Posts in which I cook

Turkey Day Turkey

 

I don’t know about you, but roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving is super intimidating. I can roast chickens all day, but something about the turkey that makes my cooking confidence zero. No matter how much I read on how to do it. It just makes me nervous. My older brother is always in charge of roasting/deep frying the turkey, even if it’s my year to host.

Well this year, we are headed to my husband’s family’s home for Thanksgiving. He so boldly volunteered to cook the turkey. To my disbelief. To prepare for it, I made a trial turkey to brine. For some reason, they didn’t put out whole turkeys yet, so I had to work with a turkey breast with wings…no dark meat. Weird right?

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I usually would measure out salt, herbs, etc for the brine. But we found this jar of stuff, and decided to try it out. It’s also got dried fruit in it. I approve.

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If you don’t already have one, and you cook a turkey every year, I suggest you get one. It’s just a big multipurpose bucket from home depot. With a lid. This is where I’m brining the turkey overnight.

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Instead of a whole gallon of water, I dissolved the salt mixture in half a gallon of water, and then half a gallon of apple cider.

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Dunk your turkey in there, I like to put the hole at the top so it can fill up and sink to the bottom. Cover and set outside (if it’s cold enough) and let it brine overnight.

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The next day I opened up and saw that the turkey was completely submerged. YAY!

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After I took out the turkey, I stuffed it with these goodies to make it fragrant.

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Then I rubbed it down with butter, lemon zest and herbs.

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My over is a little uneven. But pretty successful for the first try. The meat was cooked all the way through and it was surprisingly moist! It took me a few hours to cook it. I preheated the oven to 450F, then when the turkey went in I turned it down to 350, then basted every 30 minutes or so. If it gets brown too quickly, you can loosely cover with foil.

Do you have any turkey tips?

Mama Miemo’s Guacamole

For those of you who have savored my guacamole, here’s my secret. THERE IS NO SECRET :) All basic ingredients made with love. That’s why you think its good. When you cook with heart, you can taste it.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Avocados
  • 1 small tomato diced
  • 1/2 a squeezed Lime (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro chopped
  • 1/4 Onion, diced
  • 1 Jalapeno minced
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • Cayenne, if it’s not hot enough

Peel and chop the avocados, mix all the ingredients and season to taste. Enjoy!

Crab Bisque

Another soup to keep you warm? Crab bisque. This is a pretty quick easy way to do it. Again there are no measurements. Because I am using condensed Campbells soup, the more milk the better or it will be way too salty!!!

Stir in the lump crabmeat and heat on medium until steaming, do not let it boil.

Add curry powder and black pepper to taste. Easy right? You gotta keep tasting and alternating milk and curry until you get it the way you like. If it tastes bad, that is your fault not mine! Once you get it steaming and the taste you like, enjoy! I like it with a little bit of toasted, buttered, garlicky bread.

Crab Bisque

Ingredients:
1 can (10.5oz) of Condensed tomato soup
1 can (10.5oz) of Cream of mushroom
Lump cooked crabmeat
Whole milk
Salt
Pepper
Curry Powder

Directions:
In a pot whisk together the tomato soup and cream of mushroom. Add one can of milk to start. Whisk until well mixed. Add crabmeat, make sure not to add to much. You want it to be a good amount of crab per bite, not too much, not too little. Stir till well mixed, turn on the heat to medium. Bring it to steaming, NEVER LET IT BOIL. Stir frequently so it doesn’t burn on the bottom. Once hot, taste it. And add black pepper, salt, and curry to taste. If its still too salty, add milk to make it creamy.

What’s For Dinner: “Fancy” Jar Spaghetti

9Wk5WSJBpk3dmMSC.jpgI’m excited that it’s September. Temperatures should start cooling, and yes, it’s time for comfort food. Next up for this round of “What’s for Dinner” is what I like to call Fancy spaghetti. Why is it fancy? Because it’s a dressed up version of your jar spaghetti sauce. No time to get fresh tomatoes and make your own sauce from scratch. But with all these additions it will give you that fresh taste you need to please your family.

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I brown hot Italian sausage as my base. Lots of flavor in there!

5EelFM9ibg4NKy00.jpgThen I add the extras. Green bell peppers.

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Sauteed onions and mushrooms.

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I then add my favorite jar of spaghetti sauce. Ragu in traditional.Let them simmer together. If your family likes meatballs you can throw those in too. Sometimes, if I don’t feel like meatballs, I’ll brown ground beef, and throw in slices of Italian sausage instead.

How about that for a quick way to fancy up a jar of spaghetti sauce?

Fancy Jar Spaghetti

Ingredients
2TB Olive Oil
1/2 a sweet onion, diced
1 Small package of white mushrooms, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb Italian Sausage (I use hot, you can pick what you like)
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
45 oz jar of Ragu Traditional (or your favorite jar sauce)
1 pkg of spaghetti noodles, cooked per instructions on box

Directions:
In a large saute pan, toss olive oil, garlic and mushrooms until tender and onions until clear. Set aside. In a large sauce pot, brown Italian sausage. Add in the green bell peppers, onions and mushrooms. Stir until well mixed. Season if you’d like. Top with spaghetti sauce. Simmer for at least 30 minutes. Serve over noodles with garlic bread.

Chef Shadow

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Not too long ago, I was given the opportunity to work with Chef Seng on a private event. It was a meal for 20 people. It was an engagement party, and the bride used to teach English in Laos, and LOVES Chef Seng and her restaurant.

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It was a really great learning experience for me. Watching how a chef runs her kitchen with a staff, versus me cooking alone. I definitely learned a lot, and enjoyed myself, but it does reaffirm my idea of me NOT wanting to own my own restaurant. I would like to do private chef cooking, or catering, but there is a lot that goes into owning a restaurant that I don’t see myself doing anytime soon.

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You put a lot of yourself on the line, and on a time restraint. We are lucky that the Chef loves it so much, because she blesses our bellies with her culinary creations. I’ll stick to catering parties, making dinners, and cooking for my cookbook and blog!

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