November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 Menu Revisited

Roasted Brined Turkey
Baked Sweet Potato Casserole
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Mashed Potatoes
Corn Casserole

The Turkey 
Must begin process 3-4 days before roasting
A meat thermometer would be helpful.

As you read the instructions it might seem a bit overwhelming with lots of steps.  It’s not difficult at all and the best reason to do it this way>>>> you don’t have to  worry about the turkey while it is cooking.  It really is the best turkey I have made or tasted.  I learned everything from Alton Brown.  Here is a link to a video 

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. 
  • A large bucket or cooler to fit the turkey in
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
Directions  2 to 3 days before roasting: 
Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F. This will probably take 2- 3 days
 For the brine:
  1. Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. 
  2. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil
  3. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.
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.

  For Roasting: A meat thermometer would be very helpful

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
2. Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
3.  Aromatics: Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes.
4.  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.
5.  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.
6. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting.
7. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving. 

Gravy (you can make this while your turkey is “resting”)
1.      Keep the drippings from your turkey
2.     Pour everything, including aromatics, into a sauce pan. 
3.      Bring to a boil. 
4.      Combine ½ cup flour and just enough water to make a runny paste. 
5.     Reduce heat and slowly add flour mixture, whisking to combine.  You may not need all of the flour mixture.  Use to a desired consistency. 
6.      Drain through a sieve. 
7.      You may also add about ¼ cup heavy cream
8.      Salt and pepper to taste. 

Sweet Potato Casserole
(Based on Ruth’s Chris recipe)

  • 1 ½  cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 ½  cup chopped pecans
  • 1  cup butter -- melted  
Sweet Potato Mixture

  • 6 cups mashed BAKED sweet potatoes
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½  cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup  butter
1.  Combine brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter in mixing bowl. Set aside.
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3.  Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs and butter in a mixing bowl in the order listed. 
Mix thoroughly.
4.  Pour mixture into buttered baking dish.
5.  Sprinkle the surface of the sweet potato mixture evenly with the crust mixture.
6.  Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to set at least 30 minutes before serving.
7.  This can be easily doubled

Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  • 2 cups cranberries
  • Juice and chopped zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup Port
  • 1/2 cup sugar, or more if needed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1teaspoon cornstarch
  1. In a small saucepan combine cranberries, orange juice and zest, port, sugar and cinnamon. 
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmering and cook until cranberries are tender, stirring occasionally. 
  3. In a small cup make a slurry with cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water. 
  4. Whisk cornstarch mixture into cranberry sauce and cook, whisking, until sauce thickens. 
  5. Taste and add more sugar, if necessary. 
Note:   I like small amounts of cooked fruit, so I pulse this in a blender or food processor before serving.  

Mashed Potatoes

  • 4 pounds golden potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives  

  1. Put the potatoes into a large pot, add the bay leaf, 2 tablespoons salt, and cover with cold water. 
  2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Drain them well and remove the bay leaf. 
  4. Meanwhile, heat the cream and 3 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan. 
  5. Mix the potatoes with hand beater or stand mixer to desired consistency. 
  6. Add remaining butter to help with beating. 
  7. Add the hot cream and season with salt and pepper.
  8. Top with chives.
Note:  I spoon the potatoes in a casserole dish, top with cold butter pats and place them in  the oven.  It keeps them warm and also forms a light “crust” on the top.  Garnish with chives just before serving. 

Corn Casserole


  •  1 can whole kernel yellow corn, undrained 
  •  1 can cream style yellow corn
  •  1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream
  •  2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix 
  • 1 stick butter, melted
Mix all together and pour into large, lightly oiled casserole dish. Bake at 350°F for 55 to 60 minutes.
I double and triple. 

November 20, 2013

Kale Salad

This is my new favorite: A Kale Salad.  I had one  at my church potluck late summer and fell in love.  It was perfect timing because I had a ton of kale growing in my backyard garden for its beauty, not because I wanted to eat it. Our neighborhood garden also had a few varieties planted and was being harvested. You can play with the ingredients a bit but I am listing the ones that I think are THE BEST to add.  My pastor's wife is the one who brought the salad to the dinner and she MASSAGES the kale leaves with coconut oil before tossing the salad.  It makes a difference.  Also, this salad is great on day number 2 and 3!  The kale leaves hold up to the dressing and does not become soggy.  Just lightly dress it if you are storing it. NOTE: If you store it, the coconut oil solidifies, so you must bring it  close to room temperature to liquify it.  You may also add a touch of warm water to the salad before tossing it.  

The Ingredients  
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup sugar or 1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced dry onion
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon poppyseeds 
Optional: I add 1/4cup raw coconut oil
Large bunch of kale (curley)
2 green onions, slivered
1/2 lb. radishes, thinly sliced
2-3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
2-3 carrots,  thinly sliced
1/4 cup of red cabbage, chopped
1 cup of quartered raw Brussels sprouts
Dried cherries or cranberries.  
Fresh blueberries.
Chopped crunchy toasted sweet nuts (cashews or almonds) 
A sprinkle of white cheese, your choice. I like swiss for this salad

  1. Rip kale into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Massage with 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil.(see note above)
  3. Add salad ingredients and toss with desired amount of dressing.

November 4, 2013

The Scotch Egg

 The Scotch Egg is a traidtional British recipe that is often found in European picnic baskets and in your local English pub.  I had a Scotch Egg for the first time last week.  My husband and I were in the great city of Grand Rapids, Michigan sampling craft beer and locally sourced  artisan food, at the Grand Rapids Brewing Company.
 "GRBC is proud to be the Midwest's first USDA-certified organic brewery. Chef Adam Watts has created a menu that is sourced mostly from West Michigan's bountiful agri-business, and features both house-made and Sobie sausages."
I had no  idea what to expect, having never tried a Scotch Egg.  We had viewed it on the menu on previous visits,  but had skipped over it, choosing  instead items like Kale Popcorn and the daily selections on the Butchers Board. The menu described it as " hard boiled egg, pork sausage, saltine cracker, hop mustard." I imagined the egg with those items on the accoutrements to the egg. 
The plate came out with a gorgeous hard boiled egg surrounded in sausage and pan fried to a golden brown crunch.  It had a hop mustard on the side for dipping and it was fabulous. The saltine flavor really added to the sausage and egg components.    I knew instantly I would have to create these for my next party.
Often, the best way to get quality sausage meat is to buy some really lovely sausages, slit them open, then squeeze out the meat. ~ Jamie oliver
8 Eggs
4 Beaten  eggs
4 Cups of crushed saltines for breading
1 lb. of bulk seasoned pork sausage or Italian Sausage links, split open
Herbs De Provence or other herbs of choice 
Mustard divided: add a touch to the sausage and more  for dipping
Oil for frying
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Paprika for sprinkling

  • Put eggs into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. 
  • Boil for 3 to 4 minutes, then transfer to a bowl of cold water. 
  • Once cooled, carefully peel them.
  • Put the sausage meat into another bowl with the herbs, a good grating of nutmeg, the mustard and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Give it all a good mix together then divide into 8 balls.
 Have 3 plates ready - one with flour, one with the beaten eggs and a third with the breadcrumbs.
  • To make the Scotch eggs, start by flouring your hands.
  • In the palm of one hand, flatten one of the sausage balls into an oval-shaped pattie. 
  • Roll a peeled egg in flour, then pop it in the middle of the pattie. 
  • Gently shape the meat evenly around the egg, molding it with your hands.

  • Roll the meat-wrapped egg in the flour, shake of any excess, then dip into the beaten egg, followed by the breadcrumbs. 
  • Roll in the egg and breadcrumbs again for a really good coating.
  1. Heat the oil in a deep pan or deep fat fryer to about 150ºC/300ºF. If you have a cooking thermometer it's a good idea to use it. Otherwise, test if the oil is hot enough by adding a piece of potato and leaving it for about a minute – if it sizzles and browns, it's ready. 
  2. Carefully lower the eggs into the pan and cook for about 4 minutes, turning them every so often, until golden. 
  3. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. (If you're worried about the meat being under-cooked, deep-fry the scotch eggs until they're golden and crispy, then pop them in a hot oven for a couple of minutes.)
    Cool the eggs slightly, slicing the egg in half the long way.  
  4. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and paprika.
  5. Must be served with a nice mustard  like Grey Poupon. 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...