Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hello Birdie: Wednesday

During my 15 years in the United States I've become remarkably attached to Thanksgiving. The only thing that's Swedish about me during these 4 days are the 3 crown tattoes on my back. AND I've created a tradition of kick starting christmas by sneaking out the glögg a few weeks early. Glögg is Swedish mulled wine and we drink it to stay warm, get a little tipsy maybe and also cause it's just plain tasty! We serve it with gingersnaps. So if you happen to walk down Maple Ave this coming weekend and there is smoke coming out the chimney and a lovely smell of cloves, ginger and cinnamon wafting through the air, you should come and knock on the door. We'll pour you a cup!

I've been very lucky this whole time to always have been surrounded by some kind of surrogate family and have a place to call home for the holidays. We've spent the last 2 years on the Vineyard with Rosemary and friends. Last year's bonus was that my parents were in the country and we brought them up there. What a great time! Maybe we are starting a new tradition in Clintondale. Unfortunately Rosemary  won't be joining us this year, but it will give us an opportunity to have Thanksgiving again in a few weeks. We will miss you Rosemary and we are thinking about you! 

2 years ago in Vineyard Haven with Lovisa, James...

... and Rosemary.

One year ago on Lucy Vincent beach with Tim, James...

.... mamma...

and pappa.

It's wednesday afternoon and I spent my first night alone in the house last night. She's a bit intimidating Big Pink. We got a serial killer basement and an attic worthy of it's own horror movie. BUT I've come to realize though that we are NOT haunted, and if Big Pink isn't haunted - no house is.

OK. Just had a wee scare but it's already over. Metro north is adding trains to accommodate the whole island of Manhattan. I actually talked to a real person there who said "we will not turn anyone away." That's the holiday spirit! James is coming up after work tonight and we have 4 friends coming in the morning, looks like everything is happening according to plan. 

This is operation hello birdie and the mission is to keep this 12 1/2 pounder juicier than you've ever experienced in your life. So again, we are dealing with a mean lean 12 1/2 pounder. I went small to keep it manageable. AND I got 1 vegetarian and 1 borderline vegan coming tomorrow... Then on the other hand we got James... oh well, we've got hot dogs and Swedish IKEA meatballs in the freezer if my thinking should prove too small scale.

Step #1: We get a 5 gallon bucket with lid from Lowes. We line it with an oven bag.

And thank goodness they put this sticker on the bucket because I was about to throw a baby in there.

The recipe calls for 2 gallons of (cold) water but I had nothing big enough to mix in so I did 2 1 gallon installments. In the 1st one I mixed in 1 cup of kosher salt, 2 tablespoons of dried thyme (timjan), 2 tablespoons of dried sage (salvia), 1 table spoon of celery seed, 1 table spoon black peppercorns and finally 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary. Stir until the salt is dissolved. Doesn't this look tasty... After I poured the first batch in I mixed one more with just 1 gallon of water and 1 cup of salt.

I gotta be honest with you. I have no clue what to do with this guy. It's all a guessing game from here on. 

Clean the turkey off real good and remove the innards. (oh boy...) Save them for the gravy...


Put it in the bucket.

Turkey mud bath. Yum.

Pour the brine solution over him. Seal the bag, put a lid on it and store it overnight in cold place. I got mine in the barn. And goodnight sweet birdie, good night.

Operation hello birdie is so much more than just cooking a turkey though. It involves everything from making our house ready for multiple overnight guests for the first time to planning the ultimate Thanksgiving menu. The guests should be hydrated at all times and they should be entertained non stop. I've made that playlist I've wanted to make as long as iTunes has been around. It really deserves its name "BEAUTY". And for his birthday I bought James balderdash which could be one of the funnest games around and I'm breaking it out tomorrow.

So I'm trying to get ahead a little and am making the cranberry sauce tonight.

A bag of fresh cranberries in a sauce pan.

Pour 1/2 cup orangejuice, 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup of what should be port wine in the pot. My port wine consists of 1/2 cranberry juice and 1/2 red box wine. Next time I'm in Portugal I'll remember to pick up a bottle..... I added a bit of cinnamon too... Boil until all cranberries are popped and the consistency is like jam. Pour it into serving container - squeeze half a lemon over it - cover it and refrigerate over night.

This is it for tonight. I'm retiring with Hulu in bed and am eagerly awaiting James' phone call telling me he's wrapped. Law and Order - let them go!!! This guy's got a train to catch!

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