Turkey with a Brown-Sugar Glaze

 Turkey with Brown Sugar Glaze

My mom is coming up from Florida for a visit and it happens to be Easter weekend. I love cooking for holidays but I’m just not sure what to make for Easter. I know what you are going to say, you’re going to say “But you make ham for Easter!” This is true but we didn’t have turkey on Thanksgiving since we had just brought Autumn home Monday night and none of us were going to whip up a turkey just a few days later. (Side note: our super sweet Chilean neighbor brought us over some food- shrimp cocktail, roasted pork, and rice.)

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So I’ve had turkey on the brain every since.

We did do an early Thanksgiving which was awesome but I’ve been thinking about making a turkey recently. It’s probably because I’ve been enjoying the work week more when I have dinner prepped or pre made so we are just assembling or reheating it. A big turkey cooked up on a Sunday would give us plenty of leftovers for lunches and dinners for a few days.

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The turkey is really moist as the skin locks in the moisture. Plus the vegetbale and the liquid in the bottom of the pan also helps keep the turkey from drying out. Can’t have a dry turkey! That’s the worst.

I always use a turkey with a built in termometer as I’ve had issues with the doneness in the past. When I’ve cooked turkeys without a built in thermometer I’ve under cooked them in the past when I’ve just stuck a thermometer in the thigh, received the reading of 165 degrees, took it out of hte oven and when I’ve carved it up later I’ve discovered a pink bird. So, do what works for you.Feel free to use both thermoters… why not!?!

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The brown sugar glaze is easy to prepare and it gives such a lovely flavor to the turkey. But the best is that it makes the skin sticky and crisp. So when you sneak a piece of skin before you serve it you have to lick your fingers clean of any delicious evidence!

As well the gravy is unlike any other gravy I’ve had before. The gravy is made with the drippings from the pan, leftover graze, and hard cider. The cider really does give it a lot of apple-y flavor but I liked that with the sweetness of the glaze but using stock would be just fine as well.

So give turkey a chance for Easter, or any lovely Sunday dinner. If not, the nmake it for Thanksgiving and your family will thank you. They will so so excited that you tried this Brown Sugar Glazed Turkey. I swear!

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Turkey with a Brown-Sugar Glaze

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

For the Turkey

  • 12-15 pound turkey, brought to room temperature
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 orange
  • herb bundle containing rosemary, thyme, sage
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup of orange juice mixed with 1 cup of hard cider or stock

For the Glaze

  • 2/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons of butter

For the Gravy

  • drippings from the pan
  • 2-3 tablespoon flour
  • any remaining leftover glaze
  • 1-2 cups of hard cider or stock
  • sage leaves

Process

  1. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place the turkey in a roasting pan with a rack. Tuck wing tips underneath the body of turkey. Stuff the tukey with the carrots, celery, onion, orange, and herbs.
  3. Carefully seperate the skin of the turkey from the breast and place pieces of butter between the breast and skin of the turkey. Season the outside of the turkey with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the orange juice mixture into the bottom of the pan.
  5. Roast the turkey for for 30 minutes.
  6. Turn down the oven to 350 and let continue to cook for another 45 minutes before rotating for another 45 minutes.
  7. While the turkey is cooking, make the glaze by combining the vinegar, brown sugar, and orange juice in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over high, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is syrupy, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and orange zest.
  8. Brush the skin of the turkey with the glaze after it has been roasting for an hour and 30 minutes at 350. Brush and rotate the bird every 15 minutes until it has completed cooking, when the temperature ofin the thickest part of the thigh reads 165 degrees.
  9. Remove from oven and tent with alumnium foil for at least 30 minutes before carving.

To make the gravy

  1. Remove the drippings from the pan. (I suggest using a baster to do this task)
  2. Let the drippings sit for a few minutes so that fat seperates and you can remove some of it.
  3. In a large skillet pour about a 1/4 cup of the drippings into the pan and add the flour to a paste. Slowly mix in the rest of the drippings with some whole sage leaves.
  4. Once that is all comined mix any remaining glaze. Then add the cider until you have reached the amount of gravy you would like. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve the carved turkey with the gravy and enjoy!

Inspired by Martha Stewart

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Grape, Celery, and Couscous Salad

Grape Celery and Couscous Salad

Just about every time I tell someone I watch NASCAR I hear 1 of 3 things.

1) “What are you a redneck?!?” yep! I’m the first redneck ever born and raised from  Greenwich, CT. Le sigh…

2) “NASCAR isn’t a sport. It’s not that hard to drive. I drive everyday.” Sure, just drive 180 mph or so with 42 other cars trying to get in front of you. These guys are hardcore athletes.  Just check out Kasey Kahne and Carl Edwards working out and testing their reaction times with a system called Dynavision.  Insane.

3) “Do they every turn right?” Yeah, yeah, yeah, there is lots of turning left but there are road courses where they turn both left AND right.

If you want to get in an argument, please, feel free to annoy me with that junk.

With special focus on the last point, this week’s race is at Sonoma Raceway, which is a road course. The first thing that came to mind when I thought of Sonoma was wine, wine, wine!! Oh, how I wish to get out to wine country. Hmmm, not this summer! Anyway, how do you get wine? With grapes!

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When I saw this Grape, Celery, and Couscous Salad I knew it would be perfect for this week’s edition of Sprint Cup Snacks. It was so refreshing with the grapes, crunchy celery, and the bright dressing. I’ve actually made it a few times since it’s so good and simple so I’ve made some notes and changes along the way. For one thing, I once tried it with white pepper… don’t do that! Use fresh cracked black pepper. As well, be generous with the salt. Lastly, I’ve played around with the dressing a bit and I like to add a bit use more than the original recipe.

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I swear this will be great to enjoy during this weekend’s race or throughout the summer. It is a great summery hit to enjoy with a glass of wine. I won’t be jealous or anything…

Grape, Celery, and Couscous Salad

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Israeli couscous
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest plus 1/4 cup juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, freshly cracked
  • 1/2 pound red seedless grapes, halved
  • 3 thinly sliced stalks celery plus 1/2 cup celery leaves

Process

  1. Cook the couscous according to the package instructions. Set aside and let cool a bit.
  2. Whisk together the orange zest plus juice, olive oil, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Toss the couscous, grapes, celery stalks and leaves with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Adapted From: Everyday Food, December 2012

Extra Cheesy Brussels Sprout Gratin

I was recently going through old cooking magazines to organize them into a usefully system. System is still getting tweaked but at least I can more easily find some fun things to try. I dug up recipes from December ’11 from Martha Stewart Living and one of the things that jumped out of me was the Smokey Brussels Sprout Gratin. Cheese! Brussels Sprouts! More Cheese! Winner!!!!

 

 

I made some adjustments to the original recipe to better suit our tastes. It called for smoked Gouda to be used in the Bechamel, but I don’t like smoked cheeses. I don’t like very smoky things and a smoked cheese is pretty low on my list. So I just used regular Gouda in the Bechamel instead. You can also use Gruyere and fontina in the Bechamel and top it off with a coarsely grated Parmesan. Just work with what you have and like. Also, I doubled the amount of cheese. What!?! I wanted cheesy Brussels sprouts so I made CHEESY Brussels sprouts. I really like love Brussels sprouts so this was not about masking their flavor but making a really cheesy dish.

 

 

 

The end result is a pretty quick dish that you can whip together. Some things took more or less time than the original recipe and I think that all depends on how you cook and the ingredients you have on hand. For example, it said the Brussels sprouts would take 3-4 minutes to cook but mine took double. No fault to the recipe, I might have just had really big Brussels spouts. Let’s blame the Brussels sprouts! Aside from paying attention to things like that it was super easy.

Make it for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any dinner. It can actually be prepped in advance with the Bechamel being made 4 days in advances and stored in a airtight container in the refrigerator. The Brussels sprouts can be blanched ahead, allowed to cool and be refrigerated for up to 1 day. The assembled gratin can be refrigerated overnight as well. Bring the gratin to room temperature before baking.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces of freshly grated Gouda, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 8 cup (8×12) baking dish.
  2. Rinse and cut the bottoms off all the brussels sprouts. Depending on the size of the brussels sprout halve or quarter it. Set aside.
  3. To make the Bechamel, in a skillet melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to blend the butter and flour together while the mixtures start to bubbles slightly but has not started to brown, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and the salt and pepper. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking often. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally. Cook until the Bechamel is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and add the cheese and stir until incorporated.
  4. While the Bechamel is cooking, cook the brussels spouts in a pot of boiling salted water. Cook until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Drain and put into the baking dish.
  5. To assemble the gratin, gently mix the Bechamel and brussels sprouts together. Top off with the rest of the cheese and an extra sprinkling of salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, until bubbling and golden, about 25-30 minutes.

Irish Coffee Blondies

Irish Coffee… yes please!

When I saw this Chewy Irish Coffee Blondie recipe in the March issue of Martha Stewart Living I just knew that had to make them. I have not done much baking with coffee in the past so I felt the recipe was interesting as it uses fresh coffee grounds right in the batter. Plus the glaze has Irish whiskey so this would be a great recipe for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day.

 

 

The blondies were so easy to whip up! I basically had everything I needed on hand too. I just had to run out and get a nip of whiskey and then I was all set. The process was quick and easy. I only made a few changes & they related to process.  I did not put parchment in my pan like the recipe called for. I just put a lot of cooking spray and they popped right out! Also, I gently cut all of my bars in the pan, removed them, and then drizzled the glaze on them since I like them bars have glaze covering them all over, not just the top. Aside from that the recipe is spot on and a great crowd pleaser- just as my coworkers!

 

 

The blondies are so good. On Saturday night told Price would make them on Sunday and by Sunday afternoon I was getting bugged about making them. Thankfully once I started it all came together quickly. The recipe says to wait for the glaze to cool for an hour after you put it on the blondies… umm that did not happen! The moment the glaze was on them was the moment we enjoyed 2… each! ouch! But the sweet treat is totally worth the extra exercise push we need to make. Trust me! The blondies are chewy, sugary, buttery, and so moist. The almonds provide a nice crunch to the top which is a nice compliment to the texture of the bar. The whiskey glaze is subtle but you do catch a bit of the flavor to tie the Irish Coffee experience together. 

 

 

Irish Coffee Blondies

Makes 24 bars

Ingredients

For the Blondies

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly ground coffee
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, skin on

For the Glaze

  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Process

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter/spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Line with parchment so that it overhangs on all sides. Butter parchment. 
  2. In a small pot or microwavable safe bowl, melt the 2 sticks of butter.
  3. In a medium size bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  4. Combine brown sugar, ground coffee, and salt in a large mixing bowl. 
  5. Pour the melted butter to the sugar mixture. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, mixing well to combine. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. 
  6. Pour batter into pan, and sprinkle with almonds. Bake 27 – 30 minutes, depending on how chewy you like your blondies (shorter baking time results in a chewier blondie). Let the blondies cool for 10-15 minutes, gently cut them into 24 squares (6 pieces by 4 pieces).
  7. Line your counter with paper towels or news paper, to provide you with an easily cleanable work surface. Place the blondies on cooling trays to continue to cool and to receive the glaze.
  8. To make the glaze, whisk together butter, sugar, and whiskey. Add more sugar or whiskey until glaze is thick but pourable. 
  9. Using a spoon or a plastic bag with the tip cut off, drizzle glaze over blondies. Let the glaze dry 1 hour. 

6.24-26: How Martha Were You?

How Martha Were You?

Another weekend went by in a blur. I enjoy that Price and I are starting a Friday night tradition with sushi. The neighborhood is really different than where we were before so I am adjusting to the limited selection of places but this sushi place is really good.

Friday Night-

becoming a Friday night routine, we stopped for some beer/wine and some sushi

Saturday-

I got up early and went to Haymarket for veggies and fruit for us and the rabbits

Back home- lots of cleaning and still lots of unpacking. The living room is starting to come together. I unpacked all the books and set them on the bookcases. I need to purge my damn books!!!

Price and I went to Home Depot for a few things, including a MArtha Stewart Mirror for our bathroom.

 

I set up my crafting station and enjoyed getting crafty. I worked on a scrapbooking page. It felt good to be able to work on a layout- been too long!

Sunday-

We slept in a bit, nice for a change.

Enjoyed Sunday Morning, the paper, breakfast.

More cleaning, laundry, crafts!!

I played around with my new camera taking pictures.

I made oven roasted tomatoes! The oven was on for a long time but it was worth it.

During Morning Living on Martha Radio, the hosts hold a segment called How Martha Were You? every Monday morning where you recap your weekend’s activities.

Thanks for visiting. Please leave me a comment to provide some feedback. I appreciate all the comments I receive.