Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Lets talk turkey...since I'm cooking thanksgiving this year at my house for my family ...I figure
I've got to share some tips . Like with most of cooking its not about recipe ...its about know how...shopping... and some luck...well ...right timing. People ask me for recipes all the time...but I can give same recipe to 10 people ...and the output will be different ...ten ways ! So I'm just going to share some of my T G plans.... 1rst.. Shopping for turkey...buy fresh...and if you do have a frozen one ...you had to start defrosting process in refrigerator last night...not a counter ...never ever...and whatever you do choose to get free range bird or better organic ( yeas its worth it ) about 12-14 pounds ...is a lucky number....whatever you do stay away from those 25 -30 pound beasts...
Brine it. Yes, brining is a key... It takes a many years of experience to learn how much salt and pepper to use on a food ...if you don't use enough ...will be bland...too much..salty...bad...thats way in my cooking I use many different kinds of salts....from deferent regions from all over the world. I was playing with brines for many years....and best formula for me is and always works...is simple...1 cup of kosher salt and 1 cup of reg granulated sugar per gallon of water...some times I see these chefs on tv or restaurants putting all kinds of things in they brines..and some times I wonder that , cost of what you put in a brine is bigger that the product which is going to be submerged in a brine. Since I own the restaurant and food cost
is important to me , I just stick with salt water, sugar...some times I put some chile or bay leafe..But I really, do think that anything else is just a waist of money and product...and I ve tried in a past ..beer...citrus juices..soy sauce..even coffee and tea..what brining does is seasons it your meat properly and prevents from drying out..and thats what you want..one thing you have to remember about kosher salt that ..Diamond Crystal Salt is less harsh then Mortons. I use both , but most chefs likes it D C better. And you have to stick with this formula and cant use less or more this and that...Salt have to do is magic and for a turkey it takes about 12 hours in a refrigerator. I normally like to brine pork roast , chicken breasts, chickens....even sea foods fish or shrimp..it makes produckt moist....and most important seasons it properly and even. Sometime to find a vessel this big and submerge 12-14 pound bird could be problematic ..plus you have to find some space in a refrigerator too.. as alternative method...you can salt and pepper turkey overnight..in a cavity and under the skin as even as possible.In this case you can aply dufferents kinds of flavorings such a fresh herbs like sage, thyme, rosemery , garlic..just remember has to go under the skin..on top it will burn. After turkey come out out the brine, give it quick rinse all over it and dry it with paper towels.. If you have a roasting pan with a rack is fine...but I like to create my own "Rack " ...in a culinary world is called "Miripoix" ..onions , carrots and celery ( cut up roughly..) thats my roasting rack...some garlic and some fresh herbs with couple bay leaves can go in there ... now the most important part...look at your turkey if it has open spot in braest part with no skin...you have to cover that with bacon or some access turkey skin...just cut some loose peace.. Now take some soften butter and put some under the skin and ...LUBRICATE YOUR TURKEY WITH FAT...yes...melted butter, olive oil , veg oil ..does not matter ... important that turkey would be well coat it with fat ...or if not it will not cook as quickly and brown properly... also toss some olive in you vegetable rack as well.. or and I never ever stuff turkey with stuffing...only one thing which I like to put inside of the cavity is ether lemon or orange pierced with knife...it steams inside and make it cook faster...why not to stuff it...well because i don't want dry out meat..Turkey meat and breast particularly has to reach 165 DEGREES internal temperature..since cooking process draws the juices in ..in that case in to a stuffing ..outside will be done before your stuffing is...so why bother...trust me ...just make your stuffing a a side ina different pan ...or gratin dish..or like you people in this country like to call TURKEY AND DRESSING. I like to start roast my turkey breast side down for an hour or so...in a 325-350 degree oven..than turn it ..and rotate that couple time for a even cooking...whatever do do not baste....and do not open too much oven door to peak ...you just do not want to realease all that steam from the oven...of you will notice that outside of turkey start to get dark too fast torts the end of the cooking ...cover breast with peace of foil. Remember the magic number is 165 in breast part and about 170-175 in thigh part..You all have good digital thermometer right ? If you dont ...better go get right now...is one of the most important tool in you kichen...or and pul out ..that build in turkey thermometer...and throw out all these old ones ..the ones came with your grill or roasting pan 10 years ago..where is no number just sais...poultry...pork...beef...GO DIGITAL ! And after is done let it rest for at least 30 minutes with parchment paper or aluminum foil on. During that time I make gravy and reheat all the sides in a oven. For a gravy use all the juices with a vegetables ..yeas that a reason why they are there...just add some white wine or vermouth..some chick stock ...mix it ..strain in a sauce pan ...de fat it as much as you can... add some fresh herbs...sage ...thyme...dash of vinegar... adjust salt and pepper...and thicken with a slurry mix ( just simple mix Starch and I like arrow root for this , but corn starch or potato starch would work too) with some wine or water and add to a gravy until desired consistency reaches .
Cranberries..I use fresh and boil with some red wine and sugar..simple is that..becauce i just look for a clean fruity cranberry flavor..sometimes i toss little dried cranberries for a extra flavor and consistency..
Green bean casserole,...no mushroom soup in my house ...simply roasted mushrooms ...tossed with blanched french green beans...and topped with caramelized onions.
Sweet potatoes...never marshmallows or brown sugar...peel..cut in peaces...melt butter...add maple syrup...juice of one orange and zest...nutmeg, cinnamon...toss it to goat ...gratin dish...cook until tender and candied ...mix it couple times for a even baking and browning...Im also going to do pork roast with cranberries and apples...pork shoulder...brine it...the day before slow roasted in a 250 degree oven for about 6 hours with cranberries , apples and onions...cool it...slice it...reheat the next day...apps...cheese plate...olives...fruit...nuts...dessert...chocolate-pumkin cheesecake or choc pumkin cupcakes for kids with ginger frosting..and ..I'm hungry already...HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE
Love to cook !

1 comment:

P-Dawg said...

I can taste it already!