I hosted a Thanxgiving Potluck Dinner at my place this year, with me baking a turkey for the first time and everyone else also making home-made dishes for the dinner. Our parents would be proud :)
A 14.5 lb fresh Turkey, which I would be baking for the first time. I went with fresh over frozen because I didn't want to deal with defrosting a huge lump of frozen bird.
Through research on Wikipedia and recipe websites, I decided to soak the bird in a brine solution for a day. This is basically a salty solution with other spices in it. Besides marinating the meat all throughout, it also helps cook the bird faster because the salt allows water to soak into the meat, which then heats up while baking and cooks the meat from inside out, plus it prevents the meat from drying out while baking. These are all the ingredients that went into the brine solution to marinate the Turkey for a day.
And here is the finished bird, right outta the oven (3 hours at 350F). I cooked it in a Turkey Bag (nylon), which kept the moisture in to prevent it from drying. It came out pretty good. Now this is a proper cultural experience - coming to America and baking a turkey :)
Viv going to work on her Smashed Cheesy Potatoes. Friends came over after work and finished up their dishes for the dinner.
Zoey helping out in the kitchen. We're trying to teach her not to beg...
Nichole preparing her Bubble Bread. She also brought home-made Apple Pies.
Allen and Viv preparing the veggie tray.
Ethan taking a stab at carving the Turkey.
The Turkey being carved.
The dinner spread: Sweet Potatoes (Kent and Bethany), Green Bean Casserole (Ethan), Apple Pie (Nichole), Pumpkin Pies (Kara), Cranberry Sauce (Ethan), Cornbred Stuffing with and without Sausage (moi), Smashed Chessy Potatoes (Viv) and the Veggie Tray (Allen). The other brought the drinks.
Dinner is served.
Jennifer making the Spiked Spiced Cider, which I kept calling Spider through the night (it's a tongue twister).
Who needs a plate?! Vitaly just digging in.
A Vegetarian and a Carnivore - how do they get along?...
Vince, Jon, Nichole and Viv relaxing after dinner.