Archive for November, 2008

Tara and her Turkey: Round Two

As promised, I wrestled one more time with that darn turkey to attempt a soup.  This adventure was much more successful, but not without it’s own drama.  Below is the recipe I found on allrecipes.com, I followed it exactly, but will make the below mentioned modifications next time. 

The drama?  Let’s just say Eric kept popping his head in the kitchen to check on me, and would leave laughing hysterically.  I realized after putting all the required vegetables in the pot, that this recipe must be for someone with a larger pot, since the veggies took up at least half of my space!  And 3 quarts of broth is a LOT!  Now that I look over the recipe, my first clue should have been when the recipe mentions soup “kettle”.  Clue #2 – 1 Cup of butter!  Clue #3 – 16 servings!  Ultimately, it all worked out and I was able to cook the full amount using multiple pots.  We have enjoyed this soup for many meals, with a container in the freezer for a time when we haven’t been eating turkey non-stop for two weeks!

 INGREDIENTS

  • 1 leftover turkey carcass
  • 3 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 cup butter, cubed (I think you can get away with 1/2 a cup)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream (I used fat-free)
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain rice (I recommend 1.5 – 2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place turkey carcass in a soup kettle or Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove carcass; cool. Set aside 3 qt. broth. Remove turkey from bones and cut into bite-size pieces; set aside.
  2. In a soup kettle or Dutch oven, saute the onions, carrots and celery in butter until tender. Reduce heat; stir in flour until blended. Gradually add 1 qt. of reserved broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Add cream, rice, salt, bouillon, pepper, remaining broth and reserved turkey. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes or until rice is tender.

Advertisements

November 21, 2008 at 10:52 pm 3 comments

Chronicles of Tara and her Turkey

Our local Safeway had a sale on turkeys this week, 16lb birds for $5.99!  We decided it would be fun to cook a pre-Thanksgiving turkey, and will go great with some of our winter Farmer’s Market vegetables. 

This is really my first attempt at a turkey, so I didn’t get fancy with any spices, and no gravy attempts, no stuffing inside, just the basics – cook the bird.  I cleaned and started the bird, and Eric took over for the juice siphoning and carving.  I would like to share some of my personal lessons learned, but first, a heartfelt THANK YOU goes out to all the women in my life who have cooked turkey for me in the past, I have a better appreciation of what you went through.  Mom, Step-mom, Nana, Gram, Mother-in-law, Sister-in-law, I’m sure an Aunt at some point.  I was thinking of you ladies as my hand was inside the bird trying to fish out what I thought was the neck, contemplating if it would be easier if I just become a vegetarian, and learning that all this digging and proding is required to cook a darn turkey! 

Lessons Learned:

  1. In my humble opinion, cleaning a turkey is gross.  I’m thankful I didn’t have to kill it, put it’s giblets in a nice tidy bag inside of it, and am most thankful for not having to do this for a living.
  2. Next time, a roasting pan as the directions suggest.  That bird barely fit in the casserole dish, which quickly filled up with juices to bail out and had me freaking out that they would overflow and be a mess to clean in the oven.  (really, just concerned that next time I turn the oven on, the spillover will smoke and set off the smoke alarm ruining my streak!)
  3. I wish I hadn’t JUST read the chapter in my book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle that discusses how the common chicken/turkey is raised and killed.  By going the economic route, I’m sure our Safeway bird didn’t have a wonderful life roaming about in a field until it was his turn at the chopping block.  I’m ok with animals being raised for the intent of feeding us, but this darn book is making me think twice about the life they had prior to nourishing me.  So…I tried to clean, poke and prode the bird with loving care, hoping it would help me out and taste delicious.

The results, not bad!  I’m not gonna lie, I’ve had better turkeys, but I’m sure they were more than a six-buck bird and not previously frozen, but it wasn’t bad.  And the sweet potatoes from the Farmer’s Market, outstanding!  I’m not done wrestling with this turkey yet, I’m going to attempt a soup with the carcass tonight.

November 12, 2008 at 5:48 pm 2 comments

The Afterglow

I was fully expecting to still be recovering from my “Election-hangover”, not from drinking too much in celebration, but to ween myself off non-stop Election coverage.  Instead, I find myself in a post-election “afterglow”.  I feel relief from the anxiety and tension which was building up to the election, and thankful the hate ads have ended.  Although my heart aches over the narrow win of Prop8 (banning gay marriage…the injustice and discrimination behind this prop is unbelievable…I’ll save my soapbox on this for a future post), I am still incredibly excited about our President-elect!

President-elect Obama is the first presidential candidate I have been excited to vote FOR.  I didn’t vote for him simply because I didn’t like the other candidate (as I have in the past), I think he has the vision and the best opportunity to bring this country together.  I have hope that he can help us take steps together to narrow the huge gap between the “haves” and the “have nots”.  

Tears were in my eyes watching President-elect Obama’s Election night speech.  To see a party of over 100,000 people, of all ages and races standing, cheering, crying, celebrating TOGETHER in Grant Park was overwhelming.   I also had great respect for Sen. McCain during his concession speech.  I hope after a time of healing, both Obama and McCain supporters will work together moving forward.  (I can always have hope!).  I’m thankful to have witnessed this historic election!

Obama Painting

Obama Painting

November 9, 2008 at 9:28 pm 1 comment

Mid-Election Day Run

I just got back from a mid-day run, and had to share my excitement.  It was an awesome run, it’s sunny here, in the upper 50’s.  I mapped out a 4mi route in midtown which took me by multiple polling places…the buzz is incredible.  It was 11am, and only one polling location had a line out the door…I’m hoping most folks have already voted early! 

As I ran listening to Eric’s “Social Consciousness” playlist, it was great to see so many people out wearing their political shirts with pride, folks walking on their lunch break around the Capitol, and knowing that today all Americans have the opportunity for their voice to be heard and many are exericising that right.  Ok, this is getting cheesy, but I have come to fall in love with Election Day.  It’s so exciting! 

Eric and I will be eating our traditional Election night meal, pizza and beer (we’ve upgraded from his childhood “results watching” meal of pizza and Pepsi ).  We’ll be excited to track the Presidential race, the California proposition results (hoping that Prop 8 Fails!!), and local elections both in Sacramento and Austin.  Woo hoo!

November 4, 2008 at 8:20 pm 1 comment