Roast Turkey, the Best Apple Pie and a Response


I got a response from my good friend and one of my original 13 readers to my oh so morose post the other day.

morose-group

He brings up some interesting points and I figured everyone might benefit from hearing the response.

1. I’m not around, not actually seeing you day-to-day, only getting impressions from what I read here. Based on that, though, your mood swings can seem pretty extreme. Maybe the blog routine exaggerates that impression, but…just hope you’re ok.

Yes, I do have some pretty extreme mood swings. I do my best to be a team player and soldier on with this crazy cottage industry we have, but I blow about once a month.

No, I am not having my period, in case you were wondering.

I try to keep the house looking presentable for the VRBO clients who tend to peek in doors and windows as they walk by, keep the kids quiet, and manage to keep the house more or less picked up despite the endless parade of dogs/cats/boys/employees/guests/pole dancers.

It’s a full-time job; add anything extra to it (say, rearranging rooms) and it can overwhelm my many coping mechanisms.

copingven

There is something dysfunctional about Lonny’s acquisition habits, dysfunctional but genius at the same time.

I try to focus on the genius part (for the sake of my readers who probably don’t want to listen to my angry/hostile/depressed ramblings all the time) and mitigate the disfunction, but sometimes I crack.

I labor to not dwell on what an uphill battle it is that I am fighting, but I also feel like my face is shoved in it almost all the time.

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Sometimes I just go there. Like the other day.

I’ve gotten pretty good at dealing with it. I write, I work, I talk to Tabby, I try to not scream at Lonny, but it is challenging to be so completely polar opposite to my partner. It is also very common. I do my best and I’m doing fine. Lonny is good at shaking it off.

Thanks for asking, though. I love you, Greg.

2. Didn’t Lonnie at one time have a whole separate facility that he used for the business, both for working with the stuff and for storage? Would simply getting the business out of the house again be an option?

About 10 years ago I bought a warehouse. I rented half to a friend and Lonny used the other half. At the time we had a newborn and Lonny wasn’t able to get away to the office very often.

It was also very far away (10 minutes, gasp) by Boulder standards and I was always freaking out about being at home alone with the baby. He would just arrive at work and I’d call him all hysterical and needing him to come home.

What can I say? I was a rookie.

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He didn’t make much money and I decided it made more sense to evict Lonny and rent the entire space to my friend.

My friend is a builder and he’s put about $60,000 into renovating the space for his construction business. He pretty much has the right to lease it out as long as he wants.

But now things have changed and it makes complete sense to have a warehouse for Lonny and his employees to work  off-site. Just this morning I started thinking of shopping for another warehouse to buy or rent.

Furthermore, we need a full-time employee that can act as a manager and run our cottage industry like a real business. I’m on it.

So yes, Greg, you are absolutely right about Lonny moving off-site. I think it is the answer to a host of problems and will not only make our home more functional, our marriage less stressful, and both our businesses more profitable. It will require a major commitment, though, and Lonny will have to rethink how he works.

I, for one, would love to see him have a more standard workday. As it is, he works all the time. I’d love to see him knock off at 5pm. It will take some doing but one thing I know about myself is that if I want something badly enough, I get it.

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Okay. On to recipes. I’m having Thanksgiving at my place this year and some friends have asked for recipes. I thought I’d put them here incase you are interested. 

First is a recipe for foolproof turkey breast. It is an involved recipe but the end result is worth the effort. Moreover, there is absolutely no guesswork involved which means that as long as you pay attention, you will have a perfect turkey.

You can purchase just the breast or you can buy a whole bird, prepare the breasts as instructed and brine and roast the dark portions alongside. Since the breast and legs do not cook at the same rate, this is a great way to make the most out of your turkey.

The best part is that you remove the ribcage from the carcass which means you can get a jump on making stock for gravy.

thanksgiving-feast-wallpaper

TORRISI TURKEY   

Adapted from Torrisi Italian Specialties, Manhattan Time: About 4 hours, plus 24 hours’ marinating.

FOR BRINING THE TURKEY:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 boneless turkey breasts, 3 to 4 1/2 pounds each

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • 8 heads garlic, lightly smashed but intact (even better, use pre-peeled garlic)
  • 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves.

1. To brine the turkey: In a medium saucepan, bring 2 quarts water to a boil with the salt and sugar. Pour into a large pot, and add 2 quarts cold water. Once the brine is cool, submerge the turkey breasts and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.

2. To make the glaze: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Toss the garlic heads with the olive oil in a small casserole dish, cover and roast until the garlic is soft, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Leave covered until cool enough to handle, then squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins into a food processor and purée. It’s way easier to roast peeled garlic, BTW. Add the honey, salt and pepper. Cover until ready to use.

3. To cook the turkey: Heat oven to 250 degrees. Remove the breasts from the brine and wrap each one four times in plastic wrap and once in aluminum foil. Insert an oven-safe thermometer into the center of one breast and place both on a wire rack in a roasting pan. Add water to reach to just below the rack. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees, 2 to 3 hours. Near the end of cooking time, fill a large bowl halfway with ice water.

4. Remove the turkey from oven and raise temperature to 425 degrees. Without removing thermometer or wrapping, submerge the turkey in the ice bath for 5 minutes. Remove foil, plastic wrap and turkey skin. Pat dry and brush glaze liberally on all sides of the breasts. Roast until glaze is golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh thyme and serve thinly sliced, hot or cold.

Yield: 12 servings.

I was on a tiny Dutch island in the North Sea called Schiermonnikoog.

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It was heavenly. I enjoyed the best slice of apple pie I’d ever had while waiting for the ferry to take me off the island. It was so good that I quickly ordered a second slice. Even ice cold (never the best choice for serving pie) it was hands down the best pie I’ve ever had.

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I spent the next eight years trying to replicate it. This recipe, found in a tiny book by Joie Warner called Apple Desserts, is the closest I’ve ever come to that perfection.

SOUR CREAM APPLE PIE

Joie Warner

  • Pastry for a 1-crust pie
  • 4-5 Granny Smith apples, depending on how large they are
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plus ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plus ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup pecan halves
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, chilled, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out pastry to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Trim and flute edges. Whisk sour cream, egg, melted butter, vanilla, salt, ¾ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons flour in a bowl until thoroughly blended. Spoon mixture evenly over apples. The filling will settle through the apples as it cooks. Bake for 50 minutes or until the apples are tender when pierced with a knife. Set a piece of foil on top if the apples start to brown or look dry.

Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, ½ cup flour, ¼ cup sugar and cinnamon in food processor. Add pecans and butter; process until crumbly. Sprinkle over pie and bake another 10 minutes. Cool thoroughly before slicing. Keep refrigerated.

Now I’ve got to split and walk the dog with Tabby (see “coping mechanisms”) I sent her a video of the office and Lonny’s naked butt this morning. We need to talk. I’ll cut the crap later.

13 thoughts on “Roast Turkey, the Best Apple Pie and a Response

  1. I think you are incredibly stable in your moods given the instability that you reside in. In fact, seeing as 98% of women are absolutely nuts (I include myself in that statistic, most women are nuts, and knowing that you are nuts doesn’t make you any less nuts, in fact it just adds to the chaos) I think that you have the patience of a saint and are very grounded. But, I do have the pleasure of seeing you in the flesh often, so maybe the nature of the blog and the distance distorts the reality somewhat.

    • Thank you, Tabby. I have been receiving concerned calls about Lonny’s well-being. One from a friend of mine who has an Italian wife. I guess he would be dead if she got that mad at him.

  2. I didn’t see your last post as a mood swing at all! I think that everyone needs a good rant every now and then, especially when they’re exhausted, have children, work, take care of a house, and try to fix problems that don’t seem to ever get fixed. I think you’re doing a great job! Rant away!

    I need to try out that recipe!

  3. Your recipes sound wonderful.

    I must say that I love the idea that your friend gave about having Lonnie’s stuff be in another location. Imagine how much easier that would make your life.

    I love what you said about some people not understanding women. My poor dad, 5 daughters, many granddaughters a great grandaughter and a wife of almost 57 years…. he still has difficulities 🙂

    • I remember how huge your family is, and all girls! I loved your story about how your mom would furnish her doll houses to keep her sanity. To this day I think of her pouring her frustration into lovely little houses.

  4. You’re right, some people don’t understand women. Mostly men.
    You know those observations were just off the top of my head, and as I said, simply in response to what you post on the blog where you, i.e. “Viv,” pole dance artist and driven purger, is to some extent a created persona. Obviously I touched on a couple things you’ve already been thinking about. Well it seems you are indeed “OK, ” meaning you, Lonnie, the boys & Blue etc…so I’ll lay off worrying. Re. pie: the sour cream apple pie sounds good (not exactly low-cal, though), but I used to think the “french apple” you used to make was the best. So did Lauren, actually. Happy turkey day!

    • This pie kicks the other pie’s ass. It’s pretty much the same but the custard filling makes the difference.

      I think Tabby knows me best, seeing me most often and being “on the ground” so to speak with the situation. She knows things that I can’t talk about on the blog (but I have shared with you privately) that make me seem pretty stable, all things considered.

      Thanks for caring, though. Really.

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