A Deep Fried Turkey Cooking Hangover

 

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Oy vey. Thanksgiving has come and gone. No cooking for me today, just reheating. That picture up there is my breakfast. Leftover pie, yum.

We had a better Thanksgiving feast than last year. We deep-fried our turkey again with much better results. Folks, I highly recommend deep frying your gobble bird. I’m not a big fan of turkey but we have it for traditionsake on Thanksgiving. If it were up to me, I’d have a big roast or some duck. If we always have turkey the way we did yesterday, however, I might just turn into a convert. My biggest gripes with oven roasting your bird are the following, in order: basting your bird at least 3 times and opening the door to have oven heat blasted on your arm and face and fogging up your glasses, flabby bottom skin, dry turkey breast. I hate poultry breast meat because I often find it too dry and flavorless. When you deep fry your turkey correctly, you don’t have ANY of these problems.

This year I brined the bird with my own recipe and it came out amazing.

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TURKEY BRINE

  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 cups chicken broth (or even better 3 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder)
  • 8 peppercorns
  • juice of half lemon
  • carcass of that lemon half you just squeezed
  • 1 apple chopped
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 cup of salt
  • orange, juiced and carcass
  • plenty of ice water

Boil  everything together, except the ice water and the wine. Bring brine down to room temperature. Add wine. Place defrosted turkey into brine bag or pot. Add brine mixture and cold water until turkey is fully submerged. Brine overnight in the fridge.

When ready to cook, pat this sucker really dry, and you’re ready to go!

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Here are some pictures of how we celebrated, if you’d like to see:

Yobo had his own rig out on our patio complete with makeshift pulleys cuz that’s how we roll.

When my dad was pulling the turkey up and out, the turkey’s bottom half was starting to pull away. After watching the YouTube horror stories of a deep fry gone wrong, I started to panic. “Watch out, Daddy! Let go, Daddy! Back up, Daddy!” I screamed. The bottom half eventually plunged back down into its oily hell. We were able to fish it out after a few minutes. (I think my sister caught this on video. Family adventures…) Nothing terrible happened, but we were all kinda scared. With the two pieces, it felt like we had two turkeys. It was a pleasant blessing in disguise. By the way, as stated above, this turkey was THE SHIT! Moist meat and crispy skin.

The chalkboard menu is a staple in the kitchen. Also, #sorrynotsorry for my messy kitchen. It’s tiny, but this is real life and sometimes not everything can be glamorized. 😉

P.S. I included the photo of Yobo’s giant hand wearing my dainty little oven mitt for safety.

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Tell Me Your Dreams – Home Library Goals

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il_570xn-439014654_21asnce upon a time when I was a pre-teen, I was reading a book (see above) in my grandmother’s room, and my sisters were in the room with me. I can’t remember now if they were reading their own respective books or doing something else. I had reached the critical turning point in the book where all was revealed (as a Devoted Reader, I promise not to spoil it). In my young and softboiled brain, I couldn’t fathom that something like [plot twist] truly existed. I screamed and threw the book against the wall. After a deep few breaths, I got up and picked up the book, then resumed reading. My sisters – the youngest in particular – stared at me in bewilderment.

“What’s wrong? What happened?!” they demanded.

“I. Can’t. Believe. It.” That’s all I could muster with moist eyes. After I finished the book, I explained the climax to them and they were shocked too. They vowed to never the read the book that we all knew would give me a nightmare (and it did).

I still have that book in my library and, truth be told, I have not picked it up in years. I think I’ve only re-read it once. I happened upon its spine the other day when, in my usual clumsy haste to sidestep a pile of crap/clutter that should not have even be there, I almost slipped headfirst into a bookshelf. That’s how bad it is at my house! It’s a small house and it should have less stuff! These days, in an effort to downsize and have a better energy flow around the house,  I am reducing the amount of things we have at home. That means downsizing my kitchen gear, mugs, clothes, and books. I think this book should have another home with another story from its reader. It’s languishing unread in my library.

I never thought I’d get to the point where I would start donating books. I grew up thinking all books were precious. As a self-professed bookworm, I thought the more the merrier. No matter that boxes of them were heavy and cumbersome as I moved from home to dorm to apartment to apartment to apartment to home to another house. Like every girl who grew up in the 90’s, I dreamed of this:

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I see now why having a Kindle or e-reader is so convenient. I’m still not drinking that Kool-Aid just yet. I like sniffing book paper. I like page turning. I like feeling the heft of a tome. But, never say never…

I was telling Yobo earlier this year that I was going to be very picky about the books in our library. I want each book to be carefully chosen for its value. Lately, the books I’m bringing in are cookbooks. I have a future project in my mind where I will put a blurb in each book and state why it is valuable and belongs in our library. I probably won’t get around to it until I’m friggin’ old, but it’s a backburner To-Do item.

IN OTHER NEWS:

// I really like how Kurt Sutter canceled his own show in his irreverent way (not wasting time and money) and is trying to make sure that his Sons of Anarchy spin-off on the Mayans is authentic. Steps towards being positively proactive about race in entertainment!

// Trying to decide between Sherry Tonic Punch or Bourbon Punch to serve on Thanksgiving.

// Also debating whether or not I will have fancy napkins on Thanksgiving. If yes, which of these folds will I end up going with? Decisions…

// Discovered a cool new blog that I think will end up on my blogroll. She’s got a smart voice that doesn’t meander hither and thither.

 

Fish en Papillote

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il_570xn-439014654_21asnce upon a time, I had a college roommate who is now one of my dearest friends. At the time, she was the pickiest eater I had ever met. She would tell people she was allergic to fish and seafood (she was not). She was not a fan of it in any form. Post-college, she and her now-husband ate sushi for the first time. Took a few tries, but she came to tolerate it. Me, on the hand, if I had fresh and top quality seafood at my disposal, I would eschew red meat and reduce my red meat consumption to (maybe) once a month. That says a lot about how much I love fish and seafood. Some people balk at the fish aisle and markets, I love the heady fishy smell. As my husband will attest, one of my guilty pleasures is sucking down some shrimp brains. Whatever. To each his/her own. Don’t judge.

In trying to eat healthier, here is what’s for dinner. Fish baked in parchment paper. I don’t have an exact recipe, but this is the way my grandmother cooked it (minus the bay leaf). I cook with my eyes and hands. But if you really need one…

  • 1 headless fish (I’m using red snapper)
  • 1 tomato or a bunch of cherry tomatoes (or however much tomato you can stuff into a fish)
  • 2 cloves garlic (finely minced)
  • thinly sliced onion
  • bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons of white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • EVOO
  • PARCHMENT PAPER

Pre-heat oven to 375F. Put all stuffing ingredients in a bowl; mix to combine. Stuff fish. I used toothpicks to secure the fish with the stuffing. Measure out your parchment paper and place fish in center. Drizzle EVOO. Fold down sides of paper first. Fold top horizontally and sharply until you’ve creased all the way to where it meets the fish. Put on baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Your house will smell yummy and fishy.

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A Roast & Hazelnut Blondies

il_570xn-439014654_21asnce upon a time, I was having lunch with co-workers and ordered a medium rare steak. During the time we were engaged in conversation, my steak began to leak its glorious juices. A co-worker exclaimed, “Damn, you like your meat bloody!!”

Yes. I bloody do.

I marinated this chuck roast overnight, inspired by this recipe. I didn’t have any scallions on hand, so I Bastardized this marinade too. I Bastardize everything. I used ground onion and garlic and it came out amazing. The key here is balancing out the lemon juice and the Worchestershire sauce.

I also like my chocolate baked goods – be they brownies or, in this case, blondies – to be rich and have a crackly top and be moist and dense. I couldn’t find the gianduja baking chocolate so I used chocolate bars instead. I’m so happy to be using up my hazelnut flour in the best ways. I followed all the technical instructions to the letter, and I couldn’t believe how delicious and rich they were. I love nutty anything.

It’s been a cold week. Planning on showing a meal prep soon with stretching out a whole chicken!

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Meal Prep (Sunday)

Omg. I know. Two posts in a row? Could I finally be getting my shit together? I don’t know. I’m trying REALLY hard, but well…it’s hard. I have a procrastination problem that is outrageously chronic. I’ve read that meal prep is good for the wallet (Shop Your Fridge! Dress up those leftovers and make them more palatable!) and for the waistline, but with this dreary weather, I think know that I’ve actually gained weight. I’ve turned into hungry bear winter mode, getting round and fat in case I get snowed in (ha! not likely in L.A.) and my body has to eat off itself. I digress. We’re trying to save more money and be more frugal and keep a cleaner house. I’m trying really hard to stay on top of produce and leftovers and be really responsible about eliminating waste and dumping moldy, limp veggies into a non-existent compost heap.

This is me keeping it real. My stovetop is not that clean. I want to be a better food blogger and take better photos and do that dreamy, creamy setting thing, but (as noted above), I am a procrastinator. I’m extremely impatient and I don’t have the fortitude to buckle down be a good pupil and practice till I excel. Going to work that on that!

The spicy ground beef, shiitake mushroom, Thai basil mixture is going to be part of a noodle dish for dinner. Whatever is left over will go into a mapo tofu dish. The remaining shiitake mushrooms are going to accompany a chuck roast that will be split up during the course of the week. They were sauteed and then lightly charred in my cast iron pan with butter, garlic, white wine, thyme and cream sherry. I eyeball everything I cook, and this is probably going to have to change at some point if I ever decide to publish a cookbook.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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Food Thoughts and Thoughts in General

Hi!

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Recently, I made my own version of this pie. It came out better than I expected. If you know me, I have a problem following a recipe to a T. I always have to put my spin on it; it’s the rebel in me. It’s probably also the reason why I’m not a very good baker. In a Chopped competition with random weird shit in a basket, I think I would come up on top though. I’m good at Shop-My-Fridge and Bastard Food meals.

I used not one, not two, but FOUR different types of flour. I know…WTF, right? Well, some time ago, I thought I would be a responsible-to-my-body type of cook/baker, so in a span of a few months, I bought coconut flour, hazelnut flour, and spelt. I use spelt flour and almond flour regularly, but the other two I have laying around in my fridge will expire soon. Hence, Bastard Pie Crust.

To make Bastard Pie Crust:

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, very cold
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons ice cold water
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 hazelnut flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt
  • 1/2 cup AP flour

Cut butter into cubes. Add to large mixing bowl. Add coconut flour, then hazelnut flour, then salt. Mix with your handy mixer or with your hands. I didn’t want to wash my mixing bowl, paddle, nor wipe down my KitchenAid, so I put it in a large bowl, and used my pastry cutter, and when it became more manageable, I used my hands. Add spelt and 2 tablespoons water. Mix lightly, then add AP flour and last of the water. Coconut flour really sucks in moisture, so add more water if you feel that the dough is not sticky. Pound onto a flour surface into a flat disk and refrigerate for at least an hour until ready to use. (You can also skip the flat disk step and shape into your pie pan but you MUST chill it. Don’t skip the chilling!)

I basically followed the recipe I linked to above in terms of cooking the apples lightly with miso. I didn’t have white miso, so I used red. It came out saltier than I would have liked, but there was still a savory component to it which I did like. The crust edges were crumbly, which I expected, but not to the point of instant dust. It held up well. It was nutty and delicious. When it comes to apple pie, I’m more of a crust girl. Where do you stand on this?

Unfortunately, Yobo is allergic to miso so while he ooohed and aaahed at my finished pie, he couldn’t have any. Somebody PLEASE invent an anti-allergen pill so my husband can eat legumes and their by-products with me! (Sister liked it though, and had the same comments about the saltiness.)

Final note: Because of the nature of my crust, I did not par-bake it prior to adding the apple filling. I baked it at 350°F for 65 minutes and then let it cool.

Non-food related thoughts:

  1. I know this all over the web, but the attacks in Paris have been on my mind. What do they really want? What are they really trying to say with all of this violence?
  2. This made me think about how I have developed ADHD these past few years. I’m on my laptop and I have 26 tabs open. Fuck. (Once, my BFF told me she had more than 30 tabs open on her phone.) I will never be a millionaire. I can’t multi-task and I can’t concentrate or remember things the way I used to. Lifehacker said it best:

You Can’t Process That Much Information Simultaneously

Dozens of open tabs signifies either procrastination on a truly epic scale or a chronic inability to focus on an immediate task at hand. Either way, it’s not the sign of someone working efficiently. I work as a journalist—sourcing information from multiple sources is a big part of the job—but I don’t kid myself I need thirty of them open at once. Absorb the data from one place, then move on.

More food and thoughts at another sporadic time!

Spaghetti Squash

(from Siriously Delicious)

Today I made an impromptu Shop-Your-Fridge dinner which came out amazing, but it was a lot of work. I forgot to take a picture (again–waah), but Yobo had SECONDS. To be fair, he usually has seconds when he can, but when I mentioned that seconds were available, his eyes lit up and he was very excited about the prospect.

I’m trying to be more frugal and more diligent about meal planning. I feel like I have ADHD with my good intentions. I can make lists to the high heavens, but to follow through is a different story. I’m definitely more of a planner than an executor.

Enough with the talking already! What did I make?

From the fridge: leftover homemade meatballs (made with sourdough bread that I soaked in water mixed with the last drops of heavy cream*) and homemade marinara sauce

From the produce basket: spaghetti squash. I have never cooked spaghetti squash before. I thought it would be fun to shred the innards to look like spaghetti. Man, it was so fucking hard to cut that sucker open. Maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t take a picture of that. I had to use TWO knives: my main Wusthof and my butcher knife. I actually googled “spaghetti squash hard to open” and this pic showed up. I couldn’t have taken a better picture. Giving credit where it is due, this is from Siriously Delicious.

So I nuked the squash when I finally was able to crack it in half. I smushed the meatballs and leftover sauce and added two heaping spoonfuls of tomato paste to half a cup of water and made a rough bolognese. I added the spaghetti squash to this new creation and it came out awesome. Since this “pasta” is healthier, that means I can drink more beer this weekend right?

Next time (for a food I haven’t cooked) in the near future, I will attempt to tackle rhubarb.

*Nothing goes to waste in this house, if I can help it.

P.S. It was going to happen sometime, but my Giada for Target white ceramic oil pourer crashed onto the floor and broke. I’m glad my clumsiness made the decision for me. I just had it lying around after I’d emptied the oil and transferred the speed pourer spout to another bottle. It was really beautiful and ergonomic, but I grew to hate that thing. I should find its link on a website and complain about how disappointed I was to learn that its ability to contain oil was a lie. I had to put a small dish on the bottom of it because was leaking oil. The rounded bottom edges were not sealed properly. And just in case you think that was a fluke, I was stupid enough to buy two of them. The first one got stolen during a catering gig. Both of them had this problem. Why can’t manufacturers test things first? What a waste…