1 This is where we left off yesterday with me driving Al, Matt, Natalie, and Ann up to the kitchen to begin the Thanksgiving preparations.
2 Here we are on the terrace outside the kitchen sprucing up for the indoor cameras. G.K. loved all the commotion.
3 Entering the kitchen, Ann was awed by what she saw!
4 I instructed all to wash their hands.
5 We began with the centerpiece of Thanksgiving—the turkey. I prefer an all natural, free-range bird and whenever possible, a heritage breed.
6 Why was Ann so hesitant to stuff the turkey?
7 I assured her that she did a fine job and I showed a little trick - fold the neck flap under and secure it with toothpicks to keep the stuffing inside the neck cavity.
8 Next, the turkey is brushed with a few tablespoons of softened butter.
9 Season generously with salt and pepper.
10 A large square of cheesecloth, four layers thick, is submerged in a white wine/melted butter mixture.
11 Then, the wet cheesecloth is draped over the turkey. While roasting, the turkey is brushed through the cheesecloth with the wine/butter mixture every thirty minutes. The cheesecloth is removed towards the end of roasting time.
12 This turkey had just finished roasting and I showed how the cheesecloth method ensures a juicy and mahogany-colored bird - beautiful and succulent!
13 Ann and I made a bee-line for the door to go horseback riding, leaving Matt, Al, and Natalie to deal with the rest of the meal.
14 As I was putting on my riding helmet, I wondered how they would fare in the kitchen.
15 Shenanigans! Just as I suspected!
16 Brussels sprouts, members of the cabbage family, grow upon long stalks and they do, indeed, look like little cabbages.
17 The brussels sprouts are part of a side dish with wild rice and toasted pecans.
18 Chanterelle mushrooms, carrots, onions, and celery sautéing for the stuffed pumpkin
19 Meanwhile, I mounted my horse.
20 I gave Ann a little review.
21 And off we went! Credit: Peter Kramer
22 Upon our return, I found that Al, Matt, and Natalie had done quite well.
23 It was time for Al to get a lesson in pressing cider.
24 Having never made cider before, Al was pretty amazed with the process and with the end result. Credit: Peter Kramer
25 Al suggested that what the cider really needed was a little bourbon, so we went back inside where I gave Natalie a lesson in mixing cider-bourbon cocktails.
26 Measure 3/4-cup of apple cider, 1/3-cup of bourbon, 2-T lemon juice, and shake to mix.
27 I have a special spherical ice mold and used it to make frozen apple cider balls.
28 Little lady apples for garnish
29 And voila!
30 Everyone loved this drink!
31 I introduced Natalie to my canaries and to the parakeet I recently bought for my granddaughter, Jude.
32 She also met Bartok, who adores company.
33 Verdi wanted some camera time, too.
34 Meanwhile, in the brown room, the fire was blazing.
35 The turkey on its platter along with garnishings
36 And the boat of gravy
37 The stuffed pumpkin looks amazing!
38 The completed baby brussels sprouts with wild rice and pecans
39 And beautiful glazed carrots and red pearl onions
40 A gorgeous turkey-shaped gelatin of cranberry and pomegranate - layers of pomegranate gelatin, cranberry gelatin, and cranberry sauce with clementine segments in between the layers - yum!
41 The same turkey-shaped mold was used for the cornbread. You can find this item online at amazon.com and buy.com.
42 The chilled champagne
43 The dessert buffet included a double-crust apple pie made with apples from my farm - The top crust was brushed with an egg wash and then sprinkled with sanding sugar, giving it a sparkly finish.
44 A really yummy pecan-caramel tart
45 Pumpkin pie is the traditional Thanksgiving dessert, but something more elegant is a pumpkin mousse dolloped with whipped cream and adorned with glistening pastry stars.
46 Look what Al, Ann, Matt, and Natalie gave me! A very special turkey platter and baster. Thank you very much!
47 Cheers! My best wishes to all of you on this Thanksgiving. Credit: Peter Kramer