Thanksgiving Recipes

Wed, Nov 24 • 0

Here’s a list of recipes and techniques from the archives.

What’s a “Heritage” Turkey? — information on whether you should bother with this expensive variety of turkey.

My Turkey Plans — This post has a recipe and instructions for brining a turkey.

Roasted Turkey : An Old-Fashioned Method — Larding a turkey has you putting sliced bacon or salt pork on the turkey to keep it moist.

Wild Rice Stuffing — With chestnuts and onions, this recipe works well with any poultry dish.

Broccoli Supreme — An easy side dish with broccoli and creamed corn that everyone loves. It’s easily doubled or tripled, and don’t count on leftovers.

Here’s a new recipe for cranberry relish. Take a bag of whole cranberries and pick out the soft ones. Put them in a wide saucepan along with a little water and bring it to a boil along with a cup of sugar and a pinch of salt. Reduce the heat and simmer, along with a diced apple, some finely chopped orange peel and the juice of the same orange. Optionally, you can toss in a handful of chopped walnuts or pecans and/or some chopped orange segments. You can also optionally spice it up with some cinnamon, ground star anise, or ground cloves.  Cook until the cranberries have all popped and the sauce thickens. Cool, then chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.


Christmas Cookies with Legs

Thu, Dec 11 • 0

42-17861611A week or two ago, I posted a link to Gourmet magazine’s website that listed 60+ years worth of cookie recipes, which is really, really great, unless your intent is to make stuff to send to far off relatives. Almost all the cookies on their list rely on you making and eating the cookies within a couple of days. I’m planning on sending stuff off to my relatives who live 500+ miles away, so I thought I’d do a little research and come up with recipes that I can make that’ll keep fresh for longer than a couple of days. Here’s some that I came up with.

Micheal Chiarello demonstrated an unusual fried cookie that’s later drenched in honey, called Turdilli. On the show I watched, he said that these cookies would keep a month, but the website says they’ll only keep a week.

Cranberry Biscotti
These will keep a month in a sealed container. Makes 48 cookies

1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1¼ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
2 eggs (or 2/3 c. fat free egg substitute)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup fresh cranberries, chopped
1/3 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350º f (175º c). Line a baking sheet with parchment. Sift the dry ingredients together (first 7 items) into a mixing bowl. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until moistened. Reduce the mixing speed, and add the cranberries and half of the almonds, and beat into a light dough, about 2 minutes. Lightly flour your work surface. Divide the dough in half, and roll each into a log. Transfer to your baking sheet, putting them at least 3 inches apart. Pat the logs until they’re 1½ inches wide. Stud each log with the remaining almond slices. Bake until slightly firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Let them cool on a baking rack for another 10.

While they’re cooling, reduce the oven temperature to 300° f (95° c). With a serrated knife, slice each log into ½ inch slices. Spread the slices back onto your baking sheet, and bake for another 30 minutes, until the cookies are dry. Cool 5 minutes, and remove to a rack to cool completely.


What’s a “Heritage” Turkey?

Sun, Nov 16 • 0

You’ve probably seen this phrase tossed about a lot lately, what with the holidays approaching. Your choices of what kind of turkey to put on the table seems to be widening, and the confusion mounts. Heritage turkeys are heirloom varieties, the ancestor breeds of the much more common but freak-of-nature, broad-breasted white turkey.

Heritage does not denote any specific breed of bird. In fact, you could conceivably buy the same breed of bird, marketed as “heritage” that are raised locally on pasture that you’d buy deep-frozen with the Butterball label on it. Standard breeds of turkey include Black, Bronze, Narragansett, White Holland, Slate, Bourbon Red, Beltsville Small White, and Royal Palm. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy includes all of the standard breeds plus a few others under the definition of “heritage,” including Chocolate, Lavendar/Lilac, Jersey, Buff, and Midget White. The vast majority of birds available for the American consumer are the Hybrid Broad-breasted White, which are bred to meet the commercial turkey industry’s desire for birds with accelerated growth rates and unnatural proportions of white and dark meat.

In 1997, a census by the National Turkey Federation found that 301,000,000 turkeys were produced commercially but only 1,335 turkeys were heritage birds. Today, that number hovers around 10,000.

According to the Heritage Turkey Foundation, all turkeys that are sold as heritage birds must have bodies that allow them to mate naturally, are hardy enough to live their whole lives outdoors, and are allowed to grow at a natural rate. Strictly speaking, the birds marked as heritage are not necessarily free-range nor are they raised organically, but considering the small number of birds that can be classified as such, chances are good that these birds were raised in a healthier and more humane environment than your typical industrial turkey farm.

Be aware that because there are so few birds available on the market, it may already be too late to get one for your holiday table in 2008, and you need to get your orders in by early November. But the good news is, the more people who seek out and are willing to pay a little extra for these special birds, the more will come to market in the coming seasons.


Sixty Years of Christmas Cookies

Sat, Nov 15 • 0
image courtesy, Gourmet Magazine
(image courtesy Gourmet Magazine)

Gourmet Magazine offers up a great site detailing 60 years worth of recipes for cookies. The recipes are presented just as they appeared on the pages of the magazine, so the recipes for the cookies from the 40’s don’t presume you’ll be using modern conveniences like a food processor, so you may want to tinker a bit with them, unless you’re aiming for ultimate authenticity.

If you’re on my holiday list, you can look forward to getting to taste some of these this December.

Note: 1/18/2010, With the demise of Gourmet Magazine, or just the passage of time, it appears this link is now dead. Sorry about that.


Oof!, Part 2

Mon, Dec 31 • 0

So, as a follow up to this post, the short ribs were quite the success. I can tell you now that I was making an elaborate and unusual beef stew that Alton Brown described in a recent episode. The hardest part was reheating everything up at the family house in Connecticut. I was prepared to bring some of my tools, but I wasn’t going to bring up anything I wasn’t 100% ok about leaving behind if I forgot it, or for whatever reason. So that meant leaving my enameled french cast iron at home. I did bring the one cast iron dutch oven I had because I hardly ever use it here. And I ended up using a cast iron dutch oven that normally sits next to the fireplace, and was completely covered with dust. After washing it inside and out, the inside still had a whiff of the oil that was applied to its inside who knows how long ago. I couldn’t get rid of the slightly rancid odor, and unfortunately, half the stew ended up taking on a little of that flavor. All’s well that ends well, because everyone seemed to like the stew anyway. And, for dessert, I served the Ina Garten’s rice pudding.

As for the competition, it ended up not really coming off, since my oldest brother didn’t get a chance to prepare his meal, since we all raced home a day early due to a threat of snow. Still, everyone had a great time, and everyone enjoyed the meal I made.


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