Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

The feast of feasts is finally here! How will you be spending the day? Do you have any special traditions? Share them with others in the comments or on our Facebook page!

Make Thanksgiving dinner even more memorable with these great conversation starters.

-- Ask everyone to describe a Thanksgiving slip-up that had everyone laughing. Maybe one year dad forgot to serve the stuffing in the bird?
-- Ask mom or dad how she/he learned to cook a turkey, and when was the first time. Were the in-laws coming to dinner?
-- Ask grandparents or aunts and uncles to describe a Thanksgiving from their childhood.
-- Ask everyone what was the strangest dish they ever encountered at Thanksgiving dinner.
-- Ask everyone to go around and share their favorite family memory.

What's the star of the show today? The Bird of course...so get it just right with these tips and tricks!

Turkey Tips: How to Cook and Carve the Thanksgiving Bird

It’s time to think about cooking the star of the show: The turkey! Everyone has their favorite cooking method. From brining to grilling, or even frying, this bird is versatile! Oven roasting is the most familiar and most popular way to cook a turkey. Even if you’re doing it for the first time, it works! Here’s how:

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and lower the oven rack so the roasting pan holding the turkey will fit. Prepare the turkey for roasting by removing the giblets—usually found in a plastic or paper bag tucked inside the cavity of the bird—and rinsing the bird inside and out with cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels. If you are stuffing the turkey, do this now. Remember to stuff the turkey loosely, allowing about 1/2 to 3/4 cup per pound of turkey. Place the turkey on a roasting rack in a roasting pan and brush the skin with melted butter or oil. Tuck the drumsticks under the folds of the skin or tie them together with cooking twine or a specially designed wire twist. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. Roast the turkey until the skin is a light golden color (figure about 20 minutes per pound), then cover the bird loosely with an aluminum foil “tent” to prevent the skin from burning. During the last 45 minutes of cooking, remove the foil to brown the skin. Basting the bird ensures even browning but is not necessary.

How do I carve a turkey?
Once the bird is out of the oven, let it stand on a cutting board for about 30 minutes depending on its size. This gives the juices a chance to soak back into the flesh, and provides succulent cuts of meat. Before you begin carving, have a warm serving platter nearby.

Start carving by arranging the turkey, breast side up, on the cutting board. Steady the turkey with a carving fork while slicing. Using a sharp knife, slice through the meat between the breast and the leg. Next, using a large knife as an aid, press the thigh outward to find the hip joint. Slice down through the joint and remove the leg. Cut between the thighbone and drumstick bone to divide the leg into one thigh piece and one drumstick. To carve the drumstick, cut a thick slice of meat from one side, along the bone. Next, turn the drumstick over so the cut side faces down. Cut off another thick slice of meat. Repeat, turning the drumstick onto a flat side and cutting off meat, carving a total of four thick slices. To slice the thigh, place it flat side down on the cutting board. Cut parallel to the bone and slice off the meat. Place all the cuts on the warmed serving platter as you work.

Remove the wings before you cut the breast. Slice diagonally down through the edge of the breast toward the wing. Using a knife as an aid, press the wing out to find the shoulder joint; cut through this joint and remove the wing. Place the wing on the serving platter as-is.
To carve the breast meat, hold the back of the carving fork against the breastbone. Starting parallel to the breastbone, slice diagonally through the meat. Lift off each slice, holding it between the knife and the fork, and place it on the serving platter. Continue until you have carved all the meat on one side of the breast. Carve the other side of the breast following the same steps.

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