Friday, November 23, 2007

The Big Day!

Wow, what a day! The Turkey coma has set in to most of the family and it was a day to remember. I don’t care who you are, no one is immune from mistakes or mishaps. I myself was almost a victim too. It started off with my oven. My reliable Whirlpool brand gas range that has always done a great job and is only 5 or 6 years old.

My turkey was resting on the counter at room temperature, my homemade stock on the burner cooking away, my onions, carrots and celery sautéing on the stove top when I decided to pre-heat the oven. I knew I had to re-arrange the racks inside so I went to open the door to do so when it happened. No, the door didn’t fall off and no it wasn’t a problem of the oven turning on but what did happen stopped me in my tracks. I pulled the door handle and boom, it wouldn’t open. I pulled again with more force thinking it was hung up on something but no, it had actually locked itself.

What happened you asked? Well, the hook that locks the door when you turn on the self cleaning function decided to arm itself and was trying to deny me my succulent bird. Why? Why, I asked myself of all days would this appliance have an attitude of “I’ll show you!” and put me into a direct point of panic.

First, I pulled harder thinking I could beat the door at its own game but it wouldn’t give. Then I calmed down and thought for a while. Looking through all my tools to see what I could do and finally I found something that could help. Just a long piece of metal that could help me release the hook. It worked and I was totally relieved. I’m not sure why it happened but it did but at least I was able to fix it.

That wasn’t the only thing, since I was now behind schedule I was probably rushing more than I needed to and in doing so realized I forgot to add the apples to my stuffing. Luckily I was able to fix that to before cooking the stuffing while the bird was in the oven.

With all that fun happening during the day at least dinner was a success. I hope your big day was a success too and your recipes went off with a bang! I just purchased a new digital camera so come back regularly for new recipes with some nice pic’s too but I was able to take this pic of the turkey.

Please leave a comment if you happened to try any of the recipes to let me know how they came out or to just leave a comment on what you would like to see on this site.

The Home Chef

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More Recipes from the Thanksgiving menu

I'm doing my best to get the whole menu posted before this evening but it's a little challenging. Here is the Turkey recipe and I'll have more of the menu done by the end of the day. I hope you enjoy this as much as my family has in the past. I'm getting a new digital camera to start loading pictures of these wonderful creations. Enjoy!

Herb Roasted Turkey

1 12 to 14 lb turkey
3 oranges
2 Yellow onions
1 stick unsalted Butter
1 tb each fresh Sage, oregano, thyme finely chopped
Whole sage leaves and thyme for the cavity
1 tb chopped garlic
Salt & Pepper
1 ½ c Chicken broth

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Clean and wash turkey under cold water and pat dry with paper towels completely inside and out. Salt cavities of bird liberally. In a sauce pan melt butter and add chopped herbs. Sauté for about a minute on low, add garlic and sauté for another 30 second or so until the garlic blossoms and releases its wonderful aroma. Take off heat and refrigerate until just jelled and no longer a liquid state.

With turkey on a stable surface take your fingers and open the skin from the meat carefully not ripping any wholes in it. Take half the butter mixture and evenly spread it under the skin and between the breasts. Take the remaining butter mixture and rub it all over the outside of the bird not leaving any large lumps. Quarter the oranges and onions and place inside cavities of bird along with some whole sage and thyme stems. Truss the bird with butchers twine.

Place turkey on a rack in a sturdy roasting pan and put the chicken broth in bottom of pan, put in oven uncovered for 30 minutes. Turn oven down to 300 and place a foil triangle over the breast only and put back in oven. Cook until internal temp reaches 180 (use a probe thermometer between the thigh and breast not touching the bone). Baste a couple of times during the cooking process. Remove the foil during the last 30 minutes and baste again. You will be left with a delicious crispy skin.

Take bird out of oven and tent with foil and let rest for at least 30 minutes before carving, (this is the key to a successfully moist bird).

Note, you could stuff the turkey with my Apple and Sausage stuffing just before cooking too if you prefer this method. I do it both ways. I will remove the stuffing and add it to the rest of the cooked stuffing and mix together…makes a delicious moist stuffing. Recipe: Apple & Sausage Stuffing

Sweet & Savory Roasted Sweet Potatoes

4 lg sweet potatoes chopped in 1 inch cubes
4 tbs honey
2 tbs Cajun seasoning
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

In a large bowl toss potatoes with olive oil to coat. Spread on a large baking sheet lined with non stick foil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning and then drizzle honey over potatoes. Bake at 425 for approximately 25 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender and a little crispy. Put in your favorite serving dish for the table

The Home Chef

Monday, November 19, 2007

Menu recipes for the big day

Here are a couple of the recipes from the menu posted yesterday.

Cranberry Sauce

1 - 12oz bag of fresh Cranberries
1c – sugar
Juice from 2 Naval Oranges (save halves)
1c – water

In a sauce pan squeeze juice from oranges discarding any seeds and saving the halves, add the water and sugar and bring to a boil dissolving the sugar. Once sugar is dissolved add the cranberries and place the squeezed orange halves on top cut side down. Bring back to a boil then reduce to a slow boil (med, heat) and simmer for 10 minutes. Take pan off heat and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to serve. I recommend do 2 days before to let the flavors meld. Before serving, top with a little lemon and orange zest.

Apple & Sausage Stuffing

3 Lf Sourdough bread
2 golden delicious apples peeled, cored and chopped in small chunks
1 lb sage ground sausage
2 lg yellow onion diced (divided)
4 Stalks Celery diced (divided)
4 lg carrots shredded (divided)
2 tbs Italian Seasoning herbs dried
Giblets from turkey
3 clove garlic chopped
3 tbs Olive oil
4c Low sodium Chicken broth
3c water (you can use all chicken broth for a richer stuffing)
Salt and Pepper

Cut bread into 1 inch cubes and crisp in the oven the day before. Day of, in a large Dutch oven heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions, celery and carrots and sauté 3 to 4 minutes until vegetables soften. Add garlic and Italian seasoning herbs and sauté for 30 to 45 seconds until the garlic blossoms (releases it aroma).
Add the giblets, chicken stock and water and salt and pepper, bring to a boil, reduce heat cover and simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours. While stock is simmering, in a separate skillet brown sausage and drain, set aside, melt 2 tbs butter and the divided onions, carrots and celery and saute until soft, add apples and cook down until medium soft. Drain and set aside
Once giblet stock is finished, take out giblets and discard or remove meat from neck and add to the mixture. In a large mixing bowl add the sourdough bread, apples and sausage, strain the stock into another bowl and add the vegetables to the bread mixture. Add enough stock to the bread to moisten richly. Put the stuffing into a lightly buttered casserole dish and cover. Refrigerate until ready to cook. Place in oven (375 degrees) when you remove the turkey from oven and cook for 30 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes and serve with dinner. If stuffing seems a little dry before cooking add more liquid.

Note: if you don't want to go to the trouble of making your own stock, cut the veggies in half and just use heated chicken stock from the store.

This will make enough to stuff your bird if you choose and fill a large casserole pan.


The Home Chef

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thanksgiving Menu

If you’re wondering what kind of menu to serve this Thanksgiving day, here is a sample menu that I have served before. Over the next couple of days I will publish these recipes so you can try them for yourselves. Enjoy!

Holiday Menu:


Humus Dip with Crispy Flat Bread Chips
Cheese Ball and Crackers
Veggies Tray: your favorite combination of fresh veggies
Shrimp Cocktail

Main Menu
Herb Roasted Turkey
Apple & Sausage Stuffing
Spicy Green Bean Casserole
Sweet & Savory Roasted Root Vegetables
Seasoned Gravy from pan drippings
Garlic Chive Mashed Potatoes
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Pie Bread