Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving turkey and gravy

Thanksgiving turkey turned out great this year. Moist and tender again. Here's my recipe for roasting a 10-12lbs dry-brined turkey. Please refer to previous post on how to dry-brine a turkey. Gravy recipe follows as well.

Seasoning ingredients:
1 stick of  unsalted butter
4 pieces of fresh basil leaves
2 tbsps of chicken or poultry seasoning

Aromatic ingredients:
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves, fresh or dry
2 stalks of fresh sage
1 lemon, cut into quarters
1/2 navel orange, cut into quarters

Bottom of the pan ingredients:
2 medium sized carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium sized white onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 stalks of celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups of low salt chicken stock

Cooking oil spray
1 roasting pan with rack

1. Remove dry-brined turkey from fridge. Melt 1/2 stick of butter over 20 seconds in the microwave and let cool. Brush melted butter before rubbing seasoning all over turkey and inside turkey's cavity as well.

2. Stuff turkey's cavity with the aromatics. Cut up the remaining 1/2 stick butter into 1/4 inch squares. Pull back turkey's skin on breasts and thighs. Stuff butter pieces and basil leaves into each side of breasts and each thigh. Cover turkey loosely with aluminum foil and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

3. After 1 hour, preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit. Spray roasting rack with cooking oil spray to prevent turkey from sticking to the rack. Remove aluminum cover and place turkey on the rack. Add  bottom of the pan ingredients to the pan. Roast turkey for 20 to 25 minutes before turning the oven temperature down to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Roast for another hour and baste the turkey with drippings from the bottom of the pan. At this point, cover turkey breasts and wings loosely with aluminum foil if turkey is browning too quickly. Foil is to be removed during the last 15 minutes of roasting time as to crisp up the skin.

4. Roast turkey for another 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a meat thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the the thigh reads 165 to 170 degrees fahrenheit. Juices running out of turkey should be clear as well. Remove turkey from oven and tent loosely with aluminum foil for 30 minutes before carving. Separate drippings from its oil (reserve only 4 tbsps of oil for gravy) and spoon some drippings over turkey meat before serving. In the meantime, whisk up the gravy.

Gravy recipe requires:-
4 tbsps of all-purpose flour
4 tbsps of turkey oil
1/4 cup turkey drippings
2 cups of chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat up oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour to make a roux. Once it turns golden brown, add  in broth and turkey drippings.
2. Whisk mixture until no lumps are visible. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
3. Pour gravy through a strainer into a gravy boat or serving bowl before serving. Enjoy.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Prepping for Thanksgiving

It's that time of the year. It's not thanksgiving without turkey according to my kids. This year is no exception especially since my brother and his wife will be joining us for the first time.

I've started a dry brine for the turkey on Sunday morning. It's a recipe adapted from LA Times a few years back. I prefer dry brining because it's easy and the turkey tastes juicier and more tender. All you need is 1 tbsp of kosher salt per 5 pounds of turkey rubbed inside the cavity and all over the turkey. Seal turkey in a resealable plastic bag and chill in the fridge for 3 days. The turkey needs to be turned over once a day as well as massaged. The night before thanksgiving, pat the skin dry with paper towel and leave turkey breast side up uncovered in the fridge for at least 8 hours. Remove turkey from fridge and leave it at room temperature for1 hour before roasting.

First time making cranberry sauce and it turns out pretty good. Jellied cranberry sauce with fuji apple recipe was adapted from FoodandWine.com. Recipe calls for one bag (12oz) of fresh cranberry, 1 fuji apple (diced), 1 cup sugar and 3/4 cup water to be heated over medium heat in a medium sized sauce pan. Heat and stir occasionally for about 15 minutes until cranberry mixture thickens.  Chill in fridge for at least 3 hours.

Next up is baking the desserts. This year, it's creme brulee and maybe pumpkin cheesecake too if I've the time. Then, it's on to prepping the side dishes which include a soup, a salad, an appetizer, sauteed brussel sprouts, seafood paella or pasta in place of stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, baked scallops, etc..... Whew, looks like I've a lot of work cut out for me, myself and I. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Easy Creme Brulee

Bought this Bonjour brand creme brulee torch online thinking I could use it to heat mold shoe inserts for my customers. Wrong. It's actually quite difficult to hold down the ignitor button to get a continous flame. Saw a creme brulee recipe inside the box and decided to take it home to try it out. First time making creme brulee and it turned out to be so out of this world. My hubby who usually does not like sweet stuff even asked for seconds. The following recipe makes about 5 ramekins of creme brulee.

1 pt or 473 ml of heavy whipping cream
4 extra large or 5 large sized egg yolks
3 tbsp of sugar + 1/3 cup of sugar (increase sugar amt if you like sweeter palate)
1 tsp of vanilla essence
5 ramekins
1-2 cups of boiling water for a water bath

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Pour heavy cream and 3 tbsp of sugar into a saucepan. Heat saucepan over medium heat. Keep stirring cream mixture until small bubbles emerge on the edges of pan, about 6-7 minutes. Turn off heat.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and vanilla essence until smooth. Drizzle cream mixture into egg yolks, little by little, beating continuosly until well blended.  Strain  mixture through a fine sieve into another bowl. Divide mixture among the ramekins.
4. Arrange ramekins in a baking pan and place in the preheated oven. Fill pan with boiling water to 1 inch up the sides of ramekins. Cover ramekins loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for 25-30 minutes until custard is set. Chill in fridge for at least an hour or overnight.
5. Now, the fun part. Sprinke remaining sugar evenly over top of cooled custards. Using the creme brulee torch, move the flame in a circular motion over the sugar until it is bubbly and turned golden brown. Lastly, grab a spoon and take your time to enjoy a piece of heaven.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Letter to big sister

My daughter is at science camp this whole week. First time leaving home to stay somewhere else by herself. Her brother, who's her tag along, partner in crime, her other hand, her "twin" born 11 months apart, and inseparable homebody, keeps saying it's weird without sister around. So, he decided to write a letter to his big sister since that's the only way we are allowed to contact her. Here's the charming letter :-

Ah, siblings' love put in so many words. I feel blessed to see the bond and love that they have for each other.