If I am counting correctly, this is the 10th year we are hosting some Thanksgiving festivities. Last year, I fell behind in the prep work and never really caught up. This year is going to be different. I've already looked and updated the all powerful Thanksgiving spreadsheet. Still have a few tweaks, but the preparations have already begun. First thing on the prep list was making more stock. I hit the Asian Market on Central up for two packages of chicken feet. Let them simmer in some water for 3 hours or so then I added onion and a lot of carrots.
I skipped the celery this time around. I was recently flipping through the French Laundry cookbook (which by the way is full of things I would love to eat but will never cook for myself), and Thomas Keller thinks the celery adds bitterness to the stock. It could be the lack of celery or it could be the overload of carrots and I suppose it could be both, but this stock was very sweet. Although it is probably closer to an aspic than a stock. Once it chilled it was chicken flavored jello.
I could have held this bowl upside down and nothing would have happened. The chicken jello was scooped into 2 bags and frozen. The larger bag is for gravy and the smaller bag will get a little water added to it before going in the dressing. Tomorrow, I have to try the Tuscan Salami and Saturday I'll hit the Troy Farmer's Market. I think I might want to try and smoke a chicken in the smoker before I do the turkey. Or at least fire it up and try to manage the heat. This year's cooker is different than in years past. I bought this one with the winning from a good day at the track.The last time I used this smoker...it was before I hosted a Thanksgiving. It has been resting in a garage in Rotterdam for over a decade. Through the magic of my brother-in-laws pickup truck, it made the trip to our house.
I also have to come up with one more dish featuring Chacutepalooza techniques. The final challenge is to host a meal featuring at least 3 of the techniques practiced during Charcutepalooza. I've got the smoked turkey and Tuscan Salami lined up. I've got to come up with one more. Right now, I'm leaning towards a grilled kielbasa appetizer. I'm going to think that one over. A week is still plenty of time. Plenty.
For now, I am enjoying the euphoric, totally ready for preparing Thanksgiving buzz. I am seriously so far ahead of last year it is sick. I'll let you know how I feel Wednesday night. But for right now, piece of cake.