smoked turkey

Joshua & I got back from our honeymoon on a Thursday, and the following weekend’s meals were super-easy, pre-made, frozen stuff I had put together in the time I had before we left for Paris.

However, the next week, “real life” began. I found a magnificent recipe on goop for Turkey Osso Bucco, which looked and sounded suitably impressive for our first Shabbat home together, and at the same time, one of those fix-it-and-forget-it meals you stick in the oven for hours and the meat melts off the bones.

Friday morning, while making other items for our Shabbat, the sink got clogged and wouldn’t dispose of its clogification. It made an ominous snore whenever I flipped the switch. It drained, but slowly. I called maintenance (gotta love apartment life!), who said they’d send a man out as soon as they could.

In the meantime, around 2:00 in the afternoon, I began the turkey. The first step was to coat each turkey leg in flour and brown in a smoking hot pan of oil. I followed the directions to the letter, which resulted in some nasty splattering and blackened turkey legs. I hurriedly removed them from my pan, during which time I realized that our entire small apartment was filled with smoke. Thick smoke. Smoke I couldn’t see through. I wondered that the smoke alarm had not gone off. I started frantically waving the door open and closed, while switching the fan on high, trying to get the air flow moving. It stunk.

I ran back to the turkey legs and began scraping off as much burnt skin as I could. Not much good.

The Le Creuset pot I was using looked ruined beyond repair, but I really needed to cook my legs in it, so I deglazed it with some water, hacking away with my spatula spoon at the black mountains of burn at the bottom. It didn’t look too bad, so I continued with the recipe. Once I put the legs in the broth and stuck the thing in the oven, the apartment had begun to look a little less hazy.

But the sink had stopped draining. It was probably the bits of blackened grease that got it. I had to stop washing dishes, so they began to stack up, and this kitchen is tiny, so there wasn’t a lot of room left to move around and cook.

Then, like an angel, the maintenance man appeared. A jovial man with a pleasant smile, he stuck some kind of long, pointy, metal thing down my sink and poked around for a minute.

“I can’t feel anything down there…” his eyebrows came together in a thoughtful frown.

I had stuck my HAND down earlier, and I couldn’t feel anything, either. I nodded in serious agreement and shrugged in blonde helplessness. I went back to stirring my yogurt mixture for Shabbat breakfast.

Mr. Maintenance kept rotating and clicking and prying until finally the welcome sound of a large amount of water (the filth in the sink) moving somewhere (down and out) greeted our ears. I turned around with wild ejaculations of praise on my lips, only to see water pouring out of the bottom of my sink cabinet. And quickly flooding the small floor area I call a kitchen.

My eyes widened in horror.

Mr. Maintenance saw it, too. “Oh, sh…oot, ma’am,” he caught himself. I jumped up on a countertop to save my socks. “I’ll run get my shopvac,” he volunteered quickly, running down the four flights of stairs to the parking lot.

Suffice it to say that Mr. Maintenance got everything mopped up and installed a new disposal system. Things work like a charm. It was a small, blue, plastic measuring spoon that had gotten stuck in the disposal, jammed in such a way that it was almost imperceptible to human fingers, but could still somehow stop metal blades from spinning. Go figure.

Unfortunately, the bottom of my sink cabinet – made of pressboard – is now a cavernous wasteland, causing my dishsoap and sundry cardboard boxes to tip drunkenly forward into its dark recesses. Not cool. The complex manager says not to worry, they’ll have it fixed after we move out.


I worked quickly to get my dishes washed, dried, and put away, as well as finish airing out the apartment. Joshua walked in around 5:00 and said it smelled good.

(!) Score.

Dinner was delicious. Joshua commented especially on how much he enjoyed the cool, smoky flavor of the turkey.


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