November 13, 2009

No turning back -I've already ordered the turkey

Looks like we really are going to go camping for Thanksgiving. We had the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with the "remnant" hosted by some folks from our church, but we decided that we wanted to head out. I suppose that (for me at least) despite the griping about being uprooted and away from family I'm curious to see what happens when it's just Allen and I on Thanksgiving making our own traditions and finding our own meaning in the celebration. So we're heading for the hills again, although our plans actually took a left turn. We were thinking about driving out to King's Canyon/Sequoia National Park, but that's just way too much park for us to have a relaxing trip. Perhaps I should say it would be too much park if it was open. I'm not sure about making our first trip out there when A. a significant park of the park is closed, and B. they're saying to pack your sleeping bags and extra food in your car in case it snows and you're snowed in for a while! That would be just a little too much fun for us. Instead, I discovered a campground close to redwood country that even has HOT SHOWERS! That is going to be nice after a few days living in our smartwool socks and polypro base layer. The place itself looks nice enough to stroll through while ruminating over turkey and dressing, and it's also close enough that we can take side trips to Humboldt and Sinkyone if we like. The drive back will also give a chance to explore a section of CA-1 we haven't yet encountered. All in all I think it's a great way for us to visit a corner of Northern Cali without feeling rushed off our feet.

Thanksgiving itself is another matter :D I've decided to be just a tad ambitious for our little sojourn among the big trees. Here's the menu thus far:

Roast Turkey ala Byron's Dutch Oven Recipes with root vegetables
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Green Salad
Cornbread Dressing
Turkey Gravy
and Miniature Pecan Pies
Wine or Spiced Cider to drink

I might add bread if I get around to it.

Sounds like a lot for cooking outdoors, but I already have a 12in dutch oven I can use to cook the turkey and root vegetables. Whole Foods lets you order petite turkeys ahead of time which means I'll be able to get one small enough to fit in my oven. I can prep the veggies before we go and have them ready to add. Ditto for the basting. Sweet potatoes I'll wrap in foil and cook alongside my oven. The cornbread dressing I'll make ahead of time and freeze in muffin tins, so I can bring (and heat) only what we'll actually eat at one time. Since I only have one oven I plan on improvising a smaller oven with some cheap aluminum pie pans. It's easier to do than to explain. Basically you put your food in one pan and turn the other one over on top of it like a lid. To the top pan you've attached a third pan (bottom to bottom) so that you now have a bowl on top in which to put your hot coals. All you need in a drill, screw, nut, and washer. Anyway, I'll warm the dressing up in that (and maybe the bread if I decide to add it), and once the dressing comes out I'll put my mini pies in there to bake and/or warm. I plan to do the pies like the dressing and freeze them in muffin tins and then heat them by putting the muffin tin (probably have to cut part of it out) in my improv dutch oven to warm while we eat. As for the gravy, I'll probably just put the turkey and vegetables on a cutting board covered with foil and mix up the gravy in the bottom of my dutch oven. Sounds about doable I think. The rest of the trip I'm mostly planning on us reusing the leftover turkey either with rice and veggies or over bakes potatoes with salad -maybe I'll throw in some baked apples or such. Now if only it won't rain.

Well, those are our plans.

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