Hope that everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving, hope all is well with you and your loved ones. It seems like every year Thanksgiving crept up on us, or at least me, maybe because our plans were up in the air until the end of last week. Usually we visit family but it can be a challenge on our end because we're traveling with two kids. Plus, it's hard to schedule things around all the kids' activities. Unfortunately with all these moving pieces we couldn't get all them to fit. It's a bit of a bummer for everyone involved, but hopefully we can work something out in the near future.
I will say this - cooking for just four people can be a pretty intimidating endeavor, so you can imagine what it's like to cook for eight people. I fielded requests from the family about what we should eat and the biggest requests were for Yorkshire pudding and a stuffed pumpkin. The main course was up in the air and I wavered between broiled salmon or roasted chicken, finally opting for the chicken because it's a bit closer to a turkey (we never cook a turkey) and it goes a little better with Yorkshire pudding, which is a family favorite.
The timing of the supper went well, as well. I'm a disorganized person and tend to do things as they pop into my head, and when cooking a meal this can lead to disaster. This time around it wasn't so bad, and we not only ended up eating at a reasonable time, but the meal wasn't rushed at the last minute, where you end up compromising the cooking times because you just want to get the food onto the table and the plates of hungry family members. This is a bummer when cooking chicken to completion (165 degrees inside) and squash, which really needs to be soft and tender.
So with this in mind, on Thanksgiving morning as I was enjoying down time with nowhere to be, I realized that I needed to get preliminary things going. This meant brining both chickens (I cooked two, for reasons I'll explain at a later date) and getting the stuffed pumpkin together. Once the brine was going the birds would sit for 3 hours and I could do other things. Mom wanted to make a pumpkin pie as well but our kitchen is poorly designed so that you really can't have more than one person doing the cooking, especially a stressed out dad who is in desperate need of time and space. Then again, you do what you gotta do.
I got the pumpkin ready and once that was sitting, I could cut the squash and then relax. The other food items could made closer to the actual meal, especially the Yorkshire pudding, which really should be served hot. Everything went according to plan and I got everything into the oven by noon, with a scheduled 3:00PM dinner time.
Anyway, it all went according to plan and the meal was quite enjoyable. One thing that helps is remembering that food stays hot for a lot longer than you think once it's out of the oven, especially dense foods like squash, potatoes, and roast chicken. Even though I let the chickens rest for about 30 minutes, the insides were still too hot to handle. I took this as a good thing. Mom's pumpkin pie was excellent, and all in all we had a great meal. We went for a walk afterward and were toying with the idea of seeing a movie, but instead decided to play a family game and then watch a family movie, something we don't do as much as we used to.
It was really nice, and I hope everyone out there had as nice a Thanksgiving as we did.
Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to amanda for the pic.