Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas! Have some raw turkey and gravy that looks like vomit!

Most Christmases are hectic for me. Some years I have to work. Even when I don't, I need to visit my dad, mom, grandma and mother-in-law. Trying to balance everything is exhausting. This year, my in-laws went to visit family in California, and I didn't have to work. I saw the opportunity to have my first-ever at-home Christmas as an adult. I decided to cook a turkey dinner, since that's what my mother-in-law always does and it's important to my husband. Also, we missed Thanksgiving this year because we were in Mexico.

I planned ahead and did the proper research about how long the turkey would need to thaw in the fridge. I researched how long to cook it, but this didn't help much because every single source gave me an entirely different answer. (I have, for the record, made several delicious and successful turkeys.)

My husband likes the giblets and his mom always uses them in the gravy. I find this disgusting, but I don't really eat gravy anyway except on fake mashed potatoes at fast-food restaurants. I found my cat trying to get the giblets in the bag in the sink, so I went ahead and dumped the bag into some water to boil them. Then I made my husband cut them up. But here, when they boiled over, was the first gross moment of my cooking adventure.

cooking, Christmas

Still with me? It stays bad.

The turkey was in for four hours and I did use a thermometer to check the temperature, but I must have not stuck it in the right place or deep enough. When we had everything else ready and cut into the turkey, it was very much uncooked. I couldn't accept it. I was so upset. "It can't be!" I wailed. I was about to cry. Everyone (my mom, grandma and husband) said, "it's OK." "IT'S NOT OK!!!!!" I said. It wasn't. I spent $25 on that turkey. I planned everything for a week. I got up extra early to put it in. All I wanted was a simple, relaxing Christmas. The final solution was to cut pieces off and microwave them so we could eat right away. I got past my tears and got to work on the gravy.

The gravy. I had made it before because my mother-in-law is bent on teaching me. I do want to learn, but I couldn't remember how. So I turned to my trusty friend Betty Crocker. I poured out the drippings, but there was something rather solid crusted onto the pan, and we weren't sure if we were supposed to use it in the gravy. I know my MIL uses all the crap in the bottom of the pan. I found out that my mom, a very good cook, actually never learned to make gravy. We were both gravy novices, and soon things became disastrous. First, I was to take two tablespoons of the fat off the drippings, and discard the rest of the fat. Only I couldn't tell any fat from any drippings. The whole thing ended up in the pan. We kept adding flour and water and trying to break up that stuff in the pan. My grandma came over and tried to salvage our mess but couldn't. We ended up with something you may accurately describe as "lumpy," I suppose. My husband noted that one could use a fork to eat it.

cooking,Christmas

cooking, Christmas

So we didn't really have gravy, and the turkey was microwaved. We tested my oven temperature accuracy, and it's fine. I think that high altitude played a role, and perhaps the turkey was slightly frozen, too. I just have a fear of overcooked, dried out turkey, so it's a balancing act, I suppose.

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For Christmas, my dear husband gave me a beautiful red leather jacket and a lovely watch. I also got a gift certificate to the local yarn store from my mom. Yay!

I have been fascinated by beer bread lately, and my husband found this. It's the mix, and you just add a beer or ginger ale:

cooking

I can't believe I don't have a black scarf, but I need one for my new red jacket. Unfortunately, my Liesel scarf is coming along very slowly. I barely have two feet. I may have to buy a cheapo one for now.

knitting, scarves

I also nearly completed one of the Bittersweet Teak Gauntlets from "Boutique Knits."

The completed piece looks like this:

gloves/mitts,knitting projects

Then you fold it and sew up the side, leaving a hole for the thumb. After that, it needs a seed stitch band around the wrist. Here it is folded, but not sewn.

gloves/mitts,knitting projects

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I had set this tiny tree on the floor for a few minutes because it was in my way. My cat seemed to think it was just her size and sat very cutely by it for some time. Of course, as soon as I grabbed the camera, she started to book it, but I almost caught her looking up very adorably.

cats

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Today is the day after Christmas, and it's snowy and windy out. In Albuquerque, we are sort of scared of snow. But I really want to go out and do some shopping, and it's not sticking yet. Nothing fancy, and the Cottonwood area is right by my house. I also thought of stopping by Savers. I have discovered that if you are willing to hunt, you can find some great secondhand clothes. I recently got a really well-made Ann Taylor embroidered and pleated skirt for $5.99.

1 comment:

Happyplace. said...

omg- you had me rolling on the floor by the time you said 'giblets'!! Ah, memories!