Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Day Bird 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Day!  

We wish you and your family the best, and hope you have a safe, wonderful and grand culinary experience.  Bon appetit!

                                                               Lou photo

Cooking the bird!

We smoked our turkey this year, the same as we did last year, the day before Thanksgiving.  If you have never smoked anything, you can't believe how great it is, and how easy. I had never done it before but always wanted to give it a try.  Never wanting to invest in something I didn't know if I would like, we found this one at the Swap Meet.  The guy said he wanted $15, I offered him $10, and he said "take it".  Once I tried it, we both thought it was great.  We have also smoked briskets, pork chops, pork tenderloin, beef ribs, chicken, and anything and everything we thought it would cook well.  Always been happy with the results.

If you are going to try this, make sure you have everything ready. Turkey was prepared by Deinna, a nice 14 pound bird, an onion cut in half and some apple pie filling inside the cavity.  Extra pie filling for basting, every hour.  A digital thermometer is recommended, one that will permit constant monitoring to the nth degree (more about this later).  A bucket of water with apple wood chunks, which needs to be soaked for 24 hours.

See how prepared we are.  Notice the digital thermometer.  The base should be positioned somewhere close to the smoker.  We had it on the bar counter.  From the base, the sensor cord, about four feet long, goes through the smoker lid with the probe at the end which inserts into the breast of the turkey, or whatever you're cooking.  You can read the temperature of the meat without opening the smoker lid.  Wonderful!  Precise monitoring of the internal temperature of the bird and separate monitoring of the smoker itself cannot be overstressed.

(click any photo to enlarge)

This is our electric smoker.  We have the wet apple wood surrounding the element at the bottom of the smoker.  Above that is located a pan of water which provides moisture.

The smoker has a heat indicator in the lid.  Optimum temperature of 225 degrees has now been reached.  We begin!

First, we insert the digital thermometer probe/sensor into the turkey breast.

  The bird is now on the top smoker rack, and basted.  We put the lid on
and Hour number One begins!

 At hour number Two, I removed the lid for the hourly baste, and jerked the aforementioned digital thermometer, a $39.00 investment, plus buying an extra probe, off the bar top and directly into the bucket of water I used to soak the apple wood, thus rendering it totally useless.

Being a former camera repairman, I made a mad dash to my tool box.  I disassembled the digital thermometer, used a hair dryer and compressed air to remove the water, but to no avail.

You'll see in the following picture the old reliable analog thermometer I frantically hunted through the kitchen drawers for, and finally found. 


I inserted the analog thermometer into the preexisting hole left by the digital probe.

At hour three, we repeated the basting.


 Hour four, basted again and checked water, added more.

Hour five - golden brown - turkey is pronounced DONE!  


We are going to let it rest for an hour, then carve it up.  It will be ready for tomorrow's dinner.


Turkey is now carved, very moist!  The kitchen is cleaned up.
What's any holiday without a little excitement?

Now we can really enjoy Thanksgiving Day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, your friends and family!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Last IFGA

If you don't know what you are looking at, this is a Stained glass version of Navy's Photographers Mate rating badge. Worn on the left arm of enlisted personnel, it designates the sailors job description. Nickname "IFGA" it gets it name from the real formula (I:F::G:A) it represents. The (I)mage size can be measured on the negative and is to the (F)ocal length of the lens as the (G)round is to the (A)ltitude. The three known factors (I,F and A) then can be used to determine the size of an object on the ground, like a trailer truck loaded with a missile. Remember the Cuban missile crisis? This beautiful glass piece was made by my wife, for my work space, the IIS Department in the lower center wing of Building 251 NASNI.  I removed it when I retired in July of 2006. It's been hidden in a "safe place" since then waiting to have a  frame made so we could properly display it. Now hanging in our music room, back lit by the morning sun each day, it really brightens my day. We interpreted this colorful version to represent the "Secondary colors" Yellow, Cyan, Magenta, on top, of the negative passing through the lens and diaphragm of an enlarger and creating the "Primary colors" Red, Geen, and Blue in the print.

Here is Deinna in November 2005 after we installed it my office. 
The "Crow" shown below is the last version of the many transitions that this rating badge has gone through for the Photographers Mates since 1944. Another version was a bellows type camera in place of the IFGA. Another version of the IFGA had wings for aerial camera men.
Photographer Mates did all phases of photography: shooting ground and aerial pictures, processing film and paper, both by hand and machine processors, and recording all events of historical and newsworthy interest. PH's also used motion picture camera equipment to record film documentation, pioneered the use of Video recording in the fleet, and basically subsidized the growth of digital photography. In the 90's, we paid Kodak $2,500 apiece for a one megapixel camera. 

Also, in the year 2006, the Navy began consolidation of the Photographers' Mate (PH) with the Journalist (JO), Draftsmen (DM), and the Lithographers (LI) into the new rate Mass Communication Specialist (MC).
So if you ever have a need for an IFGA fix, keep the post handy.