Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hot Fried Turkey

Last year I had fried turkey for the very first time, and it was to die for. Seriously, I could not believe how good it was and how long I've been missing out on it. Well, this year I cooked Thanksgiving lunch for my Dad. I decided I would try my hand at frying up some turkey, but the catch is I don't have one of those frying contraptions. So, I went googling for a fried turkey breast recipe. Plus, since it was just me and my Dad; I didn't want to cook a whole turkey. Well, I came across this recipe from Carla Hall (you may remember her from Top Chef) and decided to try it. Man, it was freaking GOOD. I made the spicy oil to go along with it, and that provided a lot of heat. The turkey had so much flavor and it was so incredibly moist. I brined the turkey (per the instructions) for a couple hours and I'm thinking that's what made it so moist. The turkey even tasted good the next day. Seriously, if you are making Thanksgiving for a handful of people give this recipe a try. You won't be disappointed. Enjoy!

For the Brine:
2 quarts Water
1/2 cup Hot Sauce
1/2 cup Kosher Salt
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Turkey Breast (both sides; cut into 8 pieces)

For the Spiced Oil:
3 tablespoons Vegetable Oil (plus more for frying)
2 tablespoons Cayenne Pepper
 1 teaspoon Paprika
 2 teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes
 2 teaspoons Salt
 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
 1 teaspoon Sugar

For Dredging:
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Fresh Cracked Pepper

I think the hardest part of this recipe is chopping the turkey into 8 pieces. I don't own a meat cleaver, so it proved to be a bit difficult cutting the bone. But, I managed to get thru it with all my fingers in tact. Be extremely careful when cutting threw the bones. 
Take out a large saute pan and add the water, hot sauce, salt, and sugar. Add the turkey pieces and place the pot in your fridge for a couple hours. The recipe says brine the turkey for at least an hour. I brined mine for a little over 2 hours. While the turkey is brining; go ahead and make your spiced oil. Take out a small saute pan and add the oil thru the sugar to the pot. Over medium heat cook until fragrant...about 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from heat and pour into a small bowl. Set aside.

For the dredging; take out a medium bowl and combine the flour, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Once the turkey has finished brining; pour into a colander and pat the turkey dry with a paper towel. Place on a wire rack and lightly dust the turkey with some of the flour mixture. Then, transfer the turkey to a large plate and let air dry in the fridge for an hour.

About 15 minutes before your ready to take the turkey out of the fridge; get out your dutch oven and pour enough vegetable oil into the pot to cover the turkey while frying. I used about a bottle and a half of canola oil for this. Heat the oil to 325.

Take out the turkey from the fridge; and cake the turkey with your flour mixture. Be sure to press the flour into the turkey so that it adheres to the skin. Fry the turkey in the pre-heated oil for about 8 to 10 minutes. Carefully, remove and place on a plate lined with paper towels or a wire rack. Check the temperature of the turkey to ensure it's around 160 degrees. Then, crank up the oil to a temperature of 375 and fry the turkey a second time for 4-6 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel and drizzle with the spiced oil. Enjoy!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Roasted Squash Toss

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and I ate myself silly. I made Thanksgiving lunch for my Dad. Then, later that day I went over to my mom's for Thanksgiving dinner. I'll post what I made for lunch in a little bit. For dinner, I decided to make a squash recipe because I have a ton of squash sitting around just waiting to be eaten. I was going to make Ina Garten's Roasted Butternut Squash, but decided to find a recipe that also incorporated Acorn Squash. I came across this recipe from Sunny Anderson and decided to give it a shot. It got really good reviews, so I thought why not. Well, why not indeed. It turned out to be a very tasty and spicy recipe. The only spice in the recipe (other than cinnamon) is red pepper flakes, but it definitely packed a punch. I highly recommend this recipe not just for Thanksgiving, but for any day of the week. Enjoy!

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons red chili flakes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (2 pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 (1 1/2 pound) acorn squash, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup almond slivers
1/2 orange, zested and juiced (about 1/3 cup juice and 1 tablespoon zest) (I omitted this ingredient and it still turned out fine)

Preheat your oven to 425. Take out a large bowl and combine the garlic thru the cinnamon. Add in the cubed and peeled squash. Toss together well. Season with salt and pepper. I added about half a teaspoon salt and about 1/4 tsp black pepper. Place the squash on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes. While the squash is roasting; go ahead and take out a saute pan and add the almond slivers to it. Toast at medium heat until the almonds turn a light golden color; about 4 minutes. Be sure to stir often. Remove the squash from the oven and add to a serving bowl along with the slivered almonds. If you're going to use the orange zest and juice; this is the point where you add it. Serve and enjoy.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mashed Potato Casserole with Smoked Gouda and Bacon

One of our very first Iron Chef's was Iron Chef Bacon. Can you believe we've been doing these Iron Chefs for almost 4 years??!! Yowa!! I remember loooving this mashed potato casserole courtesy of Bon Appetit. I, of course, thought it was the winner, but my presentation was pretty lame. Oh well. I've made this recipe several times since, and most recently at a Friends-giving party. I bet it would have been voted the winner had those friends attended the Iron Chef party. ;) This recipe is filled with lots of goodness: butter, potatoes, cheese, and bacon! Mmmm. Trust me; you'll love it and your friends will thank you for it! Enjoy!  

6 slices thick-cut smoked bacon (preferably applewood-smoked)
3 large green onions (white and pale green parts only), finely chopped
3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 cups (about 8 ounces) coarsely grated smoked Gouda, divided

Take out a 13x9 baking dish and butter it. I omitted buttering the dish. I figured it wasn't needed since mashed potatoes aren't exactly sticky. Place the peeled and diced potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover the potatoes. Throw in some salt and boil with the lid slightly ajar for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes come out fork tender.

Meanwhile;  cook bacon in a large heavy skillet until nice and crispy. I used the entire package of bacon. I mean really; 6 pieces?!  Anyway, once the bacon is sufficiently crispy; transfer to a paper towel to drain. Then take out a small bowl; and add in the chopped green onions along with the crumbled bacon. Stir and set aside.

Once the potatoes are fork tender; drain into a colander. Then place potatoes back in the same large pot, and while cooking over medium heat; stir until potatoes are dry and light film forms in the bottom of the pot. Next, add in the sour cream, milk, and butter. Use a potato masher to mash up the potatoes until almost smooth. Honestly, I used an immersion blender at this point because my masher wasn't doing a good job at smoothing the potatoes. They were quite chunky. Then, stir in 1 1/2 cups of the smoked Gouda and 1 cup of the bacon mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Next, spread the potato mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining Gouda.

Pre-heat oven to 375 and then bake the potatoes for about 30 minutes or until the cheese melts and the edges of the potatoes start boiling. Sprinkle reserved bacon mixture on top and serve.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Honey Chicken Stir-Fry

I know what you are thinking. Is this? Could it be? Did Emily post a new recipe? I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I went missing for a little over a month, and I really don't have a good excuse. Okay. Okay. Who are we kidding? I can always come up with a "good" excuse. My excuse really is just plain ol' laziness. I blamed it on the time change, but who are we kidding? I was just being lazy. But, I'm back! And, I promise to post more recipes over the Thanksgiving weekend. Anyway, back to this new recipe fromTaste of Home. I've actually made this a couple times since I found it. It's paleo friendly and very delicious plus very simple. I came across it while perusing stir-fry recipes on Yummly. I added broccoli and cauliflower as my veggie, and I didn't cook rice. But, feel free to cook up some rice if you want. Enjoy!

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
3 tsp olive oil, divided
3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 package (16 oz) frozen broccoli stir-fry vegetable blend
2 tsp corn starch
1 tbsp water
Hot rice

Note: From a lot of reviews; they suggest doubling the honey sauce. I agree with the reviews as well. If you don't double the sauce; then the mixture will get pretty dry. 
Take out your wok and heat to medium. Add in 2 teaspoons oil and the minced garlic. Saute for about a minute and then toss in your chicken pieces. Then, add in the honey, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink. Remove the chicken and keep warm.
Next, add in the vegetables and the remaining teaspoon of oil in the same pan. Cook for about 5-10 minutes or until veggies are tender. Now, return the chicken to the pan. Then, take a small bowl and add the corn starch and water. Stir well. Add the corn starch mixture to the wok and stir for a minute. The honey mixture should thicken pretty quickly. Serve on top of rice and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Chipotle Meatballs

I’ve made a Mexican Meatball before but in the recipe I had the flavors were just a little too sharp and intense. I did like the concept, however, and had my eye out for another Mexican style meatball that might tickle my fancy a bit more. I found this recipe on Eat, Drink, Paleo, and while I made some substitutions that took it out of Paleo land, you could easily take it right back if you were so inclined (Looking at you, Emily). These turned out really good. Lots of robust flavor, but not too much spiciness, and they made a very satisfying meal over rice. My only complaint is that it didn’t really make a “sauce” per se, but that could easily be remedied with a small can of tomato sauce next time. I went ahead and added that into the ingredients for you because that's just the kind of person I am. 

1 pound ground beef
3 chipotle chilies in adobo, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp of salt
½ large onion, finely chopped

½ large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 chipotle chilies, minced
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp sweet paprika
2 bay leaves
1 14.5oz can diced tomatos (we used fire-roasted)
½ tsp salt
1 8oz can of tomato sauce (I would add this next time)

Queso Fresco (optional)
Cilantro, chopped (optional)

You’ll notice (or you will now that I’m pointing it out) that there is a half onion in both the meatballs and the sauce. You can actually cook it all at the same time, and split it after it’s been sautéed in olive oil (or butter) for 5 minutes or so. Add half the onions to a bowl and set the rest aside for the sauce. Mix the onions with the ground beef, garlic, chilies, cilantro, coriander, cumin, paprika, olive oil and salt to make the meatballs. Mix them well with your hands and then form them into meatballs. I like to make mine about golf ball size.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a deep frying pan until hot and then brown the meatballs, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Don’t worry that they aren’t cooked all the way through. After the balls are browned, add the ingredients for the sauce to the pan. If you can, when adding the spices, avoid putting them directly on the meatballs as that makes it hard to stir them into the sauce. You’ll have an easier time if you put them into a saucy area of the pan.

Stir everything together, making sure that the sauce gets on and around the meatballs, and simmer on medium low for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. You want to make sure the meatballs finish cooking all the way through. Finally taste the sauce (carefully!) and add more salt if needed. We served ours over rice with a sprinkling of queso fresco. You could also sprinkle on some fresh cilantro as well!