Sunday, November 27, 2011

Farm to Table

This year we had two Thanksgivings- one with each side of the family. Saturday night was the one with my side. For Thanksgiving #2 I contributed the turkey. It doesn't seem quite fair that my sister made corn bread while I got tasked with the turkey, particularly because I have never cooked one. But it was my own fault. I really wanted to try a local turkey. Lately (as in this year) I haven't been eating much meat. So when I do, I like it to be special. When I found a turkey farm near our house, Maple Lawn Turkey Farm,  I quickly reserved a bird!

Wednesday afternoon was the beginning of my little turkey adventure. Luckily I wasn't in a rush picking up the turkey because it was super busy. Plus I spent some time poking around the farm.

First things, first- picking up the turkey. The turkey I got (later named Pete) was 18.5 pounds. Never having bought a turkey before, I was slightly concerned that it would be too small. When turkey sizes go up to 40 pounds, 18.5 doesn't seem like much! Turns out, I had nothing to worry about.

If you look carefully, you can see the turkeys lined up in the back.

 After taking care of business I explored the farm a bit.


First stop, Pete's buddies.


Next, the baby cows! This is Frank and his neighbor. I took many more pictures of Frank not pictured here. He was so friendly! Had I been a little braver, I actually would have pet him.


Aaand that was the end of my farm adventure. I had to get home before traffic picked up. 

Now onto the cooking...

Brining. Since I had never cooked a turkey before, brining was also something I had never done before. Enter, Pioneer Woman. I found this excellent brine recipe here.

I actually made the brine in advance to use on Friday.


What sort of container is large enough to hold a brining turkey, you ask? A Lowes bucket. A Lowes bucket lined with a huge Ziploc bag.


And so the turkey sat until Saturday morning, when it was time to start roasting.
Jump ahead about 3.5 hours, and here's the result.


Looks good, right? Jump ahead another 3 hours and we have safely transported the turkey to my parent's house.

Expert carver

Time to feast.


See all of those sides? Yup, they're the reason for all the turkey leftovers. Multiple days of planning for such a short meal. Until next year.

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