Bushnell, FL - Events of Monday, November 23 to Thursday, November 26, 2015
On Monday, we decided take a ride to the south to Winterhaven pick up some cherry lumber for a couple of upcoming 5th wheel projects. Afterward, we drove around and did a little exploring ending up not too far from Anna Maria Oyster Bar in Ellenton, Florida, just north of Bradenton. It was mid-afternoon - a perfect time to stop for lupper.
Although we like the Anna Maria restaurant near Cortez better because it has a more beachy feel, it is farther south and much farther from the interstate. The one in Ellenton is located right off I-75 and is much easier to get to.
As an example of the beachy feel, the next photo shows the sand and seashells encapsulated into the tabletops at the Cortez location. The Ellenton location has regular tables.
Obviously, seafood is the specialty of Anna Maria Oyster Bar. We love their fried clam strips. They are second only to the ones we had at Ipswich Clambake Company in Ipswich, MA when we went to New England a few years ago. Anna Maria's clam strips are sweet, tender and lightly battered. Margery had cole slaw and onion straws for her sides, and Paul had cole slaw and red potatoes. Everything was delish!
On Tuesday, we had an appointment with DirecTV to have our satellite TV service upgraded to high def. When we ordered our new 5th wheel last year, we ordered it with an automatic, roof-top dish capable of receiving high def, but we kept our old, standard-def DVR. After reading about some of the advancements of the new Genie DVR provided by DirecTV, we decided it was time to upgrade.
We love watching our favorite programs in high def. With our older eyes and with the larger TV we have in the 5th wheel, some of the things on the screen in standard def weren't that clear. We also love the fact the Genie can record up to 5 programs at the same time as opposed to only two for our old DVR. Although we're pretty selective, we do watch a fair amount of TV; and it seems like everything we want to record is on at the same time. We were constantly shuffling the recording schedule to avoid conflicts with our old DVR.
This year for Thanksgiving, we broke with our long-standing tradition of going to Cracker Barrel for their Thanksgiving special and decided to smoke a turkey breast and have dinner in. Previously when we smoked our turkey breasts, we brined them overnight in a solution of Kosher salt and brown sugar. We recently read an article about a different method of brining called dry brining. In dry brining, a smaller amount of the salt and sugar mixture is rubbed directly onto the turkey. The turkey is then allowed to sit in the refrigerator overnight without any water added. The article said in their taste test, 10 out of 13 testers preferred the dry-brined turkey to the standard wet-brined turkey, so we decided to give dry brining a try.
Making a full-blown Thanksgiving meal is way too much work for just the two of us, so we decided to simplify. Margery made a green bean casserole, home made low carb cranberry sauce and a side dish of roasted delicata squash with cranberries and feta cheese. Delicata squash is named for its tender skin. Although technically a summer squash, its flesh is more like that of a winter squash (think butternut). For dessert, we had pumpkin custard (essentially pumpkin pie filling without the crust).
What a mistake it was to dry brine the turkey! The turkey had good flavor just like the article said, but it was very dry and very tough. The turkey breasts we wet brined and smoked previously were very moist and were nice and tender. The cranberry sauce could have been a little sweeter, but otherwise was delicious. In addition to the cranberries also being a little tart in the squash-cranberry-feta cheese dish, Paul thought it was an very unusual flavor combination; but at least it was nice and colorful. The pumpkin custard was yummy. We're thinking we might go back to Cracker Barrel next year.
That's about it for now. We continue to mostly relax and putter around, so our posts will probably be a little less frequent.