Posts Tagged ‘turkey’

Leftover Madness: Unrecipe of the Week: Turkey and Biscuits

November 26, 2017


Working our way through all these leftovers is daunting, to say the least. Reliving the Thanksgiving feast just isn’t that appealing to us and with only three unenthusiastic eaters to work on it, too much is sadly going to waste. Last night, in an effort to create dinner from what I had on hand, I threw these together, to positive reviews. They only took about 10 minutes to prep and made a slight dent in the bountiful array of foods filling up my refrigerator.

Not the best photo, but it’s all I could get before they got devoured.

Turkey and Biscuits:
This is the ultimate unrecipe, designed to use what you have, so feel free to be flexible with ingredients.
Saute one finely diced shallot in butter. If you don’t have a shallot, use an onion. Add diced carrot, and celery if you have it, and keep cooking until the shallot is transparent and the carrots are softened. Mix in chunks of cooked turkey, and sprinkle it with cornstarch or flour. Toss until everything is coated, and the flour is no longer visible. Slowly add turkey stock, or chicken broth, bring to a slow boil and stir until thickened. Go easy here. If it isn’t thick enough, mix some of your cornstarch or flour with some hot broth and stir it in. If it gets gloppy, add more broth. At this point, I added some frozen peas. You can add whatever vegetables and herbs you have. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Bonus points if you made this part in an ovenproof skillet and don’t have to wash another dish! Place biscuits on top of the mixture. Mine were already lightly baked, and very high, so I sliced them in half and brushed them with melted butter and little Maldon sea salt, ’cause I’m fancy.
Place in the oven at 350 degrees and bake until the biscuits are hot and browned about 5 minutes. If you don’t have leftover biscuits, you can use the ones from the tube and bake according to directions.
No biscuits, no problem. This filling could go into a traditional pie with a top crust, or atop those frozen puffed pastry shells instead. Baking times will vary according to your pastry preference.


Talking Turkey: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

November 25, 2015


So you’re roasting the turkey this year. What could possibly go wrong? All kinds of things. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few things that might trip you up when cooking a turkey, and some quick solutions:

It’s getting close to dinnertime, and the turkey isn’t done. Or, you simply didn’t get it into the oven on time. It happens.

Solution: Spatchcock it! Spatchcocking is the act of cutting the bird down the spine, and flattening out the two sides.  It’s similiar to butterflying. Once the turkey is split, it cooks in just a couple of hours.
If the turkey has been in the oven for awhile and still isn’t done, try cutting it up, and putting it back in the oven. The pieces will cook much more quickly than the whole bird. As a last resort, slice it and put the slices back into the oven. The turkey should be opaque, and white or light brown in color for the dark meat. Any translucence, or pinkish color means it isn’t cooked through.

So, how do I know when its done?

Answer: Insert a meat thermometer into the thigh. The temperature should register 165 degrees at the deepest point.

But I don’t have a thermometer!

Solution: Wiggle the legs. They should move freely. If they are still tight, they aren’t cooked yet. Also, the juices should run clear. Any blood in the juices means the turkey has not reached a safe temperature to eat yet.

The skin is too brown / the skin is not getting brown.

Solution: If it is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with an aluminuim foil tent. If it not browning enough, crank up the heat for the last half hour or so. If cooking at 425-450 degrees doesn’t do it, try the broiler. Just be sure to rotate the chicken to get all sides nice and crispy.

The turkey is ready, but everything else needs to be reheated.

Tent the turkey in foil and heat up those side dishes. A big bird holds the heat for awhile before its carved. Also, speaking of carving, let it rest at least 20 minutes before slicing. It allows the juices to settle and will yield you moister meat.

One last thought: There is usually a bag of turkey parts tucked inside the cavity of the bird. (It is usually the livers, neck and giblets.) Make sure to remove it before cooking the turkey. It is a rookie mistake, but one we have all done. Except you. Because now you’ve been warned. You’re welcome!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Talking Turkey: Thanksgiving Portion Planning

November 10, 2015


When planning Thanksgiving, it is always difficult to figure out just how much to make of each item. With so many delicious side dishes stealing the show, how much of each is the right amount? We did a little research, and came up with the calculations, so you don’t have to.

Hors d’oeuvres: I struggle with this every year, as I hate for people to fill up on appetizers when the real deal is coming right up. You do need something, so that people aren’t sitting around starving and worse yet, getting drunk before dinner. Consider 3-4 bites per person, or about 3 oz. each for a dip or spread. I often serve shrimp, and some kind of cheese straws or crackers and some spiced nuts to nibble on. I try to keep the preparation simple, since I am already spending two days in the kitchen getting the main meal ready, and don’t want to fuss with appetite spoilers.

Soup: We love to start with a butternut squash or pumpkin soup. The rule of thumb is to make one 8 oz. cup per person, since there is a heavy meal to follow. We serve our soup course in delicate antique teacups and find that is just enough as a prerequisite to the big event.

Turkey: Figure about 1 to 1 -1 /2 pounds per person. Since quite a bit of this is weight comes from bones, this amount should ensure that everyone is well fed and leave you with the requisite leftovers. If the breast meat is the most popular in your home, consider a smaller turkey, and an additional turkey breast to make up the difference. If you buy a boneless breast, consider 8 oz. per person the magic number.

Gravy: Everyone we consulted cautioned against running out of gravy. The Food Network recommends 1/3 cup of gravy per person, and an extra cup for every six people. That means about three cups for every 6 guests.

Potatoes: The quantities varied on this one, so err on the high side if you have potato lovers in the group. Suggestions ranged from 1/2 to 1/3 to even 3/4 pound of potatoes per person. It is probably best to just go with one potato per person regardless of weight. For those giant sweet potatoes and yams, figure 1/2 per person. If you are making both sweet and white potatoes, take that into consideration and err on the smaller amount, as people will likely take a bit of each.

Cranberry Sauce: Our homemade cranberry apple compote, aka Cranberry Jones, is always a hit. Figure 1/3 to 1/2 cup of cranberry sauce per person. We can’t attest to how much of the jellied kind that comes out looking like a can might be consumed.

Stuffing: Figure about 3/4 cups of stuffing for each person. We like to cook some inside the turkey and another batch cooked separately in the oven. People tend to for one or the other, as the consistency is different. The stuffing cooked in the bird is moist, and the other tends to be crisp. To each, his own!

Rolls and biscuits: Go with about 1 1 /2 rolls per person, unless they are homemade, in which case I would consider 2 per person. I usually round it off, depending on the yield of the recipe. For 10 people, 18 rolls or biscuits should be fine.

Salad and Vegetables: With everything else going on, this category seems to get left behind. I always make the mistake of dressing a large salad, only to toss it at the end of the evening. Where I would normally figure a large handful of greens per person, with a couple of extras for good luck, others recommend just one ounce of greens should do the trick. For other vegetables, the magic number seems to be about 4 oz. per person. That means a pound of green beans will feed about 4 guests.

Pies and Cakes: While one pie yeilds about 8 slices, this is the time to aim high. My daughter always requests an extra pumpkin pie for the next day, when she and her grandfather eat it for breakfast. I usually offer a few desserts, but the pies seem to be the highlight on Thanksgiving. For 8-10 guests, make sure to have 2 pies.

With all the dietary issues people have, take that into consideration when planning. The vegetarians won’t touch the turkey, but they will likely consume more of the side dishes. Gluten free types won’t be indulging in rolls, pie or stuffing, but they may make up for it in by eating more of other foods. It is easy to be accommodating, if you plan ahead. While there is plenty to eat regardless of your diet, and I don’t think additional dishes are necessary, it is nice to use vegetable broth in the side dishes instead of chicken broth, if you are hosting vegetarians. One year, I took a scoop of every side dish as I was cooking and made that portion vegan. The guest was very grateful and able to enjoy the foods of the season and feel like they were part of the festivities. Nobody is expecting gluten free pies and breads, but the bulk of the side dishes should be edible for the gluten free crowd. Consider using corn starch instead of flour, or setting aside some gravy before it is thickened to accommodate their diet.

Photo: Glasshouse Images

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Kitchen Tips Tuesday: Let’s Talk Turkey

November 25, 2014


Let’s talk turkey. It’s time to dispel the myth that turkey is dry. Oh it can be. Buy a cheap frozen bird, stick it in a hot oven and cook it to buggery. That’s how you get a dry turkey.

But we all prefer a moist, juicy and flavorful bird at our house, so I’m here to tell you how to get it.
I’ve mentioned before that the quality of the actual turkey itself is important to the outcome. I get my free range turkey from DiPaola Turkey Farm, which I pick up at the Union Square Greenmarket the day before Thanksgiving. If you have an opportunity to get a fresh, free range turkey, it is well worth the extra money. If you have already started thawing a frozen bird, there is still hope.

On Thanksgiving day, take the turkey from the refrigerator, rinse it inside and out, and pat it dry. There is usually a little bag of giblets, liver etc. inside the turkey. Make sure you take that out!!( Not to be vulgar, but check both ends for goodie bags.) You don’t want to cook a turkey that is still icy, so allow a good 20 minutes or so for the turkey to sit before cooking.

Rub the turkey with garlic and herb butter, making sure to slide a good amount between the skin and the meat. * Reserve some herb butter for the gravy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. If you are stuffing the bird, do it now, making sure that the stuffing mixture is moist enough, so that it doesn’t try to draw all juices from the turkey while it cooks. Tuck the wings under and tie the legs with cooking twine if necessary. I usually make a ball of aluminum foil and tuck it at the outside of the cavity to keep the stuffing in, and prevent it from overcooking where it is exposed.

Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, and place a couple of stalks of celery, carrots and an onion, peeled and cut into large chunks. Add a little chicken or turkey stock to the pan, to get things started. Keeping the bottom of the pan moist throughout the cooking process not only gives you liquid for basting, but also creates delicious pan juices to make gravy with. ( We will talk about gravy tomorrow, so stay tuned!) We start the process with 1 cup of white wine, and 1 cup of broth in the pan.

Place the turkey in the oven and roast at 350 degrees. Roast for 1 hour, and then cover it  loosely with foil. Every hour or so, pour a little more broth and white wine over the turkey and continue to roast covered. Cook until a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 165 degrees. If it is not golden brown, remove the foil for the last 30-60 minutes of cooking.

Once the turkey’s internal temperature is reached, take it out of the oven, remove the stuffing, cover it with foil and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes before carving.
Do not throw away the pan juices or vegetables yet…we will use them for the gravy!Spoiler alert: Buy 2 pounds of mushrooms.

Place the stuffing in an oven proof dish and pop it back into the oven to keep warm.

A free range turkey is leaner and will cook faster than a conventional, previously frozen turkey. Don’t wait for the red timer to pop up before starting to check the temperature. By then, it could be over cooked! Start taking the turkey’s temperature at the earlier side of the estimated cook time, and judge from there. A good indicator of doneness is that the legs and wings should start to move freely and easily when jiggled, and the juices should run clear when the bird is pricked. A fresh, unstuffed turkey will take about 12 minutes per pound to cook, and a defrosted turkey could take closer to 20 minutes per pound. Allow a little extra cook time if the turkey is stuffed.

A guideline for roasting times:

10-18 pound turkey will cook for 3 to 3 1/2 hours unstuffed, and about 3 3/4 to 4 1/2 hours stuffed.

18-22 pounds will take about 3 1/2 to 4 hours unstuffed and 4 1/2 to 5 hours stuffed.

22- 24 pounds will take about 4 to 4 1/2 hours unstuffed and about 5 to  5 1/2 hours stuffed.

Click here for our garlic and herb butter recipe, which can be make ahead. If you waited until the last minute to read this, you can use several cloves of finely minced raw garlic instead. It will mellow a bit as the turkey cooks.

Stay tuned for our gravy recipe. It’s worth waiting for!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Giving Thanks, Eating Well

November 28, 2013


Today is the big day. It’s like the Superbowl of Eating. If you are health conscious, t’s not a bad idea to have a strategy in place. Here are a few tips and facts to guide you through the feast:

Don’t starve yourself all day in anticipation of the extra calories. Chances are, you will be miserable, and then over binge later.Have small, light meals during the day to keep your strength up, and calories down.

Load up your plate with the healthiest stuff: turkey, salad, vegetables, etc. Pre-game nibbles, like shrimp, hummus and vegetables with dip are better choices than starchy, cheesy appetizers.

We are having a non- creamy soup to begin, followed by a seasonal salad with a dried cranberry vinaigrette. Those types of foods should take the edge off, leaving you less ravenous for the main meal.

Decide what your very favorite dishes are, and take a portion of those first. Skip the others, or just take a little taste of them. Fill the rest of your plate with turkey and clean vegetable side dishes if possible. Creamy casseroles are not healthy diet choices regardless of what the main component of them is, but if you love gratineed squash, go ahead and indulge. It’ s Thanksgiving for goodness sake!

Sweet potatoes, are better choices than white potatoes.

Pumpkin pie is higher in vitamins and lower in calories than pecan pie. I can’t imagine how many calories are in the chocolate pecan tart with salted caramel and whipped cream, but I hope my guests will enjoy it regardless! If that’s your thing, have a small slice and enjoy it.

Move a little after your meal. Go for a walk, help with the dishes, or dance if the mood strikes. Moving around will aid in digestion, leaving you less bloated and sluggish the next day.

Remember that it takes 3500 extra calories to make a pound. Chances are, one meal, however outrageous it may be,  will not make a significant difference in your weight. To relieve the bloat, workout the next day, eat healthfully, and drink lots of water.

Thanksgiving is a time to be reflective about all of the blessings in your life. Don’t beat yourself up over indulging. Instead be grateful for the wonderful food, and the friends and family you shared it with. Tomorrow is a new day!

Happy Thanksgiving to all our supportive readers!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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Thanksgiving Menu

November 25, 2013

We are on the home stretch of Thanksgiving planning, and after a whirlwind month of working, I finally got around to taking my own advice and made my Thanksgiving game plan. Using mostly tried and true recipes, which are contemporary twists on traditional fare, here is my menu:Many of these recipes have been posted before, so just click on the link to take you there!


Thanksgiving Dinner 2013:

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Creme Fraiche

Cheddar Corn Muffins with Jalapeno Butter

Arugula, Radicchio and Fennel Salad with Toasted Pecans and Cranberry Vinaigrette

Garlic and Herb Roasted Turkey with Mushroom Gravy

Bread and Vegetable Stuffing, Cooked 2 Ways

Hot Cranberry and Apple Compote ( we call it Cranberry Jones!)

Roasted Sweet Potato and Banana Puree with Pecan Crumble

Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic

Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Cream

Chocolate Marscapone Cheesecake

Salted Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie

For a tutorial on making the perfect pie crust, click here.

Stay tuned this week, as we countdown the days until Thanksgiving, with cooking tips and recipes for the big day.

Photo: Glasshouse Images ( that’s actually our turkey made last Thanksgiving!)

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Snack Your Way to Sleep

July 3, 2013

1820900101Much has been written lately on nighttime eating. While conventional wisdom advises against p.m. snacking, new information has arisen that may shed some new light on the situation.

While eating a heavy meal and going straight to bed is not a wise idea, eating a low calorie snack before bed could be advisable. What you eat, not when you eat it, could be the key to healthy bedtime eats.

Foods high in a naturally occurring chemical called tyramine, help to regulate blood pressure, but are shown to interfere with sleep. These foods include highly processed meats, aged cheeses, and soy sauce. Fatty foods also take longer to digest, causing difficulties in sleeping.

Foods high in tryptophan, the amino acid found in turkey and often blamed for Thanksgiving sleepiness, are good choices. Foods with high mineral content, such as the magnesium found in nuts, the potassium in bananas and calcium in low fat milk or yogurt, encourage muscles to relax, and promote sleep.

The links between sleep and maintaining a healthy weight are well documented. Eating the right foods at the right times (and avoiding the wrong ones) can be a catalyst for a good night’s sleep.

Sweet dreams!!!

photo: Glasshouse Images

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CSA Tuesday + Unrecipe Round-Up

November 21, 2012

Our weekly CSA provided lots of Thanksgiving ingredients. We got sweet potatoes, carrots, red potatoes, onions, a giant pumpkin and cilantro.

I have already started preparing our Thanksgiving meal!

Our weekly list from fresh from the farm:

Pumpkin pie,anyone?

The baskets of produce ready to be distributed:

Here are a  few of our previously published favorite Thanksgiving “unrecipes:” Search the site for even more ideas!

Pumpkin Pie:

Roasted Garlic and Herb Paste for the Turkey:

Honey Banana Sweet Potatoes: no marshmallows for me!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Enjoy!

Hot Cranberry Jones:


Unrecipe of the Week / Thanksgiving Edition

November 22, 2010

Here is a delicious paste of roasted garlic and fresh rosemary to rub under the skin of the turkey or added to the gravy for a rich, vibrant flavor.

Trim the ends off of 6 full heads of garlic and drizzle them with olive oil. Roast in a 350 degree oven in a glass dish covered with foil for about 1 ½ hours, or until the garlic is soft but not yet brown.
Cool, and squeeze the cloves to remove the garlic from the peel.

Place them in the food processor and add ½ stick of butter, 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard, and a liberal amount of salt and pepper. Process until it becomes a semi-smooth paste. Cover and chill until ready to use.

I tuck a little under the skin of the turkey, and rub some all over the bird before roasting. I also reserve some for the gravy. Yum!


Unrecipe of the Week/ The Aftermath

November 27, 2009

The big Thanksgiving meal is over, the dishes are done and the tryptophan induced nap has been taken. Now, what?

How about turning all of that leftover turkey into something a bit more inspiring than a sandwich? Here is a simple recipe for crepes, with several ideas for fillings. Let you imagination and your leftovers lead the way……

Turkey Crepes

for the batter:

1 cup flour

pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups milk

3 eggs

vegetable oil (not olive oil!) for frying the crepes

Put all ingredients into the blender and mix until completely blended.

Let it stand in the refrigerator to thicken slightly, to become the consisitancy of heavy cream. If the batter becomes too thick, add a little more milk.

Brush  a small frying pan or crepe pan with oil and heat on the stove. Add a little batter to the hot pan, and swirl it until it is covered. You want as thin a crepe as possible. When the crepe is dry on top and the bottom is slightly brown, flip it over carelfully. Consider the first crepe or two a trial, as you figure out the correct pan temperature and the amount of batter needed. They are actually quite easy to make, once you get the hang of it!

Filling ideas:

Saute  minced garlic and mushrooms until soft and browned. Sprinkle with flour and continue to saute until vegetables are coated. Add 1 can of chicken broth and a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of heavy cream to the pan, and stir until thickened slightly.Toss in a shot of sherry if desired. Add in shredded turkey, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Top with a little shredded gruyere cheese.

Shred turkey and mix with gravy.

Shred turkey and cranberry sauce.

Saute garlic, onions and vegetables of choice (broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms etc,) Add in the shredded turkey and some shredded cheese of choice (cheddar,  gruyere or parmesean). Top with the shredded cheese before baking.

To bake:

Place filling in crepe about 1/3 of the way up from the bottom. Roll the crepe tightly but gently so it doesn’ tear.  Place in a greased oven proof pan and heat through.


photo: Spencer Jones/Glasshouse Images

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