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Archive for November, 2007

    I put my order in this morning for our Thanksgiving turkey!  This will be the fourth year in a row that I have used a Fresh Allison Family Farms Turkey from Weaver Street Market for the centerpiece of our Thanksgiving dinner.   I like to say that we have a “happy” turkey for thanksgiving because Allison Family Farms raises free-range, all natural, organic, and humanely treated poultry.  I think a happy turkey makes a yummy turkey.

   A bird that has lead such a wonderful life deserves an equally wonderful cooking experience.  Get out your pens and papers, because I will now bestow upon you the recipe for a great thanksgiving turkey.   Well, at least we like it…

The night before the meal:

  •   1 happy, fresh turkey (up to 20 lbs)
  •   1 recipe for brining solution
  •   1 good chest cooler (we never have enough room in the fridge for the turkey this time of year)
  •   ice to fill the cooler

  After rinsing the turkey, place it into either a large roasting or brining bag neck end first.  Pour the COLD brine into the bag, there should be enough liquid to cover the bird.  Securely close the bag and place into the cooler, place ice all around the bird so it is sure to stay cold.  Let the bird soak overnight. 

The next day (this is the Alton Brown roasting method, works every time)…

  • Remove bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard brine.
  • Place bird on roasting rack inside wide, low pan and pat dry with paper towels. Fill cavity with aromative vegetables (onions, celery, lemon, carrots, etc.)
  • Tuck back wings and coat whole bird liberally with canola  oil.
  • Roast on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cover breast with double layer of aluminum foil, insert probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and return to oven, reducing temperature to 350 degrees F. Set thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let turkey rest, loosely covered for 15 minutes before carving.  
  • Enjoy!

   That is my method of choice for roasting our Thanksgiving Turkey.  What you get is a bird with beautiful brown, crispy skin and moist meat that actually tastes like turkey.  When I am cooking such an important meal for so many people (12 this year), I don’t want to go out on a limb with fancy flavors that not everyone will enjoy.  That is what the sides are for.  Plus, this recipe isn’t very complicated and it works for me every time.  You could always change the brine for a different flavor.   After Turkey day is over I will post some pictures to show how pretty it looks when it comes out of the oven.

    Because the turkey was brined, it should not be stuffed with actual stuffing.  Since I am a Microbiologist by trade, serving stuffing that has actually been inside the bird to a large group of people kind of scares me anyway.  I actually make my stuffing in the crock pot, it is really good. Maybe we can talk about that next… any interest in that out there?  

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Suggested Use of Apple Butter 

Well, I have been blogging for about 2 months now, and it is time to dip my toes in the water and try out a food blog event! 

The theme for blog or bust this month is fall.  What could be more fall-like than apples, brown sugar and spices slowly cooking all day long?  So I made a big batch of apple butter!  The aroma that this makes as it cooked away in the crock pot was amazing.   It doesn’t take much to get lots of flavor, it is a mix of sweet, tart and spice all at once. 

 Apple Butter:

  • 12-14 apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water (you could use apple cider too)
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice 

 Mix all of the ingredients in a slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.  Mash the mixture while still in the crock pot with a potato masher or back of a spoon.  Cook uncovered on low heat another 1 to 2 hours until the mixture reaches a thick consistancy.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Since I made such a big batch, I had to give some away to friends, making it a good idea for future homemade holiday gifts.  It should last in the fridge tightly covered for about 3 weeks.

I had been putting it on my waffles in the morning instead of real butter, but last night we found a great use for it: grilled turkey, cheddar and applebutter sandwiches!  It was really nice paired with a hot bowl of soup.  I love fall!  I can’t wait to start posting some Thanksgiving recipes, the countdown has begun!

Thanks to the clumsy cook for hosting this event!  

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meatball sub

Hi all!  A few weeks ago I made tomato gravy with meatballs, and as usual, I had some sauce and meatballs left over to go in the freezer.  This time I didn’t have as much sauce as I thought I would, so I knew these meatballs were destined to become meatball subs.  They fufilled their predetermined fate this evening after Michigan gave my husband a heart-attack and came back to beat Michigan State.  Go Blue!

I know this might seem like a no brainer to many well-accomplished chefs… but sometimes I think we all need a reminder that a meatball sub can be a good use of leftovers. I have also been known to put them on top of a make at home pizza. Yum…

My meatballs will never be on par with Mom’s, but Jason likes them well enough.

Here is my round-about recipe for meatballs:

  • 2 lbs ground meat (this can be all beef, or a mix of beef, veal and pork)
  • a little splash of red wine (optional)
  •  about 2 tbsp of italian spice mix
  • about 2 tbsp dehydrated onions
  • about 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • garlic salt to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • dried or fresh bread crumbs; see below

Mix the ground meat and the next 6 ingredients.  Break up the egg in a small bowl, then add that to the meat mixture.  Add enough breadcrumbs until the mixture isn’t slimy (gross but true).  Form into balls and bake in a 350 degree oven until no longer pink on the outside.  Transfer the meatballs into a simmering pot of tomato sauce, homemade or store bought (You aren’t getting my recipe for tomato sauce).  Cook for at least 30 to 40 minutes. 

To make this fast on gameday, you could always buy the frozen meatballs (blasphemy!), and then cook them in jarred sauce (more blasphemy!).  Then put them into a nice hoagie roll, top with lots of mozzarella, then some parmesan, then wrap in foil and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  For parties,  you could keep the meatballs and sauce warm in a crock pot while the game is on, and just have the fixin’s ready for whenever people want them. 

The result is really good with chips, a pickle and a beer.

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