Last Year’s Turkey: Hoping to recreate the magic

So last year, I BBQ’d the turkey. It was ah-maze-ing. Truly. It was golden and juicy. Even the white meat was delicious (I’m a dark meat kinda girl but dang the whole bird was so good).

Of course, I didn’t document the recipe. So, I’m going to make one up/partially remember and jot it down. I hope it works as good this year as it did last year. I’ll let you know after Thanksgiving.

The Best BBQ'd Turkey

BBQ’d Turkey on a Gas Grill

  • 1 16-18 pound turkey (we use Mary’s heritage birds), giblets and neck and all the other strange stuff inside removed (save the neck and leftover carcass for stock)
  • Brining mix (I use Stonwall Kitchen’s Farmhouse Brine)
  • 2 quarts of water
  • Brining Bag
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 cups of chardonnay
  • handful of fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 yellow onion cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 orange cut in half
  • 1/2 head of garlic (1 whole head cut in half across the cloves)
  • salt and pepper

The day before Thanksgiving: Clean your bird and then put her in the brining bag then put the whole thing in a foil roasting pan. Heat 1 quart of your water in a big pot and add the brining mix. Let cool. Once cooled, add the brining mix, water and extra 1 quart of water to the brining bag/turkey. Refrigerate the whole thing for 12 – 24 hours.

Thanksgiving Day: Remove the turkey from the brining bag and rinse with cold water. Pat dry. Salt and pepper the inside of the cavity. Fill the cavity with the thyme, onion, orange and garlic. Tie up your bird so the legs and wings are held in tight to the bird. Add pea sized pieces of butter under the skin (use care doing this so you don’t break the skin). Salt and pepper the outside of the bird.

Put the bird, breast-side up, on a foil roasting pan and let her rest.

Heat remaining butter in a pot. Add Chardonnay and put 1/2 the mixture in the bottom of the roasting pan.

Getting Ready

Ignite the grill and turn all burners to high. Close the lid and preheat 10 to 15 minutes to bring the grill to 500 to 550 degrees. Set two side burners to medium heat and turn off the center burner. Position your turkey in the pan in the center of the cooking grate and place the lid on the grill. Try to keep the grill covered unless your basting it. I remember basting the turkey about 4 times. If you see the bottom of the pan getting dry, add more of your Chardonnay/butter mixture to the bird.

Cook 11 to 13 minutes per pound or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh not touching bone registers 180 degrees and the juices run clear. Transfer turkey to a platter. Let stand for 15 minutes before carving.
Happy Thanksgiving!!! xoxoxo
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Scrumptious Breakfast Bars

I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen. Like she says, it’s a recipe that is really flexible. Whatever your little breakfast heart desires, you can add to these bars (well, maybe not sausage or chicken fried steak breakfast desires but any dried fruit, nuts, seeds, flours…ya’ know, California type breakfast stuffs 🙂

These are perfect for the kiddos heading off to school for a quick and hearty breakfast to go. Truthfully, I liked them at all times of the day.

Yummy Breakfast Bars

Thick and Chewy Breakfast Bars (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

  • 1 2/3 cup quick rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup oat flour (just blitz the oats in a blender to get flour)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups dried fruits and nuts chopped (I used cherries, raisins, apricots, pecans, flax seeds, chia seeds, and macadamia nuts)
  • 1/3 cup peanut or other nut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 TBSP melted butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 1 TBSP water

Directions pulled directly from SmittenKitchen: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan.

Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)

Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.

Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. (Alternately, after about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. This can speed the process up.)

Once cool, use a serrated knife to cut the bars into squares. If bars seem crumbly, chill the pan of them further in the fridge for 30 minutes which will fully set the “glue”, then cut them cold. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.

Making Room In the Fridge For Thanksgiving

We often have remnants of veggie odds and ends in our crisper. I’ll usually make a quick soup with the veggies, broth and some thyme and oregano. It’s a family staple. But I thought I’d try something new since I also had a bunch of eggs from the girls (our chickens).

This is also a quick meal you can prepare in the “week before Thanksgiving” calm.

Cleaning the kitchen frittata

Egg and Veggie Frittata (kinda)

  • 4-5 eggs, beaten
  • Any veggies cut into bite sized pieces (I used broccolini, cabbage, leeks, peas and zucchini) Leeks are really good in this.
  • 3 TBSP goat cheese (chevre)
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter in a large non-stick pan. Add all your veggies and cook until just tender. Reduce the temperature to medium/low. Add the eggs and goat cheese. Move the bottom of the eggs around so they begin to cook through (but don’t stir). Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Flip the egg mixture and cook until fluffy.

Enjoy with a nice salad or toasted bread!

Cherry, Blueberry and Blackberry Pie

Following the “oh crap, I need to archive these recipes for next year” theme, here’s the most delicious Summer pie recipe EVER.

And who’s to say this can’t be made in Winter?

Cherry, Blueberry, Blackberry Pie

Cherry, Blueberry and Blackberry Pie

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 pounds fresh cherries (pitted), blueberries and blackberries (I used a pint of blueberries and a pint of blackberries and 1 1/2 pound of cherries)
  • 1 TBSP butter cut into pea sized pieces
  • Sugar for top of pie crust
  • Egg wash (1 egg and 1 TBSP water mixed)
  • Pie Crust (I made my own from Jamie Oliver’s recipe here)

Prepare the bottom crust: Roll out the chilled pie dough into a 12 inch round. Gently fit into a 9- or 9.5-inch pie plate.

Prepare the top crust: Roll out the chilled pie dough into a 12 inch round. Cut lengthwise into 6 pieces.

Make the filling: In a large bowl, mix the cherries and berries with the sugar, cornstarch and kosher salt. Taste the mixture to see if you want more sugar than is called for.

Pie Filling

Assemble the pie: Pour the cherries and berries into your pie shell. Sprinkle the butter pieces across the filling. Lay three of your top dough strips vertically and evenly spaced across the top of your filling. Then weave in the remaining three pieces horizontally. Pinch the top strips into the bottom crust and crimp decoratively. Brush the top of the dough with your egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar.

Pie: pre-bake

Bake the pie: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the pie plate on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the juices are bubbling and thick. Remove to a rack to cool to room temperature before serving.

ENJOY!!

Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam

Ok, ok. I know. It’s not the season but I’ve been really delinquent in posting and really need to archive this recipe. It’s so damn good! Seriously. Mark this one for next Summer’s jam making extravaganza.

Summer Jam

Strawberry and Rhubarb Jam

Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh strawberries (chopped)
  • 1 cup rhubarb (roughly 1 stalk) (chopped)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Place a small dish into the freezer to use for testing the jam.

In a large deep skillet, add strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, and lemon juice. Heat and stir until it reaches a rolling boil. Boil and stir until it thickens, 10 minutes. When it seems like it is gelling, take your plate out of the freezer. Put a small spoonful of the jam onto the plate and let sit for 30 seconds. Tilt it. If it slides too fast, keep cooking. If it moves slow, it is done. Test every minute or two and do not overcook it. Spoon into heat-proof container and cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. I froze some and am still loving the fruits of a quick Summer’s bounty boil.

To can jam:
  1. Wash one 8-ounce (or 6-ounce + 2-ounce) glass mason jar with a two-piece lid with soap and hot water. Dry completely.
  2. Add the jar(s) and lid pieces to a large pot of boiling water deep enough for the jar(s) to be completely submerged in water. Once the water is boiling, leave the jar(s) in there until ready to use.
  3. Remove the jar(s) and lids from water and drain out all of the water from the jar. Keep the water boiling. Spoon the jam into the jar(s). Wipe excess jam off the rim of the jar(s) so it will seal properly. Add the lid. You may want to use an oven mitt so you can hold the jar(s) still.
  4. Place sealed jar(s) back into the boiling water and boil for 15 minutes. Make sure it is submerged in the water. Remove from the water and let dry on a heat-resistant surface for 18-24 hours. Once cool, press down on the lid. If it stays down, it is sealed. If it pops back up, put in the refrigerator and use within two weeks.

Easy Dinners A Week Before Thanksgiving – part 1

I don’t know about you but my counter space is starting to get filled up with preparations for Thanksgiving. With spiced nuts, savory jams, stuffed olives, stuffing, pumpkins, spices, stock, fried onions, and other scrumptious bits waiting for the BIG day taking up space on my counter, it’s super hard to get inspired to cook tonight’s meal. And, I don’t want to spend too much time cooking when I know I’ll be packing in two days worth of stove watching in a week.

So, it’s dinners like clam linguini/spaghetti that I turn to in times like these (it doesn’t hurt that they’re super easy and delicious).

Clam Linguini

Super Easy Clam Linguini

Serves 2.5

  • 15 little neck clams (live)
  • a splash of white wine (and then you can drink the rest of the bottle while preparing and eating your easy dinner)
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into super thin slices with the peel
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes (we save these for after the kiddo gets her serving)
  • a pinch of parsley for color and freshness
  • linguini for 3 (you can use spaghetti in a pinch)
  • salt
  • reserved pasta water
  • Parmesan cheese

Start a pot of water over high heat until boiling. Add a good 1 TBSP of salt to the boiling water (this is the only salt in the dish) then add your pasta. Cook according to the package directions.

In a pan, heat your butter and oil. Add shallots and garlic and cook until fragrant (about 1 min). Add clams and a splash of your wine. Cover and let steam until the clams open. Once opened, add your lemon and cooked pasta. At this point, you might need to add a bit of the reserved pasta water (I usually add 1 – 2 ladles).

Sprinkle with parsley and serve with Parmesan and red pepper flakes.

Enjoy!!

Blueberry Crumb Cake

Do you ever have a craving that the grocery store just can’t satiate? Add to that an overwhelming desire to just sit on the couch and do nothing, and you might not be able to curb that craving. However, this recipe is so easy and delicious it’s super easy to get motivated.

Make this for your day after Thanksgiving breakfast treat and you’ll be happy to put a pot of coffee on and continue being thankful for life’s little joys (like not cooking after days of slaving over the stove).

This can be made 3 days in advance…it only gets better with time.

blueberry crumb cake

Blueberry Crumb Cake (by SmittenKitchen)

Serves 8 in big wedges or 16 in the 2×2-ish-inch grid I cut mine roughly into

Topping:
5 tablespoons (40 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup, 2 ounces or 55 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine
Pinch of salt

Cake:
2 cups minus 1 tablespoon (i.e. 1 3/4 cups + 3 tablespoons or 240 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup, 2 ounces or 55 grams) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pint (2 to 2 2/3 cups, 12 to 16 ounces, or 340 to 455 grams; see Note) fresh blueberries, clean and dry
1/2 cup milk, whole is ideal, any kind should work
1/2 cup (55 grams) walnuts, chopped medium fine (optional)
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)

Heat oven to 375°F. Butter a 9-inch round baking pan (with at least 2″ sides) and dust it lightly with flour; line it with a round of parchment paper.

Prepare the topping by mixing the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt, then cutting the butter in with a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt until combined. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and zest together until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Beat in 1/3 of the dry ingredient mixture until just combined, followed by 1/2 the milk; repeat with remaining dry ingredients and milk, finishing with the dry mixture. The batter will be very stiff, but don’t fret. Fold blueberries into cake batter until evenly distributed.

Scoop cake batter into prepared pan and smooth so that it is flat. If using walnuts, scatter them on top. Sprinkle with prepared streusel. Bake in heated oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out batter-free. You can let the cake cool complete in the pan on a rack, or just cool it in the pan for 20 minutes before flipping it out onto a cooling rack, removing the parchment paper lining, and flipping it back onto a plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if using.

Do ahead: Cake keeps covered with plastic or foil at room temperature for three days. If longer, it might be best to keep it in the fridge. It gets more moist each day.

Blueberry Crumb Cake