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Monday, November 17, 2008

My World Famous Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

I Post this every year so once again here you go. This year for my booze I will be using Triple Sec and to match the theme will be stuffing the bird with mushrooms and oranges/tangerines/apricots. Whichever fruit looks best upon the date of purchase. I might even do an Orange Marmalade glaze but that will be a last minute knee jerk reaction.

Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

Prep Work-Make up some Herb Butter. I use parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme(easy to remember…just like in the Simon and Garfunkel song.) You can also add Garlic and Shallots. I usually make this a couple of days ahead if time. Save the leftovers…it will make the greatest cheese/herb bread you’ve ever had. Use a processor and fine chop/mince any combination of Onion, Celery, Carrots, Garlic, and Shallots. Make sure you don’t skimp on the garlic.

Take your turkey and prepare according to directions on bag(wash dry remove giblets neck etc etc etc).
When ready, take your hands and slowly loosen the skin around the breasts of the turkey. Work slow and deliberate and if needed use a paring knife to cut through any membrane. Try not to tear it as you're really looking to create a “pouch.”
Once that’s done take your room temperature/soft herb butter and liberally smear it under the turkey breast skin. Use as much as possible and even let it clump in pockets. Be gentle though and try not to tear the skin. The more you can use the better it will be. A lot will end up in the wing/thigh areas and that’s fine. You can also take some of the herb butter and apply it in the cavity.

Take some of the onion/garlic mixture and try and put some of the under the skin as well….wont be as easy to do as the herb butter but do what you can. Take the rest of the onion mixture and place it in the cavity. On top of the mixture place some whole herbs on top of the mixture…what ever you have leftover from the herb butter is fine as well. You can also add mushrooms as well which will make the gravy a Beer/Mushroom gravy or a Red Wine Mushroom Gravy depending on what alcohol you use in the next step.

After that take any type of alcohol beverage….beer, wine, sherry, etc etc and pour about a cup or two in the cavity. Be sure to seal the tail end of the turkey if needed so the cavity creates a pocket. Use toothpicks or twine if needed. Basically this step creates an interior steam pocket that will flavor the meat and the juice for use in the gravy. After you’ve poured the alcohol truss the bird with twine. You’re almost done now!

Next take Salt and Pepper and any other spices you like (Paul Prudhomes Poultry Magic is a good one to use and I’m sure Emeril probably has something out now as well) and dust the outside of the bird. Put into a cooking bag and follow the directions from there.

For the gravy you can do it two ways. I use an aluminum turkey tray when I cook my turkey so I simply take the turkey out of the bag and scrape out all the mixture from the cavity and any skin/meat that’s in the bag and pour it into the pan for a home style gravy. Or you can make a bit classier gravy by straining all of the juice through a cheesecloth and using the stock to make a cream type smooth gravy. Either way is fine….they’ll both be delicious. If you used mushroom take them out and set aside. They’ll serve as a nice side dish or garnish even.

Other tips-For the butter use some of the more expensive European Butter. It’s got higher fat content and will taste much better. Pflugra butter is one brand if I’m not mistaken. They also have Irish and Danish butter as well.
For the alcohol: use good quality stuff. A cheap wine isn’t going to be nearly as impressive as if you use some quality stuff. Same goes for the beer if you use it-get a good thick dark Guinness style beer.

When making the gravy… the least go with half and half. If Possible use whole cream.

If anyone has any questions or wants to add their two cents feel free!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Another Edition of Catching up

Here are a couple of month worth of pics Ive been neglecting to post. All of them fall in food related category. I will post some recaps and descriptions later. Within the next week or so I will also post some pics from the trip to Joshua Tree I took with the family.

Here we have a grilled NY Strip with some Pineapple Shrimp I cooked using the BBQ Wok with BBQed Eggplant and Roasted Corn. The Wine was Grove Street Meritage which if hazy memory serves must not have been all the remarkable. I think it was on special at Henry's Market and an impulse buy.

Ahhhh, this is my favorite chicken dish of all time. I sliced some chicken breasts into strips and marinated overnight it in Buttermilk, Powdered Ranch Dressing Mix, Green Onions, and Garlic. Draining the milk I then use the Chef Paul BBQ Seasoning to coat the chicken to my liking and throw it on the grill. You will never get a more tender chicken. I really should try it with dark meat some time. The other dish is another shrimp stir fry using the BBQ Wok with some locally produced baby peppers. Rounding out the dish is my wife's wonderful Japanese Style potato salad and sun dried tomato Couscous. If you are making any type of Potato or Macaroni Salad and really want to wow your guest by all means use Japanese Mayonnaise. Its extra creamy and extra rich-beats the heck out of miracle whip by a mile.

This is a Rib Eye stuffed with garlic I did...I used a red pepper just to make the picture look good. While the idea of garlic in steak seems like a natural fit its really a symbolic gesture as I cook the steaks at high heat for a short time thus the garlic really never reached the heat needed to assimilate the flavors. But its the thought that counts right?

Just a picture to show the texture and the medium rare style. One other tip I will give her that I own the wife for-go to your local asian market and pick up a bottle of premium soy sauce...not the cheap korean stuff but the real honest to goodness premium japanese soy sauce. On steak it brings out some amazing flavors you just wont get with table salt. While you are there pick up the jappo mayo as well!

As Winter approaches I get to do a bit of baking and one of my favorites are Cinnamon Pull Aparts or Monkey Balls as we used to call them as kids. You can do it easily by using canned biscuit dough but I went a step up and made my own dough. I kept it simple as a start but I will generally put some type of booze in the with caramel glaze....Baileys or Rum works especially well.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Cool Wine Site I found

With the economy taking a turn for the worse I envision my wine budget heading south as well. Doing a bit of surfing found this wine blog that I'm sure will come in handy. Basically this guy checks out all the Cheap TJ's wine and posts a review for each. One day I promise Ill get back to reviewing Wines and Posting Food Pics.

Anyhow here is the link...