Thanksgiving is past now, and I’m back at the blog after taking a week off. I tend to lose track of when I last posted, especially with holidays and families coming and going, so I’ve decided for consistency’s sake to post every weekend from now on.
We did the whole turkey thing twice at my house—Sunday for my descendants—my son and his children, my daughter and her husband and their kids, and then again on Thursday for my father-in-law, my sister-in-law and her husband and children. Now, I really do love roast turkey, and used to think I could never get enough. These all-natural birds were very tasty, but after five days of turkey I was ready for something different to eat. Here’s what we’ve had for dinner this week:
Sunday: roast turkey & all the fixings
Monday: shepherd’s pie with leftover turkey, stuffing, gravy & mashed potatoes
Tuesday: tortilla soup with turkey and turkey broth
Wednesday: turkey Tikka Masala on rice
Thursday: roast turkey & all the fixings
Friday: FISH, dammit!!!!!!!
We’re still eating turkey for lunch, of course. Both the freezer and the refrigerator are full of turkey, and yes, we did make everyone take plenty home with them, but they were big birds.
I remember promising occasional recipes in this blog, so here are a few for those of you also dealing with leftovers:
Leftover Turkey Shepherd’s pie
1 cup chopped leftover turkey
1 cup leftover stuffing
2/3 – 1 cup leftover gravy
½ – 1 cup leftover vegetables (peas, Brussels sprouts, etc.)
1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
unbaked single pie crust, if desired
1. Preheat oven to 375° F
2. Put a layer of stuffing in pie crust, or if not using pastry, in a pie pan.
3. Add a layer of chopped turkey. This is an excellent use for scraps that don’t work well in sandwiches
4. Add a layer of cooked vegetables.
5. Pour gravy over all; thin with a little stock if necessary.
6. Spread mashed potatoes on top; dot with butter if desired.
Bake 30 minutes or until pastry or the peaks of the topping are browned. Serves 4.
Turkey Tortilla Soup
With all the garlic, peppers and citrus juice, this soup is excellent medicine for colds. I think of it as Mexican pho.
3 cups turkey stock*
1 medium onion, chopped
1 – 3 jalapeño peppers, very thinly sliced
2 – 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 – 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or crushed
1 cup or more chopped cooked turkey (scraps work well)
6 corn tortillas plus 2 tablespoons olive oil or 2 cups of tortilla chips
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
juice of 2 limes or lemons
extra sliced jalapeños, sliced avocado, cilantro and lime wedges
1. Warm the stock in a kettle or deep saucepan.
2. If using tortillas, cut or tear into small pieces, place on a cookie sheet and drizzle oil over them, then place under broiler, stirring once or twice.
3. Add onion, garlic and peppers to stock and simmer for ten minutes. If peppers are very hot, only use one, and add more to taste at the table.
4. Add tomatoes and turkey, and simmer until heated through.
5. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.
Distribute the tortilla chips among four bowls and ladle the soup over them. Garnish with cilantro and put the extra garnish on the table. (Serves four.)
I can’t take any credit for the Turkey Tikka Masala. I just bought a bottle of Indian simmer sauce, added chopped turkey and frozen peas, and served over Basmati rice.
When I prepare a bird for roasting, I simmer the neck and giblets with a few vegetables (such as trimmings from the onions and celery in the stuffing). Most of that stock is used in the gravy. When I take apart the remains of the roast bird for distribution and storage, I boil all the bones and gristle for an hour or so, strain and add any stock left from before.
On other fronts:
I’ve been feeling discouraged about my writing lately. In a recent email I told a dear friend, “Don’t know what to say at this point except I’m not sure what I have to say as a writer. And if I don’t have anything to say, why bother?”
Her response reminded me, as if I needed reminding, of why I love her. First, she reminded me that I am still grieving, and coping with others’ grief as well, for the loss of a family member, so naturally I am feeling some depression. Then she added that a good cure for being stuck as a writer is to do some “volunteer writing.”
“Something else you might consider,” she wrote, “even though this is of course NOT the same at all as writing about what you want and how you want to write about it, I can’t help thinking of all the organizations that would LOVE to have you donate some of your writing skills for them. I figure Bremerton must have a lot of organizations you care about, that put out something like an online newsletter! I am aware you have a full, busy life but perhaps donating some of your writing skills would give you the chance to still do some writing, and not have to sort of “think” about it, or how you can present it, and how it will or can fit into the world, perhaps—but you’re still doing a variation of one of your heart’s desires.”
She’s right. And I do have an idea of an organization that might be able to use some volunteer writing and editing from me—but no more about that now until I’ve had a chance to scope it out.