Posts Tagged ‘turkey’

When my mother and I were divvying up the leftovers, I tried to leave her with the drumsticks and wings, but she ended up insisting that I take them.

See, I think they’re dry and a bit hard to convert into food other than meat on a bone with gnawing.

So, fine, I went with the meat on a bone and gnawing plan.

I coated the outside of each piece with red Thai curry paste and left them to sit overnight (okay, longer, but we’ll pretend I didn’t admit that).

And then I melted a pat of butter in a skillet and fried each piece, turning to cook evenly, until each one was heated through and the skin was just starting to burn in bits.

Then there was much tasty gnawing.


Okay, so the second try was also a big shameful and full of weird miscellaneous condiment selections. And yet also tasty.

Turkey Squash Lentil Soup

Okay, so roast squash and have some sitting around in your refrigerator all cooled and diced.

Also, leftover turkey, cut into chunks.

And this time, I’m trying it without soaking the lentils first. Rinse/wash them in three vigorous changes of water before using.

Oh, and I’ve made both turkey stock and vegetable stock. You can go with all of one or the other or just water – but they shouldn’t be at least warmed up to room temperature.

So brown 2 teaspoons of flour in a pan. Dice an onion pretty finely and stir that into the browning flour. Once the onions are limp and the flour is getting toasty, add a teaspoon or so of butter (or lipid of choice).

Now add some turkey stock and stir it all together until you have a gravy base. Add a teaspoon of red wine, a shake of Worcestershire sauce, and a little bit of browning sauce.

Add lentils and minced garlic with some vegetable stock. Once it reaches a simmer, add the cubed winter squash. And then a couple minutes later, the turkey leftovers.

Season with ground black pepper, ground ginger (I was bizarrely generous with this, but luckily the soup absorbed it well), a sprinkling of cinnamon, and some hot pepper.

Because these are all leftovers that have been sitting in the fridge, you really should have the soup boil for about 20 minutes, but my lentils were already pretty mushy by the end of that.

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This was only my second time making Thanksgiving, so the food is still shiny, new, and exciting to me.

So I went with a very simple recipe for the turkey because my parents went wild and paid for a turkey, instead of earning a free one through buying groceries. And they splurged for a free range, sexy turkey. So I just chucked some onion, garlic, and herbs inside and rubbed the outside with an herbed garlic butter. After the first half of cooking, I basted with a mixture of the turkey’s juices, orange juice, and soy sauce. Easy, simple, and it turned out juicy and reliable. There was a surprising amount of white meat for a free range bird, but apparently it was an especially breasty breed of bird – but the white meat wasn’t anymore flavourful for the wandering around. But I do think you could tell a difference with the dark meat – with a richer and more complex taste. And a cruelty free holiday!

And my mother scandalized me by not letting me come up with a recipe for dressing – but, instead, she bought Stove Top’s cornbread dressing. And to doctor it, she stirred in sliced scallions right at the end. Yeah. But I have to admit, even if it was sleazy, it was still very tasty and we finished all of it.

She was also going to have our only vegetable be microwaved frozen sugar snap peas (because my father can’t have Vitamin K), but I insisted on a second vegetable (mostly because I still had an abundant amount of Swiss Chard in the garden to use up before first frost). So I melted two teaspoons of bacon fat. Once that warmed up, I tossed in three cloves of garlic, thinly sliced. Once that started to brown, I tossed in the Swiss chard (washed, leaves cut off the spines, and then sliced across into 3/4″ ribbons, still damp). I had meant to add red pepper flakes after, but I ended up getting distracted getting the meal on the table, so there weren’t any – and the dish was delicious without them. Not healthy, mind you, but delicious. My friend, who is a chef, was absolutely right – swiss chard must always go with bacon.

And then there is the dish of which I am the most proud. The sweet potato casserole. Everyone makes this dish, and there are hundreds of recipes for this on the internet – but the first five pages on google didn’t come up with the recipe I was looking for. All of the called for butter. Many of the called for heavy cream. I really liked the recipe that called for orange juice and zest, and then I was amused to notice that the orange juice was never used in any of the versions claiming to be lower fat. Also, while I remember from my youth great debates over whether one would add diced apples or crushed pineapple to the casserole, not a single recipe called for any fruit. So I ended up kind of making my own way to a healthy version of this side dish for my diabetic father.

Sweet Potato Casserole – topped with marshmallows

First off, I made made it in individual ramekins, instead of a large dish, so there would be portion control. I don’t know if it’s necessary, but just for the ease, I did lightly butter the dishes.

Roast and peel 2 medium sweet potatoes.

Core, peel, and dice finely half of a smaller apple.

Stir them together in a bowl with the juice of one orange and the zest of half of the orange.

Since my parents have on hand the sugar/splenda blend, I used that. It runs twice as sweet as a comparable measure of sugar. Start with an eighth of a cup and taste, adding up to a quarter of a cup.

For spices, I added cinnamon, sweet paprika, black pepper, and a few drops of vanilla extract.

Then I stirred in 1/2 a teaspoon of baking powder and 2 egg whites. Beat that thoroughly through the mixture.

Fill the ramekins, making sure to leave about 3/4″ from the top because not only do you need room for the marshmallows, but also you the casserole will rise as it bakes.

Then I popped the ramekins into the 325F oven with the turkey for 45 minutes. I pulled them out and let them cool (they did puff up like souffles, but the settled down and still had a light, fluffy texture).

Once the casserole is no longer piping hot, cover with the big marshmallows (size totally matters). And, yes, I used normal, storebought marshmallows instead of trying to find a healthy way around that part.

After the turkey comes out of the oven, throw the ramekins back in and switch it to broil. By the time everything else is on the table, the marshmallows should be perfectly browned and puffy.

Also there was gravy. Mmmm…

After the fourth basting, I sucked up about a cup of the drippings and set them aside long enough for the fat to separate out.

Toast some flour until is it as dark as you want it. My mother went with a nice almond color.

Then spoon the fat from the drippings and add it to the flour. If that is not enough to make a smooth pasty, add some butter.

Once that was smooth and ready to have liquid added, my mother poured in the drippings slowly enough that they’d boil and incorporate smoothly.

After the whole cup had been added, I warmed up another cup of vegetable broth, and she added that until she reached the consistency she wanted.

Then she added a little kitchen bouquet (I don’t know – it’s tradition. But you could also toast the flour more in the beginning). Even though there was soy sauce in the basting liquid, after tasting the gravy still needed a little more salt, too. She has a mixture of white pepper, thyme, and rosemary that she grinds herself – a pinch of that. And a teaspoon and a half of Manischewitz wine for richness.

And then after dinner, we had an apple pie I bought at my farmers’ market and the fior di latte and almond gelato I bought from Capogiro.

And now I am back home and making turkey stock from the carcass. Good times.

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Thanksgiving menu planning and family dynamics

   Posted by: Livia    in Uncategorized

The past several years, my parents have gone to my sister’s for Thanksgiving. And she and her husband have made traditional Thanksgiving food (roast turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing from a package, gravy, and steamed broccoli).

This year, however, they shall be going to her in-laws because she’ll be too preggers to fly for Christmas.

So I get to make Thanksgiving for the second time ever. Really – just my second time cooking this mean, so I am not bored of the routine in the slightest.

So I called me mother to menu plan…

For the turkey… well, I was going to take a five or more year old free turkey from our deep freeze and turn it into something amazing through magic and impressiveness. My father, trusting neither my skill with freezer-burned meats nor the turkey in question, insisted on getting a fresh turkey. Apparently, it’s a very nice one, so I’ll go with a much simpler recipe than I had originally thought.

Actually, apparently, my mother isn’t waiting for me to think of a recipe at all. She bought a packet of turkey roasting herbs and the onion for it already. What herbs are these? Thyme, rosemary, and other things I still mostly have growing outside my apartment ready for final harvesting.

And for the vegetable, I am putting my foot down. All my father will eat for a green vegetable is either sugar snap peas or baby peas. Frozen. From green giant. And I declared that not enough vitamin content to count as worth my father’s time, so we’re having a green vegetable he won’t eat – namely, the last harvest of the swiss chard in my garden. So there.

My mother has already bought the sweet potatoes… because of my parents’ health issues, I’ll be making the traditional sweet potato casserole in individual-sized ramekins.

And then I was pondering the savoury starch option. Maybe mashed potatoes from scratch. Maybe I’ll make dressing from scratch. BUT my mother informs me she has already bought a (bag?) of Stove Top’s cornbread stuffing. Mer. So I’ll at least doctor it up a bit for fun and profit.

So all that’s left for fun is dessert. And I’m bad at desserts. I’m thinking of trying to make the old family recipe pecan pie. Unfortunately, I told my mother that, so I am betting that when I get there I will find either: a) a storebought Mrs. Smith’s pie or b) 2 brand new bottles of Caro, light and dark – even though I found half a dozen such bottles the last time I cleaned out their pantry, and I’m sure I left them one of each, kept one of each, and threw out several others.

It’s odd, because I’m pretty sure my mother understands how much fun I have with cooking and planning food. And I thought she trusted me to make fancy stuff still withing the limit of what my father’s bland tastes are willing to eat.

ETA: Oh, right – so one of the points of this whining. There’s still a random frozen turkey at my parents’ that they are never going to eat. And I have this plan for ethical meat consumption that goes: I’m going to eat all of the meat my parents have wastefully bought and then buried in their freezer. But turkeys are huge. Does anyone (well after Thanksgiving, because the turkey will keep) want to help me eat this turkey experiment? Or are you all afraid of the freezer taste, too?

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Bacon-Wrapped Turkey

   Posted by: Livia    in non-vegetarian, Recipe

Once up on a time, there was a split turkey breast (i.e. half a turkey breast with the bones and skin included). And there were people who were afraid of the dreaded dry turkey.

These same people, however, had not planned ahead to brine the turkey breast. And so they hatched a plan to wrap it in bacon. This was, however, one of the last things we cooked in a day of cooking tasty things, so your protagonist was the one with energy left to tackle the physics of getting the bacon to stay around the turkey without the use of butchers’ twine.

Bacon-Wrapped Turkey

First, make sure you have thoroughly thawed a pound of bacon.

You can just assemble the on top of your roasting pan or on some surface that is easily moved and cleaned. Lay out slightly less than half of the pound of bacon to roughly the width of the breast.

Put the turkey on top of the bacon.

Decide whether or not you want to play with the seasonings. The woman who brought the meat would probably have gone with a lemon/citrus/salt/thingy seasoning schema. I was thinking along the lines of barbecue sauce only with a much more subtle flavor and no sauce, no not much like barbecue sauce at all, really. So I made a paste with:

  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • pinch dried (and crumbled) rosemary
  • pinch dried (and then crumbed) thyme
  • 3 black peppercorns (ground in mortal & pestle)
  • 5 white peppercorns (ground in mortal & pestle)
  • 2 black cardamom seeds (not pods!) (ground in mortal & pestle)
  • pinch fennel seeds (ground in mortal & pestle)
  • 2/3 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp brown mustard
  • 1 Tbsp orange marmalade

And I rubbed this paste over and under the skin.

Now, lay most of the rest of the bacon over the width of the top side of the turkey. As you fold the top bacon over the side, tuck up the bottom strips of bacon and secure each one with a toothpick (they didn’t burn much even though we didn’t bother with soaking them, but they were the thicker round tooled ones you get at an asian grocery, instead of the flimsy flat ones you get at a regular grocery). If you have just a little bacon left to use up, you can drape it lengthwise over the top, but that’s not necessary.

And then I sprinkled the top of the bacon with garlic salt for extra deliciousness.

Cook as you would a turkey breast.

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More miscellany – betrayed by greens

   Posted by: Livia    in dubious, Food, non-vegetarian, Recipe

What happens when broccoli rabe goes off
Broccoli rabe, rapini, whatever you want to call it – it’s pretty tasty. And I picked up a bunch the last time I was at the farmers’ market.

So I’ve had broccoli rabe go off once before, and you could tell because the stems got hollow and squishy.

Well, this one was pushing its lifespan, so I checked that and it was fine… possibly because these had been well trimmed by the woman selling them. I also smelled them because I remembered that there had been a cleaning solution kind of smell to the leaves, and I did not detect anything off.

So I went ahead with preparing a delicious meal.

First, I browned a slice of bacon until is was very crispy.

In a pot of water, I boiled a link of turkey sausage I pulled out of the freezer.

When the sausage was cooked through, I pulled it out of the water and pulled off the casing as soon as it was cool enough to handle. Then I sliced the sausage into 1/2″ thick rounds, and put it in the bacon fat to brown.

I also added an onion (cut in half and then sliced), some sliced garlic, and two jalepeno peppers (cut off the seeds and then sliced). Oh, and some sliced bell pepper, too.

Then into the pot of water, I dumped 2 ounces of rotini pasta and brought it back to a boil.

About 3 minutes before the pasta would be ready, I added the stems from the roughly cut up broccoli rabe.

About 1 minute before the pasta would be ready, I added the leaves and buds.

Splash some of the pasta water over the leaves to help them wilt and to add a little more liquid to the dish.

Drain the pasta and then dump the noodles in with the sausage and veggies.

I cut up and added some fresh herbs: fennel sprig and basil (and there might have been a leaf of sage or two)

I put up one portion for freezing, and I poured the rest into a bowl and sprinkled with cheddar from the farmers’ market.

And then two bites in, I got this overwhelming taste of ammonia. URGH!

This would have been a great dish, if the broccoli rabe hadn’t gone off.

Let this be a lesson: eat your greens, and eat them promptly!

I least I had already nibbled on the bacon while making the dish.


So there’s pretty much 1 recipe for green tomatoes (fried, fried with cheese and tomato sauce, fried in pie, totally fried), but there are a ton of recipes for tomatillos. And, to me, they taste pretty similar.

Can you think of any reason why I shouldn’t try tomatillo recipes with my green tomatoes?

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Cheapass slacker dinner – Meatballs

   Posted by: Livia    in non-vegetarian, Recipe

You all had something really sexy for dinner (especially if you were breaking a fast), right?

I was feeling a little lazy.

So – into a small skillet

1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, cut in half and then sliced fairly thinly
2 jalepeno peppers, flesh cut off the seeds, and then sliced thinly.

Hold on. Let me take a moment to talk about green peppers. You may have noticed that in my pantry I never ever have green bell peppers, but I am likely to have just about any other color. Yep. That’s true. I love bell peppers in any variety except green. They just taste bitter to me, in not a sexy way like bitter leafy greens have started to. Actually, I lie. I also don’t like any color bell pepper from the farmers’ market. Fresh grown, fully flavored bell peppers taste like ass… or, well, green peppers, really. Plus, they end up being so thin that you can’t even get a happy roasted pepper out of them. So give me some mass produced colored bell peppers from the produce warehouse.

But! Jalepeno peppers. I can use them just like my mother uses green bell peppers. Instead of slicing them, just cut the flesh off of the seeds – there’s no need to do it the hard way. And then then most times the jalepeno isn’t that spicy (depending on the time of summer and how much it was shaded from the sun by the plump pepper a little higher up) so you can use a couple of them. No, really, I’ve started putting jalepeno peppers in almost everything I cook up with onions.

So back to the ingredients

2 cloves of garlic, sliced
6 turkey meatballs, thawed

About those turkey meatballs. I can’t remember whether I’ve given you that recipe yet or not. So my grocery story pretty regularly has a sale on ground turkey meat – 3lbs for $6.99 – so I have started buying lots and then packaging it so I can freeze it. That means hamburger patties or meatballs. There are a pound or two of ground turkey meat, a handful or two of breadcrumbs (or matzoh meal), garlic powder, sausage seasoning (which contains salt), and an egg or two depending on the consistency – and, yes, this is judged my mixing it all up with my hand instead of a fork. Roll into small meatballs – 1 tsp/ball. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, drain on paper towels, toss into a bag and freeze.

And cook that up real good until it is all getting burny edges.

Take some sprigs of fennel (why do all of the fennel recipes call for throwing away the herb parts and just using the bulb? I am all for using the whole plant), remove any stiff stems, and cut into small piece – drop your scant handful into the meatballs.

Pour off onto a small plate, realize that the meatballs taste slightly freezer-burned, so grate an ounce of sharp cheddar cheese (from the farmers’ market) on top.

The only thing that would have made this tastier (aside from some noodles in a creamy sauce) would have been some mushrooms. The eating kind.




   Posted by: Livia    in Food, lists

What should I have for dinner? I have a lot of points left (24, if that means anything to you), so I can be a little luxurious…

But I have kale.

And a bunch of collard greens so young and tender they are almost like spinach.

And I have some turkey meatballs (or I could thaw some turkey sausage fairly quickly).

Or chicken breasts are on sale this week.

And that’s looking a lot like my dinner Monday and not very extravagant…

so offer me some new ways to season or prepare my kale, so that it will be an indulgence. (Though no dairy-based dishes because I would need to buy most of that special, and I’m about to go out of town for two weeks).

(Dairy in the house includes cheddar, cream cheese, and parmesan)

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salad -> pasta

   Posted by: Livia    in non-vegetarian, Recipe

Bought 6 pounds of ground turkey today and turned 2/3 of it into meatballs and 1/3 into 3 ounce patties.

I have two kinds of kale. One looked tasty and mild (and was being sold by the only booth at the farmers’ market run by city kids), and the other one is the kind of kale called for in this NYT recipe. I am tempted, though, to make that hot (instead of a raw salad) and serve it with my meatballs and some pasta. And by serve, I mean eat up all by myself! (Actually, since I think that will let me cut the oil way lower, it might turn out healthier.)

So far today, I have eaten nothing other than 3 peaches and the meatballs I plucked while hot from the oven (to test for doneness, of course… well, that and because I was hungry and they were tasty)… but I might be too hungry right now for more elaborate cooking. Good thing the recipe looks like it will be fairly quick to throw together on a weeknight.

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Fowl Chili

   Posted by: Livia    in Recipe, soup

I just made (what I thought was) a tasty chili.

Fowl Chili

Soak 1 cup of cow peas (because I had them hanging around my pantry from an experimental purchase – feel free to use kidney or some such)

In soup pot – saute 1 diced onion, 5 cloves coarsely minced garlic, and a dozen diced baby carrots in a little olive oil. Once it’s almost translucent, add 2-3 teaspoons of ground cumin and cook a couple more minutes.

Add the drained peas. And at this point, I added some duck stock because that’s what I had made most recently. Feel free to use chicken stock. Ummm… about 10 cups… well, as much as my pot would hold.

I also added 1 link of turkey sausage (frozen) and one chicken breast (frozen). Then I left that over medium heat while I ran a couple very quick errands. When I came back, I pulled out the mostly-cooked breast, sliced t, and then returned it to the pot.

At the point I added herbs: a few sprigs of fresh fennel, fresh marjoram, and fresh savory – all minced. 2 teaspoons of ground oregano, 2 teaspoons of Penzey’s chili powder (which ended up making it plenty hot because I let the soup cook a long time), 2 generous (but not quite heaping) teaspoons of regular paprika, just a pea-sized amount of smoked paprika, and a pinch of sugar.

I added some leftover dark meat from a roast chicken. And once it was thorought ly cooked and not going to crumble, I sliced the turkey sausage.

I finished the soup off with a teaspoon of flour mixed with lukewarm water (shaken together in a jam jar is the easiest way) – this thickens slightly, but it also really makes the taste smoother.

I had originally planned to add a can of tomatoes, but the soup was very tasty without, so I didn’t mess with it.

Served with fresh bread and a large dollop of sour cream to cut the heat.

(It ended up cooking for 10 hours)

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