Recipes, The First

That’s the ultimate goal of most turkey recipes: to create a great skin and stuffing to hide the fact that turkey meat, in its cooked state, is dry and flavorless.

–Alton Brown

Pay no attention to that quote. I put it there as an illustration of what not to do. Your turkey doesn’t ever have to be dry and flavorless. If it is, you ain’t doing it right.

China

So let’s start with that, shall we? I realize it’s just months and months till Thanksgiving, but you can also use this to make your chooks and other tinier birds moist and delicious:

For 1 Biggish Turkey:

1 C rock or kosher salt

1 lemon, sliced

1 orange, sliced

1 onion, sliced

3 cloves of garlic

bay leaves

1 T herb of your choice

1 T ground pepper

A Bunch of Cold Water–enough to just cover the turkey

Mix all that good stuff together in a clean bucket. Then put the turkey in it and keep it in a very cool place overnight. Rinse it off in the morning and bake as normal. Your turkey will be succulent and moist, unless you cook it to death. I can’t vouch for it if you do that. Also bear in mind that if your turkey is over 22 pounds, you might want to increase everything by about a third. (Mine are always pretty small). If you want to do a chicken, cut it all by 3/4 and only let it sit a couple hours. No more than 3.

Speaking of chickens, what if you have the whole chicken? Here’s a couple other things to try:

BBQ Roast Chicken

For Brine:

1 chicken

1/3 C salt

1 T Cajun seasoning

For Rub:

2 t garlic powder

1 t black pepper

1 t cajun seasoning

1 t salt (preferrably sea salt)

Brine that chook, then take that chook out, and then dry him off. Rub him all down, inside and out, with the rub and bake him at about 300 degrees for about 3 hours. Add some cayenne pepper to the rub and/or brine if you want it even spicier.

I make my own BBQ sauce to go with this. I’ll warn you right now that this is spicy.

BBQ Sauce

12 oz can of tomato paste

16-20oz of water (depends on how thick you want it)

1/4 C apple cider vinegar

1/4 C chipolte Tabasco sauce

2 t cocoa

2 t onion powder

2 t garlic powder

1/2-2 t hot pepper powder (however spicy you like it)

1 T spicy brown mustard

Add all the ingredients in the order of the list, except the mustard. Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. Take off heat and add mustard. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

I also make my own Cajun seasoning. Similar recipes are available all over the web and in books, usually with slightly different ratios of ingredients. So play with it to get what you want.

Cajun Seasoning

3 T paprika

2 T salt

1-2 T garlic powder

1 T black pepper

1 T onion powder

1 T pepper flakes (more or less as you prefer; use ground cayenne for the hottest kick)

1 T oregano

1 T thyme

1/2 t ground cumin

The most important recipe for me is making a good roast. The Roommate prefers her beef in steak form. To do those, I dry off the steaks, bring them to room temperature, liberally sprinkle them with big flakes of Morton’s sea salt and ground black pepper, then throw them in a hot, dry, cast iron pan for about 3-5 minutes per side. I throw them in the oven on very low for about 10 minutes to rest before eating. You get a lovely brown (never grey; gray is an abomination no matter how you spell it) crust and a juicy interior.

But I personally–as much as I love the steak–prefer the slow roasted beef. Plenty of fat on top to soak into the meat, which becomes moist; almost sweet. A nice crust on the outside with crisped fat…delicious.

Roast

1, 2-5 pound roast with a nice fat cap

1-3 T olive oil, or butter, or a mix of the two (depending on exterior size of roast)

1 1/2 T paprika

1 T sea salt flakes ( a bit less perhaps if you using regular sized salt crystals)

1-2 t fresh minced garlic

1 T ground black pepper

1/2 t onion powder

1 T oregano

1/2-1 t ground black pepper (to taste)

Preheat your oven to about 250. Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add minced garlic and olive oil. Make sure the roast has been out to reach room temperature, then slather the outside all over with the mixture. Throw that thing in the oven, fat side up, and then immediately turn the oven down to about 150. I personally cook it till the inside reaches 120. If you like yours a bit more done, try 130.

Take out the roast and turn up the oven to 500, with the broil setting on. When it gets there, throw the roast back in for about 5 minutes, or till the fat (whatever hasn’t slowly melted into your meat) is crispy. Almost bacon consistency. Then let the roast rest about 15 minutes before cutting. I sincerely doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Personally, I like to have my roast with some slices of cold, hard extra-sharp cheddar cheese and maybe some roasted sliced onion. I also like it a side of sliced cucumbers, bell peppers, broccoli, and possibly little tomatoes, but with the following dip:

Dip

(It’s my creative titling that is why you read this blog, right?)

1 C sour cream

1 C blue cheese

juice of half a lemon

1/2 t pepper

2 mashed garlic cloves

I think this is the perfect moment for soda water, also. In my opinion, it helps clear the palate, which you really will want if you plan on having dessert.

Now let me throw about some more caveats about dessert. I don’t have them all the time. At the beginning of my eating lifestyle change, I never had dessert. I was too busy getting my body to forget about using glucose and love to burn fat instead. Now I can throw some dessert in without:

1. Stirring up cravings. I’m not sure what would have happened at the beginning. Now I seem to have no issues at all with cravings. Even when I think I want some dessert, half the time when I look at it I end up eating just a bite. Enjoy the flavor… that’s all you need.

2. Putting on 5 pounds

3. Having an insulin rush and subsequent crash

So with all that said, here is one easy dessert.

Easy Dessert

1.5 C heavy whipping cream

150 g of nice 85% dark chocolate

Put the whipping cream in a stovetop pan and turn on low. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and, with a whisk, whisk continually till completely melted into the whipping cream. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn, but I wouldn’t worry about all that double boiler ridiculousness. I do this all the time–nothing burns and everything tastes great.

Transfer to a whipping bowl, chill a few hours, then whip up as normal. I like to eat this with some cherries or other berries.

 

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