I'm sure I've mentioned it, but my 4 and a half years in Tujunga was the longest I've lived in one place in my entire life. So you'd think I'd be pretty good at adapting to new surroundings. I am, for the most part, but other things escape me. Like remembering that my light switch is on the left side of the kitchen door. I still reach for the right side, ever single time.  And sometimes I still turn left in the hall, intending to go in the bedroom, and ending up instead in the bathroom.  But that is nothing compared to cooking in a new kitchen. I can't remember where ANYTHING is.  Which sounds like more fun than it really is.  I figure after cooking a large meal like Thanksgiving, though, I HAVE to remember where stuff is, given how much I had to search for everything I used. ; )  The good thing is that while getting ready to cook dinner, I did rearrange things to make it more efficient, and now I'm really happy with how things turned out! I started dinner being behind the ball, first because I couldn't find a good grocery store, and then because I was sick for the first half of the week. (I had CANNED SOUP FOR DINNER Tuesday night, if that says anything!!)  So, now I know exactly how long it takes me to make a full Thanksgiving dinner, unprepped - 6.5 hours. Not bad! ; ) The menu: Sage and butter Roasted Turkey -  I brined the turkey for 18 hours in vegetable stock, sea salt, and fresh thyme and rosemary; then I rinsed it and put in a roasting pan.  A compound butter of sea salt, sage, fresh garlic, and cracked black pepper was pushed under the skin of the breast and thighs, then into the oven to roast the bird went. Stuffing with sage, roasted chestnuts, and walnuts. Also a convenient way to use up the last of the compound butter. : ) Gravy - made from the pan drippings and stock made while the turkey roasted. Hasselback potatoes - I've wanted to try these forever. Baking potatoes are peeled, then sliced nearly to the bottom, so they fan out but stay in one piece.  I tucked bacon in between the cuts, and basted the potatoes with butter while cooking. After they were done, I topped them with sharp cheddar cheese and green onions. Green bean casserole - with roasted mushrooms and a bechamel sauce. Infinitely better than the canned version. Brussels sprouts with blue cheese and pecans - a more recent addition to my holiday repertoire  Fresh brussels sprouts are shredded, then sauteed in butter and cream, then finished with blue cheese and toasted pecans. Cranberry and mandarin chutney - fresh cranberries cooked in orange juice and sugar, then finished with mandarin oranges. Simple yet happy.


I am now sold on the idea of brining turkey, this was the best turkey I've made yet! The turkey was so tender, juicy, and flavorful, which is surprising because it wasn't even a high end turkey. The effort was definitely worthwhile. I did make a double layer pumpkin cheesecake for dessert, that will follow shortly. : )  

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