Thanksgiving has most of my favorite ingredients, food-football-friends-wine, and this year I was lucky enough to have them all. We watched the Joey Harrington lovefest in Detroit (that win had to feel pretty good for Harrington) while I cooked up a turkey using the following recipe I've been pretty successful with over the last several years. Each year the under-the-skin-rub gets a little more refined, here is this years version-
Take Turkey, stuff garlic cloves inside, outside, in the Turkey pan, and under the skin of said turkey. Lay entire Turkey on bed of Bay leaves, rosemary and whiter wine. Take the following ingredients in whichever amounts you feel comfortable with (no one ingredient should exceed a cups worth), mix together in to a paste, and rub generously under the skin, inside and around the Turkey-
Yes, More (crushed) Garlic
Saffron (hey, my mom brought me some back from Turkey-gotta use it sometime)
Garlic Powder (hey, why not?)
Salt and Pepper
Generous Amount of High Quality Whiskey-(this year it was Bushmills)
Here's a picture of this years bird-
I use Pepperidge Farm stuffing with some spices, it's the easy way for me to get that part done. The gravy that you get from the pan that the turkey is cooked in just heavenly, and accompanies the rest of the meal perfectly.
Here's my first plate from this years feast-
With the turkey and stuffing we had some sauteed broccolini and green bean casserole supplied by Farrah, both were a nice addition. I had a 2002 bottle of Stepping Stone Cabernet Franc to go along with the feast. We may not have had that extensive a selection of foods, but when it's just a few people you don't need to make that much stuff. Everyone ate and enjoyed it which is all that matters.
We watched the rest of the football games and had a nightcap or four at Jacksons before retiring.
Saturday night was awesome as we got to see a rare event in Nashville- a 6-2 thumping of the Detroit Red Wings by the Nashville Predators. The photo below this post is of that chick who can shoot a bow and arrow with her feet wrapped around her head. How this is useful as a talent is beyond me, but she was at center ice during the intermission and I was eating hot dogs and drinking beer ten rows back so what do I know. I was impressed with the Preds defensive play during the game, but what was probably more noticeable was the lower quality of play from Detroit. That was one of the worst performances by a Red Wings team I've ever seen in Nashville, and I've seen most of the Preds/Wings games either live or on TV. If the Preds can stay healthy, we may have a shot to make it past the first round this year. And how about Chris Mason stepping it up in place of the injured Thomas Vokoun? Gutsy play by C-Mase.
My birthday officially began at 12:00 midnight after the Preds game with a round of Irish car bombs chased with shots of Jager. Yes, I left few brain cells undisturbed this weekend. Fortunately, the Titans game on Sunday was moved back to 3:15 so I had plenty of time to shake off a nasty hangover in time to watch the first big time Vince Young Titans performance.
This particular Titans game will go down as a defining moment for this young team. The first three quarters the Titans were exposed as a young mistake-prone team that couldn't stop the Giants on offense nor could they do much on offense themselves. Travis Henry was shut down early and the Titans had to get away from their run-first mentality to try and stay in the game. By the end of the third quarter at 21-0 the Giants had all but demoralized the young Titans, and I stood there shaking my head thinking how much it would suck to have my favorite NFL team get stomped on my birthday. All of the sudden Vince Young scrambles for the first down marker on a fourth and 10, and while he is out of bounds he gets viciously hit by the Giants safety. Vince bounced up roght away from the hit and next thing you know the entire momentum of the game seemed to start to turn around. The Titans went on to score a touchdown, followed by a few unbelievable plays from Pacman Jones, another 2 touchdowns, and yet another interception from Pacman and suddenly the Titans are looking at a 49 yard field goal for the win. The snap was low, but Craig Hentrich made a great pick up, got the hold down and Rob Bironas split the uprights for the win. Vince Young was shall we say -McNairesque- in his performance, and as Titans fans we have come to expect guys like this to step it up. I'd say this was the first time Vince proved to the Titans fans that he was truly worth the first round pick. I don't think a Jay Cutler or Matt Leinart could make the plays that Vince made in that game. And his poise for a rookie was truly outstanding. We will have many good times to look forward to with this group, and if they can keep their act together off the field, we could see a resurgence of playoff caliber football here in Nashville. Talk about a killer football b-day present!!
After the game I met up with a bunch of friends for dinner at Sperry's, a local tradition. The house specialty was the bacon-wrapped, bleu cheese stuffed filet which was all I needed to know. The bonus at Sperry's was the half price wine list, and my buddy Fin bought a bottle of 2003 Stag's Leap Artemis for my birthday with dinner which was spectacular.
As you can probably guess, I am now ready to fast for about a week or so, and probably avoid alcohol for a little while before I pickle my liver any further.
.....*cough*...........what? So what if O'Shea is working the Trace tonight with two for-ones?
....ahem....moving right along.
Thanks again to all who wished me a happy birthday, and thanks to the Titans and Preds for making it so enjoyable. It will be tough to beat this birthday weekend, I pretty much hit on all cylinders all weekend. Maybe that means good things are ahead for this new year? Stay tuned sportsfans!