Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thanksgiving experiments

No, I didn't get all wild & crazy and cook up something I've never even tasted.  (I've done that; shirin polo, anyone?)  I did play a little with how I cooked the turkey, and with the pumpkin pie recipe.

I had seen something on line suggesting using carrots, celery ribs, and quartered onions for a rack on which to roast the turkey.  Sounded like a good idea, so that's what I did.

That's Mom's turkey roaster, which she gave me for (birthday? Christmas?) several years ago.  It's seen many a turkey, most of them twice the size of the little 11-pounder we were roasting for the two of us.  Here's that turkey on its veggie bed:

And here's that turkey after a few hours in the oven, on its bed of veggies which are now full of turkey juices:

Doesn't that look pretty?  Tasted good, too - good and moist, because I roasted it breast down.

In case you're wondering, we've already had the first turkey sandwiches (I had to buy bread and lettuce), much of the remaining meat is off the bone (turkey tetrazzini coming up later this week), and the carcass is in a pot with those "roasting rack" veggies, making soup.  That's one experiment that was a complete success - veggies make a great roasting rack!

The other experiment was to tinker with the pumpkin pie.  First, I decided to try a no-roll pie crust recipe.  I got it from the King Arthur Flour site, which rarely steers me wrong.  The crust was OK, but not particularly flaky, a bit on the dense side, and in general not one I'll use again.  I had to use canned pumpkin because I never got a chance to buy a pumpkin to cook and freeze for baking.  My grandmother's recipe calls for 1 cup of pumpkin, but of course a 15-oz can holds more like 1 3/4 cups.  I decided to use the whole can; not a bad choice, but I prefer the 2-1 half-and-half-to-pumpkin ratio of the recipe.  I also added 1/4 tsp of garam masala to the cinnamon and ginger the recipe calls for.  That was a bit too spicy that evening, but by the next day the spice had moderated, so I may do that again.

Instead of regular mashed potatoes, I tried the Hungry Girl mashies recipe.  (I made a triple batch in order to use the entire head of cauliflower.)  The results were runny (next time I'll use half the water) but delicious!  When we go through what's in the fridge and I have to pull out the half batch I put in the freezer, I'll find out how well it freezes.  Potatoes and cauliflower tend to freeze well, but the light sour cream and cream cheese might not.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Testing my sight-singing skills

This was the 3rd Sunday running that I've covered a Methodist church gig for a colleague who had to leave town to be with her dying mother.  (What could I say when she asked but "Yes, of course!")  This morning the lead tenor tapped me to join him in the pulpit to lead the offertory hymns.  The first one was an old favorite, but the second one was one I'd never heard before.  Just imagine - I'm up there in front of God and everybody, with a mic 12" from my mouth as I sight-sing a hymn I was completely  unfamiliar with!

Two things saved me - Ian was singing the melody loud and strong, and it was a 19th-century hymn, so I could do a lot of successful guessing.  Naturally, I had to tease Ian about it in the choir room afterwards.  😄

I never thought much of my sight-singing skills, but maybe I'm better at it than I thought.  Not on a par with the music majors I rub shoulders with at school, but perhaps not as bad at it as I think I am.