Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The "World's Greatest Turkey"


(Copyright © 2009 Someday Gourmet) 

This was delicious!  SO easy. SO moist. :)

Inspired | World's Best Turkey
Prep Time:  30 mins
Cook time:  3 1/2 hours
Difficulty:  Level II
Yield: 1 Turkey

  • 10-12 lb Turkey, fully defrosted
  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened
  • Fresh Herbs (Ex: Rosemary, Thyme, Sage)
  • 1 Apple of your preference
  • 3/4 Bottle of Champagne
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 tbsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp Flour
  • 1 Reynolds® Oven Bag, Turkey Size

Preheat oven to 350 F.

First, remove all jewelry from your hands.

Next add flour to baking bag and shake until the inside is coated.  Place into a roasting pan at least 2" thick.

Wash and quarter the apples and coat in cinnamon, set aside.  Next prepare your herbs by removing stems and finely chopping.  Add herbs to the softened butter and gently mix into a consistent spread.

Remove the neck and giblets from the turkey, wash thoroughly and pat dry.  Gently loosen the skin and rub the butter mixture under the skin.  Sprinkle salt and pepper on the skin and stuff the apples inside of the turkey.  Tie the legs together with kitchen twine (optional).

Place the turkey into roasting bag and pour the champagne over the turkey, inside and out.  Close and tie the bag and cut 6 1/2 inch slits in the top for ventilation.  Insert meat thermometer through bag into thickest part of inner thigh, not touching bone. Tuck ends of bag in pan.

Roast for 3 hours and 30 minutes in the roasting bag or until meat thermometer reads 180°F.

IMPORTANT! Let stand for 20 minutes before cutting.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Chef's Notes
  • The skin will crisp up inside of the baking bag so there is no need to "brown".  Removing from the baking bag early may cause legs and wings to dry out.
  • After finished cooking, thicken the juices with flour to make a delightful gravy.  Consider adding allspice to the gravy for more flavor.
More Photos

    Sunday, November 22, 2009

    Maple Boubon Pecan Pie

    (Copyright © 2009 Someday Gourmet) 

     Inspired by:  Suzanne McMinn
    Prep Time:  30 minutes
    Cook Time:  45 minutes
    Difficulty:  Level III
    Yield:  1 Pie

    • 3 eggs
    • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup bourbon (Makers Mark in this household)
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup butter, melted
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 1/4 cups pecan halves

    Mom's Pie Crust

    Coming soon...


    Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.

    [Insert pie crust instructions]

    Next, create the filling by first whisking the eggs lightly and then adding maple syrup, bourbon, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Pour in the pecan halves and stir. Pour filling into pastry-lined pie plate.

    Bake the pie on the bottom oven rack at 350-degrees for 40-45 minutes.

    Old-Fashioned Cornbread Dressing

    (Copyright © 2009 Someday Gourmet) 

    Inspired by: Suzanne McMinn
    Prep Time: 20 mins. 
    Cook Time: 60 mins.
    Difficulty:  Level I
    Yield: 12 servings 

    • 7 cups cornbread stuffing (a large bag)
    • 3 cups white bread, cubed
    • 2 cups celery, chopped
    • 3 cups onions, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
    • 2 tablespoon salt
    • 1/2 cup butter, melted
    • 3 cups chicken broth
    • 1 cup water
    • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
    Preheat oven to 350 F.  Place the bread on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 5 minutes or until tips are slightly toasted.  Remove and set aside.

    Saute the chopped celery and onions in a tablespoon of butter for 5 minutes or until softened.  Place the crumbled cornbread in a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup of broth and 1 cup water and stir until moist.  Add in onions and celery then cover with toasted white bread pieces.  Add salt and poultry seasoning.  Pour the melted butter and 2 cups of stock over all the ingredients and gently mix thoroughly.  Add more seasoning to taste.

    Be sure to do all of your taste-testing before adding the eggs. Once you are done with the seasoning, add the eggs and mix well.

    Spoon mixture into a greased 9 x 13 casserole pan and spread evenly.  Bake at 350-degrees for 30 minutes, covered with foil. Take the cover off and bake an additional 30 minutes until slightly crisp.

    Stove-top Cranberry Sauce

    (Copyright © 2009 Someday Gourmet) 

    Inspired by: AllRecipes - Cranberry Sauce I
    Prep Time: 25-35 mins. (w/ cooling time) 
    Cook Time: 15 mins.
    Difficulty:  Level I
    Yield: 12 servings

    • 1/2 cup White Sugar
    • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
    • 1 cup Orange Juice
    • 1 (12 ounce) package fresh Cranberries
    • 1/3 tsp fresh orange zest (optional)
    • Dash of Ground Cinnamon

    In a medium saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the orange juice. Stir in the cranberries, cinnamon, and orange zest and bring the mixture to a boil.  Let it gently boil for about 10-12 minutes then turn off the stove and allow it to stand on the hot burner for at least 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving bowl.

    Chef's Notes
    • The sauce may need to cool for 20-30 minutes before serving to solidify.
    • 1 Cup white sugar can be used instead of half and half mixture.
    • Garnish with a few sprigs of orange rind using your grater.

    Classic Green Bean Casserole

    (Copyright © 2009 Someday Gourmet) 
    This dish is my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner, hands down. If you enjoy green bean casserole as much as I do, this classic "French's" recipe is sure to please!

    Inspired by:  FRENCH'S Green Bean Casserole
    Prep Time: 10 mins.
    Cook Time: 35 mins.
    Difficulty:  Level I
    Yield: 6 servings

    • 1 (10 3/4 oz.) can Cream of Mushroom Soup
    • 3/4 cup milk 
    • 1/8 tsp. salt
    • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
    • 2 (9 oz. each) pkgs. frozen cut green beans, thawed
    • 1 1/3 cups FRENCH'S® Original French Fried Onions

    Mix soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2 -qt. baking dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup French Fried Onions. 
    Bake at 350°F for 30 min. or until hot.
    Stir. Top with remaining 2/3 cup onions. Bake 5 min. until onions are golden.

    Chef's Notes
    • You may substitute 2 cans (14 1/2 oz. each) cut green beans, drained or 4 cups fresh, cooked cut green beans.
    • Add chopped pieces of fried ham steak or fully cooked bacon for country style green beans.
    • I always prefer to use fresh cracked black pepper and a basic disposable pepper grinder/spice jar combos is a great way to do it.

    Thanksgiving Appetizers: Sausage Pinwheels Recipe

    Prep Time: 15 mins.

    Cook Time: 12-16 mins.
    Difficulty:  Level I
    Yield: 12 pieces

    • 1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls
    • 1/2 pound uncooked bulk pork sausage
    • 2 tablespoons minced chives
    Unroll crescent roll dough on a lightly floured surface; press seams and perforations together. Roll into a 14-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Spread sausage to within 1/2 in. of edges. Sprinkle with chives. Carefully roll up from a long side; cut into 12 slices. Place 1 in. apart in an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 375° for 12-16 minutes or until golden brown.

    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    Thanksgiving Dinner Planning

    Next week we are hosting Thanksgiving for the very first time and I am excited to finally get a chance to try my hand at turkey and all the fix-ins.  I am thankful to have the guidance of my Mother-in-Law, a veteran holiday chef, and we are currently in the process of planning the menu and holding dessert negotiations ;)

    Here's the menu so far:
    • Sausage Pinwheel Appetizers
    • "World's Greatest Turkey" stuffed with Apples & Roasted in Champagne coated with Garlic & Savory Herbs
    • Country Cornbread Stuffing with Sauteed Onions
    • Scratch Turkey Gravy (A given!)
    • Mashed Russet Potatoes
    • Classic Green Bean Casserole with French's Fried Onion Topping
    • Fresh Stove-top Cranberry sauce
    • Desserts TBD (this chef has a vote out for Bourbon Pecan Pie)
    Can't wait for all this goodness!  Recipes and photos coming soon...

    Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Baked Herb Encrusted Chicken Parmesan

    (Copyright © 2009 Someday Gourmet)

    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Difficulty:  Level II
    Yield: 3-4 servings

    • 2 large boneless skinless Chicken Breasts
    • 1 cup of your favorite Marinara or red sauce
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh Mozzarella (about 8 slices) or 1 bag of shredded
    • 1 egg
    • 1/4 cup fat free half&half, cream or milk
    • 1 tablespoon chopped basil

    • 1 1/2 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried finely chopped thyme
    • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried finely chopped rosemary
    • 1 teaspoon or to taste red pepper flakes
    Preheat the oven to 375.

    Add the egg to a medium bowl and beat excessively with a fork.  No lumps allowed!  Stir in the cream/milk and set aside.  Next mix the 6 coating ingredients together in a shallow bowl or pie pan.  Last, grease a 11x9 baking pan.

    Wash and prepare chicken breasts, removing all excess fat and skin.  Butterfly each breast of chicken by placing it flat on the cutting board and slowly cutting through it sideways.  Begin along the largest side edge and work length ways down the piece (be sure to use a freshly sharpen knife).  Cut each breast into 2 (or more pieces) to make more servings.

    Dip each piece of chicken into the egg mixture, let excess drip off, and coat each side with breadcrumb mixture.  Arrange in the greased pan and repeat for each piece of chicken.  Bake in the middle of the oven at 350 for 20 minutes.

    After 20 minutes, remove from oven and preheat oven to Broil (Hi). Spoon red sauce over each piece of chicken and spread cheese evenly over each piece of chicken.  Broil chicken for 5-6 minutes until melted and starting to brown.

    Sprinkle basil on top and serve immediately.

    Editor's Notes
    • If available, place the chicken on a roasting rack inside of the baking pan for the first 20 minutes to allow the bottom to crisp as well
    • For extra crunch, substitute coarsely crushed corn flakes for the breadcrumbs

    Monday, November 2, 2009

    Orange-Balsamic Glazed Chicken over Baby Spinach & Arugula Greens

    (Copyright © 2009 Someday Gourmet)

    Inspired by: Rachael Ray
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 20 minutes
    Difficulty:  Level III
    Yield: 4 servings

    • 2 tablespoons canola or other high smoke tolerance oil
    • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts or any combination of light and dark meat
    • 1 stalk of broccoli - soaked and cut into florets
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
    • 2 teaspoons fresh or dried rosemary
    • 2/3 cup orange marmalade
    • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken stock
    • 2 scallions, whites and greens, finely chopped
    • 4 cups baby arugula and spinach leaves

    In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high to high heat.

    Season the chicken liberally with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. When the oil is hot and ripples, add the chicken and brown for 5 minutes, then turn and sprinkle with rosemary. Add the broccoli and cook together with the chicken until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes more. Remove from pan and cover with foil to keep warm.

    In a small bowl, stir together the marmalade, vinegar and stock and pour into frying pan used for chicken. Bring to boil and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until the sauce begins to thickened and become a glaze. Slice the chicken and return to pan along with the scallions and cook for a minute longer until thoroughly coated.

    Arrange greens on a serving platter and top with the chicken and broccoli.  Drizzle the extra sauce over the dish and serve.

    Chef's Notes
    • The use of the right oil is key. You need to get it nice and hot to properly cook the chicken and a low smoke point oil will smoke up your kitchen in a hurry.
    • I always use low sodium stocks. You can always add salt later but you can't undo an over-salted sauce!
    • During the reduction, be sure to stir the sauce constantly and to scrap the bottom. The sugar from the marmalade can burn quickly if left unattended.

    Chicken Breasts With Orange-Balsamic Glaze on FoodistaChicken Breasts With Orange-Balsamic Glaze

    Sunday, November 1, 2009

    It's Official: I'm going to be Culinary Arts Student!

    I recently discovered that my undergraduate Alma mater, the University of Richmond, offers a Culinary Arts Certificate Program through their School of Continuing Studies.  After careful consideration and a few nights of psyching myself up, I have decided to enroll in the 13 session program!  My goal is to graduate by June 2011 but we'll have to see how that goes...

    The Program

    The first course and prerequisite for the rest of the offerings is called "Tools of the Trade" which will take an in-depth look at the equipment and ingredient staples you'll find in a professional kitchen.  I have enrolled in the November 20th session and can't wait!  More details will follow once I've taken it.

    After that course, I will get to take 4 "core" courses of my choice and then 4 additional electives of my choice.  I plan to focus on the savory verses the sweet taking courses such as "Stocks and Sauces", "Herbs & Spices", and "Fish and Shellfish Identification, Prep, Cookery"

    At the end of the program I will be reviewed by a certified chef and then participate in a graduation ceremony :)  I will also then be eligible to take Advanced Special Series courses that focus on specific cuisines.

    The Wrap-up

    I am not really sure where all of this will take me but I am very excited to get started and learn everything I can.  It will be great exposure to the world of culinary arts and give me some experience to point to as I begin to try and venture into this big bad world of gourmet cooking.  Thank you for joining me along this journey and wish me luck!
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