The BIG DAY is coming soon. For me, this is the biggest day of the year. Why?
1. It’s right after my son’s birthday, once only ONE day after
2. It’s right before or on Spane’s Dad’s birthday
3. It’s the first of the holidays where family and friends get together
4. It’s right before Advent
5. It’s the day that everyone expects to have really good food Continue reading →
In Act 5, Scene 1, of Shakespear’s The Tempest, King Alonso asks his jester, Trinculo, “How camest thou in this pickle?” And the drunk Trinculo – who has indeed gotten into trouble – responds “I have been in such a pickle since I saw you last …”
The meat tastes great on a summer day. The redder the better, I say!
The black seeds can be salted and baked in the oven for about 10 minutes to make something very similar to sunflower seeds, only you eat the whole thing. You cannot get the black seeds in a seedless watermelon, however, so you may have to go to an organic or farmer’s market to find them.
The juice of the watermelon makes a fine drink when filtered through a very fine mesh. Pantyhose work very well for this, clean of course!
The rinds make delicious pickles, so you can have watermelon with your roast pork in the winter time when summer is only a warm memory. The best rinds are from the larger melons, usually the ones with seeds, so if you want good pickles, you might want to get melon with seeds.
Usually, when I make sauce for artichokes, I get one of the Knoor soup mixes and add it to a container of sour cream. But lately, I have been more interested in “deconstructing” whatever I usually get in a package and make it from scratch. I feel that making things from scratch I can at least know what’s going in, including the lack of rat feces and other nasties!
So the other day, I was craving chips and onion dip. I didn’t have any Lipton Onion Soup, so I had to make my own. It wasn’t difficult. The only things I needed were dehydrated onion, beef stock, and sour cream.
A word about sour cream. Don’t use anything that is more than cultured grade A cream – gelatin, gum and other ingredients make for a terrible end product.
Making the dip was easy. I mixed the ingredients together, waited about 30 minutes for the onions to absorb some of the moisture and had a ball!
Deconstructed Onion Dip
1 tbsp Dehydrated Chopped or Minced Onions
1 tsp Better than Bouillon Beef Base
1 1/2 cups Sour Cream
Combine all the ingredients, being especially careful to incorporate all the beef base. Put the dip in a nice serving dish, cover and refrigerate at least a half an hour before serving.
Artichoke Garlic Dip
So, when I didn’t have Knorr soup mix, my first thought was to do this again, and here’s my recipe:
1 Garlic glove
1/2 teaspoon Dried basil
1/2 teaspoon Smokey sweet pepper
1/8 teaspoon Mustard powder
1 pinch White pepper
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Sour cream
Put the garlic and the dry ingredients into a small food processor. Process until the garlic is completely minced. Add the mayonnaise, pulse, and then add the sour cream. You can adjust the seasoning by adding more sour cream. Remove from processor to serving bowl and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
I didn’t go to my Grandmother’s for Thanksgiving. My mother and I usually cooked a Cornish hen and left it at that. When my mother died, I moved in with my Aunt Georgia, my Grandmother and Grandfather. This is when I discovered really good turkey, the way turkey was supposed to be.
Every other time I had had turkey, it looked and tasted like my budgie’s cuttle bone. Seriously, I did not know why anyone would want to present something as nasty as that for a holiday all about giving thanks. What? You’re thankful that you don’t have to eat that?
I was curious at fifteen, and I liked to cook, so I hung around with my grandmother while she made the feast. The first thing I noticed was this strange pink colored oven thing that was in the middle of the kitchen. It had a little metal stand that it rested on. It also had a big red button and a dial to control the heat.
For years, I searched in vain for a gadget like this – I finally stumbled upon one in an antique shop on Western Avenue, where they also had a few unrestored Wedgewood stoves. I was finally able to find out what it was called – a Nesco.
One day, watching QVC because nothing else was on, and there was no Internet at that time, I saw a four quart Nesco and decided to order it. When it arrived I was so thrilled! It was too small to cook a turkey, but a nice chicken definately fit. It also made a mean meatloaf.
The thing that I really loved about my Nesco was that I could use it in the summer time without heating up my kitchen. I could use it to keep foods warm, and I would put fried chicken in it to make sure that it was completely cooked. I loved my little Nesco, and when we moved and it got lost, I was crest fallen.
However, I have always felt that every cloud has a silver lining, so losing the small one meant I could get a large one like my grandmother had. I found a used eighteen quart with the buffet service on Ebay and bought it.
My “new” Nesco arrived just before Thanksgiving, just in time to roast the turkey. It was very flavorful, moist and juicy, but, it did not have the nice crispy skin that my grandmother’s had had.
The next year, I tried a different approach. When I was nine years old, my mother asked me to put a roast of beef in the oven before she got home from work. I didn’t know any better, and I put the oven on to 450 degrees. After fifteen minutes or so, I could smell it and thought maybe the temperature was too high, so I lowered it to 300. It turned out perfect, moist and juicy. Starting it at high heat had seared the meat, sealing in the juices. From then on, I did that with anything I roasted, including turkeys.
I could do that in the Nesco, too, but it would still not have the crispy skin, so I came up with a new plan. First I would brine the turkey, then inject it with seasonings, then I would put it in a regular pan and put it in a 450 oven for 15 minutes, and then transfer it to the Nesco.
Wow! What a bird that was! It had the nicely browned, crispy skin from being in the oven, and was moist and juicy from being roasted in the Nesco.
Recipe: Turkey in a Nesco with Injection and Rub
15 pounds Turkey brined and washed
— Injection —
1 tablespoon Olive oil divided
1/4 cup Chicken broth
1 teaspoon Cooking Sherry
1 tablespoon Chopped Herbs see below
— Rub —
1 tablespoon Chopped Herbs
1 tablespoon Olive oil
— Chopped Herbs —
6 leaves Sage fresh
1 sprig Rosemary fresh
1 teaspoon Marjoram dried
1 teaspoon Thyme dried
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence dried
— Stuffing —
1 bunch Celery bottom root and tops only
2 Onion skins and roots only
1 Apple whole
Brine the turkey the day before – remove giblets and neck and reserve for the cat.
— Chopped Herbs —
Chop up the fresh herbs with the dried herbs. You will need half for this recipe and half for the rub.
— Rub —-
Add half the chopped herbs to olive oil and stir. Set aside.
— Injection —
Heat the herbs in the broth over low heat just until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Cool. Strain and add liquid to olive oil. Set aside. You could add the remaining herbs to the rub.
— Preparation —
Preheat oven to 500. Have a roasting pan ready that will hold the Nesco removable roasting rack. Put the roasting rack in the Nesco pan. Put the onion skins in the cavity, and put the apple and celery bottom in the neck cavity. Put some of the liquid in the injector and start injecting the turkey all over the breast, thigh, legs and wings. Brush the turkey all over with the rub. Now, take the turkey with the rack and put it in the roasting pan.
Turn the Nesco to 325. Put the turkey in the oven and cook at 500 for 30 minutes. The turkey will be browned and crisp.
Remove the turkey from the oven carefully using the handles on the rack. Place the turkey with the rack in the Nesco. Cover.
Roast in the Nesco for another two to three hours, or until the internal temperature is 165. If you need to keep the bird warm, reduce to 200. Let the turkey rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.
The risk of cross contamination, and poisoning to is too great to put stuffing inside the bird’s cavity. The stuffing used here gives the bird flavor, but it easily removed.
Even if a child does not like spicy food, presented with the prospect of pepperoni pizza (or pep-e-on-i as the toddler set says), a child happily stuff his or her face with it.
I like pizza, too, but some time ago, I decided that I did not like meat on pizza anymore. Margarita pizza is the one for me. I like to make my own, with a little help from Trader Joe’s (more on this later).
So, I wanted pizza, and I also wanted chicken, but I don’t want meat on my pizza. What to do, what to do? I know! Create Pizza Chicken!
This is basically fried chicken fingers with sauce, but I must say, it really fulfilled my desire for pizza.
According to the Aztecs, the foam was the best part of the chocolate. Not having a Molinillo on hand does not mean you have to settle for “flat” chocolate. I discovered that an old fashioned egg beater does a great job.
If you get the Mexican chocolate discs, just put one disk for every pint of milk, and use the egg beater to make the foam. The Mexican chocolate already has the cinnamon in it, is rich, and quite delicious.
Recipe: Hot Chocolate
Summary: Make real, flavorful hot cocoa
2 tsp Hershey’s Cocoa
2 tsp Sugar
1 pinch Cayenne (optional)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
Drop or two of pure vanilla
Put enough cold milk into your cup of choice, and pour that milk into a non reactive pot. Add the sugar, cocoa and cayenne if you are using it. Place on medium heat.
Take your egg beater and start beating the chocolate right away. Continue to beat it until the milk is hot – not boiling.
Pour into the cup, and dust with cinnamon to taste.
You can also put red hots candies in, which will not completely melt while you’re drinking it, but you’ll have a nice treat at the end.
You can also put marshmallows if desired.