Thanksgiving Dinner

So the frills on the frilly apron have drooped in all the heat from the oven and the tiara is tarnished with all the sweat, but Thanksgiving Dinner came out perfect!

First up the pictures.

One spatchcocked turkey preparing to rest for 30 minutes:

resting_turkey

40 minutes later – 30 for the resting and ten for the slicing – and we are ready!

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The meat was tender, flavorful, and juicy and the skin was crisp!

And now for some sides. Cornbread stuffing and roasted root vegetables – red and purple heritage potatoes, celery, and carrots.

sides

And for desert: double chocolate pie:

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double_chocolate_pie_slice

Here’s the recipes for those that want.

Turkey:

1 14 to 15 lbs turkey

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Rubbed sage to taste

Poultry seasoning to taste

Directions:

Remove the turkey from the wrapping, remove the neck and giblets and set them aside, and pat dry. Then spatchcock the turkey/remove the backbone and set the backbone aside. turn the turkey breast side up and place firm pressure on each turkey breast to break the breast bone. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Mix the salt, black pepper, rubbed sage, and poultry seasoning together to make a dry rub (dry brine). Place the turkey inside up on the baking sheet and coat the inside with 1/2 the dry rub. Turn the turkey over and coat the outside (breast side up) with the remaining dry rub. Place the dry rubbed turkey in the refrigerator for two to four days.

Roasting:

Remove the turkey from the refrigerator one hour prior to roasting. Preheat oven to 425. When oven reaches 425 place the turkey on an oiled/cooking sprayed wire rack set over a roasting pan (to catch the juices) and place in the oven. Roast at 425 for 30 minutes and then reduce the heat to 350. Continue to roast until a probe thermometer inserted into the deepest portion of the breast reads 155 degrees. Then remove from the oven, cover with foil and let rest for 30 minutes before slicing.

Cornbread Stuffing

Ingredients:

Enough cornbread from scratch to fill a 9X11 baking pan

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Crushed sage to taste

One large, sweet onion – chopped fine

Four large stalks of celery – chopped fine

2 Teaspoons of olive oil.

The giblets from a turkey or a large chicken – sauteed and minced fine

Chicken or turkey stock to moisten the stuffing

Directions:

Bake the cornbread. In a sauté pan sweat off the onions in the olive oil. Add the giblets, sauté them, then remove from heat and mince the giblets. Crumble the cornbread in a big mixing bowl and add the sweated off onions, the finely chopped celery, and the finely minced giblets. Add the kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and sage to taste. Mix thoroughly. Add just enough chicken stock to moisten the stuffing and hold it together. Once everything is combined and seasoned to your taste, stuff the turkey. Or, as in this case because the turkey is spatchcocked, place it in a roasting dish and cook it separately. 

To finish the stuffing: place the roasting dish full of stuffing on the upper rack of the oven above the turkey when you turn the heat down to 350 from 425 degrees.

Roasted Root Vegetables

Ingredients:

1 small bag of red heirloom potatoes

1 small bag of purple heirloom potatoes

1 lbs of carrots

4-6 celery stalks (depending on size)

Wash all the vegetables. Cut the potatoes in half and cut the carrots and celery into 1 inch pieces. Toss them in olive oil, kosher salt, and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Place them in a roasting dish and place the roasting dish on the upper rack of the oven above the turkey and next to the stuffing when you turn the heat down to 350 from 425 degrees.

Turkey Gravy

1 Turkey backbone bisected half way up

1 Turkey neck

3/4 lbs of carrots

4-6 celery stalks (depending on size)

Kosher salt to taste

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

Place the turkey backbone and neck in a stock pot and add the salt and black pepper. Chop the carrots and celery into 1 inch pieces and add to the stock pot. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, and let it continue to boil for 2 to 3 hours. Skim off the scum, cool, and transfer to the refrigerator.

An hour before serving remove the stock from the refrigerator, place in a sauce pot over medium heat. Once hot transfer the stock, including veggies, to the blender. High pulse the stock and veggies until everything is incorporated. Transfer back to the pot over medium heat, taste, and re-season as necessary. Once the turkey finishes resting, any pan drippings can be added to the gravy. Because of the carrots and celery you will not need to add any thickening agents (roux, corn starch, potato starch) to the gravy.

Double Chocolate Pie

First off, I’m pretty sure this is actually an Emeril Lagasse recipe. I’ve been making it for a while, and have tweaked a few things, but I’m almost certain I first saw the recipe on an episode of Essence of Emeril in the mid 90s. Now that disclosure is full, away we go.

Double Chocolate Pie is a dark chocolate mousse pie with crushed Double Stuff Oreos folded into the mousse on a crushed Double Stuff Oreo base.

Crust Ingredients:

1/2 a family size package of Double Stuff Oreos

1/2 a cup of melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or baking spray the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan. Crush the Oreos and then mix them with the butter. Place the crushed, buttered Oreos into the bottom of the pie pan or springform pan and make sure you’ve covered the entire bottom. Bake for 10 minutes then remove to the refrigerator to chill and set the crust the rest of the way.

Dark Chocolate Mousse

Step 1: Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

8 Ounces of Heavy Whipping Cream

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Directions:

Add 1 Teaspoon of vanilla extract to 8 ounces of heavy whipping cream. Whip until you’ve got stiff peaks. Refrigerate while making the ganache.

Step 2: Dark Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients:

8 Ounces of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Chips (or your preferred dark chocolate)

8 Ounces of Heavy Whipping Cream

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Directions:

Place the 8 ounces of dark chocolate into a mixing bowl and set aside. Place the 8 ounces of heavy whipping cream and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract in a sauce pot and bring to a boil. Immediately remove from the heat and pour the scalded cream over the dark chocolate. Let sit for five minutes. After five minutes whisk the cream and melted chocolate to combine.

Step 3: Making the Mousse

Ingredients:

Freshly Whipped Cream

Fresh Dark Chocolate Ganache

1 family size package of Double Stuff Oreos Crushed

Directions:

Crush the Oreos and set aside. Remove the whipped cream from the refrigerator and fold it into the dark chocolate ganache a little at a time. Once all of the whipped cream is folded into the ganache, fold in 2/3 of the crushed Oreos. Remove pie crust from the refrigerator. Scoop 1/2 the mousse into the springform pan. Smooth the top and then cover with the remaining 1/3 of the crushed Oreos. Then scoop the remaining mousse into the springform pan, smooth the top, and return the pie to the refrigerator to set up for at least three to four hours.

Optional finish (as seen in the pictures above)

After three to four hours make a second batch of ganache. Remove the pie from the refrigerator and remove the springform ring from the pie and base pan. Pour the dark chocolate ganache over the top of the pie, turning the ganache from the center to the edge and then around the sides to form a smooth, dark chocolate ganache glaze/shell for the pie. Return to the refrigerator until ready to serve (at least one hour).

You all are on your own for antacids and stomach pumping!

 

 



Friday Recipe Exchange: Thanksgiving Files

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Is this thing on? I know it’s been forever – the house, work and puppies have taken most of my time. Cooking lately is mostly just for sustanance, nothing terribly creative. But Thanksgiving is almost here! Time to get cookin’. From the cooking blog:

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, next to 4th of July. Food, family, friends…and leftovers. I’m going to have a house full this year and I’m excited to host. Although I wasn’t expecting to have a puppy thrown in the mix, but that just makes it more interesting. I have compiled some of my most requested holiday recipes for tonight’s exchange.

JefferyW makes Cornbread Stuffing, (pictured above) part 1 here and part 2 here.

Roasted Butternut Apple Soup makes a great starter, recipe here.

Hearty Garlic Mashed Potatoes, click here – my family loves these, though the first time I made them they mocked me until they were served because the cooking method is so unusual. I cook them early and keep them warm in a slow-cooker while everything else cooks and stove top space is at a premium.

Two Brussels Sprout dishes: Pan Roasted with Pancetta and Onions (recipe here) and JeffreyW’s Brussels Sprout and Potato Au Gratin (click here)

Yum. What do you mean I have to take a bunch of pictures before I can even try it?

There will be a variety of pies this year, but instead of the traditional Pumpkin Pie, I’m making Pumpkin Cream Pie (above), the recipe is here, plus there are additional pumpkin dessert ideas at the link.

For the main course, we’ve made turkeys a bunch of ways here, including a Spatchcock Turkey, recipe here. For something more traditional, here are some ideas from people smarter than I am: turkey four different ways, good stuff here.

What’s on the menu for your Thanksgiving this year? Do you have a must-have recipe for your holiday dinner?

I’m not a fan of traditional candied sweet potatoes, so tonight’s featured recipes are some non-traditional styles for sweet potatoes.

Cajun Sweet Potatoes

  • 4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup butter,  melted
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ tsp cumin (opt)

Covered casserole dish, well-greased

Steamer and saucepan

In saucepan, add water, steamer and sweet potatoes. Steam until you can easily stick a fork in them. They don’t need to be completely soft. About 10-15 minutes. Add sweet potatoes to casserole dish. Combine oil, butter and spices. Pour evenly over potatoes. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes until potatoes are soft. You can adjust cooking time if you prefer your firmer or softer potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes w/Apples

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled & cubed
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 apples, cored & sliced
  • 8 oz can sliced pineapple (including liquid)
  • 2 tsp butter
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt

2 qt casserole dish, greased

Add ingredients to casserole dish. Stir gently and bake at 375 degrees for 40-50 minutes, uncovered, until apples and potatoes are very soft. Cover if it begins to brown too much

That’s it for this week. I hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.   – TaMara








In Moments Of Quiet I’m Strangely Drawn To You

bb-snoozing

I posted a link to this last night, but thought we could all use some cute today, so posting it here. Seriously, these guys help me cope. I’ve gotten us back into a morning walk routine. I have been so busy with work and house stuff, I hadn’t been walking Bixby with regularity for the last couple of months. Then Bailey arrived and I had to ease us into our group walks. They are doing great with it. If you’re doing the math, it’s 260 lbs of muscle…

I want to post a pre-holiday recipe thread on Friday, again trying to get back to routines. Anyone need something specific? I’m thinking it will be about side dishes. I can direct you to a bunch of good turkey recipes and desserts, too. Let me know in the comments.

Otherwise, open thread. I’m about to get into today’s work and wait for my door guy to come install my pretty door. What’s on your mid-day agenda?








Hail Seitan! (Cookbook Giveaway)

Happy Almost-Halloween, Juicers!

I present, in all his dark majesty, the Vegan Black Metal Chef:

I love this guy! And I love his cookbook because he explains exactly what to do AND what not to do AND why. It’s a great cookbook for anyone, but especially newbie cooks.

the-seitanic-spellbook-ebook-cover-223x300

Like any good seitanist, the VBMC craves the harvest of innocent souls. And so he’s gifting a cookbook to one lucky Juicer. Simply leave a comment and I’ll use a random number generator to select the lucky sacrif—winner.

Only comment once or you’ll be disqualified. OT posters will be damned to ride the It’s a Small World boat for eternity. If you win, I’ll notify you at the email address attached to your comment name.

Edit: You can comment any time through till midnight tonight (Eastern time).








Friday Recipe Exchange: Soups On

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Well it’s been a whirlwind of activity here and I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress with the house and garden. Lots of cooking going on for friends and family because I love working in my new kitchen. It hasn’t left a lot of time for blogging. But dinner is in the slow-cooker and I have a moment before it’s time to walk Bixby, so tonight there is a recipe exchange. From the food blog:

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JeffreyW and I once again had a mind-meld moment and both made a batch of Beef and Barley Soup this week. His yummy photo is pictured above.  My recipe is here and JeffreyW’s recipe is here, accompanied by great photos.

Chuck roasts were on sale this week, so I stocked up. I love a good pot roast and have a few recipe variations. I have a recipe for a Tangy Pot Roast here.  For a more traditional take on a yummy Slow-Cooker Pot Roast  including a full menu and recipes, click here. My new favorite ingredient is a dash of good whisky to deepen the flavors.  One of the roasts will be cut up and frozen for soup or stew.

The garden is still producing an abundance of ripe tomatoes, so I made a batch of Tomato-Spinach Soup, recipe here. For a vegetarian version, just omit ground beef. I make it both ways depending on my mood. Serve with grilled cheese sandwich on Easy Slow Rise Crusty Bread, pictured below and recipe here.

bread-and-jam

Another batch of tomatoes, along with zucchini, green peppers and eggplant (all garden fresh) went into a fresh dinner for guests this week, Garden Fresh Pasta, recipe here.

What’s on the menu tonight? Any fun plans for this first weekend of October?

Turkey Bean Soup1

Tonight’s featured recipe is what we’re having as part of a get-together tomorrow night. It’s simple, hearty soup that we can put together earlier in the day for a quick dinner. Then we’ll be heading out to the local historical farm for Wildlife Night. There will be owls.

Cranberry beans are usually easy to find, but if not, substitute cannellini white kidney beans – you can use dry or canned.

Turkey Bean Soup

  • 1 lb smoked turkey sausage, diced (or ground turkey, browned)
  • 1 lb dried cranberry beans (soaked overnight, drained)cranberry-beans-close-up
  • 8 cups of water (or 6 cups water, 2 cups chicken broth)
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Slow-cooker

Add all ingredients to the slow-cooker and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low. Serve with fresh hot bread and salad for a complete dinner.

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That’s it for this week. I’m heading out to buy paint…starting on the living room this weekend. Have a great weekend – TaMara








Friday Recipe Exchange: Pears and Grilling

Pears Pecorino Walnuts

Pears, Pecorino and Walnuts over pasta

I am heading out for the evening, hoping this will post okay in my absence. This was one of my favorite new recipes, I’d never heard of mixing pears and cheese over pasta, but come to find out, it’s actually a very popular ravioli. I think this recipe has all the flavor without all the work. From the recipe blog:

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Sometime contributor Michael Fallai shares a lot of terrific recipes on Facebook. The only hitch is they are often in Italian. Tonight’s featured recipe was one of those. If you ever want a laugh, let Google translate a recipe for you…and don’t let dissolve cheese in a water bath, or let your wine evaporate on flame lively intimidate you.

Perusing the weekly ads, I pulled together a few recipes based on what was on sale this week and headed out to the grill.

First up, Curried Turkey Burgers, recipe here. Great served on fresh pita and grill some fresh eggplant from the garden.

Collard greens were everywhere at the farmer’s market last weekend, so Collard Greens with Bacon seems timely, click here.

The dinner menu took advantage of the abundance of pears right now, Grilled Salmon in Dill Sauce with Pear Raspberry Salad. Click here for recipes and full menu.

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JeffreyW and Mrs. J made some delicious looking Cream Horns (and to this Italian girl, seems the only difference between these and Cannoli is the filling). Purty pictures and directions can be found here.

What’s on your menu this last weekend of August? What garden fresh items are you enjoying right now? What are you grilling up?

Tonight’s featured recipe (pictured at top) became a poignant reminder of the earthquake in Italy. I had pulled it off the Italy site, translated it and put the ingredients on my shopping list just days before it hit.

Here is my version:

Pasta with Pears, Pecorino and Walnuts

  • 10 oz linguine pasta
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large pears, very ripe, cored and cubed
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano (plus extra for garnish)
  • 4 oz cream cheese or Mascarpone, cut into small cubes
  • dash of white wine (opt)
  • salt and pepper to taste

skillet, large pot

Bring water to boil in large pot, add salt and pasta and cook to al dente.  Drain but do not rinse and add back to pot, off heat.

While pasta is cooking, heat skillet on medium heat, add walnuts. Stir constantly until lightly toasted, remove and set aside.

Add butter to skillet and melt before adding pears. Stir gently until well coated with butter. Cook until softened, gently stirring occasionally (you don’t want to break up the pears).

Add both cheeses and stir in completely. Let simmer on medium heat until lightly boiling. Add wine and let simmer away (about 5 minutes). Salt and pepper to taste.

Combine pasta, pear mixture and walnuts in large pot and mix well. Serve with extra Pecorino for garnish.

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That’s it for this week. I’m sorry I don’t have a new photo of Bixby for National Dog Day.  Have a great weekend, enjoy the fading days of August – TaMara








My favorite underreported medical ethics quandary, updated

Some of you likely remember that series of scientific studies showing the most dramatic anti-aging therapy ever discovered. All you need is lots of blood from the very (very) young and, in rats and mice anyway, the worst effects of age disappear. Ergh. The good news was that researchers might have identified a protein called GDF11 that had all the same good effects as the blood of children without the obvious ethical issues.

That sounded promising, but follow-up reports suggested that GDF11 might not work as well as they first thought. Now, much more authoritative follow up studies have confirmed the point.

[W]e have now gone from the hope that GDF11 might be the factor that is lost as a result of aging, and therefore could reverse age-related phenotypes, to the finding from multiple groups that GDF11 is not decreased as a result of aging, makes age-related phenotypes worse, and is now shown to be a risk factor for human frailty and disease when it is found at high levels (Schafer et al., 2016).

On the plus side, data for very young blood still looks solid. If you consider the potential market for an actual, no bullshit treatment to reverse aging, I feel pretty confident that this will become a question people have to address sooner or later.

Here’s a picture of an Orange Bishop that I took at the National Aviary.

birds