Archive for ‘Entrees’
February 10, 2017
I created this incredibly easy dish using fresh pappardelle pasta from the Ravioli Company and handmade Italian sausage from Cacciatore and Sons. We have so many great and wonderful local independent markets in the Bay area – we should really frequent and avail ourselves of the many bountiful fruits they produce.
This dish will take you no more than 30 minutes to prepare. Typically, tomato sauces like marinara take a while to cook down to reach its full flavorful melody. This sauce however, comes together quickly and it is as good the first half hour as it is the next day.
- 1 cup finely chopped sweet onion
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 – 28 ounce cans Hunts Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 – 6 ounce can Tomato paste
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- ½ cup English peas
- 1 pound pappardelle fresh pasta from the Ravioli Company. Of course you can use dried – but why would you when we have Dwight and Lauren Otis from the Ravioli Company making it for us
- Parmesan cheese for grating
Step One – Roasting Sausage
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the Cacciatore and Son’s Italian sausage into 1/2 “ circular rounds, or even 2” to 3” lengths…depending on your preference. Place on baking sheet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes and bake until brown – about 10 to 20 minutes depending on how large you sliced the sausage. Set aside.
Melt butter with EVOO in heavy bottom pot on medium heat. Add onions and sweat until translucent but not browned. Add garlic, pepper flakes, stir and cook one minute. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and sugar. Stir completely and bring to a quick boil on medium high heat. Add sausage and fresh basil. Stir and cover, and let simmer on low heat until ready to use – at least a half hour.
Add six quarts of water to a large pot and boil on high heat. Add 3 tablespoons kosher salt, stir and add pasta. Since it is fresh, you only need to boil 2 to 3 minutes. If it is dried, follow directions on the package – usually about 10 to 13 minutes. Drain pasta after it is cooked…but never rinse cooked pasta for you want the starch to remain on the pasta so the sauce will adhere to the pasta better. Also, if you are saucing a pasta – don’t finish with oil or butter or your sauce will slide right off the pasta. It is best to sauce the pasta immediately after cooking.
A Note About Salted Pasta Water
The most common mistake people make in cooking pasta is not using enough salt in the water. The water you cook pasta in should taste like the sea…otherwise it will be bland and tasteless. 3 tablespoons to 6 quarts of water is a good measuring gage. I prefer Diamond Crystal Kosher salt for all my cooking.
Toss pasta with sauce and sausage – add English peas. I use frozen Birds Eye – just run them for 30 seconds under warm tap water and they are good to go. Top with fresh grated parmesan cheese and a basil leaf. Serve with a side salad, a piece of garlic toast, and your favorite wine. Enjoy!
- Add braised cremini mushroom and/or spinach, or blanch broccoli rabe in boiling water, then pan seared in a hot pan with EVOO, either would go well in this dish.
- Stir in a ¼ cup of heavy cream, 1 tablespoon soft butter, and 2 ounces vodka to the sauce right before it’s done for a delicious vodka sauce. Maybe throw in some sliced black olives and top with a dollop of whole milk ricotta cheese. It’s all good.
- Remember, a recipe serves as a guide only. Make recipes your own by adding your favorite touches.
November 07, 2016
Sauce Vierge is a French sauce meaning Virgin Sauce because it is so light, fresh, and delicate. This sauce also goes nicely with any white flaky fish or scallops or even pan seared chicken. Perfect for a light dinner after a heavy or late lunch. Served with a blood orange and shaved fennel salad drizzled with EVOO and a squeeze of fresh grapefruit juice, a slice of warm herbed focaccia, well…you’ll have a wonderful dinner. And think about it – a Bailey’s dinner with zero butter. Wonders never cease.
Vierge is pronounced: V-edge – let it slide off your tongue.
SEABASS SEASONING INGREDIENTS
- 2 skinless seabass
- 2 star anise
- ½ teaspoon white or blended peppercorns
- ½ teaspoon coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Combine all dry ingredients in a coffee grinder (one just used for spices not coffee), grind until a powder is formed. Rub both sides of fish with EVOO and sprinkle with spice rub on both sides.
SAUCE VIERGE INGREDIENTS
- 2 large yellow tomatoes – peeled, seeded, chopped (if you can’t find yellow, use red)
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped Italian flatleaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh basil
- 2 cloves finely minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- OPTIONAL: 3 coarsely chopped Kalamata olives
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons EVOO
Pan-sear seasoned seabass in a pre-heated saute pan on medium high heat with a tablespoon EVOO. Depending on the thickness – around a minute to 2 minutes on each side. Set aside.
Lower heat to medium and add EVOO and lemon juice to the pan and stir with wooden spoon until all brown bits are incorporated. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well combined and to heat but not break up tomatoes. You are cooking the sauce briefly – just for a minute or so, just bringing it together until it is hot – season with salt and freshly ground peppercorns to taste.
Place braised spinach in center of plate, top with seabass, and ladle sauce over top. Serve with a blood orange and shaved fennel salad – Enjoy!
September 01, 2016
What could be better for dinner tonight than Shrimp, Scallops, Mussels, Pasta, Cream, and Parmesan Cheese? Nothing!!! I created this dish on the fly one night when I invited a couple friends over for supper last week. Since it was spur-of-the-moment, I had to use things I naturally had in my pantry, fridge, and freezer…I didn’t even have to go to the store.
This pasta dinner was a real hit and I wanted to share it with you so you can share it with your friends and family as well. Remember what Epicurus said: “Look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink.”
CREAMY PARMESAN SHRIMP & SCALLOP PASTA
- 12 peeled and deveined 16/20 shrimp
- 4 cups thawed Publix brand Patagonian Scallops (small bay scallops)
- 20 mussels, cleaned and beard removed (keep refrigerated until ready for use)
- 1 pound thick spaghetti (feel free to use any pasta you desire, penne will work great too)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 4 tablespoons shaved garlic (very thin sliced garlic)
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup white wine1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cream
- 1 cup sliced grape tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoon soft butter
- 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
In a skillet heated on medium high heat, add butter and EVOO, once butter is melted add garlic, wine, red pepper flakes and salt, bring to a boil stirring throughout with a wooden spoon, add cream and salt. Add shrimp and scallops, once seafood is cooked add pasta and tomatoes, and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly, take off heat and toss with 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, soft butter, and chopped parsley – bowl, arrange mussels, served with grilled lemon, salad, and a slice of Pane Rustica’s French baguette with unsalted butter.
Feel free to add more salt, red pepper flakes, and parmesan cheese to taste.
Our mussel recipe is on our blog – type-in “mussels” into the search box on our blog
Cut 2 lemons in half, dip in sugar and place on hot skillet until browned
June 23, 2016
In my family, when pork was served, my mom always served it with homemade applesauce. So why not go the extra step and brine my pork roast in apple cider? I served this dish last Saturday night to guests with oven roasted root vegetables, and apple sauce and boy-ol-boy was it a hit.
Ask Kevin at Publix meat department on Neptune to prep you a 5 to 6 pound bone in pork loin making sure he cuts the rib bones so it is easier to slice. You want 7 to 8 bones. Kevin has been a friend for many years, he was a butcher at Whaley’s Market (I still shed a tear when I think of them), matter of fact, he is married to Linda Whaley. Tell him you want it like the one he did for me.
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 cups kosher salt
- 2 cups water
- 8 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
- 1 quart unfiltered apple cider (not juice)
- 1 – 7 to 8 bone pork loin (5 to 6 pounds), ribs cut
- 6 Yukon Gold potatoes (about 2 pounds – unpeeled and quartered
- 5 medium red onions, halved, stem ends intact
- 6 carrots peeled and chopped in 2 inch pieces
- Any root vegetable you like will do: parsnips, rutabaga, fennel, butternut squash are all good
- Salt and freshly cracked pepper
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 cup unfiltered apple cider (not juice)
Bring brown sugar, salt, bay leaves, coriander, peppercorns to a boil in 2 cups of water until the sugar and salt is dissolved. Let cool completely and combine with a quart of apple-cider. Put the liquid, pork loin in a 2.5 gallon Zip-Lock bag, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Let the roast sit out of the refrigerator for at least one hour to come to room temperature.
After it has marinated the appropriate time, remove the pork loin and pat dry with a paper towel. Liberally salt and pepper the complete pork loin and brown all sides in the same roasting pan you will be using to bake the loin – add a couple tablespoons extra virgin olive oil to sear off pork. You want a nice caramelization on all sides.
Place the seared loin in the middle of the roasting pan (fat side up) with the prepped root vegetables all around the roast, add beef stock and apple cider over the vegetables. Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt and a half teaspoon of pepper directly on the vegetables.
Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven until the inside temperature reaches 145 to 150…approximately 60 to 90 minutes – start checking temp after 1 hour. Let stand for 30 minutes prior to slicing. You can serve thinly sliced without the bone, or thick sliced including the bone. Serve with pan juices and homemade applesauce.
Nothing beats homemade applesauce with pork. It’s easy to make…even easier than pie.
- 6 apples: 2 golden delicious, 2 gala, and 2 Macintosh (peeled and cut into 1” cubes)
- ¾ cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon (more or less depending on your taste)
Combine all the ingredients in a heavy bottom pot with a lid. Cover and cook on medium low until the apples are very soft. Leave it chunky or grind in a food processor. Served chilled, hot, or room temperature.
June 02, 2016
Fish & Chips are a British staple that is really popular here in the states…and in my house especially. It is truly the most simple and easy dish to prepare and is perfect for any summer indoor or outside occasion. It is a really great party food as well. For catering we cut both the fish and the fries in small bites and served stuffed in a paper cone as a super hors d’oeuvre. People absolutely go nuts for them at every party they are served. They are a huge hit.
- Fresh Fish: Cod, Haddock, Tilapia, Pollock
- All-purpose flour for a light dredging
- Vegetable, canola, or peanut oil
- Kosher Salt for finishing
Fish should be cut in 1” wide strips about 5” to 6” long. Damp the cut fish with a paper towel for the fish should be dry. Lightly dredge fish in flour and shake off any excess flour. This is done to help the batter stick to the fish.
BATTER & FRY
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup corn starch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 Heineken beer (or any ale or lager) you prefer
In a mixing bowl add all the dry ingredient and whisk until well blended. Add one 12 ounce bottle of beer and stir with wooden spoon until completely mix. Do not over mix. Put fish into batter and immediately fry fish until golden brown – remove from fryer and dust lightly with Kosher salt and place in a 200 degree oven on a sheet pan lined with a wire rack until ready to serve.
CHIPS (Belgium Twice Fried Potatoes)
- Russet Potatoes (peeled and cut)
The Belgium people really know how to make pomme frites…they are twice fried. The first frying is to cook the potato without browning them in a low-temperature oil (320 degrees). The second frying is for browning and crisping them at a higher heat (375 degrees).
Peel the potatoes and cut them in the size you prefer. Wash, drain, and thoroughly dry the cut potatoes. Fry in small batches at 320 degrees until completely done but not brown. Remove from oil and let cool completely. Once cooled, heat oil to 375 degrees and fry until golden brown and crispy. Dust with Kosher salt immediately after they come from the fryer. Put on a sheet pan with a wire rack and hold batches in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve.
VINEGAR & SAUCES
Malt vinegar, cocktail sauce, tartar sauce, ketchup
What is your favorite way to each fish and chips? Mine is ketchup or tartar sauce. While I love malt vinegar, I never cared for it on my fish & chips. That said, malt vinegar is very British and traditional…so you may want to try it for yourself.
May 05, 2016
In celebration of the Kentucky Derby this week, we are serving up Kentucky Hot Browns.
The Kentucky Hot Brown is an open faced sandwich created in 1926 at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky by Chef Fred Schmidt. It consists of toast, turkey, bacon, tomato and a Mornay sauce. It was created as an alternative to the traditional ham and eggs the hotel would serve its late night patrons who were hungry after dancing into the wee hours of the morning.
We will be serving it at numerous catering events this Saturday at Kentucky Derby parties around the bay, both as a passed hors d’oeuvre, and in casserole form. When we served them at Bailey’s Restaurant they were always a HUGE hit.
We make ours with fresh baked turkey, our own candied bacon, topped with heirloom tomatoes and yummy Mornay sauce made with rich gruyere cheese. It is a spectacular dish year round, but especially this weekend honoring the most famous race of them all.
- Pepperidge Farm bread or any hearty thick sliced white bread (toasted) – cut crust off
- Fresh baked turkey breast or a high quality sliced deli turkey
- Sliced heirloom tomatoes
- Candied bacon
- Mornay sauce
- Gruyere cheese for the sauce and extra to top
My preference for this sandwich is always fresh baked turkey. You can buy turkey breast and bake it off covered (butter, salt and pepper) in a 325 degree oven until done. Or Sam’s and Costco sell a fried turkey breast (or even pre-cooked sliced turkey breast) that is good as well. Last resort is deli turkey. It’s ok to use. I prefer the sliced turkey breast from either Wright’s Gourmet (yes they sell it sliced and it beats all others), or Boars Head from Publix.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 ounces grated Gruyere cheese
Melt butter in medium size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and cook whisking constantly until the flour roux is pale yellow…do not brown. Slowly whisk in milk and stir until the sauce thickens. Once the sauce thickens, add remaining ingredients on low heat. Cook for approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
- Thick sliced Applewood smoked bacon (or your favorite kind of thick sliced bacon)
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar for each slice of bacon
- Light sprinkling of cayenne pepper
On a sheet pan with bacon side-by-side, press brown sugar into each slice. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper. Bake at 350 until crispy. I line my sheet pan with aluminum foil for easy clean-up, or use a baking rack that fits inside the sheet pan lined with aluminum foil. This is the best method for it helps eliminate greasy bacon.
Thick slice heirloom, beefsteak, or any other high quality tomato you prefer. Once sliced, place on a medium hot non-stick skillet brushed with butter for approximately 10 seconds on each side – just long enough to heat it up slightly.
Removed crust from bread and toast. Top with warm or room temperature sliced turkey, sliced tomato, hot Mornay sauce, 2 slices bacon crisscrossed, and grated Gruyere piled in the middle. Broil until browned. Serve hot.
For Passed Hors d’oeuvers: Slice crust-less Pepperidge Farm bread in quarters. Toast. Top with room temperature or warm turkey (deli is fine), a spoonful of hot Mornay sauce, a 1” square candied bacon, one half cherry or grape tomato. Sprinkle with grated Gruyere cheese and broil until melted. Serve hot.
Hot Browns For A Crowd: This is a real crowd pleasure. Butter a casserole dish. Line with toasted crust-less bread, top with turkey, tomato, candied bacon, Mornay sauce (to completely cover), and lots of grated Gruyere cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until it is bubbly golden brown. Serve hot.
March 17, 2016
AWW – Corned Beef & Cabbage!!! One of my favorite times of the year is St. Patrick’s Day because I can eat my fill of Corned Beef and Cabbage. My mom was from Boston and she would call it a “New England Boil Dinner.” I call it just plain good.
This is such an easy meal to prepare. While the beef takes time to cook, it is more-or-less a passive meal to prepare – so you can go shopping, wash the dog, ride a bike, write a letter, or anything else you may want to do while it cooks.
I’ve searched many places in the Tampa Bay area for the BEST Corned Beef and Cabbage – and while most would think (and hope) that an Irish Pub would be the natural fit – I have literally ordered CB& Cabbage dinners from multiple locations – and I have found Wright’s Gourmet to put out the best most consistent one in the area. I’d love to hear where you enjoy corned beef and cabbage. Shoot me an email at RobertKimBailey@hotmail.com.
- Corned Beef
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup honey
- Whole small onions
- New red potatoes
It is important to completely wash off the corned beef prior to cooking. Place in large pot and cover with water two inches above the corned beef. Add seasoning packet. Cook on high heat until it comes to a boil. Once it boils turn heat to medium to simmer – can take as long as 3 hours depending on how large your beef is and how many pieces you are cooking.
While the corned beef cooks, Peel and slice carrots on the bias. You want your pieces to be equal in size. I like to leave the skins on my potatoes for corned beef and cabbage – but that is solely up to you…so peel them if desired. If you buy the smaller potato leave them whole – if larger, cut in quarters. Peel small to medium onions leaving whole. Slice the cabbage in quarters. I leave the core in tack making it easier to remove from pot.
Once the corned beef is cooked – take out. Turn heat to high. Once the water is boiling add carrots, potatoes, and onions to the same water, cook until fork tender. Take out.
Add cabbage to the same water and cook until fork tender. Take out when done and arrange all vegetables nicely on a platter. My dad would always save the broth and drink it – calling it “pot liquor.” It is very good.
Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. When the vegetables are cooking combine the honey and brown sugar and spread evenly over the top of the corned beef. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until a brown caramelization occurs – much like the picture(s). Let cool 20 minutes,
It is important to slice the corned beef against the grain…otherwise it will be tough as nails.
SERVING & PRESENTATION
Place cabbage on a large platter surrounded by the carrots, onions, and potatoes. Top with sliced corned beef. My mom always served Guldens Spicy Brown Mustard – and we dipped both the corned beef and the vegetables in the mustard – and put some Texas Pete Pepper Vinegar on our cabbage. I just love this meal.
January 14, 2016
There is not much better on a cool night than homemade chicken and dumplings. Now mind you, I like dumplings dropped (more like a biscuit) or rolled, but a rolled dumpling is my absolute favorite for chicken and dumplings.
Whenever they were on the menu, we sold out in minutes. We always had to make 20 times more than we thought we were going to sell. Actually, they are very easy to make – but the dumplings take about 45 minutes to cook in the rich chicken broth.
I’ve tried making the dumplings with buttermilk but find whole milk to be my favorite. If you want a good ole country meal this weekend – these chicken and dumplings will set you free.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 3 tablespoon salted butter
- ¾ cup whole milk
Combine first 5 ingredients in a food processor and put in bowl. Make a well in the middle and add milk – pull together with a regular dinner fork…just like a biscuit, do not overmix. Put dough on floured surface and roll to ¼” thick. Cut into 1” to 2” rectangles. Don’t worry how you cut them – they can be irregular shaped.
They must be slow cooked in wonderfully rich broth made with chicken stock.
- 1 whole rotisserie chicken from Sam’s Club (or your favorite grocery – but Sam’s is the best) – skinned, boned, pulled to leave good size pieces
- 2 sticks salted butter
- 1 cup flour
- 2 ½ quarts (8 cups) Swanson’s chicken regular broth – don’t use sodium free
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt & ½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper (more to taste)
In a large pot, melt butter add flour stirring with a whisk. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil stirring with a whisk until the flour taste is cooked out of the sauce. Turn heat to medium low and add the cream, Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste, and dumplings. Cover and cook dumplings for approximately 45 minutes – until they rise and puff.
If too think, add chicken stock and a touch of cream. Once the dumplings are done, add chicken and gently stir until well blended. Serve in a bowl with a piece of warm corn bread.
Add English Peas and or carrots
November 19, 2015
A SPECIAL THANKSGIVING MENU
OVER MY EARLY MORNING THANKSGIVING BREAKFAST OF: fresh made crusty cast-iron skillet corned beef hash with butter sautéed root vegetables of onion, carrots, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, sweet and Yukon gold potatoes, cabbage, topped with two eggs fried in bacon grease drizzled with homemade hollandaise sauce, two slices of Applewood smoked bacon, three “wall-to-wall” blueberry
pancakes made with Marburger Farm buttermilk, spread with fine room temperature Danish Lurpak butter, drizzled with warm 100% Vermont maple syrup, a toasted buttered Wolfermans English Muffin with homemade raspberry preserves and Stilton cheese, a bite or two of sweet mouth cleansing cantaloupe, a half of ruby-red grapefruit bruleed with Turbinado sugar, a bowl of Honey Nuts & Oats cereal with half-and-half, topped with fresh strawberries and bananas and a healthy dollop of Greek yogurt, tall glasses of fresh squeezed navel orange juice and freezer cold Dakin Chocolate milk, and a fresh out-of-the-oven buttermilk biscuit loaded with sliced country ham with a ramekin of red-eye gravy for dipping, while perusing the latest issue of Bon Appetit magazine, I offer these Thanksgiving musings and recipes.
A NOTE ABOUT THANKSGIVING
Epicurus wrote that you “should first look for someone to eat and drink with, before looking for something to eat and drink.” Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to be with one another and share the day. If you find that you are alone this Thanksgiving, don’t be – give me a call (813) 928-2210, or shoot me an email (RobertKimBailey@hotmail.com), and we can dine together at my table, there is always room for one more. Really.
If you are alone, I encourage you to reach out, if not to me – someone. Try to put embarrassment behind you. I would consider it a gift. And for those of you who know of someone who is alone this Thanksgiving, let this note be a catalyst for you to reach out to them. Get them in the kitchen helping to chop – it will be great fun. I guarantee if you do – it will be the best Thanksgiving ever.
My wish, my hope, my prayer, is that you enjoy every single minute of the day. Start out by watching the Macy’s Day Parade as you cook. That’s what I do every year.
GROWING UP, Thanksgiving was always a special time for me, and my family. My mom would bake a dozen or more homemade pumpkin pies and bring them to neighbors and friends. To this day, just the sight of a pumpkin pie conjures up many a fond memory in my minds-eye of mom’s giving spirit, and of the many warm comfort foods of the season.
My mom would start on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving preparing all the luscious food for our family feast. She would even go so far as to set the dining room table with her lovely china, silver, fancy tablecloth and cloth napkins, and special gold rim water goblets. Her dining room table always looked so beautifully set.
To this day the “Flossie” tradition continues, for it is always fun to show up on a friend’s doorstop with a fresh baked pie…pumpkin, pecan, or apple. To my friends Mark and Susan Merrill (you can see Susan on our Limoncello cake video in this blog), I sometimes bring two pies, pumpkin and sweet potato which is Mark’s favorite.
Mark and I vehemently argued one year about the best way to eat the two pies – cold or room temperature. Mark finally agreed with me that pumpkin should always be eaten cold, and sweet potato at room temperature.
Many want a dollop of whipped cream to top their pumpkin pie – while I prefer mine naked. My friend and Bailey’s GM Barry Engh and his son Luke wouldn’t think of eating a slice of pumpkin pie without adorning the top with a spray of Redi-Whip…yuk!
If you do want whipped cream folks, please make it yourself…1 cup of heavy cream, 1 teaspoon high quality real vanilla extract, and a ¼ cup of sugar…whisk by hand or beat with an electric mixer until whipped, and you’ll have a wonderful topping for your pie – not from a can.
CREATING A MOIST AND DELICIOUS TURKEY
While my brother Byron sister Pamela and I were fast asleep my mom and dad would get up very early on Thanksgiving morning to prepare the turkey for our dinner. It always seemed like a big production. They were chopping the celery, onions, and parsley for the stuffing, buttering the turkey inside and out, and stuffing the turkey.
My parents would do it old school, after stuffing the turkey (both ends) they would put the heel end of a loaf of bread at the ends of the stuffed bird to keep the stuffing from popping out and getting dry. I must admit, I loved that crusty piece of bread when the turkey was done. Then they would get this long needle with lots of heavy thread, and sew it up like they were surgeons. Place it in a huge turkey roaster, and 6 to 8 hours later – beautiful turkey and stuffing. Then the gravy had to be made. My version of turkey prep is much, more simple.
TO-STUFF-OR-NOT-TO-STUFF – THAT IS THE QUESTION
Admittedly, dressing does taste better if it is cooked inside the turkey. However, the turkey is much more moist and cooks faster if you bake the dressing separately – so my recommendation is to cook them both separate. But whatever floats your boat is fine with me.
After the turkey is thawed, take the giblets and necks out of the inside cavity and rinse the bird in cold tap water inside and out…dry with a paper towel.
Melt 2 sticks of butter. Butter inside both cavities and outside the bird, and liberally salt (kosher) and pepper (freshly cracked) covering the entire turkey.
Pre-heat oven to 325
Today, most people don’t have a turkey roaster (neither do I), so using a large deep dark pan with a rack is the best. I strongly urge you to use a dark coated pan as opposed to an aluminum pan, for the darker the pan, the darker the gravy will end up being.
In the bottom of the roasting pan, place an array of root vegetables, 4 peeled carrots, 2 medium onions, 5 stocks celery, and 2 bay leaves. These vegetables will help make the gravy taste extra delicious. You can place the turkey directly on the vegetables or on the rack with the vegetables underneath…I put the rack on top of the vegetables, and the turkey on the rack.
Do not buy a turkey with a “pop-up” that shows you when the turkey is done…I think it takes longer than it should to pop up thus drying the turkey out. Use a meat thermometer that you can find in every grocery store. Place the thermometer in the thigh (but not touching the bone) before you put it in the oven.
Place the turkey in the preheated oven lightly tented with aluminum foil (notice I didn’t say tin foil – there is no “tin” in aluminum foil). You are tenting to keep the turkey from browning too quickly. You will be removing the foil when the turkey gets to 130 degrees or about an hour before it is done to enable it to brown.
There is no need to baste the turkey – YEA!!! – just place it in the oven, and forget it. (My mom would tell me that it is incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition but it’s ok this one time.) Once the turkey hits 160 degrees – take it out of the oven and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing. Poultry temperature should be 165 degrees when done – but a turkey will continue to cook another 5 degrees or so once out of the oven – so if you take it out at 165 – it will move up to 170 or higher and potentially dry out your bird.
EASY GREAT TASTING (non-giblet) GRAVY
Strain all the vegetables from the pan capturing the juices. Put all the pan juices back into the pan including the fat drippings from the turkey. Place on top of the stove and add a cup of all-purpose flour. NOTE: how much flour you add is in direct collation to the amount of fat you have – you should have equal amounts of fat and flour – so you will have to judge for yourself.
Put the stove on medium high, and immediately whisk in the flour with the juices. Keep whisking until combined. Add chicken stock to get the gravy to the consistency you desire. NOTE: You can used canned chicken stock (I like Swanson’s) or you can make your own cheater stock by throwing canned chicken stock into a pot with the turkey neck and giblets, onions, celery, carrots, bay leaves, salt, and pepper) bring to a boil on high heat and let simmer on low heat for an hour or so. Using the canned stock with the vegetables and turkey innards will make an even better stock for your gravy. Strain out the vegetables and use for gravy and if you have some leftover – it is a perfect stock for the dressing as well.
I never make giblet gravy – I don’t like it…wouldn’t eat it if the Queen served it to me. And I think I am in the majority there…so discard the giblets.
If you want more gravy keep adding a touch of butter, flour, and stock whisking the entire time. You want to make sure you cook the flour taste out so make sure the gravy comes to a boil while whisking. It is important to salt and pepper your gravy. Be careful with the salt however – always taste before you add extra salt for you have salted your turkey, and the stock has been salted as well – so taste before you salt the final product.
If you need to, and you like a smooth gravy, strain before serving.
BAILEY’S CORNBREAD DRESSING
We served this dressing at Bailey’s Restaurant every time we served pork or poultry – and it was always a huge hit.
- 1 package Pepperidge Farm Herbed Dressing
- 2 packages Pepperidge Farm Corn Bread Dressing
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 carrots peeled and diced
- 4 celery stocks with the leaves (diced)
- 1 pound of salted butter (yes, a pound)
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- 1 ½ cups Craisins
- 1 cup chopped toasted pecans
- 1 ½ cups homemade cranberry apple sauce (recipe below)
- Chicken stock (enough to moisten)
- Salt & pepper to taste
In a large pot melt the butter, add onion, celery, carrots and cook down until tender. Add the dressing mixture, and the remaining ingredients, moisten with homemade or canned chicken stock. Remember, it will dry out a bit, so use enough stock. Start with a quart. Salt and pepper to taste – I like fresh cracked pepper.
Place dressing in buttered casserole dish and bake (covered with aluminum foil) in a preheated oven at 350 for 30 minutes, and 15 minutes uncovered (if you desire a crusty top).
My niece Brittany requests a jar of this cranberry applesauce every Thanksgiving. You want to prepare each sauce separately, cool and combine the two sauces into a heavenly sauce perfect for any occasion – but especially on your Thanksgiving table.
- 1 pound package Ocean Spray whole cranberries
- Prepare the as the package directs
- 2 apples each McIntosh, Golden Delicious, Gala
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Peel, core and chop the apples. Place all the above ingredients in a sauce pan with a lid. Cook on top of the stove on medium low temperature until the apples are soft. Cool and combine with cool cranberry sauce – best served chilled.
OVEN ROASTED ACORN SQUASH
This has become a “must have” on my table at Thanksgiving. And it is the easiest dish ever to prepare. Cut an acorn squash in half or even in quarters. Take out inside pulp. Liberally brush with melted butter (or extra virgin olive oil), salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet, and roast in a preheated 400 degree oven until golden brown and soft when forked. If you want a bit darker color to the squash – place under the broiler for a minute or two. Good served hot, warm, or room temperature.
You will love every single bite of this delicious corn
casserole, and it is a perfect side dish at Thanksgiving.
- 1 medium onion diced
- ½ stick salted butter
- 1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
- 1 can creamed corn
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 box Jiffy Corn Muffin mix
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a skillet over medium heat, saute onion in melted butter until translucent. In a large mixing bowl, combine the onion with the remaining ingredients and stir until well blended. Pour into buttered casserole dish and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.
MOM’S PUMPKIN PIE
Most everyone says that their mom makes the best…whatever. I’m no different. I make it to this day and it is a smash hit every time served.
This makes 2 – 10” pies – make one for dinner and give one away to some unsuspecting family who always serves a Publix pie.
- 1 – 32 ounce can Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 1 – 15 ounce can Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 room temperature eggs, beaten
- 5 cups whole milk, room temperature
For the filling, combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir with large wooden spoon until well blended. You can use a store-bought pie shell, but if you are going this far, go all the way and make the crust too – it is simple!
Place equal amounts of filling in the 2 unbaked pie shells – do not overfill.
Bake on the bottom rack in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for exactly 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake on middle shelf for 45 minutes to an hour – or until a butter knife comes out clean when put in the center of the pie.
This makes 2 – 10” pie shells
- 2 & 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks very cold salted butter (cubed)
- 8 tablespoons ice cold water
For the pie crust, put the flour, salt and cubed butter in a food processor. Pulse about 10 times or until the flour and butter is blended to a cornmeal consistency. Add the ice water and pulse another 6 to 12 times until it forms a ball. Divide in 2 even balls of pastry – wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Know too that if you chilled longer than 30 minutes – it will be very difficult to roll. Roll one crust at a time on a lightly floured cool surface. Fold in half and place in pie shell – flute the edges. If you are having problems, call me on my cell (813) 928-2210 – really, call me – anytime. Really.
September 03, 2015
When it comes to fine seafood, I am a purist…seasoning with salt, pepper, pan seared in butter allowing the true essence of the fish to shine through.
Last week, I did a new menu tasting for Carmel of dishes that will be added to the menu this October 1st. The pan seared red snapper atop Gruyere creamed spinach was a huge hit…a huge hit. You will love this recipe. We served it with our corn casserole medallions – the recipe is in our blog as well.
You will love this delicate snapper – and if you don’t feel like cooking it yourself – come to Carmel this October for this taste sensation.
- 2 red snapper fillets (skin on about 1 ½ pounds)
- Flour for dredging
- Kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper
- Fresh lemon
- Salted Butter
- Vegetable oil
Score skin side of the red snapper with a sharp knife being careful not to pierce the flesh of the fish. The reason for scoring is to keep the fish flat so it will not curl during cooking.
Pat the fish dry (both sides) with a paper towel. Salt and pepper both sides and dredge in flour shaking all the excess flour off the fish.
Heat a non-stick skillet on medium high heat – add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon salted butter to the skillet. When the pan is hot, place the fish flesh side down and sear for approximately 2 minutes. Do not move fish around – let it develop a nice golden brown color. Turn and finish searing for another 2 minutes.
Do not over crowd the pan. If you are doing multiple pieces of fish, do them in batches, and place the cooked fish on a baking sheet in a pre-heated oven set to 175 degrees.
When finished searing, add a tablespoon of soft butter to the pan – and drizzle butter juices over the fish with a squeeze of fresh lemon, and a sprinkling of Kosher salt. Serve atop gruyere creamed spinach. Perfect with corn casserole – which you can find a recipe in this blog.
Creamed Spinach recipe coming soon.