Monday, November 19, 2012

Let's talk turkey

Thanksgiving already?  Time sure flies when you are thrifting.

By now, hopefully, everyone will have everything listed in anticipation of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and can concentrate on preparing that ridiculously large meal on Thursday.  It’s just me and Ella this year, so we probably will eat out instead of me spending all day in the kitchen for a meal that takes all of 20 minutes to eat.

Yes, I said me.  Ella can whip up a mean dessert, but I handle most of the culinary action in our household.  Granted, most of my meals are fairly simple, but occasionally I like to tackle something bigger, like, say, a turkey.  It’s usually a recipe for disaster, with the bird over done or under done, but two years ago, my turkey ineptitude reached new bounds when I almost broke our oven.

I had big plans for the fowl after watching a video of Alton Brown on make it look so easy.  In anticipation, I purchased a digital meat thermometer and a large roasting pan, and followed the recipe precisely, or not.  OK, I didn’t have all the proper ingredients, but I improvised, and after brining the bird for 24 hours, I was ready for roasting.

I hate messes, and I’ve never cooked a large piece of meat without getting drippings in the bottom of the oven. So, even though we have a self-cleaning oven, I lined the bottom with aluminum foil to catch the drips.  I know some of you are shaking your heads already, but, in my defense, it seemed reasonable enough at the time.  After all, I use aluminum foil in the oven all the time, and never, ever had a problem.

Of course, I didn’t take into account the recipe calling for cooking the bird at 500 degrees for 30 minutes.  Yes, much to my chagrin, the aluminum foil melted and stuck to the bottom of the oven.  I didn’t notice it at first because I was too busy dealing with hungry relatives and the big bird, which, paradoxically, was both overcooked and undercooked at the same time.

When it was time to clean up, I was pleased to see that my aluminum foil had indeed caught the drippings.  I congratulated myself for being so smart, but quickly started cursing myself for being so dumb, when the foil and drippings could not be removed.

Not knowing what to do, I turned to the Internet for advice, and was only marginally pleased to see that I wasn’t the only one who had made such a stupid mistake.  After much research, I discovered that a product called Naval Jelly could be used to remove the melted metal.  So, I spread and scraped, spread and scraped.  Eventually, I got most of it off, and vowed never again to be such an idiot, or to cook another turkey.

I must admit that I have tried to cook a turkey since then, but haven’t had much luck.  This year, Ella found a recipe for a turkey breast prepared in the crockpot.  It was so simple, with only three ingredients (turkey, onion soup mix, and cranberry sauce), that even I couldn’t mess it up.  I tried it a week ago, sort of a Thanksgiving test run, and I must admit, it was pretty good.  So, if I ever get talked into fixing a turkey dinner for family and/or friends, this will be my go-to recipe.

I hope everyone has a great Turkey Day, and a great start to the Christmas selling season.

1 comment:

  1. I'm about to brine my turkey tomorrow so I can cook on Wed.I've been using Alton Brown's recipe for a few years now and haven't had any trouble with it..although I didn't line the bottom of the oven with aluminum foil.I'm glad you found another recipe that worked for you.Happy Thanksgiving!