Turkey Day

I’ve finally recovered from my turkey day extravaganza. As I sift through my foggy memory banks drunk from a tryptophan induced coma, I can begin to recall the wonderful days events. To begin with, let’s meet our dinner companions. There were 6 of us. My mother, the sushi hurling wonder, hosted the event. Along with her was my lovely fiance, her biological mother or as I like to refer to her as Bio mom, and 2 of our dear friends. It was a fun mix of personalities and everyone seemed to mingle splendidly. Everyone contributed by bringing their favorite Thanksgiving day dish and I prepared the bird.

Upon my insistence, my mother purchased a fresh bird this year. A Ho-Ka turkey. This independent family turkey farm has been providing Illinois families with fresh turkeys for over 70 years. They do not come frozen so they’re ready to roast. We got  a 19 pound bird. More than enough for the 6 of us which guarantees lot’s of leftovers. I’ll be making soup from the carcass and leftover meat too. To roast this beauty, I stuffed the inside with a mix of onions, orange and lemon wedges along with a bouquet garni of fresh sage, thyme and tarragon.  I seasoned the exterior with a light brushing of olive oil and a spice mix of salt, black pepper, garlic powder and basil. I put a few whole garlic cloves and another chopped onion on the bottom of the roasting pan.

I preheated the oven to 375° and roasted the fowl for a half an hour to produce a nice thick skin then I dropped the temp down to 325° for the remainder of the time until a thermometer inserted into the thigh read 185° and the juices run clear.  Throughout the roasting time I basted the bird with a mix of unsalted chicken stock and white wine. When I finally pulled the bird out the bottom was soaked with a delicious blend of turkey juices and the basting liquid. This will serve as a fantastic base for my homemade gravy.

I was taught the skill of gravy making by my father. The late fisherman was a known foodie. His vast knowledge of kitchen basics came from years sampling his grandmother and aunt’s amazing homestyle  dinners. His mother was fine cook in her own right or so I’ve been told. I only had the pleasure of his Aunt Violets cuisine as a child. Aunt violet was a master. I fondly remember massive feasts as a young boy in her country home of upstate NY. She was like what I imagined Aunt Bea’s food tasted like on the Andy Griffith show. My fathers knowledge of gravy, no doubt had been influenced by this woman. Suffice it to say, my dad made a mean gravy and he taught me well.  This year I had the help of the unknown sous chef to assist in the gravy making process. He was a blessing to me as he stood there whisking away as the sauce thickened leaving me to stress about the carving of the bird.

Our final menu for the meal: Roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, my mothers grandmothers stuffing, sweet potatoes, steamed green beans, cheesy corn pudding, butterflake rolls, and razzbery-banana jello mold. For dessert the standard pumpkin pie and a razzberry pie.  My amazing fiance makes incredible pies and this years pumpkin was no exception. She tried a new recipe and the results were spectacular. I personally have never had pumpkin pie that tasted this good. I’m not normally a big fan of pumpkin pies but this one changed that attitude for me. Good luck getting her recipe from her.

The unknown sous chef with mashed potatoes and gravy

My buddy a fellow foodie with mad kitchen skills.

Turkey Platter

Notice the dark skin from roasting at a higher temperature the first 30-45 minutes.

Grandmas apple sausage stuffing

This is the stuffing I grew up with. It’s a family recipe passed down from my grandma to my mother. I have the recipe so future generations can enjoy this.


Kathy's kickass creamy corn pudding


I named this family recipe that my fiances Bio mom made. She was a bit reluctant to reveal the recipe so to describe it, It’s simply kicks ass.


TJ's pumpkin Pie


New recipe on a traditional favorite.


Razzberry pie

My fiance mastered this pie a few years ago as she knew it was my fathers favorite.  after the first bite he leaned over to me and informed me that “she’s a keeper”



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