Turkey Gangnam Style

turkey gangnam style
a fresh 22 pounder ~ raised in open air and sunshine

gangnam style turkey image
My “Gangnam Style” recipe for cooking a turkey:
1. Loosely stuff the cavities with roughly chopped onions, carrots, and celery, lots of butter and salt and pepper.
2. Rub the entire outside of the bird with soft butter and salt and pepper.
3. Put more roughly chopped onions, carrots and celery in the bottom of the roasting pan with enough turkey or chicken stock so that the pan does not dry out.
4. Roast at 325° for a total of about 4 to 5  hours. Leave the bird alone, don’t baste, don’t cover, just “do nothing” and then marvel at the beautiful bird when it reaches 165 degree internal temperature. Use a remote thermometer to monitor the temperature.
5. Remove from oven and let it rest.
6. Have a Skin Party and do the Horse-Riding Dance.

I believe the secret is to start with a great turkey. This is a fresh Diestel Turkey Ranch Premium Range Grown Broad Breasted Young Hen Turkey.

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The Stuffing Everyone Loves

classic stuffing
♡ The Stuffing Everyone Loves ♡

Is stuffing the overwhelming favorite Thanksgiving dish? According to the Foodbuzz Poll it is. I had no intention of posting my unfancy traditional stuffing recipe until I saw the poll results tweeted yesterday. If stuffing is indeed the jewel of the holiday buffet, we certainly can’t keep “The Stuffing Everyone Loves” recipe to ourselves…

What makes this stuffing different than the ubiquitous mushroom sage stuffing served on dinner tables all over the country at this time of year? Not much, and that is the beauty of it. It’s just like mom’s, only better. And everyone loves it. Ciabatta, lots of fresh parsley and butter-fried sage, fresh-made rich flavored giblet stock, a higher vegetable to bread ratio, lots of crispy crust, plenty of butter, no “surprise” ingredients – it simply exceeds expectations.

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The Gratitude Tree & Holiday Appetizers

The Gratitude Tree
The Gratitude Tree

After a decade of sharing our Thanksgiving gratitude on place-cards, we have a spiffy new ambassador for sharing our thankfulness! It’s a Gratitude Tree. In the past, we would put a place-card and pen on the table at every setting. During the beginning of the meal everyone was encouraged to write their sentiments on the card. We saved these cards year after year so each guest could reflect on past years’ appreciation.

This year everyone gets a personalized paper leaf on which they can express their gratitude. Then after dinner, the leaves are hung on the tree. Guests can read and share tributes throughout the week. We’ll save the leaves, which will re-appear on the tree in years to come…as our tree blooms with an abundance of joy, thankfulness, and gratefulness.

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Mushroom, Barley, Kale, Carrot

Mushroom, Barley, Kale, Carrot in a Rich Roasted Turkey Stock

The weekend after Thanksgiving is always bittersweet: memories of a magical week spent with family mix with a bit of sadness that we won’t be seeing each other for a while. Over the past few years it has become a ritual to make a comforting soup with the rich turkey stock while I wash piles of sheets and towels, store all the huge pots & platters, and put away the turkey decorations including “Albuquerque the Turkey” and “Plymouth Rock” until next year.

See ya next year Albuquerque!

The stock was made by simmering the turkey carcass in filtered water with rough chopped carrot, onion, celery, and a couple bay leaves. Two and a half hours later, the stock was strained, cooled, and refrigerated over night.

Remove any fat from the stock then add rinsed pearl barley and cook until the barley is al dente, about 45 minutes to one hour. Meanwhile sauté sliced mushrooms in olive oil with thyme until lightly browned, season with salt and pepper. In a separate pan, sauté 2 parts sliced carrot with 1 part each diced onion and celery in olive oil with some minced rosemary until lightly browned, season with salt and pepper. Add vegetables to the barley soup and simmer another 15 minutes. Add torn pieces of Tuscan kale (center ribs removed) and simmer until the kale is tender. Adjust seasoning and serve with red pepper flakes on the side.

Since the kids have already left by the time I boil the carcass, I save this year’s wishbone for next year’s wish. I let it dry out then tuck it into a plastic baggie and store it with the rest of the turkey decorations, to come out at our next Thanksgiving meal.

Wishing you wonderful holiday memories…

Gratitude Soup

Maybe you’re a little bit tired of turkey by now? I didn’t want to scare you away by posting another turkey leftover dish. But alas, that is what this is…and then some.
Roasted Turkey Soup
 With Pearled Barley and Dinosaur Kale
As I made this soup, I reminisced about Thanksgiving week…
I took the turkey carcass and made a very flavorful stock. And rather than me go through the details, I would like to refer you to Cajun Chef Ryan’s recent post, he details turkey stock perfectly. Cajun Chef Ryan’s blog is awesome.
I added about 1 cup+ of pearled barley to the strained stock, along with a bay leaf, and simmered until al dente, a little over one hour.
Meanwhile, I browned quartered mushrooms in a small amount of olive oil. Also in a separate pan sautéed celery, shallots, and carrots in olive oil until tender, lastly added chopped garlic.
Dinosaur Kale

Remove the main rib from the kale, and tear into bite-sized pieces. Lacinato Kale, also known as Cavalo Nero, Tuscan Kale, and Dinosaur Kale – in honor of my nephews I am sticking with the DINOSAUR nomenclature. 
I added the vegetables including kale to the soup. Simmered until the kale was tender, about 15 minutes Added salt and pepper to taste. 
It was very satisfying and delicious! Especially so, seasoned with a big dose of gratitude:
I had a wonderful week with my family and friends. Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday, thank you Pilgrims, Native Americans and President Lincoln! 
Thank you to my mother, Joyce, for well, just about everything, but today for being who you are – a very special lady, the family matriarch, and a wonderful role model. My grandparents aptly named you JOY.
Oh, Ma, and thank you for lending me your gorgeous antique Franciscan Apple dinnerware.
Thank you to my brother Don, there is absolutely no one in the world that has a more generous, smart, kind and fun little brother than I.
And to my sister-in-law Kristy, I could not ask for a better one. You are so dear to me, thank you for all your help, and laughter, and sisterhood. I love you.
And to my nephews, Stone who is now seven years old, and Jett who is now five. You are the light of my life. I adore cooking with you. Your visits to California are the highlight of my year. And boy oh boy are you both getting good at basketball! 
Last year I installed a basketball court in my backyard, and we sure have great fun there. Any of you playing basketball during the holiday season, consider our good idea: We play T-U-R-K-E-Y instead of H-O-R-S-E. 

A Savory Life Indeed

To my entire family and all my dear dear friends and colleagues. I wish you a wonderful upcoming holiday season. I am truly grateful for you all. Oh how very fortunate I am to have you in my life. Thank you.

Thanksgiving Day

THANKSGIVING DAY
It is one of my greatest pleasures to host
Thanksgiving Dinner
in my home year after year.
Here is my brother Don at the outside bar.
Don, Kristy and the kids travel here to LA from Chicago.

Wendy, Jett, Mom, Stone and Lisa in the backyard.
Wendy is from Scottsdale, Arizona.
Mom lives in Santa Barbara, California.
Lisa is from Germany.

Getting ready to serve dinner, buffet style.
Appetizers are on the counter.

Wendy wrote the menu for me on a platter.
Very artistic!

Lil’ Smokies, because everyone likes ’em, especially the kids.
They disappear every year. Haha.

Steve and his son, Kyle

26 Pounder.
My “Do Nothing” recipe for cooking a turkey:
1. Loosely stuff the cavity with roughly chopped onions, carrots, and celery, lots of butter and salt and pepper.
2. Rub the entire outside of the bird with soft butter and salt and pepper.
3. Put more roughly chopped onions, carrots and celery in the bottom of the roasting pan with enough chicken stock so that the pan does not dry out.
4. Roast at 325° for a total of about 5 hours. Leave the bird alone, don’t baste, don’t cover, just “do nothing” and then marvel at the beautiful bird when it reaches 165 degree internal temperature. Use a remote thermometer to monitor the temperature.
5. Remove from oven and let it rest.
6. Have a Skin Party.

I believe the secret is to start with a great turkey. This is a fresh Diestel Turkey Ranch Premium Range Grown Broad Breasted Young Hen Turkey.

Tom makes canned cranberry sauce look gourmet.
I had an idea to make a cranberry gelée, but ran out of time.
Tom improvised for me.
I love it!

Tom’s Sushi-style (ahi) Cranberry Gelée.

Getting ready for our tradition: THE SKIN PARTY

I guess that skin-lovers will like this ritual, others may cringe. But hey, this is all family and the best of friends. So we can pick the skin together. Nice crispy skin, help yourself! Don’t be shy!

Mom and Chip kick off the Skin Party.

Stone and Don.
I think this is the first time Stone participated in the Skin Party.

Mom, Kyle, Stone, Tom, and Lisa
During the Skin Party, I make the gravy.

Once we finish the Skin Party, Chip carves the turkey. Kyle is stirring the creamed corn and Linda and Tom are heating the mashed potatoes.

Pat’s heavenly popovers (my personal favorite).
They are also great for breakfast the next day, with a cup of coffee.
Right, Mom?

Mushroom, Leek, Sage Stuffing
I make it with Ciabatta Bread.

Chip serves gravy to Mom.

The Feast!
Red roses from my garden.

Stone makes the place cards the day before.

Gratitude Sharing
We put a place card at every seat at the table and scatter some pens about. During the beginning of the meal everyone is encouraged to write on their card the things they are grateful for this year. We save these cards so friends and family that have been coming to Thanksgiving at my home now have several cards at their setting. It is fun and poignant and sometimes sad to read what we were grateful for in past years. We read our current card out loud and some from the past. We also cherish the cards that have been written by those who are no longer with us.

Gratitude Old and New

“I am grateful to have two nephews and the opportunity to cook with them.”

“I am thankful for everything my parents have done for me.”
“I am thankful for all the experiences this year. I thank my family and my best friends for all the support they give me, for spending beautiful days with them and for all the love they give me. And I want to thank Kristy, Don, Stone, and Jett for being part of their family, sharing their American-way-of-life, and for giving me the best year of my life. I love you all. Thank you.”
“Here’s to a healthy 2010.”
“I am thankful for my family and friends. I am also thankful that my college applications are almost done. “
“The freedom we have.”

“Good friends.”

“Good health and old age.”

“Having exciting happy moments, lots of them, with my family.”

“I’m grateful for my family and friends.”

“I am grateful for my lovely daughter-in-law.”

“I’m grateful for my job and my life.”

“We are thankful for fresh air from the ocean, good earth to grow vegetables, clean water for seafood, and friends to share with.”

“I am thankful right now to be sitting among all these lovely people.”

“Great food!”

“Thank you for yesterday, today, and tomorrow.”

“I am thankful for God.”

“I am thankful for this great opportunity to get to know a different country and new people and to be part of a traditional Thanksgiving in America.”

“I am thankful to be able to watch the kids grow.”

“I am thankful for the lives we live and all our loving friends and kin.”

A Thanksgiving Poem

Thanks to all for being so dear
And I hope to see you again next year.

The same faces have again appeared
Along with some new ones which we cheer.
With our friends and family we remain very close
As we celebrate Thanksgiving
With those we love the most.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Later that night, Tom and Jett with Wilson.
Thanksgiving Day Humor: My brother-in-law once shared with us about a year in the past when he was reluctant to eat the Thanksgiving turkey because there were two necks in the cavity. He assumed it was a two-headed bird.