Monday, December 6, 2010

Mixed Plate: Flipping the Bird at Tradition and Frozen Turkeyday Travails

Do you still have Thanksgiving leftovers? We're still picking at the last scraps of November's festive edible sendoff as we enter the December holiday binge. Where's the Shake-Weight when you need it? Or better yet, just say the hell with it and get some drawstring pants. It's so hard not to enjoy every last morsel, especially after looking through the Thanksgiving That Was...

Turkey in the key of Mediterranean - Photo by Wasabi Prime

We extended our Turkeyday festivities across a couple of nights. A bird was cooked in Kitchen Stadium Wasabi, but the deed was done on Saturday night. I had it in my head to make a fragrantly-spiced bird, so I used an ample sprinkling of My Spice Sage's pumpkin pie spice to give the turkey a rich flavor and a nice bit of color. I was also basting the turkey in a glaze of reduced pomegranate juice and molasses, just to nudge along the caramelizing of the skin. What helped give the meat itself a nice flavor and tenderness was brining the bird in a long, several-day soak of salt, sugar, bay leaves, peppercorns and citrus rinds. It's worth the extra step, as it will guarantee meaty moistness (giggle) and infuse the turkey with a flavor beyond its surface seasoning. I like to break the turkey down into its delicious parts, versus cooking it all at once, mostly because I have no vessel large enough to brine a whole bird and in general, I just prefer the faster cook time once it's dismembered like a Dexter victim. Despite the missed Norman Rockwell photo opportunity, slicing a just-cooked bird and burning fingers ain't fun. Less fussing, more eating. I further tossed aside tradition by making a citrus and garlic-flavored couscous mixed with the vegetables roasted in the turkey's bastings, mixed with dried fruit, nuts and chickpeas. Even the cranberry sauce got a reboot, with a healthy dose of fresh pomegranate. Tradition be damned.

Own the Bird, especially at breakfast - Photos by Wasabi Prime

On Thanksgiving Day proper, we went to an epic meal cooked up by Mr. Wasabi's friends from the Crossfit Eastside Gym. Don't worry, we didn't eat in a gym, dinner was served at the lovely home of K and M, who were kind enough to invite us over, along with several others. There were two turkeys -- one smoked and covered with a blanket of woven bacon, and the second bird was deep fried and glazed in a spicy hellbroth of Buffalo Wing sauce, making it a Buffalo-Turkey. Bet Darwin never saw that one coming. You'd think it was crazy, but it was brilliantly delicious. Everything at this huge dinner was fantastic and all I have to show for it is the next-day turkey breakfast hash made with the leftovers they sent everyone off with. I know, I should have brought the camera, as this was a true feast, but I figure I'd give this meal its own holiday break from the nonstop clicking of a digital shutter. Tradition be double-damned.

There will be pie, little gifts and a snowy-faced dog - Photos by Wasabi Prime

The turkeyday festivities were also marked by the first snow of the year. Or more like, the first Seattle-gets-shut-down-by-weather of the year. Maybe it's the Thanksgiving Gods reminding us to be really flippin' thankful, but I know Mr. Wasabi was happy to be home after his five-plus hour commute home from downtown Seattle in frozen road conditions when the snow and ice first hit at the beginning of the week. We were fortunate not to lose power, even in the wilds of Duvall where we live, and the snow days gave extra prep time for making the pumpkin pies I said I'd bring for Thanksgiving dinner. The last of my fall holiday decor suffered the fate of becoming pumpkin pie filling, landing squarely into Wasabi Mom's vinegar shortcrust recipe, which is a never-fail favorite that always yields crispy, flaky crust. Topped with cardamom-infused whipped cream and I had unhealthy breakfast options for days.

Walkin' in a Winter Blunderland - Photo by Wasabi Prime

Despite the poop-tacular weather, I have to say when snow falls in Duvall, it's a pleasant winter wonderland, as long as you don't have to be anywhere. If you do, then it's a frozen hell on earth trying to get in and out of the city. The snow lasted long enough to pose for some countrytime photos before melting enough to make the roads passable for Turkeyday. Despite the very early chill and some slick road conditions, this Thanksgiving had to be one of my favorites in that I felt like I was able to enjoy a little bit of everything I love to do over the extended holiday weekend, even if it was as simple as eating, sleeping in, and reading books.

Dateline, Duvall - Old Man Winter goes berzerker - Photos by Wasabi Prime

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1 comment:

  1. Lovely snow pics! We still haven't gotten our first snow yet. Hopefully by Christmas!


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