Monday Meal: Pre-Thanksgiving

A couple of weeks ago, our housemate Lisa came home with a frozen turkey in her arms.  “Do you think this will thaw by tomorrow?” she said, that Sunday afternoon.

“No,” Chef and I both replied.

“Oh, shoot.  I was thinking you could use it for Monday dinner,” she said.

Chef answered, “Well, we already have Monday dinner planned.” (that was Camp Miners’ Pie Miners’ Camp Pie week.) “But we can use it next week.”

“Okay,” Lisa said.  “I was just hoping to have some for my lunch this week.  I need a little more protein in my diet.”

I won’t try to understand the logic of a woman who buys a thirteen pound turkey to get “a little more protein” — instead of buying, oh I don’t know, lunch meat.

Anyway, that meant we had turkey for our Monday Meal.  And the most scrumptious mashed potatoes with fabulous gravy.  And some lovely sauteed red cabbage.  And hot, spiced apple cider to drink.

If only I had a photo that wasn’t blurry.  (My friends Rajeev and Karen fixed my camera — it was on manual focus instead of auto focus — but that was after all the lovely food was in our lovely bellies.  So while I could post a photo that I took, you would see only colors and question the prescription in your eyeglasses.  Next week should hold better photos.  I hope.)

However, I can give you a few tips.

Chef’s secret to a yummy turkey:  bake it inside a paper bag.  You know, the kind you get at the grocery store.  He says it makes all the difference in keeping the moisture in the bird.  And fear not, the bag won’t catch fire.  Paper burns at 451 degrees Fahrenheit, after all (anyone remember Ray Bradbury?)

Image courtesy

And you won’t be cooking your turkey at such a high temperature.

The secret to amazing gravy?  Use the drippings from the turkey.  Avoid packaged gravy mixes! They are yucky.

The secret to fabulous mashed potatoes?  I didn’t ask Chef about this one, but my guess is lots of butter.

And for the cabbage, just slice it and saute it in hot oil.  Once it’s slightly caramelized (brown), cover and let it steam until it’s just slightly crisp.

And for dessert, we had creme brulee.  The funny thing is that Chef said he couldn’t remember the recipe so he looked it up on my blog.  But when I just looked it up, I found where we had creme brulee one night, but I didn’t list the recipe!  So I’m not sure where he found it.  I know he used egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk, and probably some vanilla.  He also made some chocolate creme brulee.  There was much debate over whether the vanilla or the chocolate was better.  I wholeheartedly voted for the vanilla.

I know, you want recipes.  I’ll do my best to get them from Chef.  But he’s in Tennessee right now, so they will have to come in another post.  Along with pictures, which I don’t have from Monday due to the camera trouble.  Oh, darn, that just means we’ll have to make creme brulee again so I can get photos, doesn’t it?

So, this pre-Thanksgiving didn’t have all the trimmings of most traditional American Thanksgiving meals.  What does your Thanksgiving meal contain that you just can’t do without?


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nikki Jasper
    Nov 08, 2010 @ 09:34:54

    Stuffing. Stuffing, stuffing, stuffing. I could forgo the TURKEY and just eat stuffing. Did I mention the stuffing? And second — my sister’s yeast rolls. YUM. I love Thanksgiving!

    • Karen, the Small Town Runner
      Nov 08, 2010 @ 14:46:33

      Cornbread stuffing? Sausage in the stuffing? Sage? Do you actually stuff the stuffing in the turkey, or is it really dressing? Curious!

  2. Tracy
    Nov 08, 2010 @ 11:33:40

    Haha. Hey, who says it has to be Thanksgiving to cook a turkey? 😉

    • Karen, the Small Town Runner
      Nov 08, 2010 @ 14:47:09

      I have a friend who just told me the she buys whole turkeys all year round and cooks them because she loves it so much.

  3. chef
    Nov 08, 2010 @ 11:38:57


    The recipe for the creme brulee was in the comments section of your last blog post about creme brulee but anyway here it is again: 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1 quart of heavy cream, 6 egg yolks—mix, pour into ramekins, bake in a water bath for 40 min at 350 or so. For chocolate I melted a couple of milk-chocolate bars and mixed them into half of the above mixture. There ya go!

    • Karen, the Small Town Runner
      Nov 08, 2010 @ 14:47:43

      Thanks! I’ll have to put that in a separate post so that people (including me!) can easily find it!

  4. Kim
    Nov 08, 2010 @ 18:53:19

    I am SOOOOOOOO excited we’ll be in the U.S. for Thanksgiving! I haven’t had turkey in almost three years!

    Our absolute-must-have Thanksgiving dish is sweet potato casserole — the kind with lots of butter and a crunchy pecan topping. More like dessert than vegetable, which is probably why we like it so much.

  5. riTa
    Nov 08, 2010 @ 22:42:25

    We learned the paper bag trick some years ago from Elvida K but, if I remember correctly, have used the roaster the last few years instead.
    Thanks for the creme brulee recipe!

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