Roast Turkey & Gravy

The great beast, the top of the food chain, and yes, the centerpiece of Thanksgiving: the turkey (what?). There’s a plethora of ways to prep the holiday bird out there, each with their own ups and downs that strike fear in the hearts of millions every year: you could smoke it, deep fry it, roast it, overcook it, and so on and so forth. As the host for Thanksgiving this year, I picked up a medium sized bird (~18 lbs) and opted to brine and roast it.

Roast turkey, out of the oven and resting

If you’ve never brined a turkey before or have never heard the term, the idea behind it is simple: before you sit the turkey in the oven for several hours of heat, you want some assurance that the end result will still be moist, flavorful meat, not just some cooked-to-cardboard turkey. The solution is to prepare a spiced, and more importantly, fairly salty solution which you’ll soak the turkey in overnight. By… click to read more…

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Jalapeño Cornbread

Who doesn’t like cornbread, especially as a starter during Thanksgiving? I wanted to give it a little kick in a completely unoriginal way by adding in some other veggies: corn (crazy, I know!) and jalapeños.

Jalapeño cornbread

Everything that went into preparing this seemed like perfection. I love peppers, so adding some heat through jalapeños and sweetness through pimentos? Yes, awesome idea. Creamed corn for flecks of corn kernels (the fresh corn at the grocery store didn’t look too hot) for that kind of half-interesting texture? More brilliance. Really, what more could you ask for? (I suppose cheddar cheese, maybe bacon…but anyways…)

Well, the cornbread was tasty, but all of these bright ideas didn’t quite come together as I had envisioned and I would make a few minor changes next time. For instance, the creamed corn simply added way too much moisture to the bread (but having kernels in the bread was definitely nice). I also wasn’t thrilled with how it… click to read more…

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Cranberry Sauce Two Ways

I couldn’t decide on how to make my cranberry sauce, so I prepared two separate versions and figured that it ought to cover everybody’s tastes. One is a fairly traditional cranberry sauce, prepared with citrus and sugar and the other is prepared with wine, balsamic vinegar, and dried figs.

Traditional cranberry sauce

Wine & fig cranberry sauce

Growing up, I was never really a fan of cranberry sauce, or so I thought. Honestly, I’m not even really sure if I’d ever tried cranberry sauce, but I had it in my head that I didn’t like it, and that was reason enough for this long. However, I’d never seen cranberry sauce beyond the perfect-can-shaped cylinder of jelly before, so in keeping with my make-everything-from-scratch Thanksgiving, I thought I might as well give it a try as some of the cranberry sauce recipes out there looked pretty tasty (this is where both recipes were largely derived from). The… click to read more…

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Poached Pear

This is a delightfully simple but flavorful dessert: poached pears.

Poached pear in syrup

Poached pear is essentially a peeled and cored pear cooked (well, poached) in a sweet and spicy solution, then topped off with the poaching solution which has been cooked down to a syrup. The ingredient list sounds deceptively simple, but the flavor is really incredible and vibrant. The pears become translucent and incredibly tender, still retaining a distinct pear flavor, but complemented by a really vibrant citrus flavor that only enhances the pear. The vanilla and cloves add a really subtle, but interesting taste and aroma. This is a nice quick dessert to put together, but don’t let that fool you–this is really tasty and refreshing. This particular recipe is largely derived from The Williams-Sonoma Collection: Dessert, which so far, has not done me wrong in the dessert department. This recipe isn’t entirely true to the original (which had some… click to read more…

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Herb Butter Roast Chicken

With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, I thought it might be good to roast a bird to kind of get in the mood (a mood which I meant to post about a week ago–I think we’re all in the mood by now). The result: a whole, roasted chicken, seated atop some hearty vegetables and rubbed with some herbed butter.

Herb butter roast chicken fresh out of the oven

The Thanksgiving rationale isn’t quite 100% it though. My wife had complained that with me experimenting with new recipes all the time, we never get to have the dishes we already know and love, and somehow from that conversation, she wanted a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Seeing how that wouldn’t be a terribly exciting endeavor for me, we compromised and decided on this dish. This was also a great opportunity for me to finally try a recipe from one of Ramsay’s books, In The Heat Of The Kitchen, seeing… click to read more…

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Thanksgiving: the plan

I had originally hoped to have the majority of my intended Thanksgiving recipes posted on here, but alas, no such luck. So I figured I’d offer the next best thing: what I intend to cook (some of which is already posted here).

I’m hosting a small Thanksgiving this year, and I’m looking forward to preparing everything. I hosted a Christmas get together once before (20-30 people), and I remember the meal going well (good food, enough for everybody–it all came together!), but realistically, I barely squeaked by. I was still pretty new to cooking and did an awful job of planning, so I was running around like a headless chicken all day. I’ve cooked a lot more since then, I’m much more comfortable, and I feel like I can put a lot more thought into what and how I intend to get things done. With that said, I’m really looking forward to this dinner, even if its not quite for… click to read more…

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