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PRgal

Holiday Food Traditions!

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My absolute favorite part of Thanksgiving is repurposing leftovers for the next few days so going to a restaurant has never appealed. Also, I really enjoy cooking so making the food is not a burden, particularly years like this where I am visiting my parents and my brother in law likes to pontificate about EVERYTHING so being alone in the kitchen listening to music/podcasts is the happiest place in the house!

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I'm going the high heat method for cooking the bird so it will take less time than normal.  My house in CA had a broken wall oven that would only cook on high temps (like 450*) so I figured out how to roast at high temps than.  Because things were nutty and money was tight, I did not call a repairman because I expected the answer would be I needed to replace it.  I did eventually get a repairman and he was able to fix it.

Cooking the stuffing outside of the bird this year because I've read some articles that made me overly concerned about salmonella.  Since I'll be cooking the biggest bird I've ever made (18.5), I got myself wigged out over the internal temperature of the stuffing not getting high enough without ending up with overcooked turkey.

Another issue I just discovered is the roasting pan big enough to hold the bird is too big to fit in the oven unless turned sideways.  I prefer to cook the turkey breast side towards the back first so I get a uniform browning, but sideways it'll brown in profile.

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@DeLurker, how did it go? I fully support cooking the stuffing outside of the bird. That’s the way to go in general.

As for me, this was the first time in 15 years that I didn’t do the majority of the cooking. It was nice. I did make the pies, one apple, one salted caramel chocolate Oreo. So at least I contributed something. 

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51 minutes ago, JTMacc99 said:

fully support cooking the stuffing outside of the bird. That’s the way to go in general.

Me too! More surface area on the top to get crispy. 

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I think I had about 5 dinner invitations for today, took 1 and then went out to actual dinner with a friend. What has become my current tradition is actual turkey day spent out at various places and then Friday or Saturday I cook small batches of my favorites (smallest turkey I can find, Stove top, jellied cranberry sauce and then family recipe of rolls, sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie) all to get to the main star of thanksgiving....leftovers. I just love my leftover sandwiches. 

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Birdzilla turned out pretty well I am happy to report.  All the meat was done and still pretty moist.  The gravy turned out to be very dark - think beef gravy - because of the high temp cooking.  I put a fair amount of onions and carrots in the bottom of the roasting pan to help minimize the runoff from smoking off, plus one of my favorite things in carrots cooked in the turkey drippings, but I clearly coulda/woulda/shoulda put more.  The smoke alarm in the hall off the kitchen ended up going off 2 times despite having the vent fan on and various windows open.

The baking powder did dry out the skin, but it did not get such a nice sheen from the browning despite having hit it with butter.

The stuffing (is it called dressing if it is made outside the bird?) also turned out well.  I made it in the crock pot with a fair amount of reservation.  It doesn't get a crispy top that way which is a bit of a disappointment like @biakbiak noted since that is the best part, but the bottom and the sides get a bit of a crust on them.

So we all ate way too much which is probably required.  I should have stopped after the main meal, but one of the guests brought home made creme brulee and it was impossible to resist.  And it was amazing!

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On 11/21/2018 at 10:04 PM, chessiegal said:

The restaurant we are going to has a traditional turkey option, but a diverse selection of other options.

Sam's on the Waterfront Thanksgiving menu.

Whomever typed the menu (I assume from the restaurant) for posting needed to proofread it better. Just saying. But the choices still looked interesting (though I’d have probably only eaten the courses with the turkey & the dessert—I’m a picky eater).

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This will be our last Thanksgiving dinner at Sam's. It was our 3rd year, and while the company was excellent, ambience nice, food good. our server sucked. They had a required 20% gratuity, and she didn't deserve it. She brought us our check after the main course, forgetting we had dessert coming. We had to ask for water twice. And when my husband asked for bread, she said they weren't serving it while we could clearly see other diners had a bread basket on their table. When my husband pointed it out, her reply was that the chef told her no bread, but she'd see if there was any left. And what a miracle, bread appeared. We didn't complain to the manager, so bad on us.

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9 minutes ago, chessiegal said:

This will be our last Thanksgiving dinner at Sam's. It was our 3rd year, and while the company was excellent, ambience nice, food good. our server sucked. They had a required 20% gratuity, and she didn't deserve it. She brought us our check after the main course, forgetting we had dessert coming. We had to ask for water twice. And when my husband asked for bread, she said they weren't serving it while we could clearly see other diners had a bread basket on their table. When my husband pointed it out, her reply was that the chef told her no bread, but she'd see if there was any left. And what a miracle, bread appeared. We didn't complain to the manager, so bad on us.

That’s a shame. I guess she wasn’t interested in giving good service (lack of integrity) and the bread issue would have had me seeing red. Are you on Trip Advisor? You can leave a review there or even send an email to the manager about your experience. Too many places close these days. They want loyal customers and this waitress just blew that for you. 

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12 minutes ago, Mindthinkr said:

That’s a shame. I guess she wasn’t interested in giving good service (lack of integrity) and the bread issue would have had me seeing red. Are you on Trip Advisor? You can leave a review there or even send an email to the manager about your experience. Too many places close these days. They want loyal customers and this waitress just blew that for you. 

It was so atypical. The previous 2 years were delightful. I've had lunch there with friends 4 times in the last 6 months. All wonderful experiences. Sure doesn't make me want to go back. I made the reservation through Open Table. So far they haven't asked me for feedback.

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1 minute ago, chessiegal said:

It was so atypical. The previous 2 years were delightful. I've had lunch there with friends 4 times in the last 6 months. All wonderful experiences. Sure doesn't make me want to go back. I made the reservation through Open Table. So far they haven't asked me for feedback.

Open Table might still be in the Thanksgiving rush. I hope that they do contact you. I’d hate to see a pace you previously enjoyed become a bad taste in your mouth. 

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3 hours ago, BW Manilowe said:

Whomever typed the menu (I assume from the restaurant) for posting needed to proofread it better. Just saying. But the choices still looked interesting (though I’d have probably only eaten the courses with the turkey & the dessert—I’m a picky eater).

Maybe the bad waitress also typed the menu:  "Potato and Leak Soup".

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Sam's is a fairly small restaurant, and it would have been difficult to complain to the manager, even quietly, without making a scene. It was Thanksgiving. I was thinking on the way home how every problem/challenge I face in my privileged life is a first world problem. With that, I'm going to stop whining. 

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There is a massive shortage of labor in foodservice right now, from servers to cooks to dishwashers.   It's hard to find and keep quality help at the moment,  with opportunities like Uber attracting a lot of people that want to set their own schedule, etc.  I have to think your place is also falling victim to the same industry crisis.

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Cookie time! Every year I like to add a new cookie into my base rotation of: nanimo bars, mini pecan pies, peanut butter blossoms, snickerdoodles, rum balls, and thumbprints (Raspberry, strawberry and chocolate), I haven’t decide what to add this year. What does everyone else make?

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13 hours ago, biakbiak said:

Cookie time! Every year I like to add a new cookie into my base rotation of: nanimo bars, mini pecan pies, peanut butter blossoms, snickerdoodles, rum balls, and thumbprints (Raspberry, strawberry and chocolate), I haven’t decide what to add this year. What does everyone else make?

I only make a few!  Here are our favorites!

Orange Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

Honey Spice Cookies

Apple Squares

I also make a bunch of candy for gifts!  Toffee, caramels, peanut butter cups, a peanut butter crunch candy, and truffles.  We are trying out mint patties this year for the first time.

This is SUCH a fast and easy candy.  It's like the center of a Butterfinger.  I had to make an extra batch last year because my friend kept eating it while we were making candy!

Peanut Butter Crunch

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On 12/7/2018 at 12:45 PM, Lovecat said:

Last year I started making Pretzel Bark as a gift.  So easy and delicious!  I am also not allowed in my FIL's house on Christmas unless I bring him a rum cake.

This is getting made in my house today. Great idea. 

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