Christmas is around the corner, yet we've barely recovered from Thanksgiving. The day, for us, will be filled with tasty treats, Colorado snow, and a large meal with extended family. With the Thanksgiving experience fresh in our memory, we prepare already, on December 13th, for the following meal:

  • Yummy Organic Turkey (brought in a car, with a cat, from Nashville, 1300 miles)
  • Orange cranberry relish (Mom's recipe)
  • Mashed potatoes (Tradition)
  • Gravy (Turkey mushroom)
  • Basil cheese yams (Nicole Sauce special)
  • Green bean casserole (Mark's childhood Kansas experience)
  • Stuffing
  • Corn Bread (We have folks with wheat allergies this year)
  • Fresh fruit
  • Homemade Icecream
  • Apple pie (From fresh pumpkin)
  • Pumpkin pie (For those who dislike pumpkin)
  • Hobbit salad (Mom's recipe)

Today, lets review some turkey tips in preparation for the holiday festivities.

Nicole Sauce's Turkey Tips
Want the perfect turkey every time? Butterball would recommend that you buy their birds and never worry again. But what if you want one of those fancy organic numbers?

Following are some things that will help keep the white meat juicy and your guests coming back:
1) Start defrosting your turkey in the fridge RIGHT NOW if you bought a frozen one.

Testimonial: When I was 20, I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for the first time. The night before the big day, with 4 guests scheduled to eat at 2pm, I ran out an bought a frozen Turkey, then read about how to defrost it. My heart sank. We were going to have to have pizza for our holiday because I had neglected to buy the turkey in advance and defrost it in the fridge. Disheartened, I called my food scientist father. He told me about defrosting the turkey in a sink of cold water and it saved the day. Be sure to change the water every 30 minutes.

2) If you haven't bought your turkey yet, GO GET IT, so you can defrost it RIGHT NOW, if you buy a frozen one.

3) If you are both cheap AND procrastinate, and buy a frozen turkey the day before Thanksgiving, fill your sink with cold water, plop the bird in, still in it's shrink wrap, and change the water every 30 minutes until about 1am when it will be mostly defrosted except for the icy gizzards and neck stuffed in the middle.

4) Buy: Meat thermometer, baster, apple, onion, turkey grilling pan, tin foil.

Testimonial: That fateful first holiday meal was also in a region of Oregon where stores actually close on Thanksgiving. Though I had the tin foil, I ended up depending on my apple tree for the apple and the pop-up plastic thing for the bird. I feared salmonella poisoning the whole time, but luck was on my side.

5) Rub the outside of the bird with rosemary, basil and pepper and salt lightly.

6) Shove a whole apple and whole onion in the bird. Stuff around these two items with your bread stuffing. Make sure you put lots of milk in the stuffing you put in the bird so it doesn't dry the bird out.

Testimonial: In those early cooking days, I was quite impressed by local cooking talent Geraldine Duncann. (If you haven't read her book, "a is for coda wada," run out an buy it right now!) Actually, I am stimm impressed by her and she has shaped my cooking style with her "handfulls" of this and "dashes" of that. I was lucky to have had her ear before my big cooking debut and she told me of the apple trick. Stuff an apple in the bird and it will make it moist moist moist.

7) Be careful to properly insert the thermometer.

Testimonial: With a food scientist as a father, we would be grilled with very detail-oriented questions whenever we got food poisoning. Dad would be there with his medical book trying to figure out the culprit.He was fascinated by the topic. Unfortunately, the food poisonee is usually not so entheusiastic about the subject. The result is that I have a large fear of causing food poisoning and tend toward extra safety measures when cooking. Take it from a girl who has had salmonella poisoning. You don't want it and you don't want to describe it.

8) Be sure to seal that bird well in its pan with tin foil and baste every 30 minutes.

9) Add fatty tastiness by shoving a whole stick of butter in the bird's belly. Fat and moisture=yummy.

10) The apple is really the key. Trust me.

Check back this week to find more details on the other recipes and may your Christmas be merry, no matter what your religious persuasion.

Another Thanksgiving Blog From Which to Learn
Lannae's Food and Travel
A fellow Nashvillian narrates her Thanksgiving day