Let the Shopping Begin—or Continue
I’ve been to the store twice—so far. On Monday afternoon Schnucks on Clayton Road was only moderately crowded, so Karen and I whizzed through the store and got the last of the produce needed. (Karen is our family friend from California, who enjoys sharing her cooking and baking skills. Though she’s a lawyer by trade, she a skilled professional in the kitchen as well.)
If I’ve calculated correctly, we should have all that’s needed to feed 40 at the farm for Thanksgiving this year. So why am I bagging apples? It’s because I always include a big bowl of applesauce on the Thanksgiving menu.
Ain’t Nobody Don’t Like Applesauce
What’s not to like? This side dish works for everybody from toddlers to the digestive and dentally-challenged. Homemade applesauce can be made ahead of time, served at any meal of the day, and stored in the freezer. You can get the kids, or those otherwise inept in the kitchen, to do the peeling, stirring and mashing. Just cut up a mixture of apples and toss them in a pot with about a 1/2″ of water, cover, and cook till they’re mushy, stirring occasionally.
That’s about all there is to it. Serve chunky or smooth, hot or cold. If you leave the apples unpeeled, run them through a food press to puree and separate out the skins for a smooth sauce. Admittedly, this can be a bit messy. Even so, I prefer the unpeeled apple wedges, because they gives a pinkish color (and more nutrition) to the sauce.
Add sugar, to taste, and If you want even more zip, add a bit of nutmeg and/or cinnamon. But don’t overdo it. The more basic, the better.
There’s was one more very important stop before we left town for the farm. . . .
Bagging the Turkey
On the way out of town, Robin and Karen stopped by Soulard Market to pick up the fresh Heritage turkey, that Deb and Russ had ordered earlier from Harr’s Farms. (I like to get maximum participation in selecting and cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. That way we each feel more invested in the outcome.)
This year’s centerpiece is a 19-pound, Black Spanish Heritage turkey raised at Harr’s Farm in Illinois and sold at Soulard Market. Getting a fresh turkey means not having to shuffle around a rock-solid chunk of poultry for a week while you coax it to thaw in time for the annual feast.
Onward to Turkey Day
After a night of dry brining, we’ll commence the wrestling match early on Thursday morning, getting the birds stuffed, seasoned and into the ovens.
But the easiest thing I’ll do all week, is to make that applesauce. With the turkey and dressing in the oven, the rest of Thanksgiving goes on auto-pilot. I may even sit down and try a few spoonfuls of that applesauce to see if it’s properly seasoned.