brown gravy with the drippings, a de-glazing of the pan with some white wine, chicken stock, some flour sprinkled over the drippings, and some freshly cut sage. OM NOM NOM.

I'm telling you, every bit of that turkey had delicious aroma of sage and apple, and was juicy all the way through. I just pulled some out of the fridge, reheated it, and there's juice on the plate after reheating. Brine is why!

*How to tie a bird: Make a square knot around the end of one leg (the ankle.) Cross over the cavity and loop under the tail bone, cross back up and loop around the other ankle. Put taut and repeat the other way, tie off the end with the original knot. This makes a bit of a "cage" in case the knots loosen during cooking, preventing the aromatics stuffed inside from falling out.

Chai Spice bundt cake

I used a doubled version of this recipe (the original recipe only makes one layer), poured half into my buttered and floured bundt pan, spooned dollops of pumpkin butter* all around, then poured the rest of the cake batter over it. Things to change: Pour almost all of the batter in - it's very thin, and the pumpkin butter sank almost to the top. Not that it's a problem, but it would have been prettier to have it in the center. I also baked the cake for 35 minutes - it was still moist, but it was cooked through. I basically waited until the cake was pulling away from the sides and was firm and springy when I touched it. I did not make a glaze for it, but I think that would be excellent (the glaze, not the whipped topping the author preferred.) We also had a pecan pie, so I worried about sugar shock. :)

*I made this pumpkin butter in Fall of '08 when I had a random growth of pumpkins in my compost heap. I ended up with something ridiculous like 48 pumpkins. Everyone got pumpkin butter and puree for Christmas last year. :D That's a fantastic recipe - made in a crockpot, and you could even use store bought pumpkin puree (not pie filling, just pumpkin.) Pumpkin butter is delicious. We made stuffed French toast with thick slices of homemade wheat bread, a slit in the side stuffed with cream cheese and pumpkin butter, battered, griddle'd, and dusted with powdered sugar. Fabulous Christmas Day breakfast, imo. Decadent and once a year. Mmmm.

I am NOT shopping today because why would I? When will people learn that the prices are jacked up today, you have to fight horrible crowds, and you can get anything ONLINE. I mean... today is a day for lazing about and watching movies, am I right? *cough* Anne of Green Gables, for those wondering. It's tradition. My little atheist self will be decorating the house, however, because I love twinkle lights. It's a Festivus for the rest of us thing at our place. :D

[ETA] I meant to talk about this. ATTN WINE LOVERS This article will either make you very sad, or feel very vindicated. (I feel very vindicated.) I am a proud wine snob. Yes, I'm self taught, yes, I've only been drinking wine for a few years, but dammit, I have excellent taste. Lol. SHORT HAND: if on your bottle it reads "PRODUCED AND BOTTLED" by such and such, you have a true vineyard/winery that is growing, making, vinting, and bottling on site. If it says "CELLARED AND-" or "VINTED AND-" then you are getting Mansanto-style produced grape juice that is being tinkered with artificially, with a pretty label being slapped on to convince you it's old school wine. It's not.

Also, I'm happy to note that with the exception of ONE wine I routinely drink/buy (Clayhouse, but thankfully they pull wine from a local Central coast grower, and it's organic/old school, so I'm still drinking it), all of my wine (which is typically French because I love me some Bordeaux) is made "in house." Look for Mis en Bouteille au Domaine or Mis en Bouteille au Château for French wines. And dovil will be happy to note that no Australian wines can be trusted. Ahahaha. I'm joking. Kinda. :D Long story short: if you don't give a rat's ass that your Two Buck Chuck comes from where it comes, no worries.


( 53 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 27th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
Wow, first comment? I guess the whole of America is working at half-speed right now, huh?

Anne of Green Gables is one of my mother's favourite book series (I'm an Oz man myself, but I do enjoy Farjeon).
Nov. 27th, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC)
I think everyone is either still in a turkey-coma or out shopping, because they haven't figured out that you can SHOP ONLINE.

We're big fans of Anne. My husband and son left an hour ago to head out to the deer lease to see if they can't get another deer or hog. Because we need more meat? I think they just wanted to build a fire and sit outside. More cake and pie for me and my daughters!
Nov. 27th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
Anne of Green Gables! I'm actually just working my way through the books again - it happens on at least a yearly basis. It makes my husband worry, because they are my literary equivalent of comfort food, and I only tend to gorge on them when I'm not doing so well.

Wish I could be home watching those movies now - sadly, am at work. However, it is slow, so I anticipate much futzing around online. :) Happy food coma day!
Nov. 27th, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
But that's comfort food that's GOOD for you! Twilight (and its ilk) are like McDonalds. :)
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Nov. 27th, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
I buy a plastic-y turkey cooking bag, put it in the cooler, put the turkey in the bag, then pour 3 gal. brine (same ingredients as your recipe, basically, in 3 gal water) into the bag with the turkey (this is a two-person operation). Tie the bag closed, then fill the rest of the cooler with ice. Close and stick outside in God's Fridge. This way I can get the turkey exposed to a uniform brine, keep it safely cold, and still have room for something else in my fridge.
Nov. 27th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
I've used a bag, too. I just find the one container easier, personally. Um, and it doesn't hurt that I have two refrigerators. :D

I do envy y'all that have Enviro-coolers (as we call the cold northern outdoors.) We don't get that much here in Texas. :D
Nov. 27th, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
So you're saying that if a bottle doesn't say "PRODUCED AND BOTTLED", you might as well be drinking Tickle Pink?
Nov. 27th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
AHAHAHAHA. Kinda! Like I mentioned about m beloved Clayhouse Adobe Red (woe) they are "vinted and bottled by Clayhouse wineries." Which means they are getting their grapes from a big ol' stainless steel vat, not lovingly smushed by the winery's children and poured into their own oak barrels. I did a little digging and the pool of grape juice they're buying (already fermented, but not fully flavored yet) comes from a local grape grower, so it's not some big chemical outfit in the midwest's hydroponic farming communities.

He names names in that article of who to avoid if you care about that sort of thing (and I realize that not everyone does. There's a reason McDonald's has sold billions and billions.) Yellowtail (bleh) Kendall Jackson, Coppola, J. Lohr are a few I remember off the top of my head. I don't like any of their wines anyway. *shrug*

The comment section of that article is very interesting, too.
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Nov. 27th, 2009 06:23 pm (UTC)
I wish turkey only cost a nickel

Nov. 27th, 2009 06:42 pm (UTC)
I KNOW. Sometimes I read the lyrcis to any of his songs and I wonder WHYYYYYYYYYY he was anyone.
Nov. 27th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
The comments on that article have me rolling.

The internet isn't just for porn, it's also for digging into an intractable position on a meaningless subject and defending it until football comes on.
Nov. 27th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
Ahahahahaha, right, right.

I was so pleased to see that wank exists outside of fandom. That was a wonderful day that vaulted me from n00b status online to Old Dinosaur.

I wonder if there's a site devoted to pointed out wank on all fronts - I would totally read about Madison County PTA's online wank regarding plastic cafeteria trays - I imagine Godwin's Law figures heavily.
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Nov. 27th, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC)
I rubbed composed butter under the skin, then layered sliced, seeded jalapenos over that (under the skin. Our bird was moist and delicious, too. Man, a second refrigerator would be helpful this time of year. The husband points out, though, if we had a second refrigerator we'd make more beer and it would always be as full as our primary refrigerator. He's got a point.

Drat on not being able to find apple wood. I picked some up when visiting friends in Medina a couple months ago. This guy does mail order, but maybe if you're in Houston in the future, you can do a drive by: Bob's cooking Wood http://www.bobscookingwood.com/mn_03.htm

Pumpkin pecan pie for breakfast, and now it's roasted veggies and turkey for lunch. I love leftovers!
Nov. 27th, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
jalapenos under the skin? *faints*
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Nov. 27th, 2009 07:33 pm (UTC)
*copies recipes*


1 C apple cider (you want some sugar/molasses/etc. in a brine)

What does the C stand for?
Nov. 27th, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
C is a US measurement shorthand for CUP. I'm not sure of the liter translation, but there are plenty of places on the web that can make the adjustment for you.
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Nov. 27th, 2009 09:22 pm (UTC)
yay recipes!
Nov. 28th, 2009 12:06 am (UTC)
A promise is a promise! And LOL at your Predator/Alien icon. AWESOME.
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Nov. 27th, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)
That turkey recipe looks mighty tasty.
Nov. 28th, 2009 12:06 am (UTC)
Why thank you! And, if I may, it was. :D
Nov. 27th, 2009 10:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the link to the article — it's good, and it's good to see Keith Wallace's name again. I took wine-tasting classes from him when he'd just set up in a storefront on Fairmont Avenue in Philly — it's now the "Philadelphia WIne School," has three branches, and it's nearly impossible to get a seat in a class. He's the one who described Yellowtail as "The Borg of wines," a phrase which I've always remembered and still use. I come by my wine snobbery honestly. :-)

I'm so disappointed; my neighborhood wine store has stopped carrying the Clayhouse red. I am bereft. :-(
Nov. 28th, 2009 12:05 am (UTC)
The new year will be coming out soon! (And that's why I try and buy as many bottles as I can of something I like - I hate waiting, too!)

I signed up for Wallace's newsletter - I wish I could take a course, but he seems to have a thing about only doing them there and not in my kitchen. ;)
Nov. 28th, 2009 12:34 am (UTC)
One reason we routinely take the car on holiday to France or Italy is because that way we can visit actual vineyards and buy directly from the producers. We had a ball in the Rhone valley last summer, with Vacqueyras, Gigondas, Chateauneuf du Pape, Beaumes de Venise and Cotes de Ventoux now sitting enticingly in our wine cellar cupboard under the stairs. It's such fun to talk to the people who make the stuff themselves and have a real passion for it. It does help to pseak French/Italian etc, mind you.

Enjoy your wine. There's some fine Oz and NZ stuff about. But you knew that really.
Nov. 28th, 2009 01:18 am (UTC)
Oh, to go to France for the sole purpose of visiting vineyards and bringing home the spoils! I do love some Napa/Sonoma wines, though.

ANd yes, I was being completely ridiculous re: Aussie wines. :D (Dovil is a Kiwi, so it's an ongoing joke to mock Australia. Because, as we both know, New Zealand isn't a real place, it's the Atlantis of the Pacific Ocean. haha.)
Nov. 28th, 2009 03:03 am (UTC)
I forgot how awesome that Chai cake sounded when you talked about it before! And with pumpkin butter? *flails around*
Nov. 29th, 2009 05:30 am (UTC)
Yay I have been waiting for a wine post so I could ask this and not be off topic. I know nothing about wine, absolutely nothing, and I want to learn, so I was wondering if you had any book or website recommendations as to where I could educate myself.
Nov. 29th, 2009 02:50 pm (UTC)
Ahahahaha, oh my god, I'm so creepy with the organization of posts, I AM SORRY YOU HAD TO SUFFER I SILENCE. Hee.

I'm drinking up that man's (Keith Wallace) newsletter - I say go there, and get recommendations from Snooth.com and talk to the guys that run your local wine shop. They LOVE to help people find what they like and will help YOU, not try and get you to buy something expensive.
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Nov. 30th, 2009 12:08 am (UTC)
A lot of wineries in Oz/NZ add additives or processing aids to make sure that there is consistency in taste between years, or outsource from other vineyards, and while I know a lot of old school wine lovers gasp in horror at that I don't care beyond the fact that they meet the requirements of the Food Standards Authority and wont kill me beyond my swollen liver and shut down kidneys, and that it tastes nice. As long as it tastes good and it makes it possible to get through another day I'm fine, which probably makes me uncouth but I'm too drunk to care. The one crappy thing is that they don't always list the additives etc on the labels, which I think is yet again about protecting their bottom line over above giving the consumers the right to know.

Also hello at you! Felt like I haven't typed words at you in ages.
Nov. 30th, 2009 01:09 pm (UTC)

I don't know if you got to read that article, but he doesn't pass judgment on the wineries that do buy bulk grapes, he's just an advocate for people KNOWING about that (and any additives, etc.) I like knowing what I'm putting in my body - I'll leave this space for you to fill in with a joke, I'm still drinking my morning coffee - so I know that I'm not drinking brake fluid. You know, like that one winery in Italy did, killing a bunch of people. Nooooooooo!

But yes - delicious booze is delicious booze and I like it to get inside my mouth.

I'm sad you didn't laugh at the Aussies with me, though. Are they holding you hostage? Have they threatened your sheep? (You Kiwis all have personal sheep, right? Or is that just hobbits?)
( 53 comments — Leave a comment )


Are You Actually

Reading this? I'm just curious. Because that's really detail-oriented of you. Feel free to stop reading. But you can see that there's more here, so are you going to keep reading? Really? That's pretty dedicated. I'm impressed. No, really. I'm not being sarcastic, why do you get like that? See, this is the problem I have with your mother - yes. YES. I'm going there. It's time we put all of our cards on the table.

I love you, why are you doing this? After all we've been through? You don't have to be like this. You know, still reading. You could be baking a pie. And then sharing it with me.

Time Wot It Is

April 2017
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