holidays and recipes: feels like the first time
Being away from home, it always makes it bearable being so far from family if I do the usual things I took for granted while growing up when I was back home. The most poignant times are when I celebrate the traditional festivities such as Thanksgiving. It makes me feel less displaced and more like I’m still on a journey towards finding my true self. My simple logic that puts my mind at ease is that wherever I find myself in the world, I can always make a home for myself as long as I am secure about what I want from life and that I am proud of what I have accomplished.
Anyhoo, back to the turkey… It’s been quite awhile since I prepared my own Thanksgiving feast. This was actually only my second turkey that I ever made, with the exception of doing a deconstructed turkey photo shoot (which I didn’t cook but photographed). It made me feel like it was my first time. I was nervous about the outcome, lest the bird became a failure, reducing all my fruitless attempts to nothing but a lousy memory. Hence, referring to myself as a birdbrain whenever I see a turkey.
Thanksgiving has always been a family affair, and it’s been ages since my husband and I together had a chance to spend some time with family and friends from back home on Thanksgiving. I can’t compare having dinner out with family and friends to celebrate the occasion. It actually defeats the purpose. Thanksgiving is supposed to be celebrated amongst family and friends at home where you relax as much as you can, unbutton your trousers and just plop down on the sofa and listen to your relatives reminisce or debate about anything and everything they can think of.
Thanksgiving is thought of primarily as an American celebration, when in fact, just like Christmas, it’s a universal occasion. Everyone, after all, has something to be thankful for and that’s the true essence of Thanksgiving: giving thanks for all the good things that happened to you the whole year. That is precisely why it was about time to cook our own Thanksgiving and start a new tradition. I consulted with Mom and my friend Camille. I used Alton Brown’s brining method and ordered the Turkey from France, a smallish bird about 6 pounds. I was fearful if I went full size it might not have fit into the oven. I was very tempted to take out my Crème brûlée torch that I couldn’t find and give the legs a bit of a tan, but I was exhausted from the three day cook-off and just wanted to sit down and grub. I used a lamb, maple sausage, baguette stuffing, that was fairly easy but took a lot of prep work.
There’s always a first time for everything and it’s never too late for a first time for anything. Needless to say, my turkey was a resounding success!
No Left Over Maple Lamb Sausage Stuffing
(Leave cut and a cubed baguette over night or if you are in a hurry use the oven to crisp them)
1 package of maple sausage links (raw and removed from their casing if possible but not necessary)
1 package of lamb sausage
1 stalk of celery
6 small cubes of Knorr Chicken Stock (adjust to taste)
1 Pinch of Thyme
1 Pinch of Sage
1 Stick of butter
Directions: Sautee everything for the exception of the egg and bread, you’ll want to add a tablespoon of olive oil to prevent the butter from burning. After the sausage has cooked and veggies have caramelized, you’ll add the mixture to the bowl of bread cubes. You’ll then add 2 eggs, mix, and add the chicken stock until the mixture is damp but not soggy. Bake for 45 minutes at 180c covered in foil, unwrap the foil to allow the top to crisp, about 20 minutes more at 210c.