We departed Blue Springs State Park bound for Coral Springs. For the first time this month we filled up the big gas tank at the cheapest place I could find generally along the route (thanks Gas Buddy) and headed for I-95. The mileage and time for this route was about the same as using the Florida Turnpike, with the advantage of not having to drive through Orlando on I-4 nor having to pay the hefty turnpike tolls, and since we were mostly avoiding rush hour timing, the higher traffic density on the interstate would not be as much of a factor. With only about 30 minutes of construction and accident related delays, we made it to Xavier and Joy’s house in a bit over four hours.
We planned to be here nearly two weeks, which, since they don’t charge us rent, would be one more factor in making November a great month for us financially. We did, however, have the Thanksgiving factor to take into account: Even though we are full time in the RV, we have continued our tradition of hosting Thanksgiving as we did back in our beach condo ownership days, only now we co-host it at Xavier and Joy’s, with Rosemarie and I attempting to do all the cooking.
Like in past years I do the turkey while Rose handles most of the sides, and this year our co-hosts surprised us by having a precooked spiral cut ham and a pork shoulder ready to go as well. Our guest numbers had fluxuated between 7 and 13 during the month lead up to the big day, so at one point this would have been “the right” amount of food. By Thanksgiving we were down to just six of us, so leftovers would no doubt fill the fridge for weeks what with three main course meats on the table.
As always, I followed a three step process in order to ensure proper taste across the white and dark sections of the bird: It must be brined over night, it must have butter and herbs worked between the skin and the meat, and it must be spatchcocked. If you have followed this blog for a year or more you already likely know why this is, but for the uninitiated, allow me to elucidate. Submerging the turkey in a salt water mixture overnight, along with whatever herbs and spices you prefer, raises the moisture content of the turkey, helping to alleviate dry meat syndrome upon cooking. This is especially true of birds that have been frozen, which tends to dry them out even more.
Putting butter and herbs under the skin serves sort of the same purpose as basting, but since its under the skin you don’t have to keep basting, particularly if you follow what I consider the most important step.
Spatchcocking. Which is a fancy word for cutting out the backbone and butterflying the whole turkey. Compared to a regularly trussed turkey, a spatchcocked on is far flatter, with greater surface area subject to the oven heat. This means that the dark meat and light meat sections can cook more evenly, and the entire process occurs far faster: Our 12 pounder was done in than 90 minutes at 350, with a few minutes at 450 just to brown up the top a bit.
Everything came out great, and we had so much left over that we were still eating turkey and ham for two weeks after the big event. Thanks to Joy and Xavier for letting us continue our beloved Thanksgiving tradition.
With 13 days and no markets, Coral Springs was not just about Thanksgiving and relaxation; we had work to do particularly in the reorganization areas. We made a trip to our paid storage center in Lauderdale to drop off a full carload of items we had been toting around the country unnecessarily along with a few bulky things we had left with in Joy and Xavier’s garage. This allowed me to empty and re-stow three of our main underbelly compartments such that our access to frequent use items was far more efficient.
After suffering through a couple of years of difficult t access crafting supplies in a hodge podge of containers, we bit the bullet and purchased some pricey plastic stacking drawers from the container store that will make it much easier for Rosemarie to get at the things she needs. If they work out the way we think, we will probably do another round of purchases to complete the craft and jewelry reorganization process. During our outing or this purchase, we also stumbled across the West Boca Moose Lodge, the 21st we have visited in our travels.
Finally, having experienced extensive rain leaks through Loki’s soft top seals to the point that the carpet had a significant amount of mold and mildew, we took decisive action to address the symptoms until we can get the right stuff to fix the cause. In other words, we tore at the entire carpet and padding, front to rear. This entailed removing all the seats and the center console. We are debating whether to Rhino Line the whole thing or just leave it untouched for later new carpet install.
After 13 days it was time for us to move on: we had reservations at one of our favorite parks (Periwinkle on Sanibel Island) and four markets in Naples to attend. We made the 90 minute drive across the state and stopped for one night in Naples RV Resort, a bit further from our market locations than last year’s naples park (Club Naples RV Resort) but for a couple of extra bucks a night, though still on the 50% Passport America rate, we had a much more attractive place to stay, which may end up being our new “go to” stopping point in Naples.
Next up: Naples markets and an extended stay in Sanibel.