November 30, 2010

Alton Brown's Turkey Brine

I followed these great instructions for BRINING a Turkey. It came out fabulous- the best turkey I have made or tasted. I didn't put this up for Thanksgiving beforehand because I wanted to try it first. So, in preparation for a holiday dinner, here it is. Amazinging easy. No fuss during cooking time. I couldn't believe how simple it was.


  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:

  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil


Click here to see how it's done.
2 to 3 days before roasting:
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

rainesworld: Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple

rainesworld: Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple

November 18, 2010

Pizza Rustica (Olive Garden Recipe)

7 ½ cups all-purpose flour (approximately)
1 pk dry active yeast
2 1/2 cups water, warm (90-115ºF)
1/2 Tbsp +1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
All-purpose flour as needed
1 eggplant, peeled and cut into very thin slices
16 fresh garlic cloves
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
20 thin slices prosciutto ham
4 rounds fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into slices
4 tbsp of pesto (jarred)
Procedures Pre-heat oven to 350ºF—increase to 550ºF.

  1. POUR warm water into a bowl. Add yeast. Using a wire whip, whisk to completely dissolve yeast. Set aside for about 5 minutes, or until yeast activates. Add 1 cup flour, salt and extra virgin olive oil. Mix well. Add remaining flour 1 cup at a time until dough is soft and springy. Dough should turn into a ball. If dough is too dry, add a very small amount of water. If it becomes too wet, add a small amount of flour.
  2. PLACE ball of dough on a floured board and cover with a dry towel. Allow to sit until ball doubles in size.
  3. CUT risen dough into 4 equal pieces. Again, roll into balls and allow to rise*.

  1. PLACE garlic cloves in a small pan. Add 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil and evenly coat each clove..
  2. BAKE at 350ºF for 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.

  1. PLACE dough ball on floured board. Using hands, flatten and spread out to form a circle.
  2. SLIDE pizza dough onto a pizza pan or parchment paper.
  3. PLACE fresh mozzarella slices on pizza. Add sliced eggplant and roasted garlic cloves.
  4. BAKE at 550ºF for 5-6 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and add prosciutto slices. Top with spoonfuls of pesto.

*If not using dough immediately, wrap each ball with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready for use. Once ready to use, remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature.

November 15, 2010

Chicken Corn Chowder




2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely chopped 1 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups chicken stock
4 potatoes, peeled and diced small
2 cups diced, cooked chicken
2 casn sweet corn, drained
Juice from 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
Chopped cilantro, to garnish (optional)


  1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat.  Add cumin and vegetables and saute until tender. 
  2. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon and cook for 1 minute, or until there is no longer any visible raw flour. 
  3. Stir in sugar.
  4. Slowly stir in the chicken broth, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan as you stir, incorporating the flour and vegetables.  
  5. Add the potatoes, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with a knife. 
  6. Add chicken, corn and cream.  
  7. Continue to simmer.
  8. Salt and pepper to taste.  

Garnish with any of the following: fresh cilantro, sour cream, bacon, tortilla chips, cheddar cheese

November 5, 2010

Cuban Black Bean Soup


  Photo pending



  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1 jalapeno, split, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 3/4 quarts low-sodium chicken stock
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

    • Chopped tomatoes, red onion and cilantro
    • Crushed tortilla chips
    • Sour cream +2 teaspoons lime zest
    • Grated Cheddar cheese


    1. Pick through the beans and discard any debris - wash under cold running water.
    2.  In a food processor add garlic, onion, pepper, and cilantro.
    3. Set a large pot over medium heat and add a 3-count of olive oil. Add the oregano and cumin. 
    4. Add vegetable puree and saute until just fragrant, 7 to 10 minutes. 
    5. Add beans, ham hock, jalapeno, bay leaves and stock. 
    6. Slightly cover and simmer for 2 hours until beans are tender.
    7. When cooked, remove bay leaves and take out ham hock. 
    8. Cut ham meat off the bone, cut into pieces and set aside.
    9. Using a blender, puree just enough of the beans and stock (about a third of the total pot) to thicken up the soup and bring everything together. 
    10. Season with salt and pepper and if desired, fold ham meat back into the soup.
    11. Garnish
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