Brine That Bird!

In my opinion, brined turkeys offer the best choice in flavor for Thanksgiving dinner.  I have eaten turkey many different ways – roasted, smoked, brined, and even deep fried.  To me, the brined turkey has the best moisture and flavor combination.  Although I do admit that a deep fried turkey is quite good as well!  This year I am using a recipe I got from my aunt’s boyfriend. He’s a chef and an extremely good cook.  Um, well duh!  I guess you need to be a good cook if you want to have job security as a chef:)

I don’t have any pictures since I haven’t actually started the process, but I will update this post over the next few days to show what I have been doing.

You will need:

A Turkey:) – Start with a thawed or mostly thawed turkey

A vessel (Andy’s words) large enough to fit the turkey in – You  will want something that is large enough to comfortably fit the bird in, but not so roomy that you have to make a ton of the brining solution. Ex: I’m using a turkey fryer pot.  You could use a small cooler.  A bathtub is probably too big:)

1 Gallon of Water

1 Cup of Salt

1/2 Cup of Sugar

Onions Chopped Into Large Chunks

Sliced Citrus – I’m using an orange, you could use lemons or something.

Herbs – I found a pack of fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme. I think it was called “The Herbed Bird.”

Okay, so what you want to do is thaw, or mostly thaw your turkey in the refrigerator or using a water bath.  Remove the bag from the turkey.  Boil salt, sugar, and some of the onion in a gallon of water.  Just boil it long enough to dissolve the salt and sugar.  By the way, the sugar is to balance out the saltiness of the brine. Cool the brine.  Put the turkey into the vessel and pour the brine over it until the liquid completely covers it.  Soak or marinate your turkey for 24-48 hours. Be sure to put the brining turkey in the refrigerator while it soaks.  I do not have room, so I plan to keep my turkey in my canning shed with ice in it to keep it below the danger zone (45 degrees).  Take the turkey out of the liquid and give it a quick rinse and dry it off.  Peel back some of the skin and put some slices of butter underneath.  This will give flavor and promote a crispy skin.  Put the rest of the onion, some citrus slices, and herbs into the cavity of the turkey.  Roast the turkey in your usual way, until the thickest part reaches 165 degrees.  (I got a 20 pound turkey, so I will be probably looking at 3 1/2 hours on 375 degrees.)  Let the bird rest for 30 minutes before carving.

Mmmm!!!!!

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Finishing Touches

Finding modest, stylish clothing at the mall or department stores is extremely difficult these days.  Modesty is extremely important to me, but I don’t want to walk around looking like a prairie lady either (no offense to prairie ladies of course).  I just want to look stylish and put together, while remaining true to my principles.  That being said, I have decided that I’m setting a goal for myself to have 80-90 percent of my clothing to be handmade.  I will be working for the next several months on creating a wardrobe that is stylish, unique, and modest.

Before you say, “What? That’s a lot of work,” remember that those prairie ladies:) made all their own clothes and they had a lot more tasks and chores to complete than I do!  If they did it, I sure can.  Now, just because things are handmade doesn’t mean they have to look that way. Or possible I should say, they don’t have to look ill fitting or unfinished.  Finishing a garment gives confidence to the person wearing it and can lengthen its life.  Let me give an example of little things that can be done to complete a handmade outfit to make it look store bought.

1.  Finished Seams:  If you take the time to serge your seams, it will greatly reduce fraying and strengthen the seams of the garment.  Plus it gives a more polished finished to the seams.  Of course, people can’t see the inside of the clothing, but  you can, and that’s important!

2.  Don’t skimp on interfacing: If the pattern calls for interfacing, make sure you use it.  Otherwise your collar, or whatever you are sewing, will be floppy and not lay right.  I know this is elementary, but I have skipped interfacing before because I forgot to buy it, and I have always regretted it!

3.  Lining, Facings, and Tacking: Take the time to line things properly, especially dresses.  Facings are so important because they usually are in prominent places that are easily seen, like the neckline.  Also, be sure to carefully tack things down so that they will lay properly and not become undone when the garment is washed.

4.  Add Your Own Special Touches:  Sign your work:)  Some people like to put tags or labels on their clothes.  I like to put a little ribbon bow in the things I make.  I think it adds a girly touch:)

I know that these points are so basic, but it’s a great reminder for all of us and it’s helpful to beginning seamstresses.

Happy Sewing!