We thought it would be a good idea to have two turkeys for Thanksgiving. We would eat one for our Thanksgiving dinner, and have one to enjoy next month with soup and sandwiches. Turned out we had way too much turkey.
My niece, Barbara Nilson, decided to brine her turkey after listening to an Iron Chef share the process on PBS. The recipe called for a gallon of stock, all-spice berries, candied ginger, a cup kosher salt, a half-cup light brown sugar, and a tablespoon of peppercorns. The other half of the brine is heavily iced water.
The first thing Barbara did was buy a 5-gallon bucket with a lid. For a frozen turkey the chef recommended putting it in brine a week before Thanksgiving.
“It was a good turkey, but I couldn’t tell that it was any better,” Barbara said. “It is supposed to be moist, and cook faster, and it did.”
Several other Holtville cooks must have decided to try the same recipe. Barbara could not find a single can of chicken broth in the city. One grocer told her a woman bought a whole case of it.
A friend was to make the mashed potatoes for her family celebration in San Diego. Since only a couple of the guests eat potatoes it wasn’t worth the effort to make them herself. Luckily she ran across some prepared mashed potatoes at Costco. According to her they tasted “homemade.”
Another woman wanted the day off, period. She and her husband went out for lunch and had a wonderful time. They had beef and skipped the turkey altogether.
Daughter Mary was up until 2 a.m. with her Thanksgiving preparations. Mary made her Aunt Louise’s sugarless apple pie again this year. She has been serving it regularly for more than 25 years. Another recipe we all love is Louise’s sugarless sweet potatoes.
Here is the recipe for the potatoes: 3 pounds cooked, mashed sweet potatoes, 6 ounces frozen orange juice, half cup milk, half cup melted butter, 1 tablespoon orange rind, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 4 eggs separated: beat yolks and whites separately. Blend all ingredients into a casserole dish and bake for an hour and a half at 325 degrees. Garnish with orange slices.
On Black Friday I met a woman lifting some storage units at Home Depot, and asked if she worked there. Turns out she was getting them for her grandchildren. After a short visit she told me she used to live in Holtville, and is related to the Cerda and Saiza families.
June Bernal, now of El Centro, shared her favorite hominy recipe. One gallon can of white hominy, 16 to 20 ounces sour cream, two or three bunches thinly sliced green onions, and two or three cans diced green chilies. Season with garlic powder and pepper, and mix in a couple of hands full of Jack cheese. Save some cheese to sprinkle on top. Bake an hour at 375 degrees. I am hoping to try it soon.
When guests are expected there is usually a flurry of cleaning and rearranging going on. This generally involves getting rid of cluttered areas throughout the house, particularly counter tops. I remember Mama hanging up photos of Swiss relatives before their arrival. With our Swiss cousins arriving Dec. 1, I planted flowers down by the corral to spruce things up, and got rid of two pickup loads of junk.
In the midst of all this cleaning I spotted two mice. In the 46 years I have lived here I have only seen one mouse. I recently caught one, but I doubt it was the one I saw scurrying under the stove, or the one that scared me as it ducked under the sofa. After that I loaded up on D-Con Bait Pellets and Real Kill Glue Traps. Hope they stay out of sight at least until the cousins are gone.