Tag Archives: Christmas

On a wee hiatus…

6 Jan

Happy New Year, one and all! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, ate well and spent time with those for whom you care!

I haven’t had much of a chance to post anything recently as our holidays were very eventful: the birth of the wee foodNURDling, Jackson! Born just a few days before Christmas, J and I are totally smitten with our little man but he keeps us very busy. As a result, not much posting has happened on foodNURD. Thanks to our wonderful family and friends, we have at least been eating well! Our families brought Christmas dinner to us (bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, smoked salmon, turkey, stuffing, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, rice & beans, cranberries, salad and trifle) and friends have come by with tons of food over the last couple of weeks (pizza, Indian food, fish & chips, donuts, Chinese food, bagels, roast beef…), so we are definitely covered on the food front. (And all that time spent in the kitchen before foodNURDling was born has been put to good use: muffins and stew in the freezer have been awfully handy!) Now if we could just catch up on the sleep front…

I will most certainly return to posting as soon as I can. In the meantime, I wish you all nothing but the best and I shall return soon!

The foodNURDling


Turkey 2011

28 Dec

Another Christmas dinner has come and gone and the troops have been well fed. Seven of us arrived at my folks’ place Christmas evening and tucked right in to a cheese and pate plate while glasses of red and white wine were poured.

But before the feast could be devoured, that turkey had to get prepped & cooked!  I posted earlier my general plan for the turkey and I stuck pretty close to what I had planned out. For this recipe, you’ll need either a large cooler or a non-reactive container (a large bucket and garbage bags work, I promise) and you’ll want to start at least 24 hours ahead. I actually brined my turkey for 36.

Here’s what I got up to…

Serves 10.


1 11lb fresh, organic turkey
2 c hot water
2 c brown sugar
2 c kosher salt
1.5 c molasses
1 head garlic, halved
4 sprigs rosemary
2 lemons, quartered
2 onions, halved
2 oranges, quartered
1/2 c black peppercorns
enough cold water to cover the turkey

2 leeks, halved
4-5 carrots, rough chop
4-5 stalks of celery, rough chop
1 head garlic
1 orange, halved
2 sprigs rosemary
2 tb ground black pepper
2 tb butter, room temperature
4 c chicken stock



1. Take the turkey out of the fridge. Remove the neck and giblets, then rinse with cold water.
2. In a large pot, combine the hot water, salt and brown sugar. Stir until salt and sugar have dissolved and cool the mixture. (You don’t want hot water in with your turkey.)
3. When the mixture has cooled, place it in the cooler/container. Add enough cold water to cover the turkey. Then add in the molasses and stir.
4.  Toss the oranges, lemons, rosemary, peppercorns and garlic halves into the mixture.
5. Place the turkey in the brine and store in a cold place.


1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
1. Remove the turkey from the brining solution. Rinse and pat dry.
2. In a roasting pan, place the leeks, carrots, celery and 3/4 of the garlic.
3. Place the turkey breast-side up on the bed of vegetables and smother completely with the butter. Season thoroughly with the black pepper, including in the cavity. (You won’t need salt.)
4. Place the rest of the garlic, orange halves and rosemary in the cavity of the turkey.
5. Pour 3 cups of the chicken stock into the pan, reserving the last cup for gravy  or if you need extra liquid during the cooking process.
6. Wrap a little bit of foil on the tips of the wings so they don’t burn.
7. Put the turkey in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 325F. Cook the turkey for 20 minutes per pound, basting every 30 minutes, until the turkey’s internal temperature reaches about 160-165. Let it rest for 20-30  minutes and enjoy!

Christmas Turkey Plans

12 Dec

It’s about that time of year when I start plotting how I’m going to cook the Christmas turkey. I’ve taken on turkey-cooking for the last few Thanksgivings and this will be Christmas turkey number two. (Last year J & I hosted Christmas for the first time. Fun but exhausting, I’m glad the duties are being split up among guests this year. Even happier that I won’t have to do any dishes.) I’ve been keeping an eye on different brines and recipes and I think I’ve come up with the one I want to use:

2 c salt
2 c brown sugar
1 c molasses
2 lemons, quartered
2 oranges, quartered
1 bunch of rosemary
2 onions, halved
1 head garlic, halved
1/4 c peppercorns

The plan is to dissolve the salt & sugar in hot water in a large cooler, then add the rest of the ingredients. Top that off with enough cold water to cover the turkey and leave the whole concoction alone for a solid 24 hours, maybe longer. Will then stuff the birdie with garlic, rosemary, lemons & oranges and roast on a bed of celery, carrots and leeks. I have chicken stock in the freezer that will go in the bottom of the roasting pan, too, which should help make for some delicious gravy! (Actual gravy prep is Dad’s job. He still makes it the best. I always end up with lumps in mine because I’m impatient.)

Thoughts, anyone? Anyone have an amazing turkey recipe they’d like to share?

Christmas: Accomplished.

31 Dec

Yes, it’s several days past Christmas now and I’m just getting around to writing about the first Christmas dinner at our place. It’s taken that long to absorb it all, really. Eight people, one dog and gobs of food. The turkey came out very nicely, if a little earlier than I anticipated. (The oven cooks turkeys faster than I think it should and chickens slower. Weird.)  I brined it over night this time and you could definitely tell a difference in the texture and moisture levels. I will certainly be doing that again as it really helped to keep the bird tender and juicy.

In attendance on Christmas were my parents, my brother, my in-laws and the always fabulous Hot Biscuit. Mom and Dad were in charge of cranberries and the ever-tempting trifle; my brother brought ooooooooodles of hors d’oeuvres including some stellar bacon-wrapped water chestunuts; my in-laws brought – as requested – rice & beans and, as an extra, creamed corn; and the HB made her delicious mandarin & sugared almond green salad. As I posted last week, we did The Bird, cornbread stuffing, roasted vegetables and potatoes, citrus & sesame asparagus and the gravy. (Oh. And Dad brought homemade fudge, a Christmas tradition that had been put on hiatus for a few years. I was giddy when I saw the container!)

So, as you might imagine, we had so. Much. Food. While I’d love to say that I totally kept my cool through the whole preparation, I must give credit to J who kept me calm when faced with an unexpected problem in the kitchen. Quick thinking and a cool head saved the day! On that note, a word to the wise: if you lose the liquid that accumulates from the turkey while it cooks, you can tip the turkey right-side-up and let it drain into the pan. This is exactly what happened to me and that was the solution which worked quite well! We still had the beautiful – but now caramelized – liquid but not as much as I would’ve liked. Regardless, the turkey juice (and doesn’t THAT sound appealing!) worked like a charm and with the addition of chicken stock and red wine, it all came out!

We ate, we drank, we gorged. We also had a few rounds of Wii sports in between dinner and dessert which gave us (okay, J) a chance to do some dishes and, perhaps more importantly, a chance for everyone to digest a little! Would I do Christmas dinner again? In a heartbeat. Am I glad that it only comes once a year? Unquestionably. But I learned a lot, spent an evening with my family and friends and can’t wait to try my hand at it again!

And all that was left…

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