Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Silent Night

Well, now that the Consumas season (as I call it) is over with I have really been enjoying my Christmas season.  We had friends over for a nice turkey dinner on Christmas Eve.  It was quite enjoyable and we all ate like pigs!  Or I did anyway.  I really enjoy hanging out with people who you can actually talk to and have enjoyable conversations.  I was not looking too forward to going to my sister's on Christmas Day but Mama really wanted to go and I was her ride.  It was going to be stormy and such and she didn't want to drive that far.  I don't mind taking Mama anywhere she wants to go but didn't know how enjoyable this was going to be since my sister hasn't really been speaking to my brother or me.  Ya'll know my family obligational type things have been wearing thin in recent years and so this didn't look to be too much fun.  Turns out it was okay.  Not great but okay, and with the stormy weather coming in nobody stayed too long so I was able to get back home at a good hour.  Jack and I then had a very nice Christmas evening together.

I don't know if any of ya'll have ever tried brining a turkey, or any other poultry, before cooking but after doing this I am HOOKED!  It was wonderful!  Soaking the turkey in the salt water solution makes it so tender and moist.  Very, very tasty.  EDIT!!  Do NOT use a self-basting or flavored turkey!!  Use only a plain, unadorned bird.  I cleaned a cooler I had that was big enough to fit the turkey but not too big, then dissolved one cup of kosher salt in about 2 quarts of hot water.  I then added about 1 1/2 gallons of cold water to the cooler and poured the salt mixture in.  You want to use about 1/2 cup of salt to every gallon of water.  I also then added about 1 cup of apple cider vinegar.  Some people add various herbs to the water but I left that for the actual cooking.  Then, dump a bunch of ice over the turkey, making sure the turkey is actually submerged in the brine.  I also put it breast down so that area was definitely under the water.

Let the turkey soak in this brine for 12-24 hours.  Make sure to add ice if needed to keep it cold.  Then, on the day of cooking, take the turkey out, rinse it well and pat dry.  I let mine air dry while I was preparing the seasonings etc.  I then coated the turk in melted butter and sprinkled well with powdered garlic, parsley, pepper and stuffed it loosely with onion and whole sage.  I did NOT add any more salt.  I then placed it in my oiled LeCreuset dish and baked it at 350 F. for about 3 1/2- 4 hours, basting occasionally.  Anyway, the meat thermometer registered 180 F.  I also covered the turk loosely with aluminum foil about half way through to keep it from over browning.  YUM_OOO!!

Since today was Boxing Day I fixed my usual little gift for our mail lady and took it down to the mailbox.  She's very nice and has made an effort to thank me for remembering her on Christmas.  It's kinda sad more people don't do that for mail carriers and such; not that what I do is all that great but it's something and helps her pay for a little gas.  (In our rural areas many carriers have to pay that themselves and use their own vehicle).  I also gave the chickens and wild birds some treats and extra food today.  We actually got some snow too! so it was nice to piddle around outside for a while and enjoy that.  The snow was very light and it didn't lay but that didn't really matter.  All in all it was a very relaxing day and we enjoyed just goofing off.

 Anywhoo, I hope all of ya'll have had a wonderful holiday if you celebrate Christmas or any of that.  Did any of you try anything new or different this year?


Island Rider said...

We briefly lit on Christmas and then, went back to wedding mania. Glen and I both have colds, weather is predicted to be bad on Saturday so anxiety is high round here. I just want them to have a great day for their wedding and feel well enough to enjoy it!

edifice rex said...

Hey IR! Oh no! I really hope you are feeling better before the wedding and that it all goes smoothly!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Glad your Christmas went well, Annie. Yes I do understand about the family thing. Thankfully avoided any this holiday, except those we will be looking forward to next week - time with the grandkids and family visits in New England."Friends are family God lets you choose" and so we enjoyed a Christmas Eve by inviting 3 neighbors for dinner and Christmas day invited 4 more folks. Both evenings were wonderfully relaxed.
Yes on the brining as we have done it a lot with chicken and I read about a dry brine method for turkey that I will try (when we cook one).

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Forgot to add our thanks for your blog posts throughout the year. We may not comment on every one, but we DO enjoy them, so keep on doing just exactly what you enjoy most in life and then sharing with all of us.
Happy New Year to you and Jack from Beatrice & Grenville at The Frog & PenguINN and Dorothy & Pat too!

pamit said...

Hi Annie, great post. We didn't try anything "new" this year, but we did have a baby in the family mix for the first time. I'm not a big kid person, but I have to admit it added something special to the gathering. And it was a VERY white Christmas here in CO!

HermitJim said...

Now that turkey looks delicious to me!

I've never tried to brine a turkey. Guess I should try that!

I'm happy that your holiday went well with little family drama!

edifice rex said...

Hey Bea! yeah, I think I'm going to brine the next of my homegrown chickens that I want to bake. Should be good!
Thank you for your comments and visits; I really appreciate it!

Hey Pam! thanks! yeah, I'm not big on babies either but they are usually cute at Christmas! lol! Glad ya'll had snow!

Hey Jim! Yes, you should try it; it was great!!

Floridacracker said...

The turkey looks beautiful. I've been meaning to try brining a bird. Thanks for the rural carrier plug.
My Dad was a rural carrier for years and his customers showered him with goodies every Christmas.

Ed said...

Never brined a turkey but I have done it many times to cuts of pork and love the results, especially on thick cut pork chops or Iowa chops as we call them up here.

By the way, I love your LeCreuset dish which happens to be the exact one (even color) that I gave my wife for Christmas.

I had great intentions of swinging by your place on the 26th on my way south just to say hey but the storm to the north caused me to swing through Memphis rather than Nashville. Even that far west the roads were less than enjoyable in spots. We ended up stopping for the evening south of Pelham along the interstate. It seems as if we brought the cold weather with us. I do apologize for that!

edifice rex said...

Hey FC! So glad to hear your Dad was treated well on his route! that's great!

Hey Ed! I always brine deer and it's wonderful so I don't know why I never thought to do turkey or chicken!
Well then, you have good taste in Le Creuset!
Well, stop by on your way back up if you have time! We always enjoy company. And don't worry about the cold; we have been enjoying it! lol! I know that sounds crazy but it's kinda nice and we got some more flurries/ sleet today. It's supposed to be cold at Christmas!