Best Ever Turkey Brine

Female hand squeezing orange in cooking pot with brine for cooking turkey

Turkey Brine

Ingredients:

  • 1 12- to 20-pound turkey, not kosher, saline-injected, or otherwise pre-salted
  • 3 oranges
  • 3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup fresh sage leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 4 quarts water
  • 250g kosher salt (1 cup Morton, or 1 3/4 cup Diamond Crystal, or 3/4 cup table salt), plus more if needed

Directions:

  1. Prepare the turkey for brining: Remove the turkey from its package and pat dry. Place the turkey in a large pot, brining bag, or other container large enough to keep the turkey submerged.
  2. Prepare the brine ingredients: Strip the peels from the oranges and lemons using a vegetable peeler. Try to remove just the peel, leaving behind as much of the bitter white pith as possible. Roughly chop the sage leaves. Make sure the bay leaves, peppercorns, and garlic cloves are measured out and ready to go. (Save the leftover oranges and lemons for stuffing the turkey during roasting!)
  3. Prepare the brine concentrate: Bring 1 quart (4 cups) of the water to a boil in a large saucepan or stock pot on the stovetop. Once boiling, add the salt and stir until dissolved. Add the orange and lemon peels, chopped sage, bay leaves, peppercorns, and garlic. Let the water return to a boil, then remove from heat.
  4. Cool and then dilute the concentrate to make the turkey brine: Let the brine concentrate and flavoring ingredients cool until no longer steaming, then stir in the remaining 3 quarts of water. (If your pan is too small, you can do this in a pitcher or other large container.) Check the temperature of the brine; it should be room temperature or lukewarm.
  5. Pour the brine over the turkeyMake sure the turkey is submerged, though it’s ok if the boney tips of the legs stick out the top. If needed for larger turkeys, prepare additional brine solution (1/4 cup of salt dissolved in 4 cups of warm water) in order to cover the turkey. If the turkey is floating, weight it down with a plate or other heavy object.
  6. Brine for 12 to 24 hoursCover the turkey and keep refrigerated during brining.
  7. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse: When you’re ready to begin roasting your turkey, remove it from the brine and rinse it with cool water. It’s ok if the water is tinged pink. Pat dry.
  8. Roast the turkey as usual: There’s no need to salt the turkey before roasting, but otherwise, roast the turkey as usual following your favorite recipe. If desired, stuff the cavity of the turkey with leftover sage and the peeled lemons and oranges from preparing the brine. Roasting time may be shortened; begin checking the temperature of the turkey halfway through roasting.

**Recipe from SimplyRecipes**

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional flour as needed, up to 1/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup cake flour (recommended: Soft As Silk)
  • 3 teaspoons sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter-flavored shortening (recommended: Crisco)
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ice cold water

Filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups chopped red rhubarb, fresh
  • 2 1/2 cups de-stemmed, washed and cut strawberries (in larger pieces)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (1 1/4 cups for high altitude)
  • 2 tablespoons minute tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cubed small
  • 1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water
  • Large granule sugar

Directions:

Crust Preparation:

  1. Using 2 pastry blenders, blend the flours, sugar, shortening, butter and salt. Whisk the egg, vinegar and water in a 2-cup measure and pour over the dry ingredients incorporating all the liquid without overworking the dough. Toss the additional flour over the ball of dough and chill if possible. Divide the dough into 2 disks. Roll out 1 piece of dough to make a bottom crust. Place into a pie dish. Put dish in refrigerator to chill.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Filling Preparation:

  1. Mix well in a large bowl the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, tapioca, flour, zest and juice of lemon, dash of cinnamon, and vanilla, and pour out into chilled crust.
  2. Dot the top of the filling with the butter.
  3. Brush edges of pie crust with egg white wash.
  4. Roll out the other piece of dough and place over filling. Crimp to seal edges.
  5. Brush with egg white wash and garnish with large granule sugar.
  6. Collar with foil and bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Decrease temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 45 to 50 minutes, or until the filling starts bubbling.

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

Lemon Bars

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:

  • 6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.
  3. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
  4. For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
  5. Cut into triangles or squares and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Ham-wich

Ham-wich

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 package of Hawaiian Sweet Rolls
  • 6 slices of ham
  • 6 slices Swiss cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Remove all rolls from the package in one piece and place on a cookie sheet. Slice horizontally through all 12 rolls at once. Remove the top and set aside.
  3. Combine butter, mustard, onion, and poppy seeds. Spread 1/2 of the mixture across the lower half of the rolls.
  4. Place the slices of ham across the rolls so all 12 are covered. Repeat with the Swiss.
  5. Return the top half of the rolls to complete the sandwich.
  6. Spread the remaining sauce across the top.
  7. Heat for 15 minutes and remove.
  8. Run a knife through the lines of the rolls to make 12 mini sandwiches.

Beef Wellington

Carved Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington

For the Duxelles:

  • 3 pints (1 1/2 pounds) white button mushrooms
  • 2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Beef:

  • One 3-pound center cut beef tenderloin (filet mignon), trimmed
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 thin slices prosciutto
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • Flour, for rolling out puff pastry
  • 1 pound puff pastry, thawed if using frozen
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • Minced chives, for garnish

Green Peppercorn Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 box beef stock
  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 1/2 cup green peppercorns in brine, drained, brine reserved

Directions:

  1. To make the Duxelles: Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add butter and olive oil to a large saute pan and set over medium heat. Add the shallot and mushroom mixture and saute for 8 to 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
  2. To prepare the beef: Tie the tenderloin in 4 places so it holds its cylindrical shape while cooking. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and sear all over, including the ends, in a hot, heavy-based skillet lightly coated with olive oil – about 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile set out your prosciutto on a sheet of plastic wrap (plastic needs to be about a foot and a half in length so you can wrap and tie the roast up in it) on top of your cutting board. Shingle the prosciutto so it forms a rectangle that is big enough to encompass the entire filet of beef. Using a rubber spatula cover evenly with a thin layer of duxelles. Season the surface of the duxelles with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves. When the beef is seared, remove from heat, cut off twine and smear lightly all over with Dijon mustard. Allow to cool slightly, then roll up in the duxelles covered prosciutto using the plastic wrap to tie it up nice and tight. Tuck in the ends of the prosciutto as you roll to completely encompass the beef. Roll it up tightly in plastic wrap and twist the ends to seal it completely and hold it in a nice log shape. Set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to ensure it maintains its shape.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to about a 1/4-inch thickness. Depending on the size of your sheets you may have to overlap 2 sheets and press them together. Remove beef from refrigerator and cut off plastic. Set the beef in the center of the pastry and fold over the longer sides, brushing with egg wash to seal. Trim ends if necessary then brush with egg wash and fold over to completely seal the beef – saving ends to use as a decoration on top if desired. Top with coarse sea salt. Place the beef seam side down on a baking sheet.
  5. Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash then make a couple of slits in the top of the pastry using the tip of a paring knife ¿ this creates vents that will allow the steam to escape when cooking. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown and beef registers 125 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from oven and rest before cutting into thick slices. Garnish with minced chives, and serve with Green Peppercorn Sauce.

Green Peppercorn Sauce:

  1. Add olive oil to pan after removing beef. Add shallots, garlic, and thyme; saute for 1 to 2 minutes, then, off heat, add brandy and flambe using a long kitchen match. After flame dies down, return to the heat, add stock and reduce by about half. Strain out solids, then add 2 cups cream and mustard. Reduce by half again, then shut off heat and add green peppercorns.

Elote Hot Dogs with Garlic Fries

Picture1

Elote Hot Dogs

Ingredients:

For the lime mayonnaise:

  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch of chili powder

For the hot dogs:

  • 4 hot dogs
  • ¾ cup corn
  • 4 hot dog buns
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • Chili powder or smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Lime wedges, for serving

For the street corn:

  • 4 ears corn, cut off the cob
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • squeeze of lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

For the lime mayonnaise:

  1. Stir together the mayonnaise, lime juice, smoked paprika and ground cumin. Add the chili powder to taste.

For the street corn:

  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the corn and chili powder and cook for another two minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the two tablespoons of mayo, a squeeze of lime, and a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Add the cilantro and cotija and stir again to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the hot dogs:

  1. Grill the hot dogs.
  2. While the hot dogs are grilling, char the corn and prepare the buns. Char the corn in a small skillet over medium high-heat, stirring occasionally, until it’s lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
  3. Brush the tops of the buns with the melted butter then lightly sprinkle with either chili powder (spicy) or smoked paprika (not spicy) depending on whether your preference. Toast the buns.
  4. Put a hot dog in each bun. Divide the lime mayo between the hot dogs. Use half the cotija cheese to sprinkle over the mayo, reserve the other half. Divide the corn between the hot dogs then top with the remaining cotija cheese. Garnish with the chopped cilantro, lime wedges and a dusting of chili powder and/or smoked paprika.

 

Garlic fries

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag frozen french fries
  • 6 cloves of garlic , very finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • chopped parsley for garnish

Directions:

  1. Cook the fries according to the directions on the bag.
  2. When the fries come out of the oven, put them in a large bowl.
  3. A minute or so before serving the fries, put the garlic in a small fry pan with the oil.
  4. Heat on medium and cook for 15-30 seconds, not long enough to brown the garlic, just long enough to take mute the raw garlic flavor.
  5. Toss the fries with the garlic oil mixture and salt.
  6. Serve hot and garnish with parsley if desired.

Arroz Con Pollo

Arroz Con Pollo

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs 6 ounces each
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups chicken broth plus more if needed
  • 1 cup short-grain rice such as Calasparra, Arborio or Calrose
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley optional
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas thawed

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine wine and saffron; let stand until ready to use.
  3. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken, skin side down, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Flip, and cook until golden brown; transfer to a plate.
  5. Drain any excess oil, leaving 1 teaspoon of oil in the pan.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, red bell pepper and garlic, stirring often, until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in wine-saffron mixture, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the bay leaf.
  7. Cook until wine is almost completely evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Add chicken thighs, broth and rice; bring to a simmer.
  8. Cover the pan and place it in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the pan from the oven. Stir the peas into the rice.
  10. Top with parsley and serve.

Southern Pecan Brownies

chocolate nut brownie cake decorated with strawberries

Southern Pecan Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 (4-oz.) semisweet chocolate baking bars, chopped (6 oz.)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Dutch-process cocoa
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup chopped toasted pecans

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 (8-inch-square) baking pans with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides to easily lift brownies out of pans.
  2. Place butter in a microwavable bowl, and heat on HIGH in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted (about 1 minute total). Stir in chocolate until melted; stir in vanilla, and set aside.
  3. Stir together flour, cocoa, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.
  4. Place granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and yolk in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until pale and thick, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Stir in melted chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in flour mixture. (Batter will be very thick.) Fold in pecans, if desired. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center of each pan comes out with a few moist crumbs and tops are set and shiny, 25 to 28 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool completely in pans on wire racks, 1 hour. Use parchment handles to lift cooled brownies from pans; cut and serve.

Peanut Butter and Oats Snack Balls

Depositphotos_95633492_xl-2015

Peanut butter and oats snack balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup natural, crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except chocolate chips.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. Add chocolate chips to mixture and stir again, just until combined.
  4. Using your hands, press firmly to form one-inch balls.
  5. Place in air-tight container and refrigerate as needed.

Golden Corn Fritters

Golden Corn Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups self-rising cornmeal mix
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 (15.25 ounce) can corn, drained
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Directions:

  1. Heat oil to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal mix, flour, sugar, and salt. In a small bowl, combine milk and eggs. Add milk mixture to cornmeal mixture, stirring well. Stir in butter and corn.
  3. Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches in a Dutch oven, or use a deep-fryer. Drop by tablespoons into hot oil. Cook 2 to 4 minutes, or until golden, turning once. Drain on paper towels.