November 27th, 2008

I Love the Smell of Turkey in the Morning


Don’t you?

There’s nothing like preparing the bird and putting it in the oven early and that first whiff of what’s to come. You know’ it’s too early to eat it but you really, really wanna.

It makes the day go by vvveeerrryyy sssssllllllooooowwwwllllyyy. Until it’s time to eat.

We’re eating early — around 1 pm.

There’s football to watch, dontcha know? (Go Cowboys.)

More later on how the turkey and all the trimmings turn out.

Until then . . . happy Turkey Day, everyone!

November 26th, 2008

Don’t Whine — Brine


It’s almost Turkey Day and I’ve — okay, my whole family has — been having fun with the word “brine.”

It rhymes with lots of great things. Case in point . . .

“It’s time to brine so get me some wine and everything’ll be fine.”

That may or may not have actually been uttered last night during the brining process.

The word “brine” also can replace other words and instantly leave an air of mystery. A la . . .

“If you don’t stop all that ruckus I’m going to brine your behind.”

What does that mean? I’m not really sure, but it gets the job done.

We also like to use the word with a thick Southern drawl . . .

Brine me that spatula, son.”

So, getting down to business, what exactly is brining? In short, it’s soaking meat in a salt solution — like marinating. In this case, the meat is a turkey and the mixture includes more than salt and water. And it helps the turkey to cook up really moist and flavorful.

You can read more about brining here.

So naturally, the “brine” is the mixture you soak the meat in. And here is the recipe for ours (it’s been passed around from friend to friend to friend for a few years but we understand that it came from Bon Appetit in November 1997.)

Turkey Brine

6 quarts water
2 large onions, quartered
1 cup coarse salt
1 cup choppped fresh ginger
3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
4 large bay leaves
4 whole star anise
12 whole black peppercorns, crushed

Combine ingredients in a very large pot. Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring until salt and sugar dissolve. Cool brine completely.

Rinse turkey inside and out. Place turkey in brine, pressing to submerge. Chill overnight, turning turkey twice.

Remove turkey from brine, discard brine. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Place orange wedges in main cavity. Mix olive oil and sesame oil in a small bowl. Brush over turkey.

Arrange breast side upon grill, centering above empty pan. Cover, cook until internal temperature registers 160 degrees F, about 3 hours depending on the size of your turkey.

Here’s my husband doing the Vanna White thing with our brine. Kind of looks like a witches’ brew.

You notice the bay leaves and onions first. But see those brown things on the left that look like starfish? Those are the whole star anise. They smell like licorice — and with good reason. A chemical compound called anethol makes it smell and taste like licorice.

Now, rest assured, your turkey will not taste like licorice. It’s just a spicy flavor that helps give the brine a great taste.

So, we made up the brine and let it cool Tuesday night of Thanksgiving week. At the end of the evening when it was perfectly cool we rinsed off our turkey and lined a styrofoam cooler with a trash bag. Classy, eh?

We submerged the turkey, twisted the bag shut and put the cooler’s lid on. Then, we slipped that cooler into the refrigerator to let it work its magic over the next day.

We will turn it twice to make sure the entire turkey gets its fair share of briny goodness.

Then, we’ll cook it up Thanksgiving morning according to the recipe above.

We’ve done this on Thanksgiving AND Christmas for the past 3 years and we love the way the turkey turns out. We’ve never had it this moist and tasty before.

I’ll post photos of the final product here after Thanksgiving.

Until then, I’ll be brining for you . . .

(See what I did there? “Brining” instead of “pining?”  Aww, forget it.)

November 25th, 2008

Yummy Idea for Your Holiday Ham


Making a ham this Thanksgiving or holiday season? Here’s an amazing glaze to add some holiday zest to your table!

Your guests will be asking you for this recipe — so have it handy!

Pineapple Glaze

2 Cups Pineapple Juice
2 tsp. Maraschino Cherry Juice
2 tsp. Soy Sauce
2 Cloves

Reduce the pineapple juice by half, add the soy and maraschino cherry juice and reduce to a syrupy consistency. Glaze ham once before cooking, once during cooking and again when removed from the oven.

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About Me

Hi! My name is Dena P., and I love steak. In fact, I’ve been on a quest for the perfect steak for a few years now.

I love experimenting with food and I like to get my family, friends and neighbors involved. They add a lot to my cooking experience by helping me perfect techniques and sharing recipes.

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Steak Widget