That Turkey Has Paparazzi!

The past few Thanksgivings, I’ve traveled to Northern New Jersey with Dan and his parents to visit Dan’s aunt and her family. My first visit to Northern Jersey was packed with a couple of other visits: one to my own aunt and one to a friend of Dan’s father’s. Because we ate something during each visit, we were already embarrassingly close-to-stuffed by the time we returned to Dan’s aunt’s house. We didn’t repeat the mistake of drive-by-eating last year. Last year’s visit is documented here.

We had to stop by a grocery store to get a replacement for the apple pie we forgot, and we forgot to stop to eat between our home and our home-away-from-home yesterday. We had a ‘pre-game’ meal at a diner near where we were staying… light enough to hold us over until the main event.

Most of us had matzoh ball soup with toast or bagels…

Matzoh Ball Soup (flanked by Saltines)

One of us ‘kids’ was doing his own thing, though. Dan had french toast.

French Toast

We didn’t get to visit as many people or places thanks to the yesterday’s sleet and snow and needing to fulfill things previously mentioned. Some of us were (understandably) tired after being on the road.

Not Food Coma Induced...

Even though we had a short-ish stay, we did get to catch up with (soon-to-be) family members…

So… where is that turkey I speak about? Behind the jump, as I took a lot of photos of Thanksgiving dinner.

Roll that beautiful bird footage!

Funnily enough, I wasn’t the only one shooting the bird. Um…no… not that one!

My father-in-law-to-be took shots with his smartphone and his regular camera; I don’t remember if my soon to be mother-in-law joined in. That brought on a comment from me to Dan’s aunt, a comment which became this post’s title.

Here’s the turkey… just out of the oven,

Thanksgiving Turkey #1

a side view of the turkey,

Thanksgiving Turkey - Side View

and the turkey — front and center!

Thanksgiving Turkey - Front View

Our hostess with the mostess moved the turkey to a cutting board to let it rest before carving…

Thanksgiving Turkey - Rear View
Nowhere near a cracked rear view… 🙂

Why not dig right in, you ask? Well…the reason why meat needs to rest  a time after cooking is that the meat juices need an opportunity to redistribute (be it within a piece of steak or within a roasted chicken or turkey). When cut immediately after cooking, the juices flood out, leaving the bird (or any meat) with less than optimal juiciness and flavor. The science (Science!) behind this process is well-explained here.

After the bird was left alone for a little while, juices redistributed though the bird as planned. There was also some accidental redistribution to the floor, though. The floor cleaned up well, and the carved turkey looked great.

Turkey Plate - White Meat

An added benefit to allotting time for the turkey to rest is having time to complete some of the remaining dishes. A supporting cast of delicious dishes accompanied our bird; the first ones I’ll introduce will have recipes linked to them.

The green bean casserole was the standard Campbell’s recipe, only with reduced fat/sodium cream of mushroom soup and skim milk.

Green Bean Casserole
I couldn’t taste the difference between the full-fat/sodium recipe and this one. 😀

The Sweet Potato Casserole recipe was found on the Food Network. My (soon-to-be) aunt noted she liked the recipe’s simplicity.

Sweet Potato Casserole
While I have a recipe I already use, I’d like to give this one a try sometime.

Now, what’s a Thanksgiving meal without stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberries?

Stuffing in Serving Bowl

Mashed Potatoes in Bowl

Cranberry Jelly

Don’t forget the gravy!

We're Gonna Need a Bigger (Gravy) Boat...

Rounding things out were green peas… Something I generally like, but Dan doesn’t.

Imagine...Peas...
All we are saying… is give peas a chance…

Here’s how my plate ultimately looked: a little bit of everything!

Thanksgiving Dinner Plate

I mentioned earlier that we had to go to the store to pick up another apple pie since we forgot the one we originally were planning to bring. The new apple pie had a little bit of an accident before it was served.

Apple Pie...Jumbled.
I forgot who joked, “maybe we weren’t meant to have apple pie for dessert.” Fortunately, it was still edible post-accident, just a little jumbled.

We also had brownies. Ice cream could be put atop whatever dessert we chose or on its own.

Circle of Brownies

When all was said and done, I thought the cat was on to something…

Kitty-Ball...

That ended up being me eventually, but not until I hung out with other members of the family and played with the cat.

Although the visit was a bit short, our hosts were wonderful; it was great to catch up with y’all… This time next year, I also won’t have to be using the “soon-to-be” parentheticals either. 😉

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About A. Random Hapa

Thirty-something. INFP. Librarian. Brain Tumor Survivor. Hobbyist Singer. Amateur Photographer. Foodie. Craft Beer Fan. Unrepentant geek.

Posted on November 26, 2010, in recipes, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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