[ Currently Eating: Leftover Pizza ]
All righty folks. It’s just about that time when I’m starting to wind down the post-Thanksgiving Festivus 2008 over here at Cheap Eats. Thanksgiving is a very important time of the year for us. It is a time for massive food banditry – the squirreling away of turkey carcasses, carts of mashed potatoe [sic] and slices of pumpkinus pieus while relatives loaf around watching American dorkball. Sorry, I mean football.
You need to start your food sneakage early, preferably right after dinner and before the dessert is served. You snooze, you lose. But just remember the Turkey Bill of Rights – he/she who baked it gets to take it. I mean the bird bones. For that reason alone, I don’t mind trying to cook the turkey usually. It allows us to bag all the bones if we’d like to. Another way to snag extra morsels of turkey is to offer to carve the bird. This method only works if your family doesn’t carve at the table. In the kitchen, you simply sneak pieces as you cut them into a ziploc bag at your waist. Try and distract any would be turkey spies by doing a little dance. Preferably with a song composed specially for it.
Warning: don’t try and hide the ziploc bag in your pockets. No one gains THAT much weight from eating just one dinner. Also, guys, do not put turkey drumsticks down your pants. It is not recommended since the sudden bulge is too big to explain to people. If you must, wear an extra long sleeved pea-coat and hold a drumstick in each hand. But this only works if you aren’t going to shake hands with the inlaws. Also, be careful not to knock over Grandma’s ming vase.
For mashed potatoes, I recommend wearing a fedora. When no one is looking, quickly doff the hat and scoop mashed potatoes into it, replacing it on your head. You can also buffer some stuffing first before you slather the potatoes in. The potatoes will adhere to the inside of the hat, keeping the stuffing from falling out.
Gravy and cranberry sauce are thorny issue since they need to be stored separately. Here is a nice trick. Bring a small kids shovel. Before the party begins, excuse yourself to the restroom. Open up the back of the toilet and place two ziploc bag inside the water well. Dude, it’s not dirty, that’s clean water. If you must, double bag the two ziploc bags. Then, every so often during dinner, get up to go the bathroom and pass through the kitchen scooping gravy and cranberry while jogging to the bathroom. If you meet anyone, just say, “Little Jimmy had an oopsie accident,” and point at the shovel. They’ll steer clear, trust me. Open the toilet and dump (hehe, dump) the cranberry and gravy into each bag. At the end of the party, excuse yourself to the bathroom again and retrieve your contraband. This works VERY well if, like many in my family, you have a genetically small bladder that makes you pee frequently. So they won’t even be suspicious.
Pumpkin Pie presents a real problem. I haven’t yet figured this one out, but I had one idea which I might try next year. Bring a ferret (or kiwibird, or iguana) to the party in a shoebox. What you want to do is build a pie-shaped compartment on the side of the box. If anyone asks why there is a pie shaped compartment attached to a ferret box, just say your ferret has a taste for cheese so you keep a wedge of gouda in there all the time. And then, let the pie, I mean the ferret out to “play”. Your host will be so happy about this that they won’t notice you sneaking a wedge into the compartment. Catch the ferret and say “Bad boy, bad…” and put him back in the box. Look chagrined and offer to do the dishes.
Haha, damn that’s entertainment.
OK, back to the real turkey wrapup. We make a number of things with the leftovers. The main one is a turkey stock, as shown in the picture way at the top. You can actually skip making a stock and just make a soup – my mom used to do this all the time. I just like making the stock first since you can use it later in different ways than just soup. I usually make it the day after Thanksgiving. It’s just turkey bones and scraps, water, round onion, celery, carrots, bay leaf, garlic and maybe a few herbs if you have it left over from making a dish that year. Don’t let that guy boil, you just want it to simmer for several hours. Salt to taste. Later, if you want to make soup, strain out all the stuff and restart the broth adding onions, celery, carrots, potatoes and noodles.
One of my favorite Thanksgiving leftover creations is the open faced turkey sandwich. The first time I had this was at a restaurant in the 80s. My first thought was, “Dang that’s good.” My second thought was, “Why are we not eating this every Thanksgiving?” This isn’t the type of sando that you pick up – you eat it with a knife and fork. Get two slices of bread and toast it. Meanwhile heat up slices of turkey with gravy in a pan. Microwave some mashed potatoes and stuffing. Assemble on a plate the bread, mashed potatoes, stuffing and turkey slices. Pour extra gravy on the top – sometimes I add a little cranberry to the top. Usually this sandwich ends up being around 5 inches tall… yums.
I also enjoy a good turkey hash with the leftovers. This uses cubes of turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. The idea is to mix everything together (use a little gravy if its too dry) and then fry it in a skillet with a little butter. You want the potatoes to be sorta crunchy on the outside, so be sure to flip the mixture with a spatula once to brown both sides. Some people make little “cakes” out of the potato mixture instead. I usually fry an egg up to go with this breakfast, but you can also mix the egg into the potato for a sort of egg scramble.
Well, I hope your Thanksgiving turned out nicely as far as leftovers goes. I’m sad that it’s over, but looking forward to next year’s after-party. I was also thinking about getting a ferret for the aforementioned pumpkin pie scheme. But alas, they’re not legal here in California.
I guess it’s time to buy an iguana.