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Archive for the ‘Holiday recipes’ Category

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The daffodils are blooming here in North Carolina and that is the first herald of spring.  Easter is on its way, and my Mom spends many hours before Easter Sunday making loaves and loaves of Easter bread.  I went online this past week to find the history behind these recipes, but all of the recipes I found were savory breads.  The two recipes that come from our family are breakfast breads. They are sweet and go perfect with a nice hot cup of coffee or tea. 

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    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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