Every year it surprises me how after hours and hours of preparing for a meal like today, the food is usually consumed in under an hour! But I am so happy with how everything turned out! The best decision we made was to brine our turkey this year. I was making two pies, one apple and one pecan, but only had one pie plate. So yesterday Tony and I went to Bed Bath & Beyond and as we were heading to the checkout, I saw this bag:
Just imagine a super thick ziploc bag! This one holds up to a 25 pound turkey, good thing because Tony brought us home a 20 pound turkey!
The basic premise is that for every 16 cups of water that it takes to cover the bird, use 1 cup of salt. I decided to do a split of salt and sugar though. It took 36 cups of water to cover the bird, so I added 1.5 cups of kosher (no iodine!) and 1.5 of sugar, some peppercorns and fresh rosemary.
This sucker was HEAVY! It sat in our downstairs fridge overnight. And since we couldn’t decide between Turkey or Ham, we had both! The ham cooked on the gas grill while the turkey took center stage on the Weber charcoal grill. I put the ham in a cast iron skillet, added 1 cup of water to the bottom and then tented with a big piece of foil. This ham took 4 hours at a constant temp of 350 degrees. Love that about a gas grill!
So we were trying to figure out how to cook the turkey. I mean, it was huge, we didn’t want to put it right on the grill so I had the idea of putting it on a pizza pan that could get to high temps. We had coals on two sides, no coals in the middle and then placed a pan of apple chips on one side of the coals.
Tony put the top on and said “just set it and forget it!” We both came back inside (it was fricken cold!) when Tony looked out and saw flames shooting out the top of the Weber! He said “grab something for me to lift this turkey off!” Unfortunately, his hands are too big to fit into my oven mits, so I scrambled to get him some dish towels. And all the while I was thinking “I really want a picture of this!” But we had to save the turkey! And save it just in time!
Our fatal error? The angle of our grill in the back yard caused fat from the turkey to pool on the pizza pan, and then drizzled over the side, onto the apple chips, which quickly caught on fire! Don’t let the char fool you – this bird was amazingly juicy! Thanks for saving the turkey Tony!!
For appetizers I had a spinach and artichoke dip (no picture), best shrimp cocktail ever, and cheese and crackers. You know I couldn’t have a holiday without some sort of cheese! The brie was my favorite!
In December’s Cooking Light magazine they had a recipe for an All-Purpose Light Piecrust. I was intrigued!
Cooking Light’s All-Purpose Pie Crust
- 5 ounces flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening (I used butter flavored Crisco)
- 4 teaspoons of unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup boiling water
Combine Flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in bowl, cut in shortening with a pastry blender (or a fork) and mix until it looks like course small pebbles. Combine the hot water and melted butter and add to mixture, and stir just until everything is incorporated. It is important not to overwork the dough otherwise it will be tough. Wrap in saran wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
I am not kidding when I tell you this is the simplest, easiest pie crust I have ever made. It didn’t tear when I rolled it out and was easy to shape. This one is a keeper!
First up, Pioneer Woman’s Pecan Pie!
I’ve found it is easiest to roll out between two sheets of saran – so you don’t have to add more flour – it makes for a flakier crust.
While PW’s recipe called for 1 cup of pecans, I added two!
I made these yesterday and had them sitting on the dining room table. Every time Tony walked by he looked at it longingly, but he made it until today! I actually expected there to be one slice missing before today!
Then onto my apple pie! I make a mean apple pie, and learned long ago to use Fuji apples. They hold their shape, they are always sweet and just hold up to the baking. I switched it up a bit this year and split my apples between Granny Smith and Fuji. So while I used the Cooking Light pie crust above, this is my apple pie filling:
Apple Pie Filling
- 2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
- 2 pounds Fuji apples, peeled and sliced
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (about the juice of a lemon)
- 1 teaspoon zest of lemon peel
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. allspice
- 1 egg, slightly beaten + 1 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar for topping
Peel apples and put in a bowl. Since it takes a while to peel, core and cut all these apples, after each apple went into the bowl, I squeezed a bit of fresh lemon juice over the top – this prevents the apples from browning. Once all the apples are cut, add everything up to egg white and mix well. Pour in prepared pie shell, put second pie shell on top. Make sure to vent the top. Brush egg wash over top and add sugar. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes. Reuce oven to 325 and cook an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until the top gets slightly browned.
Keep layering – it doesn’t matter that the apples are over the top of the pie plate, the top crust will keep them all in!
I put the top crust on, and almost forgot the egg wash so I went to the fridge. When I turned around, I found out that Tony had made his own decoration on the top of my pie!
Um, since his sister and my Mom were coming over, I decided to remove his addition, but it made me laugh!
My 69 year old Mom deemed this the best apple pie she’s ever eaten! Thanks for coming over Mom!
I actually didn’t take too many other pictures of the food – so here are some random ones – fresh iced tea with lemon, stuffing muffins, Hannah awesome tater tot casserole, my Mom’s sugar free pumpkin pie baked in phyllo dough!
It was so delicious! Oh, and Ed really was wondering if anyone had anything they’d like to share. He sat so still! I liked this picture in black and white!
So with Hannah’s amazing cleaning skills, my disaster of a small kitchen was cleaned in no time – thanks Hanners!
And thanks to my Mom, SIL Jody, Chris and Rachel for sharing our Thanksgiving Dinner!
Off to snuggle with Tony – I hope everyone had a wonderful day! I have so much to be thankful for!!