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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

Filtering by Tag: Thanksgiving

Setting the Thanksgiving Table (cheap and crafty!)

The girls and I had fun this weekend, shopping at Michael's and doing an easy craft for our place cards. We also made some very inexpensive candle centerpieces. I found tons of ideas at pinterest. (Do you know about pinterest yet? You can collect all kinds of pictures and ideas for everything from fashion to crafts to recipes to decorating, and then you design your own virtual bulletin boards. First, you have to request an invite from the site. Or, because I'm a member, I can invite you, so let me know in the comment box if you want me to help.) So, for the placecards. Time consuming, yes, but if you have children that like to use scissors (and can do so safely!), this is a great way to spend some time together. (No, Andrew and Colin were not invited to participate in this activity!)

I am not much of an artist at all, but this is pretty easy to draw. The body, the feathers - I did it freehand. We also bought metallic spray paint for the clothespins, but I have a feeling that we were feeling overly ambitious at that point. We'll be skipping that step (and saving ourselves $10 once I return the paint to Michael's).

These turkeys will be our table place cards, and each person will write on each individual feather something she's thankful for. I might have some groaning about this from some of the boys around the table, but I'm making the turkey, so I figure I'm calling the shots! Here is our cheap and easy candle centerpiece. I made three of these and will use them along with pumpkins for setting the table. We layered popcorn and different colored beans. I bought the candles ($1.50) and the jars ($2.00) at the dollar store. And if I'm feeling ambitious, I'll have the kids sort the beans after the holidays and I'll bag them to re-use next year.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday's Menu: Thanksgiving Turkey (and meat thermometer recommendation!)

It's Thanksgiving week! The turkeys and cornucopias have long since disappeared as Canadians celebrate their Thanksgiving in early October, but we'll still celebrate down-home American style. I'll be baking pies, roasting a turkey, making homemade rolls, and showing my our nephews (who will be visiting) a bit of this amazing city. (If I disappear from blogworld after today's post and don't re-emerge till next week, you'll know why.) I confess: I've only once been responsible to roast the turkey. I'm on again this year. Oh, the pressure. But I think I have a great recipe, and guess why it's so marvelous? Yep, butter. Under the skin and inside the cavity. My theory is that anything tastes better with more butter. Oh yeah, and the basting. I know there are tons of theories out there about basting, but Julia Child bastes. Enough said.

If you're in the market for a good meat thermometer, I have a recommendation. Another confession: I don't yet own this, but I will in about four fours. It's called the thermapen. It comes highly recommended from two trusted sources (thanks, Janey and Becky!). Yes, it's expensive, but if you do enough cooking, I think it would be worth it.

Good luck!

Herb-butter Turkey

  • Gravy base
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 lbs. turkey necks and/or wings
  • 2 cups diced onions
  • 1 cup diced peeled carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 6 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
  • Turkey
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme plus 15 fresh thyme sprigs 2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon plus 5 large fresh tarragon sprigs 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary plus 5 fresh rosemary sprigs 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage plus 5 fresh sage sprigs 1 14- to 16-pound turkey
  • 4 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
1.For gravy base: Melt butter in heavy large deep skillet over high heat. Add turkey necks and/or wings and sauté until deep brown, about 15 minutes. Add onions, carrots, and celery and sauté until vegetables are deep brown, about 15 minutes. Add 6 cups chicken broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2.Pour gravy base through strainer set over 4-cup measuring cup, pressing on solids to extract liquid. If necessary, add enough chicken broth to gravy base to measure 4 cups. (Gravy base can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before using.)
3.For turkey: Mix 1/2 cup butter and all minced herbs in small bowl; season herb butter with salt and pepper. Transfer 2 generous tablespoons to another small bowl and reserve for gravy; let stand at room temperature.
4.Set rack at lowest position in oven and preheat to 425°F. Rinse turkey inside and out; pat dry. Starting at neck end, slide hand between skin and breast meat to loosen skin. Rub 4 tablespoons herb butter over breast meat under skin. Place turkey on rack set in large roasting pan. Sprinkle main cavity generously with salt and pepper. Place 4 tablespoons plain butter and all fresh herb sprigs in main cavity. Tuck wing tips under. Tie legs together loosely. Rub remaining herb butter over outside of turkey. Sprinkle turkey generously with salt and pepper.
5.Place turkey in oven and roast 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Roast turkey 30 minutes; pour 1 cup broth over and add 1 tablespoon plain butter to roasting pan. Roast turkey 30 minutes; baste with pan juices, then pour 1 cup broth over and add 1 tablespoon butter to pan. Cover turkey loosely with foil. Roast turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, basting with pan juices and adding 1 cup broth and 1 tablespoon butter to pan every 45 minutes, about 1 hour 45 minutes longer. Transfer turkey to platter; let stand 30 minutes (internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees).
6.Strain pan juices into bowl; whisk in gravy base. Melt reserved 2 tablespoons herb butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat; add flour and whisk constantly until roux is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Gradually add pan juice-gravy base mixture; increase heat and whisk constantly until gravy thickens, boils, and is smooth. Reduce heat to medium; boil gently until gravy is reduced to 4 1/2 cups, whisking often, about 10 minutes. Season gravy with salt and pepper.