the last of the turkey

turkey noodle soup

I am pleased to report that the last of the leftover turkey has been dealt with. Not that we really had much of a problem, since I only bought a 9 pound bird, but it had still managed to wear out its welcome. It was a Diestel organic free-range turkey, and it must have done Pilates or marathon training or something in its spare time, because there was hardly an ounce of fat on that bird. It was fine with stuffing and gravy and cranberries, but I wasn’t sure about its merits as a leftover.

Still, we got one lunch of well-mayoed turkey salad sandwiches out of it, then I simmered the carcass with water and chicken stock for a good long time to get some truly flavorful stock. Some of that is frozen for later use, but most of it I used for a simple soup of celery root, carrots, bay leaf, turkey meat and egg noodles, which lasted through a dinner and two lunches.  It was quite good, but now it’s finally gone.

giving thanks

Mount Baker

Today we are, like so many others, rushing off to spend Thanksgiving somewhere else. Unlike most others, we will be following Calvin Trillin’s suggestion and making spaghetti carbonara for dinner – something my mother has always wanted to do on Thanksgiving, apparently. Don’t worry, we’ll be having our proper turkey dinner next weekend.

Despite not having the traditional autumn harvest menu, it’s still a good time to reflect on how good we have it. Especially after last week’s fun little trip to the emergency room – I’m grateful for every moment I’m not there, let me tell you. I’m very thankful for our health, our home, our jobs, our cats, the beautiful place we live in, our families, and the food on our table. Food is very important to us, and we’re very lucky that we can afford to spend both money and time on eating well. Not everyone is so fortunate. Please consider donating to a food bank or drive this week – they need all the help they can get.

The joy of cranberry sauce

cranberry sauces

One of the things I like about spending Thanksgiving with our Kansas City relatives is the wide assortment of cranberry sauces. I grew up with basic boiled cranberries and sugar, and I still consider that the most elemental form of cranberry sauce. I know plenty of people swear by the canned stuff, but it makes me think of canned beets and (sorry to all you canned-cranberry-or-beet eaters) I just can’t do it.

But the other kind – the sauce in the pretty glass dish in the picture – is my personal favorite. I still make the boiled kind for everyday, but for Thanksgiving I have to have this. I don’t know Aunt Sheryl’s personal recipe, but when I make it myself I use the Joy of Cooking‘s Uncooked Cranberry Relish recipe. It’s very simple, just put into a food processor and grind up:

  • 4 cups cranberries
  • 1 whole orange
  • 2 cups sugar

That’s it! It’s fresh, bright, tart and fantastic with turkey and stuffing. Joy says to let the whole thing “ripen” for a couple days before eating – doesn’t seem strictly necessary, but maybe it makes it even better, who knows?