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November 24, 2015

Red Wine Beef Stew

This stew is definitely comfort food. It is richly flavored with wine, beef broth, onions and carrots. Several other cuts of meat will work but for this recipe I selected a chuck roast. I have used left over sirloin steak before and it was perfect.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

2 pounds chuck roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups burgundy style red wine, such as Pinot Noir or Syrah
4 cups beef broth
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs thyme
10 medium carrots (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds potatoes cut into 2 inch pieces
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or wide-bottomed oven safe pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Cook the meat, in batches, until well browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes, transferring the pieces to a plate as they are browned. Add onions and cook until translucent.

Add the wine, broth and bay leaves. Return the meat, onions and any juices back to the pot (the meat should be barely submerged in liquid), cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hour.

Add the potatoes and the carrots to the pot, cover, and return to the oven. Cook until the meat and vegetables are fork-tender, about 1 hour more.

Remove stew from oven. With a large dipping spoon remove pan juices and place in a medium sauce pan and heat on medium heat. Melt butter in a skillet and stir in flour. Cook on medium high heat for 15 minutes, stirring. Slowly add ¼ cup of the pan juices to the flour stirring to avoid clumping, add another ¼ cup. Pour this mixture into the pan juices and cook until thickened. Adjust flavors with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce back over beef and vegetables. Add thyme sprigs. Continue to cook 30 minutes up to an hour. Broth should be rich and thick.

Serve with crusty bread.

Cooking Wiser
If after the sauce has been cooked for several minutes and it has clumps in it, pour it through a sieve to remove the clumps.

This recipe can also be cooked in a slow cooker. Brown the meat and onions in a skillet and place into the slow cooker with the broth, wine and bay leaf. Add the potatoes and carrots after the first hour of cooking.

Posted by terri at 03:24 AM | Comments (0)

Carne Asada

Carne Asada is traditionally made from skirt steak, a thin, long cut of beef from the diaphragm muscles of the cow. It is prized for flavor but it is not a tender cut of meat. So to compensate, the meat is marinated to tenderize it and sliced into very small pieces.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

For the marinade:
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 cup olive oil
juice from 2 limes
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

1 1/2 pounds skirt steak
12 tortillas
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup cheese

Instructions:

Combine marinade ingredients. Place steak in a non reactive dish. Pour the marinade over skirt steak.

Turn each piece of steak to coat it evenly. Cover the dish and refrigerate the meat for one to four hours.

Set up a grill for high, direct heat on one side and low, indirect heat on the other. Remove any large pieces of garlic or jalapeño from the steak, and place steak on the hot part of the grill.

Sear the steak on both sides, and move it to the cool side of the grill. Cook it until it reaches 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit for rare steak, or 150 degrees Fahrenheit for medium steak. Tent the steak with foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing into very small bite size pieces.

Heat tortillas with cheese on grill. Place meat on tortillas and fold over. Serve sour cream and salsa.



Posted by terri at 02:41 AM | Comments (0)

November 23, 2015

2016 November Wine Dinner

How do you know if a wine is worth the money? Do you trust the tasting notes or someone else's opinion? Or do you just buy a wine and hope for the best?

This month we decided to put 6 wines to the test. We selected three varietals, one under $15.00 and one that was considerably more.

What we found out surprised us.

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Before we began the blind tasting we enjoyed brie with garlic rubbed bruschetta and a sparkling wine, a Chandon Blanc de Noir from CA. It was perfect with the brie with lively acidity and strawberry and cherry flavors.


The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc from Oyster Bay, Marlborough New Zealand had pineapple and citrus on the nose with flavors of guava and lemon and slight minerality, finishing with crisp acidity. This wine averages about $14.00 a bottle.

The 2014 Jean Reverdy Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre France was crisp with herbal notes and citrus flavors. It averages about $26.00 a bottle.

Everyone guessed the $14.00 wine was the more expensive wine. When we were told that we had one Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and one from Sancerre we immediately thought we knew the answer. But we were all wrong. It was very interesting to compare these two wines and find such surprising results. We decided it might have been due to the fact that the New Zealand wine was aged sur lei to enhance the structure and mouthfeel of the wine, giving it extra body.

The Sancerre wine did however go best with the food pairing, Mac and Cheese with Goat Cheese and Pesto. It was in fact delicious.


The next wines we compared were Cabernet Sauvignons.
The 2013 wine from Josh Cellars winery had aromas of dark fruits and vanilla with flavors of dark cherries and plums with firm tannins. This wine sales for about $14.00 a bottle.

Josh stood up well to Adaptation, a Cabernet from Napa Valley CA, roughly a $54.00 bottle of wine. Adaptation is made by PlumpJack winery. The texture is silky with flavors of blackberry and black currants with a long finish.

We knew which wine was more expensive but most everyone agreed that for the money, Josh was the better buy.

Josh was the favorite for the Carne Asada which were truly authentic with hand made tortillas from California.

The Adaptation was a good pairing with the Red Wine Beef Stew


Next we compared Penfold's Hyland Shiraz, less than $15.00 a bottle and Herman Story Nuts and Bolts, about $50.00 a bottle.

The 2012 Penfold's Hyland Shiraz from South Australia was very rich with blackberry fruit aromas and flavors with some oak, a very nice wine.

The 2013 Herman Story from Santa Barbara County in California was obviously the more expensive wine, more balanced with fruit flavors, oak and tannins. But the food pairing was better with the Penfold's Hyland Shiraz, a tart with minced lamb, red onions and mango.


The two dessert wines were Robertson Winery from South Africa, a 2003 Almand Grave Riesling, Noble Late Harvest. This wine was a full-bodied wine with flavors of dried apricots, almonds and honey and balanced acidity and a smooth finish.

We also tasted a late harvest 2002 Riesling from Australia, Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut had a more golden color with intense floral, spice and lemon aromas. The flavors of pear and citrus fruit and terrific acidity paired deliciously with the pear and apple crisp.

Posted by terri at 03:21 AM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2015

Artichoke Heart and Tomato Salad with Lemon Dill Vinaigrette

Artichokes are grown primarily in California. They are the bud of a large plant from the thistle family. They are delicious eaten fresh but are also available canned. This recipe uses canned artichokes but you can use fresh if you want to cook them.

Ingredients:

3 cups mixed lettuce
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 cup artichoke hearts
1/2 cup sliced mushroom
salt and pepper, to taste
Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup dill flavored vinegar
1 cup virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
salt and pepper, to taste
1 medium lemon, zest and juiced
1 medium dill weed sprigs, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dill seed

Instructions:

Slice mushrooms. Slice tomatoes or leave them whole if they are smaller. Toss salad greens with tomatoes, artichoke hearts and mushrooms.

Make vinaigrette by whisking together oil and vinegar. Add remaining ingredients. Pour over salad right before serving.


Cooking Wiser

If you are unable to find dill flavored vinegar, you can make it at home by heating 3 cups of white wine vinegar with 3 peppercorns, l/2 teaspoon dill seeds and a few fresh dill sprigs for 15 minutes on medium high heat. Strain and cool. Add 1 fresh dill sprig to bottle and pour in the vinegar to store.

To eat fresh cooked artichoke, break off the leaves one by one and draw the base of the leaf through your teeth to remove the soft portion, discarding the remainder of the leaf. Discard the inedible prickly center choke. The bottom of the artichoke can also be eaten.

Posted by terri at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

November 20, 2015

Chocolate Truffles

I can't share my secret recipe just yet because I am selling these yummy little chocolate truffles for holiday gifts. If you are looking for a little gift for someone and you don't want to spend a fortune order truffles.

Why is this a special gift? Because each one is hand made especially for you. You can order any flavor or amount that you prefer.

They come in several flavors:

  • Basic Chocolate
  • Amaretto Chocolate
  • Rum Chocolate
  • White Chocolate

    Finished in cocoa, nuts or powdered sugar

    Cost:
    3 for $4,00
    6 for $6.00
    12 for $10.50

    Posted by terri at 02:52 PM | Comments (0)

    Apricot Custards

    A healthy, delicious dessert to serve for any occasion but especially great during the Holidays. These custards will help keep down the high calorie frenzy that is so common between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    Serves 4

    Ingredients:

    2 (8-ounce)cans unpeeled apricot halves, water packed and drained
    2 beaten eggs
    1 cup skim or 2% milk
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla
    1/4 teaspoon rum or rum flavoring
    cinnamon and ground nutmeg for garnishing

    Instructions:

    Chop apricot halves from one can. Reserve the other can of apricots to garnish. Can slice these if desired.

    Place chopped apricots on a paper towel to drain thoroughly.

    Place four 6-ounce custard cups or ramekins in a shallow baking pan.
    Divide chopped apricot halves between custard cups.

    In a small mixing bowl combine eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and rum. Pour the egg mixture over the fruit. Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon.

    Place the baking pan in the middle rack of oven. Pour boiling water around the cups to a depth of 1 inch.

    Bake for 30 minutes or till a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

    Remove the custards from the water. Serve warm. Garnish with remaining sliced apricots.

    Cooking Wiser:
    If you use the skim milk and rum flavoring each serving has only 120 calories.

    Posted by terri at 03:21 AM | Comments (0)

    Pumpken Custards

    Try these little delicious Pumpkin Custards for a light pumpkin pie in a dish. The best part is that there are only 103 calories per serving.

    Serves 4

    Ingredients:

    2 egg whites
    1 cup canned pumpkin
    3/4 cup evaporated skim milk
    3 tablespoons sugar
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
    dash salt
    Whipped dessert topping

    Instructions:

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

    In a medium mixing bowl beat egg whites till foamy. Stir in canned pumpkin, evaporated skim milk, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and salt.

    Place four 6-ounce custard cups or ramekins in a shallow baking pan. Pour pumpkin mixture into cups.

    Place the baking pan on middle rack in oven. Pour boiling water around custard cups to a depth of one inch.

    Bake for 35 -40 minutes or till a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove the cups from the pan.

    Serve warm or chilled. Can garnish with a dollop of light whipped dessert topping. Makes 4 servings.

    Posted by terri at 03:05 AM | Comments (0)

    November 11, 2015

    Latin American Cooking Class

    This class featured three recipes, one from Brazil, one from Cuba and one from Grenada (the spice Islands).

    The students were focused and on task. They delivered amazing dishes that we all enjoyed.

    Recipes were selected that could be completed during a two hour class. Each one represented a dish that would be popular in just about any Latin American country.

    Brazil, the largest country in South American, is made up of many different cultures. Each region has a different food specialty. The Portuguese arrived in Brazil in 1500 and brought their tastes and styles of cooking with them. Other nationalities that settled in Brazil were Japanese, Arabs, and Germans. More than one million Italians had migrated to Brazil by 1880. Each immigrant group brought along its own style of cooking. But long before the Europeans arrived, the Tupí-Guaraní and other Indian groups lived in Brazil.

    I selected Brazilian Black Bean and Chorizo Stew because even with the diversity of food, one staple is consistent throughout, black beans.

    Preparing this dish was fun with all the unique ingredients.

    The Cuban dish caused a little confusion. Looking back on it I should have explained why we used ground beef instead of the traditional shredded beef roast. It was a timing issue. We didn't have time to cook a roast. Ground beef cooks very quickly making this recipe doable in 2 hours.

    The literal translation of this recipe, Cuban Ropa Vieja actually means shredded clothes.

    Some of the students said it reminded them of Sloppy Joes, only better.

    The students picked up a few new skills and they produced some delicious dishes.


    The third recipe featured the spics from Grenada, also know as the spice island. This is an amazing country, one that I love for its diversity and vast supply of resources. Every spice imaginable is grown right on the island. The nutmeg trees are beautiful and the cinnamon trees produce mild but flavorful cinnamon.
    The recipe Grenadian Spice Cake has 5 different spices.

    This was another successful cooking class. Thanks to all the students and the student helpers.


    Posted by terri at 03:02 AM | Comments (0)

    Grenadian Spice Cake

    This cake is not a sweet cake. It features the spices and uses sautéed sweetened fruit as a topping to add the sweetness most people expect when they are eating a dessert.

    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Total Time: 40 minutes
    Yield: one 9-inch Cake Round

    Ingredients:

    2 ½ cups cake flour
    2 teaspoons ginger, ground
    1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
    ½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
    ½ teaspoon allspice, ground
    ½ teaspoon cloves, ground
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1 cup dark brown sugar
    3 large eggs, room temperature
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    1 cup milk

    Instructions

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
    In bowl, combine flour, all spices, baking powder, and salt with a wire whisk.
    Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
    Add vanilla and mix until completely combines. Slowly add flour alternately with milk. At end of addition batter should be smooth. Divide between 2 pans.
    Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then invert onto a rack to cool.
    For a 9 x 13 pan - Baked at 350 degrees F. for 30 to 38 minutes.

    Serve with fruit


    Posted by terri at 02:54 AM | Comments (0)

    Cuban Ropa Vieja

    For this Latin America Cooking class I wanted to feature a typical Cuban dish. Ropa Vieja is traditionally made with shredded beef. We used ground beef in class to save a little time.

    Ropa vieja, or "old clothes," describes the shreds of meat, peppers, and onions resembling a mess of colorful rags. The name got lost with the ground beef :o))

    Serves 4
    Prep time: 15 minutes
    Total time: 4 hours: 15 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1 teaspoon cooking oil
    1 pound lean ground beef
    1 small onion, sliced
    1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
    2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
    1 teaspoon cumin, ground
    1 cup beef broth
    1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
    3 tablespoons tomato paste
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
    1 teaspoon Fresh oregano, finely chopped
    1 teaspoon Fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish

    4 small tortillas

    Instructions:

    Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the ground beef. When brown, add the onion, bell pepper and garlic. Sauté until onion is translucent. Add the cumin and continue to heat until fragrant.

    Pour in the beef broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, olive oil and vinegar. Stir until well blended. Simmer for 30 minutes. Reduce heat, add oregano.

    Serve with tortillas. Garnish with cilantro

    To cook in slow cooker- cook on high for 1 hour, or on Low for up to 4 hours.

    Posted by terri at 02:23 AM | Comments (0)

    Brazilian Black Bean and Chorizo Stew

    Chorizo is a highly seasoned pork sausage flavored with garlic, chili powder and other spices. Mexican chorizo is made with fresh pork and the Spanish version uses smoked pork. Both sausages were available for the class, creating amazing flavor.

    This is one of the tastiest stews I've ever had. I recently featured this recipe in a Foods of Latin America cooking class. The sweet provided by the sweet potatoes and the heat from the sausage makes a great combination of flavors. The stew is served with a mango salsa that adds just the right balance of sweet and sour.


    Serves 4

    Prep time: 20 minutes
    Total Time: 50 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1 tablespoon cooking oil
    ¼ pound chorizo sausage, chopped
    ¼ pound cooked ham, chopped
    1 small onion, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
    1 small red bell pepper, diced
    1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
    1 small hot green chile pepper, diced
    2 cups chicken broth
    1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
    1 mango peeled, seeded and diced
    ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    1 lime, juice and zest
    1 small hot green chile pepper, finely diced
    Kosher salt to taste

    Instructions:

    Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and cook the chorizo and ham 2 to 3 minutes.

    Place the onion in the pot, and cook until tender. Stir in garlic, and cook until tender.

    Add in the sweet potatoes, bell pepper, tomatoes with juice, chile pepper, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes, until sweet potatoes are tender.

    Stir the beans into the pot, and cook uncovered until heated through. Allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes up to 2 hours. This can also be simmered in a slow cooker on low for 4-6 hours.

    Combine the mango, cilantro, chile pepper and lime, season with salt. Serve with the stew.

    Posted by terri at 01:07 AM | Comments (0)

    November 08, 2015

    Smoothered Pepper Steak

    This recipe uses frozen bell peppers to save time but when in season fresh peppers should be used. It takes a little longer to prepare but worth the effort. Use green, yellow and red bell peppers and add a small sliced onion too.

    Serves 4
    Prep time: 4 minutes
    Total time: 30 minutes

    Ingredients:

    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    4 (4 ounce) beef filets
    ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
    ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    Cooking spray
    1 (16 ounce) package frozen bell pepper stir fry
    1 (14.5 ounce) can diced Italian style tomatoes, undrained
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

    Instructions:

    Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge filets in flour; sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.

    Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Coat filets with cooking spray. Add filets to pan and cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.

    Add stir fry mix, tomatoes,and Worcestershire sauce to meat in pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until meat is done and the pepper mixture is slightly thick.

    Posted by terri at 02:32 AM | Comments (0)

    Pumpkin Spice Pork Chops with Butternut Squash

    I was skeptical about pumpkin and pork chops but believe me this recipe is a keeper.

    Serves 4

    Prep Time: 4 minutes

    Total Time: 25 minutes

    Ingredients:

    Cooking spray
    4- (4 ounce) boneless center cut loin pork chops (about ¾ inch thick)
    1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
    1 butternut squash
    1 medium onion
    ¼ cup chicken broth
    1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped

    Instructions:

    Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray.

    Sprinkle pork evenly with spice, pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Add pork to pan, sauté 3-4 minutes on each side or until done.

    Remove pork from pan, keep warm.

    Meanwhile as pork cooks, pierce squash several times with a fork. Place on paper towels in microwave oven. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Peel squash, cut in half lengthwise. Discard seeds and membrane. Coarsely chop squash.

    Coat pan with cooking spray. Add squash, cover and cook 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onion, cook uncovered 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add ¼ cup chicken broth. Cook until liquid evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

    Remove from heat, stir in salt and mint. Spoon squash mixture evenly over pork and serve.

    Posted by terri at 02:07 AM | Comments (0)

    November 07, 2015

    Spinach Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

    This is a very simple, quick salad that can be made at the spur of the moment as a side for any lunch or dinner ocassion.
    Spinach was brought to the US from Spain. It is a rich source of iron, vitamins A and C. However, spinach contains oxalic acid with inhibits much of the body's absorption of the iron. Calcium helps with the absorption so drink lots of milk.

    serves 4

    Ingredients:

    3 cups fresh baby spinach
    1 (10 ounce) can mandarin oranges
    ½ cups sliced almonds, toasted
    ¼ cup dried cranberries
    1 naval orange, juice and zest
    2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
    3 tablespoons EV olive oil
    Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

    Instructions:

    Divide spinach equally among four plates. Top with oranges, almonds and cranberries. In a small bowl, combine juice from orange, zest, vinegar, EV olive oil, and salt and pepper. Whisk to blend. Drizzle over salad.

    Posted by terri at 03:54 AM | Comments (0)

    November 06, 2015

    Parsley Shrimp Skewers

    Serve shrimp for dinner tonight. It is a delicious, smart, and quick way to get a good meal on the table after a hard day at the office.
    Serve over fresh spinach with an orange vinaigrette.
    See my suggestions for making this your own.

    Serve with a lightly oaked Chardonnay

    Ingredients

    1 pound 24 count shrimp, peeled, deveined
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
    salt and pepper to taste
    4 skewers

    Instructions

    Combine oil and 1/2 of the garlic add shrimp and marinate refrigerated for 20 minutes up to one hour.

    Prepare a medium hot fire. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add lemon juice, remaining garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Heat gently on low heat until flavors have infused.

    Lightly salt shrimp and thread onto skewers. Place on prepared grill. Baste with 1/3 of the butter mixture, turn after 2 to 3 minutes. Remove shrimp when pink and allow to rest a few minutes.

    Reheat remaining butter mixture and serve on the side.

    Cooking Wiser:

    Serve with angel hair pasta cooked al dente.

    Serve over fresh spinach. Make an orange vinaigrette for salad.

    Omit butter and use 4 tablespoons vegetable oil to cut calories and cholesterol.

    Use any other herb, it can be cilantro, basil or even dill. Add half herb of choice and half parsley.

    Posted by terri at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

    November 05, 2015

    Western Dry Rub Pork Tortilla Wraps

    A great way to use up the roasted pork shoulder.


    Serves 6

    Ingredients:

    2 cups cooked shredded pork, heated
    6 tortillas, warm
    You pick the toppings:
    Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
    Shredded Cheddar Cheese
    Sliced jalapeno peppers
    Diced tomatoes
    Salsa Verde
    Sour cream
    Pico de Gallo
    Shredded lettuce
    Chopped cilantro
    Hot sauce

    Instructions:

    Place pork and ingredients of choice on tortillas and roll up. Top with your choice of toppings. I use Pico de Gallo, sour cream, cheese and cilantro.

    Cooking Wiser

    Use left over pork from previous night's dinner
    You choose what you like and add it to the wrap
    Wrap tortillas in foil and warm in 350 degree oven about 10 minutes
    Melt cheese in tortillas by placing cheese in tortillas prior to warming

    Posted by terri at 03:57 AM | Comments (0)

    November 01, 2015

    The Thanksgiving Turkey

    Every one hopes to put a great tasting turkey that's moist and tender on their Thanksgiving table. But sometimes it can be dry, pale and bland. Go ahead, smother it with gravy and surround it with great sides and dressing and maybe no one will notice.

    OR

    Follow these few tips for a delicious turkey.

    According to Cook's Illustrated, don't be fooled by a fresh turkey. It isn't always better unless you are buying from a local farm. The temperature can fluctuate during transport and often ice crystals will form on the surface. This can damage the meat, allowing juices to escape during cooking resulting in a dry and tough bird.

    A bigger turkey isn't always better. The bigger the bird, the harder it is to cook it evenly resulting in dry legs and thighs. There's nothing worse that dry legs and thighs.

    A good size is under 14 pounds and a 14 pound turkey should feed between 14-18 people with left overs. That's about 3/4-1 pound per person, allowing for cooking and bone weight.

    The safest way to thaw the big fellow is in the refrigerator. It will take about one day for every 4 pounds.

    To enhance the flavor try brining the turkey. I usually brine the turkey in the roasting pan (with a lid) that I use to cook it in.

    If the plan is to roast the bird, Cook's Illustrated recommends the following six rules. Sometimes rules are made to be broken.

  • Don't stuff. Are you kidding me- why bother cooking a turkey if you don't stuff it. My grandmother stuffed her bird, my mom stuffed her bird and I've been stuffing my bird for years. The stuffing is the best part of the turkey. And that is nonsense about drying the meat out before the stuffing reaches a safe temperature. Just don't pack the stuffing in too heavy and cook the turkey covered.

    But I have read several articles and they all say the same thing. The stuffing could be a source of bacteria if not cooked properly. So check the temperature. It should be 165 degrees. If you fear the stuffing, place it around the turkey in the pan. It will absorb the juices and still taste delish. Add quartered onions, carrots, fresh herbs and garlic to the cavity to increase the flavor of the bird.

  • Roast on a rack. I never roast on a rack. I want the turkey to cook on the bottom in the juices that it creates. The top of the turkey isn't in the juices therefore it browns perfectly.

  • Flip during cooking. I've never tried it and don't plan to. I cover the turkey with a tight fitting lid. It keeps in the moisture and steam and helps to create a very tender and juicy turkey.

  • Don't baste. I agree. It doesn't help keep the turkey moist because it runs off the top and actually prevents that nice brown, crisp skin.

  • Don't rely on pop up thermometers. Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature. The breast should register 160 degrees and the thigh should register 175 degrees.

  • Let the turkey rest about 30 minutes before carving. I totally agree! It allows the meat to reabsorb the juices.

    I'll add a few more tips.

    a traditional turkey

    herb roasted turkey

    Remove the stuffing from the turkey when you slice it. Check the temperature and put it in a separate dish.

    Try these great recipes for turkey dishes the next day.

    Curried Turkey Salad

    Creative Turkey Sandwiches

    Turkey Sandwich with Goat Cheese

    Boil the bones with herbs, garlic, and salt to make stock for soup.

    Posted by terri at 04:49 AM | Comments (0)

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