Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

December, although mostly undocumented thus far, has been a wonderful month for us. I finally finished up a class for which I was a TA. I have to say, as much time as this class took, I do love the process of seeing students transform from engineers to entrepreneurs in the course of a single quarter.

As classes wrapped up and the holiday break began, we had a moment to really enjoy Abby. In the week following Abby's birthday, Abby went from single unsteady steps to running. I used to hold onto this notion that Abby actually enjoyed our company but with this newfound independence, she is proving to us time and time again that we are the uncool parents we thought we would be in about 10 years. Sometimes, we test exactly how independent she is by taking her to a crowded mall during pre-Christmas sales and watch as she exits stores on her own and startle other oncoming (and perhaps more attentive and wary) parents. Using this extraordinarily scientific method, we have determined that although Abby is quite independent, she does return to us after some meandering - perhaps for some food, drink or because she has really tired legs.

We began our Christmas tradition of taking Abby to see Santa Claus. Obviously, Abby had some seriously misgivings about her behavior this year and begged for forgiveness as she was being held by Santa.


Aside from her brief melt down with Santa, Abby has been in generally very high spirits. We have to say we are very blessed to have a happy baby on our hands with a very good disposition. This doesn't mean that she is obedient, quiet, or sleeps well but she is happy as she is getting into lots of trouble. This is Abby enjoying time at the park on the swings:

We kept Christmas pretty low key this year because, as we like to say, everyday is Christmas for Abby. Honestly, we have way too much stuff - baby stuff - in our cramped apartment to take anymore. Besides, her idea of a good time is to take empty plastic bottles and bang them together to create noise. No need for electronic gadgets. On the other hand, every day is not Christmas for me or Albert so we rewarded each other with gifts which we will return tomorrow for something we like more.

We did, however, use Christmas eve as an excuse for an unbelievable feast. We didn't eat a lot of turkey for Thanksgiving so we used this as an excuse to eat a 15 pound bird between 5 of us (my parents and us). I am now a convert to dry brining. The bird came out juicy and wonderfully tasty. Our recipe for our turkey follows:

For a 15 pound bird I did the following:

Ingredients for Dry Brining:
1/3 cups of sea salt
6 tsps of poultry seasoning
4 leaves of bay leaves crushed

Instructions for Dry Brining:
I took the giblets, neck, etc. out of the turkey and dried the bird with some paper towels. I then rubbed down (inside and out) the entire bird with the dry brining concoction described above. I put the bird on a rack on top of the roasting pan for 15 hours (1 hour per pound). I then rinsed the bird off and carefully pat dry the bird with more paper towels.

Ingredients for stuffing:
3-4 tbsp poultry seasoning
3/4 stick of butter
1.5 loaves of Challah bread
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb of chestnuts (boiled for 20 minutes and peeled of skin and chopped)
2 onions diced

1 day in advance cut the bread into small squares (if not enough time, cut and put in oven at 250 degrees for 20-30 minutes until dry). Melt the butter in a pan and sautee the onions and giblets until the onions are tender. Add bread and poultry seasoning and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep mixing until the poultry seasoning has coated the stuffing evenly. Put into turkey and put remaining stuffing in a pan, cover with some chicken broth and put in oven to heat 20 minutes before dinner.

Preparation of turkey:
There is no need to salt the turkey because of the dry brining. I do, however, poke the turkey with a fork and separate out the top skin from the breast and stick in some butter. I covered the turkey with butter. I placed the turkey back on the rack and roasted at 375 degrees for 4-4.5 hours. I covered the turkey with an aluminum foil tent for the first 3.5-4 hours. I took off for the last half hour to brown the skin. I also put in some water and chicken broth into the roasting pan to keep moisture in the oven. I used this to baste the turkey every 30 minutes starting at hour 2.

1 comment:

Natalee Maynes said...

Hi Ann! I love your blog...and this entry cracks me up. Vivi is already showing signs of believing her parents are equally uncool. In fact, I'm beginning to think she prefers perfect strangers unless she is hungry, tired, or hurting...then it's ONLY mom she wants. I somehow think I'm getting the short end of this stick. Congrats on finishing up your classes and here's to returning lame Christmas gifts in exchange for cooler ones!