Monday, December 1, 2014

Roast Turkey 2014

This is a chronical of the events related to the Roast Turkey of 2014. It ended up looking like this for Thanksgiving

I have to write down the basic steps because it turned out so well.

It started with a 17.3 pound fresh turkey. Brined for 24+ hours. 1 lemon, 1 meyer lemon, 1 onion, 1 cup kosher salt, 1 cup brown sugar, 3 rosemary sprigs and 3 bay leaves, an ancho chile, 3 allspice and 20 black peppercorns. I boiled the water, added the salt and sugar, then put all the rest in and set aside to cool before putting in the bird for the night.

Then around noon on Thanksgiving I took it out of the brine and rinsed it off well. Then tried my best to pat it dry with paper towels. Place it on the roasting rack in the pan.

I then made an herb rub that had fresh rosemary, parsley and thyme chopped up. I took part of the herbs and spread them along with a little softened butter on the outside as well as under the skin on breast and thighs. Salt and pepper the outside. 

Then I stuffed it with halved meyer lemon, orange, fennel bulb, onion and whole herb sprigs. Tie up legs. Tuck under wings. Oven at 325° convection. Place breast side down in V rack and cook for 45 minutes. Flipped it over on the rack and then spread a little more butter over it along with the remaining herb mixture. 

Change oven to 325° regular bake. After 1 hour throw in some celery and carrots under turkey and a cup or 2 of water. Bake a total of 3.5 hours with basting in the final hour. Let sit 30 minutes, make the gravy, carve and serve with all the extras. 

I have been making some version of herb rubbed turkey for years, and I am pretty sure that I nailed it this time. I might not even wait until next year to make it again!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A little cabbage side dish

I found myself needing to make a little side dish the other night, so I naturally looked in the fridge for some veggies. I dug around a bit and found this Savoy cabbage that I had bought several days earlier.
Ok, now what to do with this? I didn't want to make slaw or an Asian salad. Hmmm. I wanted to cook with this thing, so I started cutting it up to do a stir fry type dish. 
And I just kept cutting and cutting...
Cutting and more cutting while trying to make bite sized pieces of the thicker parts. I planned to cook these first to make them tender before tossing in the leafier parts. 
 Here it is all prepped along with the seasoning of chopped serrano and green onion. 
I heated up a pan, put some avocado oil in it, and put in the thicker pieces to begin cooking. Season with a little salt.
Some might say avocado oil? I have discovered this at the farmers market, and I now use it for most stir fry recipes. It is a healthy oil with a high heat point. 
At this point I put another pan over the one I was cooking with to try and help the cabbage cook through. 
Next it was time to put the leafier parts of the cabbage in to cook. Stir it around a little and it is time to put in the flavoring.
I put in the chopped serrano and green onions. I like to add flavoring like this right at the end so that these seasonings don't burn. I call it a "flavor bomb". I use it with many different types of cooking. Stir it up until heated through and it is ready to serve. Tonight I put some oven fried chicken tenders over this cabbage stir fry for a nice little dinner. Bon appetito!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Dipping Sauces...

It seems I'm always looking for stuff that I 'need' for our kitchen. Spices, oils, bbq sauces, mustards. I probably shouldn't because we have so many things in our pantry but I can't help it.

One thing I always seem to see for sale are dipping sauces for bread.

Note: I wrote this on a long flight, thus the lack of original pictures...

A search of Amazon resulted in over 100 choices. Some are pricey, or just a bag of herbs to mix yourself. Why not just make your own with stuff from your pantry. 

Some good olive oil, herbs, salt, pepper and a splash of vinegar is really all you need.

I usually grab a clove or two of garlic and chop it up into a bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon of Italian dried herb mixture and some red pepper flakes. Add like a 1/4 cup of evoo and a teaspoon or so of balsamic vinegar and stir it up. Add some salt and pepper to taste, then let it sit for a bit to let the flavors come out. That's all there is to it. Grab some crusty bread slices and dig in. Yum!
Of course this isn't just for bread. Drizzle it over ripe tomatoes as a dressing, or on some veggies and meats before grilling. 

This is only a starting point. Try adding fresh herbs if you have some in your garden. Basil and oregano are obvious choices. Rosemary, mint or parsley? Sure. Maybe pan roast the garlic in its skin to soften the flavor some before chopping it up. Parmesan cheese? Why not! 

Try other spice blends, different vinegars, flavored oils. Tailor it to whatever else you are making to eat. The choices might just be endless. Give it a try and you might actually make a dent in your pantry. 

Photo credits: (top collage), (garlic), (pepper), (Italian herbs), (bread & dip)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Grill Improvising

I can't believe that I did it again! I ran out of propane. 
And as usual, it happens when the food isn't done yet. 
As a guy that grills often, you might think that I would check the gas once in a while.
But I don't, and it usually gets me when I least expect it. I start the grill, it gets hot then
I throw on some pork tenderloins in this case, and go inside for a bit. It is around 100° 
and I can't just stand out there watching the grill. Then I go back to check the meat only to find that the fire is out. 
This has forced me to figure out how to finish cooking food that isn't done yet. In this case
I brought in the tenderloins and put them into the oven that was already roasting some 
peppers, onions and baked potatoes.

Dinner turned out fine if maybe delayed a little bit.

Update: A couple of days later, I had just turned on the grill just as a monsoon storm started moving in. I even found a rain jacket to battle the elements, but it became impossible as the wind and rain became dangerous. Time to use the grill pan indoors.

After the storm passed, we found a large limb down, a small lake and a wet owl that I spotted in a tree. 
Does anyone else have these problems or I am the only one dumb enough not to check on the gas tank?
By the way, my cool cement blocks are from Touvlo.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A restaurant review...

I don't normally do reviews, but I want to review my dinner the other night. 

This is about The Greene House, a Sam Fox restaurant concept located in Kierland Commons in Scottsdale. I met the mrs here during the past week for a quick dinner before a lacrosse game. 

If you live anywhere in the Valley, you know of Sam Fox. His restaurants are everywhere and usually are above average in the service and food that is served. I have said many times "Can't we just go to a non-Sam Fox restaurant for once." 

I don't actually remember all that we ordered, except for my entree. I had a nice IPA and then ordered the bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin. I wanted to get this as I have made this several times before. It was tasty and was served with cheesy scalloped potatoes, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms. 
The pork and potatoes were great, but as I was eating I noticed that it had probably 1 Brussel sprout that was cooked, cut up, and sprinkled around. Also the mushrooms were rather hard to find as well. 

I really found it hard to believe that there was so little veggies on the plate. To list Brussels and mushrooms on the menu implies to me that they should be more than a garnish. 

Maybe we should have gone to a healthier Sam Fox restaurant, but I'm guessing that you all can understand my bitch with this plate. I think that I will have to order a salad next time if I want to get some veggies in... Later until next time. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Secret Behind the Pic

This is a little behind the scenes information about a recent dinner pic that I posted on Instagram. 

2 weeks back I made dinner on a Sunday. Grilled salmon and Fava Beans salad with Fennel and Radish. It got the most likes that I have ever received for a food pic, but there is a little secret behind this photo. 
The right side of the salmon is cut from a larger fillet and not very attractive. I had grilled several skin-on fillets and after they were done, I cut them into serving sizes. This left a ragged edge as a cooked piece doesn't cut very well. Well, I used this salad to just kind of cozy up next to the salmon and cover it up. Secret revealed!

Now I had read about this salad on La Fuji Mama's blog. She had mentioned it in her recipe for chocolate pots de creme as yet another snowstorm swept through her neighborhood. I'm thinking that she is quite ready for spring to arrive and is dreaming of some Springtime recipes. This is from the April issue of Cooking Light...

This salad uses fava beans which are in season right now and I had just bought some at the farmers market the day before. I really enjoy them, but they are a bit of a pain to prepare. 
First, they must be taken from there shells. I used my vegetable peeler to take a thin strip from each pod. This makes it easier to get them out of there. Then the beans are blanched in boiling water for 20 seconds and dropped into an ice bath. Now they are ready to lose their shells. 
A little pinch to open the shell and they squeeze right out. Probably 20 minutes of work to get about a cup of favas ready to use. Next I assembled the rest of the ingredients. 
I went out to my garden and picked a bit of wild arugula (with an adult beverage as I tend to cook this way).
Fennel, i'itoi onions, radishes, walnut pieces and Romano cheese were readied along with a lemon for the dressing. I pan toasted the walnuts and used my mandolin to shave the fennel and radishes into thin slices. Once all this is ready, just a simple lemon vinaigrette is whisked together and tossed with the salad. Top with the walnuts and serve. Relatively simple and fresh, it went very well with the grilled salmon (and covers up my not so photogenic piece of fish). 
I'm thinking that I will make it again soon as Spring seems to be fading fast here in Phoenix. We are going to have our first 90° + day today. Ugh, summer is just around the corner I fear!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Saturday at the Market

This is a little glimpse of my farmers market trip this morning. This is as close to a live blogging that I have ever attempted. Enjoy!
 Fresh sugar snap peas
 Fresh multi colored carrots
 Peacock kale 
 I also noticed this suggestive sign
 Flowers are showing up in this warm weather 
 and lots of doggies. 

I ended up at home with a lot of stuff. Carrots, radishes, daikon, spigarello, artichokes, Brussels sprouts, romanesco, rainbow chard, red kale, sugar snap peas, spring onions, green garlic, cara cara oranges, medjool dates and some candy. 

I ended up having a fresh chocolate chip scone with coffee as I prepped and stored all or this.
 Until next time, Hefe out.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Clean Up

Ok so I have obviously forgotten about my blog. What happened? I don't know except life I guess.

So I am going straight to the worst part of the kitchen, the clean up.

I hate it, you hate it, we all hate it. I even made a big deal about closing my kitchen on Instagram once because I was getting sick about it.

Maybe I thought that if you cook, you don't have to clean up. Maybe I thought that my family would want to help out. Well that is just not true. If you are going to cook, you will have to cleanup. 
Of course this got me several snarky comments from people that I likely deserved. 

I even thought that Charleen of FnB commented that I had better just deal with it, but I couldn't find that in my pictures. 

And then I received the following comment from a Middle Eastern chef that lives in London:


Now I was probably being stupid & pissy about cleaning up but I took this comment to heart. I was not going to let the cleanup determine how I was going to cook. 

Anyone that follows me on Instagram knows that I love going to the farmers markets and buying lots of organic produce. I am becoming a Clean eater. I want to know what is going into my pan and where it is from. I have read so many crummy things about the food production industry that it is downright scary to think about. 

So while I have failed in updating my blog, it's not like I haven't been cooking. I've been cooking like crazy. I've even wanted to call myself the #530chef because I get home from work, and then I jump right into the kitchen working on some part of dinner. So of course I have been cleaning like crazy as well. So here are a few cleanup tips I like. 

1. Try and cleanup as you go. Rinse boards, bowls and knives. It can make the final cleanup a bit easier. 
2. Use the dishwasher. Rinse off plates and utensils and put em in. Throw the cutting boards and mixing bowls in. Well just throw the pots and pans in if there is room. Most things these days are dishwasher safe, so just use it to your advantage. 

3. Soak baked on stuff in hot soapy water, but don't just forget about it overnight. Above is a pan that was just left to soak. The grease will be getting all over that knfe and spatula and even all over the sides of the pan. Just use a little muscle and scrub away the baked on stuff.

Well I have scraped the bottom with this post, so I am hoping that I can climb out of this rut and write some interesting posts in the future. Until next time, Hefe out.