Wednesday, October 10, 2012

gathering with purpose

During this autumn season, I often find myself influenced by beautiful decor ideas featured in home decor magazines, Pinterest, and design blogs.  I especially love those images of beautiful outdoor Thanksgiving settings:  beautiful large harvest tables under large lantern-lit maple trees, with burlap runners, pumpkin and candle centrepieces and seating for 20!

Cookbooks, food magazines and Pinterest (again!) also tempt me to create so many made-from-scratch, delicious recipes that feature this season of bounty.  Garlic & herb infused roasted turkey!  Homemade apple and pumpkin pies!  Garlic infused rice and sausage dressing!  Yes, yes, yes please!

I'm also realistic that as a mother of two active children, my schedule is also filled with birthday parties, school volunteering and extracurricular activities in full swing.  And sometimes it's hard to find the time (or patience) to plan, prepare and create every organic-hand crafted-photograph perfect element of autumn into our Thanksgiving plans.

So this time of year, I try to keep it relatively simple.  By nature of the layout of our home, we serve our meal "buffet style", and Thanksgiving is a potluck dinner.  Our guests get to focus on bringing one or two special dishes.  Home made pies and garlic sausage rice dressing? Check.

This way I can focus on the main food attraction...the garlic herb butter infused roasted turkey!  Organic fresh turkey, infused with fresh herbs, roasted garlic and butter (and yes, I baste my turkey every 20 minutes).  And I keep the table setting relatively focal point: a gathering of tea lights and pinecones around a single candle.  Simple, but with purpose.

And with purpose is key.  As much as I dream of having a picture-perfect, lavish outdoor Thanksgiving setting, smiling while cooking the whole organic-locally grown in my backyard gourmet meal made from scratch...on the morning of Thanksgiving, I watched my daughter wait by the window in anticipation for our guests.  She didn't care about the table setting, or the enticing smell that came from the oven.  She reminded me of the real purpose of the meal....the gathering of loved ones.

Simple Garlic & Herb Infused Butter 
(Baste for Turkey, Chicken or Pork)

Although this recipe might come a little too late for my Canadian readers (who already celebrated Thanksgiving...sorry about that!), I've used this recipe for chicken and pork...equally useful for a weekday meal.

Ingredients (for a 20 pound turkey):
  • 1 cup of butter, room temperature
  • 3 tbsp. each chopped fresh rosemary, sage, thyme
  • 2 heads of roasted garlic
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • In a medium sized bowl, mix together all the ingredients together.
  • Loosen skin of the turkey and rub half of the herb butter under the skin. 
  • Rub with remaining  herbed butter onto the turkey skin.
  • Season generously with salt and pepper. 
  • Roast according to the size of your turkey, making sure you baste every 20 minutes with pan liquids.

Gather around your turkey, and enjoy!

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