Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
The Best Turkey I’ve Ever Had
The Day before:
Prepare the Brine of 2 1/2 gallons of apple cider
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1/2 cup table salt
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
Heat apple cider/juice on the stove until all salt and sugar dissolves. Cool outside or in the fridge. Add the washed and dried turkey (don’t forget to remove and discard the giblets and neck inside the cavity) to the brine so that it can soak 12 hours.
Prepare a Compound Butter of 8 TB. softened butter
freshly ground pepper
4 TB. chopped fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage,
Make the Apple Syrup Reduction
-Bring 4 cups of fresh apple cider and 1/3 cup brown sugar to a boil. Simmer gently until reduced by half, about 40 minutes.
Make Apple Cider Gravy
-Melt 8 TB. butter in a medium saucepan. Add 8 TB. of flour and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until golden, about 3 minutes.
-Add 2 cups of the apple syrup reduction and 3 cups of chicken or turkey stock (homemade is best) to butter and flour mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes.
-Add salt and pepper to taste, and 1/2 tsp of finely chopped fresh rosemary to finish it
The Day of:
Preheat a clean oven to 500 degrees. It will take a while, so leave plenty of time for this.
Pull a long piece of heavy duty tin foil off and fold it into a triangle. Oil the inside of the foil well.
Take the turkey out of the brine and rinse it off in cold water. Pat dry. Press the tin foil triangle onto the breast of the turkey, shaping it into a “shield” of sorts. Remove foil shield and set aside.
Rub the turkey all over with half of an orange or two. Sprinkle the cavity with kosher salt and pepper. Rub the softened herb butter underneath the skin and on the outside, all over the bird. Sprinkle outside of the bird with plenty of pepper, kosher salt and Old Bay seasoning, if you wish.
Stuff the turkey with: onion halves, orange halves, chunks of carrots, celery, fresh sage, thyme, parsley, rosemary and anything else that sounds good. Allow turkey to sit out at room temp for about an hour, no longer then that.
Place turkey in bottom third of the oven, and roast for 30 min at 500 degrees.
After 30 min, take the bird out, turn the oven down to 350 degrees, and place the tin foil shield over the breast. Put a remote thermometer into the breast, being careful not to touch the bone with the tip, and set the thermometer at 161 degrees.
A 19 & 1/2 lb., thoroughly thawed bird will take about 3 or 3 1/2 hours of total roasting time to reach 161 degrees.
Remove cooked turkey from oven, leave the thermometer in the breast and cover tightly with tin foil. Allow the bird to rest at least 20 minutes, or as long as you want. We left it about 45 minutes and it was still plenty hot and wonderfully juicy. Make sure the final temperature of the breast is at least 165 degrees, it will continue to cook as it sits.
Carve the bird according to the video on the NY Times website, a butcher from one of NYC’s markets gives a great demonstration.
Put the pan drippings into a gravy separator and pour the dark drippings into your previously prepared apple cider gravy. Adjust seasonings in gravy if needed.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Thursday, November 01, 2007
Does anyone else have this problem? Ever since the weather started getting cooler, a host of them continue to swarm around the south side of our house. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out HOW they continue to get inside the house.
At first, I was sentimental:
"Ohhh, a cute little ladybug. My Grandma En loves these, I'll just cup it in my hand, open the screen door and release it back into the wild so it can play with it's ladybug friends."
Yes, I was that stupid. Too chicken to kill them.
Not anymore. Just this afternoon I crunched 19 of them in my bare hand, making their way across our windows, floors and ceilings. They continue to plague our house and home, with their incessant crawling and buzzing and flying and making of that stinky green ladybug puddle on my hand when I go to move it or squish it.
What have we done to deserve this? Shall I expect a plague of frogs and flies next? As far as I know we're not employing any slaves in our household, like the Egyptians from Exodus.
Sigh. I don't know what to do except turn to poetry to help deal with the stress. I believe this short but eloquent poem expresses it well: I shall call it Lady Bug.
Lady Bug, Lady Bug,
Why have you come out to play?
Lady Bug, Lady Bug,
Please go away.
Ahem, anyways. Do you find yourself overwhelmed by a wave of apples that you don't know what to do with? Perhaps you inadvertently bought a bushel at the Farmers Market, not knowing that your fruit drawer was ALREADY full of Honey Crisps and Galas? Not that I can relate, but if this is YOU, you need to try this apple cake. It is the quintessential fall dessert, deliciously moist and warm with cinnamon spice, and with only a 1/2 cup of oil, it's not that bad for you.
1 & 2/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 & 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
5 cups chopped, peeled apples (Golden Delicious, Galas, Fuji, MacIntosh all work well)
In a large bowl beat sugar and eggs. Add oil and vanilla. Mix well. In medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add to sugar mixture. Blend well gently, being careful not to overbeat the batter. Stir in apples. Pour into greased 9X13 baking dish. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 45-50 minutes. Check for doneness at around 45 minutes.
If the 1 & 2/3 cups of sugar in the cake aren't enough for you, then feel free to FROST the cake with the following:
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 Tablespoons butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
1 & 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
Combine cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a small bowl. Beat until well blended. Gradually add confectioners sugar until mixture reaches spreading consistency.
This cake is a great company dessert served unfrosted with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.