Monday, November 21, 2016

21 November 2016

A little Fall weather finally arrived this weekend, and it was a welcomed relief from the lingering warmth of Summer. Now, if the rain would follow suit to relieve our Level 2 drought conditions and help extinguish the devastating fires. Keep praying, doing those rain dances or whatever you think will help. The cooler temps; however, did help motivate some clean up at One Britt over the weekend. Thanks to Canton's Code Enforcement efforts, another Dumpster Day was held at City Hall on Saturday, and we took a few loads of clutter from home and the office. This is such a great service, and they even had a couple of guys on hand to help unload your items. Thanks to everyone involved in helping clean up Canton!

After dropping off the first load at Dumpster Days, I escaped over to Buckeye Creek Farm's Holiday Open House Market. It was great catching up with Liz Porter and my other friends, and I stocked up on some great items from Whim-Wham Art Farm and Buckeye's delicious stone ground grits and cornmeal. In addition, they have some great gift items and stocking stuffers from various local farmers and makers. They will hold another Open House on December 10 and 11, so don't miss it. You can follow Buckeye Creek Farm and Whim-Wham Art Farm on Facebook to get notices of their events.

Jeff's month-long birthday celebration continued on Sunday with lunch at his parent's farm in Jasper. Theresa Brown prepared a rocking classic lasagna and chocolate birthday cake, and we enjoyed time with Jeff's family. They were also kind enough to suffer through a slide show of our Australia trip. After lunch, we left the Brown farm and proceeded to do some grocery shopping. Since it was the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I decided to take a little trial run of some favorite recipes to get into the holiday spirit. Of course, that did not leave a lot of time to prepare a Thanksgiving feast, so I had to get creative. I had made some cornbread on Friday night in anticipation of the dressing to come, so that was a bonus. The turkey, however, presented a far bigger challenge. Luckily, I found a fresh, 10 lb free range turkey at Publix, and I decided to try an Australian roasting method that we saw on many menus there. The method is called Spatchcock, and it basically involves removing the backbone of the turkey then flattening the bird or butterflying it to roast flat in the pan. I had read other recipes before, but I had foregone them in exchange for that perfect photo-worthy big bird. After successful results at spatchcocking, however, I may never roast the whole turkey again. This method takes half the time; it's easier to roast in the oven, and it retains more moisture since the cooking time is less. Plus, carving at the end is a lot easier as well. If you want to save some time and headaches this Thanksgiving, you should give it a try. To accompany the turkey and dressing, I also made some buttery mashed potatoes and roasted some brussels sprouts with bacon. By the way, my secret ingredient for really creamy mashed potatoes is creamed cheese. Jeff baked one of his famous pecan pies for dessert, and we will enjoy leftovers this week.

So as the holidays approach, I am reflecting on a crazy year. It began with a terrible break to my right arm in January, followed by surgery in February. Therefore, the first two months of the year were a virtual blur, and I feel like I have been playing catch up since. One of the greatest things that resulted from my recovery time was the freedom it allowed me to search for award travel to Australia, and after weeks of work, I finally scored some amazing flights on Emirates. Even with a rough start to the year, I am thankful for so many things: the ability to travel and see the world; wonderful family, friends and kindred spirits; an exceptional city I have the honor and privilege to serve; talented coworkers and a business celebrating its twentieth anniversary; a nice home with an awesome kitchen; and so many other blessings. May your Thanksgiving and holidays also be blessed and delicious.

The Menu:

- Roasted Spatchcock Free Range Turkey

- Classic Turkey Gravy

- Franny Betty's Cornbread Dressing

- Creamy Mashed Potatoes

- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

- Jeff's Southern Pecan Pie

The Recipe – Quick Roasting Spatchcock Turkey


8-12-pound turkey
10 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 stick butter, room temperature
Salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450. Put turkey on a cutting board, breast side down, and cut out backbone.

Turn turkey over, and press down firmly to flatten. Place turkey in a large roasting pan, breast side up. Wings should partly cover breasts, and legs should lay flat to the sides.

Place garlic and thyme under turkey and between the wings and legs. Rub turkey, all over, with butter, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

Roast for 20 minutes, without opening oven, until turkey begins to brown. Reduce heat to 400, then remove turkey from oven, baste with pan juices or chicken stock, and return to oven. If the turkey browns too quickly, place some foil over the top until the end.

Check turkey's temperature about 15 minutes later and every 10 minutes thereafter. It is done when thigh meat registers 165 degrees on an instant-read meat thermometer. (Insert thermometer in thickest part of thigh.) NOTE: Depending on the size, the turkey should only require 45 mins – 1 hour to roast with this method.

Remove turkey and rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. Serve with garlic cloves and pan juices, or make gravy with pan juices and drippings.
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