Highlights of Thanksgiving 2009.
Salt Pork. Who Knew? I happened to catch an episode of Cook's Illustrated ... well, America's Test Kitchen, er... Cook'sCountry.com. Christopher Kimball, the originator and publisher of Cook's Illustrated, has changed the title of his output so many times it's hard even for us foodies to keep up. Anyways ... Saw an episode where they covered the turkey in, yes, salt pork. Believe it or not, I've never ever cooked with salt pork before. In fact, as a young child whose menu growing up included canned baked beans at least once per week, I used to gag just seeing the little cubes sticking out from the beans. Now, though, as a grown-up, I've come to realize that perhaps nothing could be finer for your turkey than salt pork at Thanksgiving. Here are the essentials, with link to the full recipe Here. Since I'm telling you about it here, it has to be easy: 1. Use a fork to pierce the turkey skin all over (Julia did this for me). 2. Slice up pork fat ($2 per package at the Market Basket meat counter -- 6 pkgs. total) into 1/4-1/2 inch slices. 3. Cover turkey ALL over with slices. 4. Cover the pork-covered turkey with a piece of cheese cloth (also Market Basket, $2) that has been soaked in 4 cups water. 5. Pour in remaining water. 6. Cover whole thing with aluminum foil. 7. Bake at 350 degrees until internal temp on turkey is 140 degrees. 8. Remove everything from turkey (including salt pork) and cook uncovered at 425 degrees until internal temp on turkey is 175 degrees. 9. Let sit about 1/2 hour before slicing and serving. 10. Done!! (Sorry I couldn't publish this BEFORE Thanksgiving, but I'm just not that good a blogger ....) The turkey was moist, delicious, and had a really indescribable taste. Of course, you could probably put salt pork on vanilla ice cream and it would taste delicious (if it didn't make you gag first...).
Squash Pie. Ate almost a whole one so far this day after Thanksgiving. My mother always makes one for everyone's dessert, and one for me to keep for later. And boy, do I! It's sitting on my counter, half eaten. Of course, I sliced my finger cutting through the ultra-crispy crust. Oh well, a little blood in exchange for hours of culinary bliss. Well worth it.
Homemade Pilgrim. Thank goodness for youngest children. In this case, my nephew, Matthew. While all the teenagers were obsessed by their cell phones and texting, nothing made Matthew happier yesterday than showing up in his construction-paper pilgrim's hat and vest. Of course, three separate times I thought the vest was a paper bag that needed to be thrown out.... He was a star, and wore the hat with pride. Now if only we could get the teenagers to have some fun with construction paper, maybe they'd stop texting for a few minutes.
Feaster Five. You'll all be happy to know I didn't cheat this year (though my friend, Jennifer did somehow make it across the finish line to come in 10th for the women.... hmm... wasn't she right beside me the whole time?). Acutely aware of my obligation to make up for last year's false success, I ran a true 5-mile race yesterday, crossing the finish line in just over 45 minutes. Which, by the way, is like a world record for me. I would have been ecstatic with anything close to a 10-minute mile. Because of Jennifer's long legs, though, I was pushed to go a bit faster and finished with a 9:10 minute pace. Cool. I can feel right my hip a bit today, though. Ever since this summer and the hip bursitis I experienced, I'm a big believer in listening to your body. No running today or tomorrow, but hopefully next week again.
So, those are the highlights from Thanksgiving. Sorry not to be here for a few weeks. The marathon took a bit out of me, and then things got incredibly busy for a couple of weeks. But, now I'm back. Lots to talk about between now and the end of the year. ... like that crazy couple who crashed the State Dinner at the White House? I wrote my first email to a television station today, to Larry King, who is supposedly going to have the Desperate Washington Housewife on his show on Monday night. Completely bogus. I may never watch Larry King again.