Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

These days, I really look forward to Thanksgiving. My mother-in-law is the designated chef for this holiday. She has had a party on this day forever. It works out perfectly. Since this is an American holiday, I don’t have the tradition of eating turkey and stuffing. I make my own versions. A friend told me one year when I made my orange marinated turkey breast that “it is not ok to cook it like that!” It is supposed to be a whole turkey first of all, not just the breast. And not to serve stuffing and pumpkin pie??? My god, what a crime.

When I first came to the US, I didn’t celebrate it at all. I remember one year, I went to the movies with a co-worker. It turned out to be a little turkey celebration since we saw the horrible George Clooney movie, “Solange.” That must have been rated one turkey so I guess it was appropriate for the season.

*

Orange & Whiskey marinated Turkey breast.

8-10 servings.

1 turkey breast, about 2-4 pounds (or cut up turkey pieces.)

Marinade;

1/2 c. Whiskey (or Cognac if you so prefer).

2/3 c. red wine or port wine (red or white).

1/4 c. soy sauce (I prefer organic soy sauce with less sodium).

3 tbsp light oil.

1″ fresh ginger-sliced or 1 tsp. dried ginger.

2 tbsp. honey.

Fresh herbs. Sage, Thyme or Parsley. About 1 tbsp of each, coarsely chopped.

Hot pepper to taste (optional).

Glaze (optional);

1/4 c. orange marmalade.

Directions;

Mix the marinade directly in a ziplock bag (plastic bag). Let the turkey or turkey  parts sit in the marinade for at least 2 hours. If you use a breast, 6 hours or even over night is good if you have that extra time.

You can either bake the whole breast or just cut slices/chops. For the chops, quickly sear them on both sides. Add to an oven proof dish.

Pour the marinade over the turkey. Bake in a 350 F degree (175 c) oven. Cook until the internal temperature of the turkey measures 165 F degrees (65-67 c). For the breast that would take about 1 1/2 hour. Be sure to cook the bird all the way through. I think it is really good and smart to cut the marinated breast into slices/chops and just quickly sear them on both sides and then bake them in the marinade in the oven for about 15 minutes or until done. It becomes a little more moist. The meat has also more taste in general. You can “glaze” the turkey the very last few minutes by brushing some orange marmalade on top of it. It makes it get a nice color.

If you would like, take some of the left over sauce from cooking the turkey and boil it down with some more of the Whiskey and a splash of the port wine. You can also add a little very finely chopped onion. Pour on top of the finished plating.

Serve the turkey breast on top of a pumpkin “ring.” I used an Acorn pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin into approximately 3/4″ slices. Roast in the oven on 350 F (175 c.) until soft.

You can brush a little butter on the cut sides for the pumpkin to get a beautiful golden brown color.

Use the pumpkin ring as a mold for the stuffing.

Stuffing;

Equal parts cut up carrots, celery & leeks (onion works as well). About 1/2 c. of each.

6 slices of good bacon. Thick slices if possible. Cut into smaller cubes.

1 c.cubed good French bread or some kind of farmers bread. (I try to always use whole wheat or organic bread). Lightly toast the bread in the oven. (Just to dry it out. Stale breads works great).

A small handful of dried cranberries.

A splash of port wine.

A splash of whiskey (Cognac).

Fresh herbs. Sage, Thyme or Parsley. About 1 tbsp of each, coarsely chopped. You can of course add more if you would like to.

Salt & pepper to taste.

A squeeze of orange juice. (Plus the rind/zest of the orange just squeezed optional).

1/2 c. good beef stock.

Directions;

Cut up the carrots, onions and celery. Cut up the bacon. Fry in a skillet until almost done.

Add the rest of the ingredients. Keep stirring.

You can also bake it off in the oven for about 5-7 minutes. Personally I don’t do that. I just use the skillet.

Put the pumpkin ring on a plate. Add the stuffing. Finish off with a few slices of the turkey breast. Add a little of the sauce on top. Decorate with a little fresh herbs. I used sage this time.

Enjoy!

*

Toasted Pumpkin seeds.

The seeds from the pumpkins you just roasted.

A pinch of ground cinnamon.

A pinch of ground ginger.

A pinch of ground Cayenne pepper.

Salt is optional.

Directions;

Clean the seeds from any pumpkin “meat.”

Dry roast in a frying pan on medium-low heat (you don’t want to burn them).

When done, sprinkle a little ground cinnamon, ground ginger, dried cayenne pepper (salt is optional).

Serve as a snack with drinks or just as something before dinner.

*

*

*

*

We have a grape plant in our back yard. Every year, I plan on making a wreath for the house. And every year I forget. But not this year! I finally did it. It is easy. You cut off the branches and start twisting them over each other. Take off the leaves but let the little  sprouting “cork screws” stay on the branches. Make sure to overlap and not start and stop at the same place. You can add little berries, nuts, bows or whatever you feel like.

*

*

**

“In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

Thanksgiving Day is traditionally a day for families and friends to get together for a special meal. The meal often includes a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, pumpkin pie, and vegetables. Thanksgiving Day is a time for many people to give thanks for what they have.

Thanksgiving Day parades are held in some cities and towns on or around Thanksgiving Day. One of the biggest ones is the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade in New York city. Some parades or festivities also mark the opening of the Christmas shopping season. Some people have a four-day weekend so it is a popular time for trips and to visit family and friends.”

*

*

And finally…

“Eat a turkey, don’t be one…”

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

*

Read Full Post »

If you make the presentation interesting, it doesn’t really matter what it is you are serving, as long as it tastes good.

I try to come up with different ways of cooking and serving things. Not that it’s always needed, it is just fun.

I have noticed how I am going back to old classic ways of cooking and taking care of produce.

For example, I love to buy meat and grind it up myself. I can control the fat content better and this way I know for a fact, no added strange things has gotten mixed into the ground meat.

One of my favorite things to do with some ground meat is home-made sausages. I just like to change it up a little and not use the regular casings most often used for sausage making. One simple but a little labour intense way is to use corn husks. You just carefully unravel the corn husks (you could of course use dried corn husks as well. Just soak them a little before using them).

I have made two kinds of sausages here. One is made of ground pork the other of ground beef. But as always, you can use any kind of meat for this. Use your imagination.

The pork version has apples, herbs and port wine in them. The beef version contains herbs & cognac.

I use two ways of cooking them. The first is to boil and then pan frying them. The second is to just bake the little packages in the oven. The later is more of a fancy presentation.

I hope you will try to make your own sausages. Either if you make them with regular casings or like this with corn husks, it is fun and not as complicated as one would think. It just takes a little time.


Corn husk sausages.

Beef version;

2 lb ground beef.

1/2 – 1 onion. Finely chopped & fried until translucent.

2 garlic cloves. Finely chopped or shredded.

1/2-1 tbsp. shredded fresh ginger.

2-3 tbsp. good Cognac (Armagnac or Calvados).

1/2 tbsp. dried tomatoes. Finely chopped and soaked in the cognac.

1/2 – 1 tsp. ground coriander seeds.

1/2 tsp. Cayenne pepper (use more if you prefer a sausage with a little “sting”).

1/2 tsp. dried shallots or onion. Finely crushed. Soaked in the Cognac with the dried tomatoes (optional),

Salt & pepper to taste. 

*

Pork version;

2 lb ground pork.

1 onion. Finely chopped & fried until translucent.

1/2 finely grated green apple. (Granny smith preferably because it holds up well.)

2 garlic cloves. Finely chopped or shredded.

2 tbsp. fresh herbs, finely chopped (if you don’t have fresh herbs, use dried. Just use a little less since it gets more intense in taste when dried.)

2-3 tbsp. good Port wine. Red or white.

1 tsp. sweet paprika powder.

1 tsp. crushed dried mushrooms (optional).

1/2 tsp. ground cumin.

1/2 tsp. ground fennel seeds.

Salt & pepper to taste.

Note, when you think that you have used enough spices and herbs, add a little pinch more. You can fry a little bit of the mixture to be sure the amount of ingredients are to your liking. If not, add more of what you missed.

 

*

Directions;

Mix all the ingredients together and set a side for 15-30 minutes. This just so that the flavors will merge better (or to “marry” as they say.)

Take off all the husks from the corn. Let them overlap slightly if they are too small. Add a couple of table spoons of the meat mixture. Form a sauce shape. Start rolling them up. Make sure they are nice and tight. Tie up the ends with some food strings. Boil or bake in the oven. When firm to touch, they are done. Fry on medium high heat in a skillet for color. If baked in the oven, just serve them “as is”.

Serve with any kind of corn salad or just grilled corn on the cob. 

Enjoy!!!

*

These are the steps of preparing the Corn husk Sausages;

* Place them into the corn husks. Overlap the husks if they are not big enough.

*

*

*

*

* Tie them well and tight at the ends.

*

*

*

**

**

*

* Boil on medium heat for about 10 minutes. (They should be firm to touch.)

*

*

*

*

*

*&

*

* When you take them out of the husks after boiling, they will look very pale. This is ok.

*

*

*

*

*

* If I boil the sausages, I usually fry them real fast & hot for them to get some color.

*

*

*

*

*

* If you bake them in the oven, they will be done when the corn husks starts to get a nice brown color. They should also feel firm to touch.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: