Monday, November 23, 2015

Timeline for the Week of Thanksgiving

Three days prior:
  1. Remove turkey from freezer and defrost it in the refrigerator.
  2. Clean the house with the help of family/household members.

Two days prior:

  1. Make pies, rolls, breads, and cornbread for stuffing. Refrigerate pies; you can always warm things up again before serving.
  2. Make things that can sit for two days in the fridge such as soups and cranberry sauces (think about foods that always taste better a day or so after they are cooked).
  3.  Prepare dishes that can be stored in the refrigerator uncooked, i.e. casseroles; squash, candied yams or green bean.

Cooler Full of Food
One day prior:
  1. If you ordered a fresh turkey, pick it up.
  2. Buy your greens and perishable vegetables. Wash and cut vegetables place them in plastic bags then refrigerate or place in cooler.
  3. Put ice in cooler (keep it in the plastic bag) and start storing food items.  Just don’t mix meat items with non meat items.  Make sure everything is self contained so that juices do not drip and contaminate other items.  Place cooler in garage or other cool area until you need it the next day.
  4. Do any remaining baking.
  5. Prepare all other vegetables for cooking.  Get all ingredients needed to put your dishes together peeled, cut, diced and sliced.  Store them in containers in the refrigerator or cooler.
  6. Wash, dry and season turkey inside and out with dry seasonings.  Wrap in foil or plastic and refrigerate. Also marinade/season any other meats or fish.
  7. It's easier if you set the table today.
  8. Estimate your cooking time for tomorrow and determine the order you need to cook you dishes in.
  9. Now get a good night sleep. 

Day of the Event:
  1. Prepare stuffing
  2. Season any other meat (roast/ham) or fish you may be serving.  Then wrap and refrigerate until it’s time to cook.
  3. Boil potatoes and mash them, cook other vegetables.  They can be reheated just before serving.
Cooking Time for Turkey
 12 pound turkey – cook 2 hours
 15 pound turkey – cook 3 hours + 25 minutes
 18 pound turkey – cook 3 hours + 55 Minutes
 20 pound turkey – cook 4 hours + 20 minutes

Cooking time:
  1. Get the turkey/other meats in the oven according to the schedule you determined.
  2. After the turkey is in the oven - if you have completed the rest of the tasks you have time to relax an hour or so.
  3. Just before the turkey's done, begin cooking fresh vegetables, get anything else that needs to go into the oven ready (stuffing, store bought rolls, etc.).

While the cooked turkey is resting:
  1. Put a foil tent over the turkey. You have an hour to complete the rest of the food.
  2. Put the stuffing, fish or any casserole not already cooked in the oven now.
  3. Warm whatever needs to be warmed, including mashed potatoes, rolls, soups, and casseroles.
  4. Cook any remaining vegetables.
  5. Make the gravy.
  6. Put all the food on the table or buffet. Have family members assist with filling the glasses, gravy bowl, etc.
  7. You are now ready to chow down! Sit, relax and enjoy yourself feasting on the great meal you just created.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thanksgiving Dinner 2015

On the Menu

Citrus Rubbed Turkey
8 Servings

1 (12 pound) turkey
Dry Rub
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons granulated onion
1 teaspoon paprika

For the liquid Rub
¼ cup peanut oil
2 lemons, juiced (reserve rinds)
1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the Turkey Cavity
1 large onion, peeled and cut into eights
2 lemon rinds (reserved from liquid rub)
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprig fresh rosemary
1 bunch sprig fresh sage
6 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

24 hours prior to cooking, wash turkey thoroughly inside and out. Removing any excess fat and debris between the ribs and around the neck area. Stand bird up and let the excess liquid drain out.
Spread 2 sheets of foil large enough to wrap the turkey in on counter. Place the drained turkey on the foil and pat it down with a paper towel inside and out to remove any excess liquid.

Mix together the turkey dry rub; sea salt, garlic, onion and paprika. Season turkey thoroughly inside and out with the seasoning by literally rubbing it on the skin and in the cavity. Wrap tightly with foil the place on a shallow dish or pan to catch any liquid that may escape put in refrigerator until ready to cook.
Wash sink and counter down immediately with bleach/disinfectant and hot soapy water.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove turkey from refrigerator 30 minutes prior to cooking.
In a small bowl, whisk together the liquid rub; peanut oil, lemon juice, poultry season, paprika, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper. Rub mixture generously all over the turkey, including under the skin and inside the cavity.
Mix together onions, reserved lemon rinds (cut in fourths), thyme, sage, rosemary, and garlic and spread them out in the cavity of the turkey.

The peanut oil will aid in the browning of the turkey and seal in it's juices during the roasting, so there will be no need for basting.

If the foil is intact (no holes), you can re wrap turkey in the same foil and place it in a baking pan to catch the liquid and bake undisturbed for 13 minutes per pound.  
Your 12 pound turkey should cook 1 hour and 56 minutes.  I would just cook it for 2 hrs. 
Remove turkey from oven, do not open but let it sit for 30 minutes before opening.
During this resting time, the bird will continue to cook so have no fear.  As long as your oven is not filled with food and the temperature is correct, your turkey will be done.

Turkey Talk
Remember on an average, you cook a turkey that is not stuffed with dressing (herbs and aromatics is not a stuffing) 13 minutes per pound.

8 people, buy a 12-pound turkey – cook 2 hours
10 people, buy a 15-pound turkey – cook 3 hours + 25 minutes
12 people, buy an 18-pound turkey – cook 3 hours + 55 Minutes
14 people, buy a 20-pound turkey – cook 4 hours + 20 minutes

Stuffed Salmon
8 - 10 Servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
½ pound fresh spinach
2 ½ - 3 pound salmon fillet
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 – 2 teaspoons black pepper
½ pound roasted red peppers

Have the butcher cut a pocket the length of the salmon 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Heat olive oil in a sauté pan; add garlic and spinach and sauté just until spinach wilts.  
Immediately remove from heat and let it cool down as quickly as possible.    Combine salt, granulated garlic and black pepper in a small vessel then sprinkle it on the salmon inside the pocket and outside rubbing it in. 
Place salmon in a lined or oiled sheet pan, open the pocket and line the bottom half with the spinach then add a layer of the roasted peppers, close the salmon flap.  
Place the salmon in the preheated oven and roast 20 – 25 minutes and no longer.   
If you want it browned, place it directly under the broiler 5 minutes prior to the elapse of the cooking period.   
Salmon will continue cooking anywhere from 8 - 10 minutes after it is removed from the heat, so let it sit undisturbed until cooking process is complete.

Apple Cranberry Stuffing
8 - 10 servings

Note: This dish can be put together 24 hours prior to actually cooking.  Just moisten with ½ cup of vegetable broth prior to baking.

1 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon sage
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
3 large cloves garlic, diced
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
2 Granny Smith apples, cored, diced
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 bag Pepperidge farm stuffing - 16 oz [cornbread or herb]

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Lightly spray a baking dish
In a small bowl, combine vegetable broth and cranberries; let soak for 30 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and sage, saute 3 minutes.
Add bell pepper, celery, garlic, poultry seasoning and salt; cook for a few minutes stirring frequently until tender.
 Add apples and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat and add vegetable broth, seasonings and stuffing mix.
Mix gently to combine then spoon mixture into prepared dish.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until center is set.
Cranberry Sauce
8 – 10 Servings
12 ounce bag of cranberries 
1½ cups sugar
1 cup water
1 whole orange, peeled, seeds removed and chopped 
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup of crushed pineapples, juice included
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Note:  Fresh cranberries can be found in the produce section
Sort through cranberries and remove stems or bad berries rinse, then set aside.

Mix sugar and water together and bring to a boil.  Add cranberries, oranges, allspice and cinnamon.  Cook over a medium flame, uncovered until berries pop open stirring frequently.  Add pineapples, reduce heat to a simmer and cook 45 minutes - 1 hour or until desired thickness is reached stirring occasionally.
Sauce can be served hot or cold.
Candied Yams with Peach Schnapps
10 Servings

This fun twist on sweet potatoes was inspired by James Rosebud of the famous Cotton Club in New York City.

3 Pounds Sweet Potatoes
6 Tablespoons Butter
1 ½ Cups Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
¼ Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
1 Teaspoon Orange Zest
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
¼ Teaspoon Almond Extract
¼ Cup Peach Schnapps
1 Cup Orange Juice
1 Lemon, Juiced
½ Orange, Sliced

Preheat oven 350 degrees
Peel and slice sweet potatoes, place them in a large pot of lightly salted water.  Bring to a boil, let potatoes boil 5 minutes, drain and set aside.
Put sweet potatoes into a 2 quart casserole, dot with butter.  
Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, lemon and orange zest mixing thoroughly.  Then sprinkle mixture over the potatoes.  
Combine vanilla and almond, extract, peach schnapps, orange and lemon juice then pour over the potatoes.  
Place orange slices over the top of the potatoes then back in the oven uncovered, 45 minutes to an hour.
Rosemary Lemon Green Beans Almandine
8 Servings

2 pounds green beans, trimmed and sliced diagonally into 2-inch pieces
1 bay leaf
⅓ cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
½ teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper

In a saucepan add the green beans and bay leaf.  Bring water to a boil. Cook until beans are tender-crisp, about 6 minutes.
Drain and remove bay leaf.
Heats a sauce pan add almonds and dry roast almonds until they are slightly brown.
Add olive oil, lemon zest and juice, rosemary and green beans, season with salt and pepper.
Mix thoroughly and for a few minutes then transfer to a serving dish.
6 Servings
1 ½ pounds butternut squash, cut ½” on the diagonal
1 ½ pounds crook neck [yellow] squash, cut ½” on the diagonal
1 ½ pounds zucchini, cut ½” on the diagonal
½ bunch fresh sage, roughly chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven 350 degrees
Peel butternut squash, slice in half lengthwise and remove seeds.  Slice squash again lengthwise then cut on the diagonal.
Wash then cut the crookneck (yellow) squash and zucchini in half lengthwise and cut on the diagonal.
Remove sage from the stems and rough chop.
Place the butternut squash in a bowl and mix in ½ sage, olive oil, salt and
Place on a sheet pan and bake in oven until edges of squash is golden brown.  Approximately 45 minutes.
Combine the crookneck, zucchini squash and the remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Transfer to a sheet pan and bake in oven until edges of squash are golden brown.  Approximately 30 minutes.
Turn once ½ through the cooking time.
Once both pans of squash are done, combine them.
Serve hot
Collard Greens with Peppers and Onions
4 – 6 Serving
¼ cup olive oil
¼ - ½ teaspoon crushed red peppers
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
2 pounds of greens (any greens), washed, cut into thin strips (chiffonade)
½ cup orange juice
1 teaspoon garlic, granulated/powder
1 teaspoon onion, granulated/powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ - 1 teaspoon pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat. 
Add the bell peppers, onions and sauté until peppers onions are translucent.
Add the greens, orange juice, granulated garlic, granulated onion, salt and pepper, mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
Bring pan up to a boil, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook 15 – 30 minutes (depending on the greens), stirring occasionally. 
That is a sufficient amount of time for the greens to be done.  Taste for flavor and adjust seasoning accordingly.
Bleu Ribbon Potato Salad
6 – 8 Servings
3 pounds red potatoes cut into 1” dice
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
½ bunch parsley, coarsely chopped
6 ounces gorgonzola cheese
¼ cup vegan mayo
¼ cup fat free sour cream

Wash potatoes and scrub with a vegetable brush, cut off any bad spots or blemishes, but do not peel. Cut potatoes into 1” dice.
Place potatoes and bay leaf in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil.  Boil until potatoes are just fork tender about 13 minutes. 
Thoroughly drain potatoes, discard bay leaf and place potatoes in a bowl. 
While potatoes are still hot, season them with salt and pepper then mix in the white wine vinegar.
Spread potatoes out to cool on a sheet pan [cookie sheet] and let them sit for about 15 minutes on the counter before placing them in the refrigerator. Let potatoes cool in refrigerator uncovered for 30 minutes. 
Once potatoes have cooled down, add in all vegetables and mix thoroughly then add the cheese, mayo and cream and mix thoroughly.
Cover, return to the refrigerator until salad is cold.
Sweet Potato Pie
16 Servings
2½ lbs sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice mix
1 cup evaporated milk
3 eggs
1½ cups brown sugar
½ cup granulated cane sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated
½ teaspoon ginger
2 commercial pie crust

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Wash potatoes and slice them in half, lengthwise.
Sprinkle each half with pumpkin spice mix.
Bake in oven 35 minutes or until potatoes are done
Let potatoes cool down just enough to peel.
Place peeled potatoes in the bowl of your electric mixer affixed with the paddle add all other ingredients except the crust and mix on medium low until you have a puree.
Prepare crust according to the instructions on the package.
Pour filling into the partially baked pie shell, make sure your oven is still on 350 degrees and bake 60 minutes or until pie is set in the middle.
Let pie cool before serving.

 Pumpkin Spice Mix

1/3 cup cinnamon, ground
1 tablespoon ginger, ground
1 tablespoon nutmeg, ground
1 ½ teaspoons cloves,ground
1 ½ teaspoons allspice, ground

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Store up to 6 months.
Use on baked sweet potatoes and butternut squash or any roasted root vegetable as well
as pumpkins.  Also great in butternut squash and pumpkin soups.
8 - 10 Slices
Note: Do not purchase the fruit mixes typically associated with fruit cakes, buy the individual dried fruit packages that are normally found in supermarkets. 
For the Kids version, use apple cider or apple juice instead of liquor
2 cups chopped dried tropical fruit mix
1 cup raisins
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup dried cranberries
2 cups brandy or rum
1 teaspoon dried lemon peel
1 teaspoon dried orange peel
1 stick butter
1 cup unfiltered apple juice
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
½ cup walnut pieces

Heat oven 325 degrees F
grease and flour loaf pan
Combine dried fruit, brandy, lemon peel and orange peel in a saucepan, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and let simmer 5 minutes stirring occasionally. 
Add the butter mixing until melted; add apple juice, sugar, cloves, allspice, ginger and cinnamon.  Mix thoroughly and let simmer 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl. Let sit until mixture is completely cooled.
Place flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a fine wire mesh colander and sift ingredients into the cooled fruit mixture. The object is not to over work the batter, fold in the ingredients just enough to combine then quickly fold in the eggs one at a time. Fold in the nuts and transfer batter to floured loaf pans.
Cook 1 hour, remove from oven, baste top with brandy or rum and let cake cool in the pan on a rack. Store cake in an air tight container, if storing for any length of time, once a week spritz the cake with brandy or rum to keep it moist.