Nov 23, 2008

A first for me.

Well, Wife and I have been at the house now for nearly 5 years. Most of that five years, the only people we really have been to the house are family and a few close friends. I don't know that I would say we are reclusive at all, but we certainly don't go out of our way to entertain many guests.

I'm sure it has something to do with the size of our home. We have enough space for the two of us. We have enough space, almost, for 2 guests. But even at 2 guests, it gets a little crowded. Now we look at a new range and little rearranging of the kitchen, and suddenly I am going to have 4 people over and prepare a post-Thanksgiving meal for everyone. Fortunately, no one is bringing their children (they will be at a different location with pizza). I honestly couldn't imagine 6 adults and 7 kids at the house. There would just not be enough room to move, let alone prepare a whole meal for everyone.

So there are a couple of firsts here.
  1. I have never hosted a large dinner like this before. For one thing, I have never had to feed 6 people before. I generally cook for 2, maybe 3 on occasion. But now I am preparing a full meal.
  2. I am brining the turkey. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of brining, I'll discuss it in more detail below.
  3. I am actually cooking and carving a turkey. I have cooked chickens before; however, it was on a Ronco Rotisserie (which I was able to "set and forget"), so I don't think really counts.
So, I have a few worries. I want things to turn out nicely. One of the things I am concerned about is simply the amount room I have at the house. It will be manageable, but it will also be cramped. I am OK with this. We are used to it. Our friends, however, may not be. But hey, they'll just have to live.

The brining is really a brainless process. They idea is simply this: submersing the bird in a sort of marinade. There is a lot of salt in the marinade which opens the bird up and allows the marinade to seep deep into the bird. So this will, for example, leave the breast meat extra juicy, which I typically find to be rather dry. This process doesn't make me nervous at all. In fact, this part of the planning stage I find to be the easiest.

Last is actually cooking the bird. I need a roasting pan, since I don't have one right now. I have a meat thermometer, which I will insert into the thickest part of the thigh. I plan to brush the skin with a light coating of olive oil (which should create a nice golden color as it cooks). And after a few hours of cooking, we'll have a veritable feast. After that, there is the carving of the bird itself. I'm not too scared of this. I have sharp knives and a little skill in carving, I just hope I don't crack under the pressure.

So, we go shopping tomorrow. It should be a pretty good weekend.


  1. There is a first time for everything. My advice, roll with the punches as the best plans for entertaining friends can go awry. So if something goes wrong, laugh it off and have plan B ready.
    Ask Dad about the time we had a house full of guests and Dad's turkey came out not completely cooked. It was a last minute scramble as the rest of the food was on the table, but the microwave saved the day!
    Have fun and please blog the results. Love ya Mom

  2. The last couple years I have just bought a turkey "breast" and not cooked an entire bird... too much meat for my family. I brine my turkey as well... wow... the results are absolutely amazing! I've never bought a thermometer... I've had good luck using the one that comes in the bird and you can always use a disposable roasting pan (less dishes for later)! Since living in AZ, this is how we have cooked our turkey (or turkey breast): we brine it in water, apple juice, salt and coriander, then I bag it in a turkey cooking bag, then I put it in the roasting pan and we cook it on the BBQ. The turkey tastes fabulous - it cooks on the grill in 2-3 hours and I have the oven and kitchen free for the rest of the food. I love cooking the bird in a bag because it helps keep the juices in and I don't have to baste. Grandma would die ten times over if she knew I cheated and didn't spend 3 hours basting my turkey, but I don't and it tastes great!

  3. Good luck to you! You will do fine and your guests will have a great time! I can't wait to hear how it goes! We have it easy this year....We get to go to Nic's moms!


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