Monday, December 20, 2010

Thanks-giving Me a Stress Twitch

I opted to Adult Up and host Thanksgiving this year. After the first year I did it, and almost killed my then BF (now hubs) my family was a little skittish. I assured them that there would be no repeat of a death match. All would be well, I had it all under control. Turkey? BAG, no basting required, painless.  Martha Stewart was providing the mashed potato recipe(somewhat doctored by me). Real Simple was providing a REAL SIMPLE green bean with bacon vinaigrette recipe. Mom provided the stuffing recipe, and the apple pie recipe. The grocery store provided the brown and serve rolls. "I GOT THIS" was my mantra. F insisted on coming along to do the grocery shopping. It is times like these that I wish he was as uninvolved in the kitchen as most husbands are.  I had a list that he keep wanting to deviate from, annoying. Then he insisted that he would go get all the fruit and vegetables because he a) knows better and more importantly (to him) b) he could get it cheaper at the fruit market. FINE.
I had the day before thanksgiving off. My PREP Day. I had at least 4 items I planned on checking off my list that day.  And that went downhill the minute I over slept. Until 11:30am. Yeah. Guess I needed it. I got up, showered and strapped on my "apron". One of F's old dress shirts with the sleeves removed. Hey, what can I say? When you've got the boobs I've got, you need more coverage that the average apron.  And I was OFF! to the couch to watch TV while I peeled and cored apples for the pie. If you bake apple stuff? Or any good sized fruit that requires peeling; You NEED one of these:

Time Saver!!
Then I went on to make the pie crusts, my second attempt only at making pie crust, ever! My brother laughed at me when I called about the crumb topping recipe, "Aren't you like 36? and you've never made pie crust before?"  Apple pie crust came out pretty well! I filled it with the apples and placed it in the freezer downstairs since the fridge was FULL. I moved on to the chocolate pie. At the rate I was going I knew I could still get the potatoes done and in the crock pot for the next day where they would just be warmed up through out the day. SCORE! Less stress baby!!!
Um, yeah. Not so much.
Being my mother's daughter I was all about making everything possible from scratch. The pie crusts, the potatoes, etc. I placed the second pie crust in the oven and while that baked I started the COOKED pudding, not INSTANT. My timing was near on PREFECT! Pudding finished just moments before the crust! Another SCORE! I was in my happy place! I could do it all bitches!! I was contemplating making dinner before F got home from work as well! I was feeling that good about my progress.
Pudding was cooling on the back of the stove. Pie crust was removed and placed on top of the stove.
And that is when it all fell apart.

PING! PING! PING! Yes, those are the sounds of glass pie plate hitting glass top stove

Amazingly I had the presence of mind to take pictures for you
My mother insisted I could NOT just place the crust in a new pie plate
Apparently, from what SIL who works for a glass company told me later at Christmas dinner, the minuscule drop of milk that was on the stove top created a vacuum with the glass pie plate which caused it to break. (yes I saw the milk droplet and thought nothing of it). At 4:30pm the night before Thanksgiving I found myself at the grocery store. OMG. What a crazy place!!! I raced down the aisle picking up things I had forgotten. I almost cried when the shelf where I purchased the two pie plates two weeks (at TWICE THE COST!!) before were EMPTY.  I had made up my mind to skip it and just use the metal pan I had at home when I saw a kindly looking employee. She assured me that there were more pie plates! But just WHERE, now that's the question??????? My heart sank again as she took to the meat section of the store. WHAT?? Who places a pie making display in the meat aisle!!!???
I stood in line with everyone else in town, the express lane was not so express.  I rushed home to start again on the crust. By now it was after 5.  The crust? Went in the trash. The two recipes are right next to each, one for two 8in pies and one for two 10in pies. I got them crossed and didn't add enough Crisco. TRASHED.
Things were going downhill fast. I still hadn't riped up and seasoned the bread so it could stale overnight. The potatoes were still in the bag. I started a fresh crust. It was super thin, but I was tired and hadn't had any dinner, so I patched it together, literally, and stuck it in the oven. By now the pudding was beyond set and cold. Lovely. Thankfully F had seen the need and started in on the bread for the stuffing.  When it came time to put the pudding in the crust, there wasn't enough pudding. The pudding was a good inch lower then the edge of the pie crust. It looked bad. Luckily I found a box of instant pudding in the cupboard, that however only brought the level up sightly.  I was on the verge of tears as F stated, "Just go to the store and get another one." He apparently has never been to the grocery store the night before Thanksgiving. Or made cooked pudding. I refused to go. I was done. I was giving in. Admitting defeat. I covered the pie and found room in the fridge for it.  I was dead on my feet. I couldn't think. I knew there was no way I could do the potatoes without staying up until midnight. It was already nine.  I cleaned up the kitchen, threw a few decoration up and called it night.
I figured getting up at 8 would give me plenty of time to do the potatoes, and green beans and get the turkey in the oven. I got up at 7:30. I should have gotten up at 6. Maybe even earlier.  I had read my mom's directions as closely as I should have, because I COMPLETELY missed the time line for making the stock.

Her exact directions: "(...)TURKEY neck, heart, giblets to pot and simmer for 1 hour - DO NOT boil.
you can make it a day ahead or VERY EARLY on Thanksgiving morning; keep simmering on stove ALL day so you can use it to moisten stuffing that's in crock pot while it cooks. may need more water or broth as day goes on."
I completely missed the whole ONE HOUR, and VERY EARLY. Yeah. PANIC. I called on F to help, "I'm SEVERAL hours behind, I need your help!! Please do the potatoes! The directions are on the fridge."
And by " Do the potatoes" I meant mash them and add all the ingredients and put them in the crock pot to keep warm. F started reading the recipe, completely failing to notice that that morning that I had already peeled and cut them. I see him dump the cooked potatoes out and start rinsing them.
 "What are you doing?"
 "It says they need to cool enough so I can rub the peels off (oh Martha, really? REALLY?) and then cut them up."
"F, look at them, they are already peeled and cut. Just mash them and add the stuff."
He looks at me, looks at the recipe, and starts to walk away, leaving the potatoes in the strainer.
"What are you doing NOW?????"
"They can cool, then I'll mash them later."
"No. Mash them, Now Please. They are easier to mash when hot (i have no idea if that is true.)."
"You'll probably have to do them in the crock pot."
Somewhere along the line he had add water to the crock pot. I had no idea how truly clueless he was about making real mashed potatoes.
He mashes the potatoes and starts to walk away again.
"You're done already???"
"Yeah, about 2 I'll add the stuff in and turn them on for dinner."

Mind you, at this point it is probably closing in on noon.

"Um, no. You need to do it now."
"It can wait, Trust me."
"No, it CANNOT wait. Dinner is at 3, do you really think they'll heat all the way back up in an hour??????"
"We can turn it on High." (his answer for any cooking temp, I swear to god.)
"F. PLEASE just do as I ask, OK?"
Grudgingly he complies.
I won't even go into the issues and arguments he gave me about making the stuffing. BREAD stuffing, something he has NEVER made in his life, and yet he KNEW how to do it!! (sarcasm in case you missed it) And then he questioned my brother when he arrived because he refused to believe I knew what I was talking about.
Long story short? I under estimated how long the turkey needed to cook. At 2 o'clock the timer still read 2 hours cooking time left. We were suppose to eat at 3.
At 2 o'clock when family started to arrive I was still in my yoga pants and a Renaissance Festival T-shirt.
At 2 o'clock when SES (martha stewart jr) arrived, I immediately put her to work making the Real Simple Green Beans with Bacon Vinaigrette recipe which was to be served cold, but only the beans, not the vinaigrette. Which was also cold, when we ate 2 hours later.
At 2 o'clock the apple pie was still frozen solid. I forgot to take it out of the freezer in the morning. I had planned to cook it in a HOT oven while we ate dinner. I was of course PETRIFIED that putting an extremely cold glass dish in a hot oven would result in yet another pie plate disaster (see pics above). I realized I could set it on a trivet on top of the hot stove to thaw.  It worked, mostly.
At 3:30 we decided that the turkey meet the temperature requirement and ES_BIL started to carve away. He hit pink meat close to the rib cage. Luckily we had enough cooked meat to feed everyone. The mashed potatoes were watery because I had put the lid on the crock pot to keep the heat in, and the condensation dripped back down into the potatoes. Who knew?
F forgot the salad and had to run out minutes before dinner and buy some.
So let's re-cap shall we?
Broken pie plate setting the schedule back by several hours.
Under cooked turkey.
Frozen apple pie.
Cold veggie dressing that was suppose to  be hot.
Watery potatoes.
Forgotten side dish.
Argumentative husband(when he wasn't being helpful.)
Me on verge of nervous breakdown to the point that ES keep rubbing my back telling it will all be ok and they didn't care if we ate an hour later.
The problem chocolate pudding pie crust? Tasteless.

At least my table was pre-set and looked pretty.

We went to four different stores before we found that table cloth at Khol's
 where we started

Oh, and no one got sick from under cooked food.

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