Monday, December 02, 2013
***Warning: Not for the Super Squeamish***
Thursday we grilled turkey outdoors as we always do, on our elevated deck. We accidentally spilled some gravy (about a cup, volumetrically) carrying the bird inside, which then froze albeit in a slick if tasty way. In a rush with lots of family arriving, we forgot about it. Once we beat Pittsburgh, that was all that mattered.
No issues all weekend. We forgot about the spill some more.
This morning on daybreak, we had the horror to find an adult male rabbit in the middle of the gravy skating rink, frozen to death (remember, elevated surfaces like decks freeze first). It's death probably causal (attrqacted to the cold deck by the yummy gravy) more than coincidental. The animal cruelty police surely are after me.
As a matter of technical clarification, with a snow shovel we separated bunny from deck. So Harry Homeowner, what would you do now?
Sunday, December 01, 2013
You have been warned that I am a bad Spark friend. Every last one of you, who chose to link to me, has been duly warned of what a one-sided self-congratulatory louse I am. One of my horrible Spark-friend characteristics is that I seldom comment on your blogs. I read them often enough and I get they are important to you.
I never before have used this vehicle, my blogs (and their ill-deserved popularity) to reblog another Spark friend's blog. As Captain Spock famously told Lieutenant Saavik, who was to pilot the Enterprise out of Space Dock for the first time in her career as a Starfleet officer "For every thing there is a first time."
Well, this is my first re-blog of a Spark friend's blog. Originally posted on November 7 but it seems particularly poignant here in the ugly aftermath of Thanksgiving. Here is the hyperlink www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
I dare say that nearly all of us can find relevance on this blog by Triangle-Woman. She eloquently stated what many of us feel. Simply put: Spark works, but you have to do it, all of it, for it to work.
Please comment on her blog, and let her know how you found your way there. (Make her day, if nothing else). Also, please drop a note below and advise if this is beneficial. I found it to be, and then some.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
If I read it on Facebook, it must be true...
What you need: two 12-oz bags of frozen berries, one box of dry white cake mix (not the pudding kind), and 1 can of clear diet soda. Diet Sierra Mist, Diet 7UP or Diet Sprite all work. Fresca might work too.
1. Place frozen fruit in a 9x13 baking dish. I'd spray it first with Pam, but that's me.
2. Add dry cake mix over the top. (Right now I resemble him, two days after Thanksgiving...)
3. Pour soda slowly over the cake mix. DO NOT stir the cake mix and the soda (yes, or "pop" for you midwesterners and "coke" for you southern rebels - see map) . If you stir the two, you will have a cake like topping.
4. Bake 350 for 45-50 min.
Serves 16. Read the boxes, add, divide by 16 for the Nutrition Tracker. Is the Math challenging? You could estimate...
We'll try it and update this...
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Grilled Thanksgiving Turkey A La’Orange - Sixteen Easy Steps
The key advantages of this approach to the traditional thanksgiving turkey are that (1) indoor oven space is conserved and (2) the heat of the long-duration roasting is kept out of the kitchen.
What you need in addition to the turkey: fridge space, propane grill with spare propane tank, large disposable roasting pan, large cutting board at least as large as the bottom of the roasting pan, Crisco or similar shortening, vegetable oil, onions, celery, kosher salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, chicken soup broth, frozen orange juice concentrate
1. Buy a frozen turkey, 5 days in advance. Park it in the fridge, in the roasting pan (still wrapped and whatnot) and let it thaw in there, slowly until T-Day morning.
2. The night before, thaw a can of frozen orange juice concentrate. Set aside in the fridge.
3. Chop up a couple of medium sized onions and several stalks of celery. Set aside.
4. Get turkey out, remove from pan, wash pan and grease it with Crisco like you were making a cake.
5. Place the onions and celery mixture in the bottom of the pan to form a solid layer. If the layer is not solid, more onions and celery.
6. Unwrap, wash, remove neck and such, from turkey, pat dry, place on top of onion/celery layer, breast side up (I’ve experimented with breast side down too – this is better). The onion/celery layer keeps the turkey from directly contacting the roasting pan until it cooks to the point that the veggies are mush, protecting from early-day scorch.
7. Spoon a few tablespoons of veg oil all over turkey.
8. Season turkey to taste: kosher salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning at minimum. It’s about impossible to mess this step up, as long as you use a fairly heavy hand;
9. Empty a can or box of the chicken soup stock into the bottom of the pan, all around the turkey. You will need another box as we proceed, as you will be fighting evaporation.
10. Get your orange juice concentrate. Slowly pour onto the turkey itself, doing the best you can to coat all upwardly facing surfaces as thickly as you can. Wings, thighs and drumsticks deserve particular attention, as the outboard portions of the turkey cook first and will benefit from the protection of the thick OJ. One can usually is enough. Two might make the end product too sweet (been there and done that).
11. Put the roasting plan, turkey inside it, onto a 300-350 degree propane grill. Monitor the temp in there WITHOUT OPENING THE LID. Trust your instincts, Luke. More propane for a colder, windier, rainy or snowy day. Less for nicer weather. If you start with a full or near-full tank, you will not have a mid-day change-out, but be prepared. Resist the temptation to peek.
12. At the two hour mark, be prepared with another can/box of soup with which to baste. As quickly as possible, open, baste and close. Repeat at four hours, this time with a turkey baster; you probably will find plenty of liquid with which to work. Doneness depends on the size of the bird. After 5-6 hours, we begin using a meat thermometer. The more intermediate peeking, the more time the bird will need and the more gas you will use.
13. When done, carefully leverage the very heavy cooked turkey with its large volume of gravy onto that cutting board, and carry inside with the roasting pan on the board. A brawny teenager or two are helpful for this stage. Do not disturb football-watching, cleaning or napping spouses.
14. Place the board on the counter, next to the sink. Nudge the roasting pan with bird so its overhanging the sink by 10% or so. Place a knife or similar utensil under the far end of the board, so the whole thing now slopes gently toward the sink.
15. Position a large measuring cup in the sink, under the overhanging roasting pan. Place a strainer over top of the measuring cup. Use a sharp knife to cut a hole in the roasting pan, draining the gravy and celery/onion mush into the measuring cup. Right then the celery/onion much is beyond delicious, which is the cook’s secret.
16. We carve in advance and use serving dishes, wrapped tightly and doused in strained gravy, to keep everything moist and fresh for that last hour or two before dinner. If you have the oven space, 250 but wrap tightly in foil first.
Hope this helps. Happy Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
A short blog from me? Maybe.
Per our usual, we are the home team for Thanksgiving. As I type this from the office, Thing One and Thing Two are helping Susan818127 convert our humble kitchen into a banquet hall seating close to 20 this year. Yes, metaphorically speaking, we are Beating to Quarters and Clearing for Action.
It's good to be the home team. Traveling around T-Day sucks, and we know just how Un-Sparky certain dishes are. So we steer clear, as knowledge is power.
Speaking of being the home team, this year we are eating at an earlier hour so as to get the Pittsburgh arm of the family out of our purple house well before game time. The rest of us will adjourn downstairs to watch our Ravens pummel the Steelers on the HDTV big screen. Like the song says, Al and Chris are the best on TV...
As the years go by, relocation, infirmity, birth, marriage, divorce and death slowly but inexorably changes the faces at our table. We try not to forget what this most American of traditions is about, as my Dad's side of the family were new Americans not long ago themselves, enjoying their first Thanksgiving in their adopted homeland free of.... well,. that's another blog to come one day maybe. (Remember I periodically threaten you all with a blog about my Dad).
That sign, erected by Cousin Hans and others early in 1945 at the Ludenberg Bridge, says "Cross the Rhine With Dry Feet, Courtesy of the U.S. 9th Armored Division."
Anyway, this is not that blog, but for now let's just say that his first cousin Hans, had an unusual experience as a young man. Not every person has the opportunity to liberate one's own hometown, at wheel of a tank in a conquering Army. Uncle Hans, who passed just a few years ago, usually did not come for Thanksgiving, but frequently would call.
So that's a wee peak under the lid at the "story" I have been sitting on through two years of blogging here. A few of you know it, and you know who you are. To everyone: Happy Thanksgivikuh to all in Sparkland!
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