Thursday, November 27, 2008

What's Cookin'?

Here's my contribution to our Thanksgiving menu:

Steve's mom made:

  • ham
  • sweet potatoes
  • her cornbread dressing
  • fruit salad
  • pumpkin and cherry pies

Steve's sister, Susie, made Brussels sprouts and his other sister, Connie, and her husband brought homemade wheat bread and loaded mashed potatoes.

For recipes, you can click on some of the things above - I've linked to my old recipes or those that are online. The cookies were okay, but not my favorite. They were sort of plain - I think I expected more of a cranberry taste, and I couldn't taste them at all. The molasses overwhelmed them.

I combined recipes for my turkey and it was delicious and juicy. Here's what I did:


1 cup kosher salt

1 cup granulated brown sugar (I just had it and had never used it - you could use regular brown sugar)

4 lemons, quartered

6 sprigs of thyme

4 sprigs of rosemary

small handful of peppercorns

1 15# turkey

First, I dissolved the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of water on the stove, just heating the water enough to melt everything. I used a big brining bag from Williams-Sonoma. You could also put the turkey in any non-reactive container, such as a large stock pot or clean bucket. If your turkey is larger and you need more brine to cover the turkey, use 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar for every additional gallon of water. Add the lemons and herbs, zip up the bag and put it in the fridge. I put mine in an ice chest with ice because I needed the fridge space for other stuff. Anyway, let the turkey sit in the brine for 24 hours or so, turning the bird over halfway through.

You'll need some turkey broth for the gravy. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the turkey neck, heart, and gizzard to the pan and saute just to brown, about a minute. Add:

1 large carrot, coarsely chopped

1 onion, coarsely chopped

1 large stalk of celery, coarsely chopped

1 small bay leaf

Saute the veggies and bay leaf for about 2 minutes. Then add...

4 cups low-salt chicken broth

2 cups water

Bring to a boil; lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the stock is reduced to 4 cups, about an hour, adding chopped turkey liver to the pan during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Strain the stock into a large measuring cup or clean pot. Separate the meat from the veggies. If you like giblets in your gravy, then chop them and take the meat off the neck and chop it up. If you're like me, you'll pull all this meat off to give to your Standard Poodles.

After your turkey has brined, you'll preheat the oven to 325°, remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well in cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel inside and out. Place breast side up in a heavy roasting pan. Mix 1 stick of butter with 1 tbsp sage and 1 tbsp thyme and a little salt and pepper. With your hands, loosen the breast skin and rub half of the herbed butter under the skin. Rub more on the outside of the bird. Save the rest - you'll melt it and use it for basting. Stuff the inside of the turkey with a lemon or orange, cut into 1/8ths, 1 large onion, cut into 1/8ths, 1 stalk celery, cut into 1" pieces, 1 large carrot, cut into 1" pieces, 2 bay leaves, 2 sprigs of thyme, 2 sprigs rosemary, and 4 sprigs parsley. If you have some fresh sage, shove it in there, too. I didn't have any. You'll also need about 2 cups of chicken broth for basting.

Roast the turkey in the oven for approximately 2 3/4 - 3 hours, basting turkey every hour with alternating stock and melted herbed butter, until internal temperature is 165°. Let rest for 20 minutes.

For gravy:

Pour off pan juices from the turkey. Skim off the fat (there will be a lot because of the butter). Place the roasting pan on 2 stovetop burners over medium heat and heat the pan juice and 1 cup turkey broth and 1 cup white wine to deglaze, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining cup of broth and bring to a simmer, then transfer to a measuring cup. In a large saucepan, melt 4 tbsp unsalted butter. Stir in 1/4 c flour and stir constantly, making a light roux. Add hot stock to the roux, whisking constantly, then simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add giblets and neck meat to the gravy if you so desire. Or feed it to your Standard Poodles. They will love you for it.

I think the hit of the day was the apple pie, though. I sent a plate of leftovers to the manager of our barn, including a big slice of each of our pies. He called me today and said because of the apple pie, he cleaned all three of our horse stalls out for us! I may make him pie every day! :::grin::: This received rave reviews from everyone - it was delish. It is from a 1997 Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I've saved it all these years. Why didn't I make it before?

Crunchy Caramel Apple Pie

1 recipe Pate Brisee (Short Crust Pastry):
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.54 cm) pieces
1/8 to 1/4 ice water

In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/8 cup water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.

Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour. On a lightly floured board, roll dough into a 12" circle. Transfer to a deep dish pie plate. Trim and crimp edges as desired.

Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tbsp all-purpose flour, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp salt. Take your handy dandy Pampered Chef Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer and slice up 6 Granny Smith apples. (If you don't have a handy dandy Pampered Chef Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer, you need one. Call your Pampered Chef consultant today. Seriously!) Toss the apples with the sugar/flour mixture until the apples are all coated, then turn into your pastry-lined pie dish.

Sprinkle with the Crumb Topping, which is a combination of 1 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup quick cooking oats. Cut into this 1/2 cup butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Cover the apples with this yummy mixture. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes.

At this point, I evidently stopped reading the recipe, because in typing it here, I realized I skipped a whole step. My pie was only half-baked! LOL! I did NOT cover the edge of my crust with foil, but just opted to watch it. Because my crust wasn't over browned, I was good. Now when reading the original recipe, I see that I was supposed to REMOVE the foil and RETURN THE PIE TO THE OVEN for an additional 25 minutes! ROFL!!!! SO, you can just take it out and eat it "half baked" like we did - and everyone raved over it - or try putting it back in! Whenever you take it out (half-done or fully done), sprinkle it with chopped pecans (I omitted this because my MIL cannot eat pecans) and drizzle the top with 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping. Because it's just not sweet enough. :::snort::: If you make it fully baked, tell me how it turns out.

I'll be chuckling over this all night long......

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

LOL about being 1/2 baked... maybe you ate too many drunken carrots while you were baking? What a name for a recipe (LOL). It all sounds very yummy!