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Thanksgiving Experiences

December 3, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

DSC_0572TurkeyWhat, you said, what Thanksgiving? We are counting days before Santa will get down the chimney, and this guy is talking about Thanksgiving? Well, yes, life gets in the way, and we have to simply deal with it – while we celebrated Thanksgiving about 10 days ago, I had no chance to write this post. As this blog also has a function of my personal journal, a life’s scrap book, if you will, I want to keep this little page in it, so here we go.

We have a long standing tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving with very close friends, pretty much a family, who live in Boston. We also share a passion for cooking, so our Thanksgiving dinners never become a routine – every time we need to come up with something else in terms of both main dish and sides. We’ve been through quite a few things in terms of Thanksgiving dinner – regular turkey, Turducken, smoked turkey – probably the only one we didn’t do yet is deep-fried turkey – we  were advised against it as a project, as it involves some work which is actually better be left for professionals.

This year’s ideas was a stuffed turkey of sort, but most likely this is not what you think. The idea was to debone the turkey, leaving only legs and wings. Cut up most of the meat, leaving a layer of about half an inch with the skin. Removed meat then is ground and made into a stuffing with addition of spices, sauteed wild mushrooms with onions, matzo meal and previously fried bacon (large chunks). Then it is all stuffed back into the bird, which is been sewn and then roasted. Here are some of the pictures to illustrate what was happening (pictures are courtesy of my daughter).

Here is turkey ready to be stuffed ( we marinated it for about two hours prior):

DSC_0579 Turkey

The same with the addition of stuffing:


Finishing up the sewing:


Done! Better than new:


In the bag and in the roasting pot:


Now it is actually ready to eat:


In case you are curious, this is how it looked inside:


We had a few sides – sorry about the pictures, but we were actually ready to eat, so my jumping up and down with the camera in search of composition and the lighting were not welcomed – not for a little bit.

First, buckwheat with pine nuts, wild mushrooms and onions ( the same as went inside the turkey) and spicy Andalusian turkey sausage:


Roasted cauliflower with rosemary and pine nuts, covered with buttered Panko bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese (this is pretty much the whole recipe). The picture doesn’t do the justice to this dish, but it was tasty:


And then hazelnut-sage butter (stick of butter, cup of chopped hazelnuts and about a cup of whole sage leaves):


On top of roasted acorn squash ( again, this is practically the whole recipe):


Food was great, let’s talk about the wines. Been the wine guy as I am, I never try to exact the wine and food pairing for Thanksgiving – too many competing  flavors, really hard to nail it. The best thing to do in my opinion is to chose middle of the road wines –  nothing with super expressive taste, no fruit bombs, more of supple and round wines.

For the whites, in addition to Riesling which is not shown here, we had this two chardonnays:

DSC_0676 Cono Surcounterfit chardonnay

I like Cono Sur wines – they deliver great QPR, and generally are pleasant. This 2011 Cono Sur Chardonnay Chile had a hint of vanilla on the nose, good white fruit on the palate with some hint of butter, good acidity, but overall may be a touch too sweet to my taste (still unquestionably quaffable).  The 2010  Banknote Counterfeit Chardonnay Sonoma County was lighter than I expected – some distant hint of toasted oak and butter, but overall light wine, not very expressive. I wanted to check if this wine was unoaked, but the winemaker’s web site doesn’t even list this wine there. Clearly a counterfeit…

And here are the reds, at least some of them:

DSC_0554 Thanksgiving wines

I previously talked about Beaujolais Nouveau, and I also shared my impressions of Tieare Imperiale CdP. 2011 Hahn Vineyards GSM Central Coast is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mouvedre. The wine showed a lot of plush fruit, very round and slick, but somehow it lacked the character for me – it was over-engineered, if such terminology can be used to describe the wine. But then I have to tell you – 2010 if you see kay Lazio IGT, the wine with the controversial label, was perfect. This wine, produced by Jayson Woodbridge, the winemaker behind very successful super-rich Hundred Acre Cabernet from California (plus many other successful wine projects), had perfect balance of all components – dark fruit, just the right amount of it, round supple tannins, touch of spices, coffee, and dark chocolate, refreshing acidity and lingering finish. This is definitely the wine to enjoy (in other words – get your bottle).

Before we are done here, I have to tell you about one more wine-related experience – visiting the wine store, to be precise. I found out by way of The Wellesley Wine Press, a blog I’m following, about quite unique wine store in the Boston area, called Bin Ends. As you can imagine from the name, many of the wines in the store come from the actual “bin ends”, last bottles of wines not sold in some other places. As my friends live in a very close proximity to this wine store, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit it – I spent about an hour there, just walking around and browsing somewhat small, but very interesting inventory. I picked up some of the interesting wines and looking forward to tasting them at some point:

DSC_0674 Bin's End Finds

By the way, very unusual for me – all the wines above are white.

There you have it, folks –  the Thanksgiving experience. Have a great week and cheers!

  1. December 3, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Was curious about the If You See Kay…..We’re having turkey for Christmas so I’ll be sure to give it a try!

    • talkavino
      December 3, 2012 at 11:01 am

      I think this is a very good wine, with or without the turkey : ) Let me know if you will like it!

      • December 3, 2012 at 11:11 am

        I just checked out your post on the Beaujolais Nouveau as well. My store carries the Georges Dubuef but I’ve hesitant to try it. I’ll try both and let you know what I think of them 🙂

        • talkavino
          December 3, 2012 at 12:16 pm

          Sounds like a plan!

  2. December 3, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    What? No note on the Rolet Arbois Chardonnay? One of my all-time favorite producers and so hard to find here! Who brought that? Do they need any more friends?

    • talkavino
      December 4, 2012 at 12:17 am

      Man, don’t just look at the pictures – this is not an instagram : ) As I’m explaining right above that picture, I only bought those wines at the Bin Ends wine store near Boston – nobody drunk them yet… And while I believe I grabbed the last bottle of Sarah’s Vineyard Chardonnay, they had more of Arbois Chardonnay…

  1. January 9, 2013 at 1:40 am

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