Mauve Cabinets and a Bottle of Red

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Location: Peoria, IL, United States

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


So I'm sitting here in my dining room, waiting on the browned butter and simple syrup to cool and I realized, I have been a terrible blogger lately. I set out to do the NaBloWriMo, and failed in the last week. Ugh. I hate that. And ever since then I've kind of fallen off the face of the earth. I have been cooking, I have a stack of recipes to share with ya'll. But, it's that time of year when I get terribly burnt out and all I feel like doing after work is reading in bed, which usually puts me to sleep by 9:30!

If you follow me on Twitter, you saw that two weekends ago, I threw my very first dinner party! You probably even saw this picture that I took just before my bird went into the oven:

That whole day I taunted all of you with how beautiful my turkey was looking, how delicious it was smelling, and I promised you a recipe. And oooooooooooooooh how amazing that turkey was. It was by far the best turkey I've ever had, hands down. Everyone who was here told me how much they loved it, demanded to know the secret, and begged me to host the party next year so I could make the turkey again. It was a very proud moment in my culinary journey.

And then I got the flu. The very next day. It was awful. It knocked me on my feet for 3 days solid. I've been trying to catch up every since then. So here is your turkey recipe. I'm sorry it's just now getting posted. But look, I took pictures!

All the credit for this recipe goes to Prudence Pennywise (go check out her blog, I love her recipes). Wow girlie, this recipe is a knockout. Because it was my first time making turkey and gravy, I did not change anything in either recipe. If you can't find sage, I bet rosemary and/or thyme would go great with this bird. Seriously, try this. I will never roast a turkey without brining it first. It makes a little bit of a mess and takes a few days of preparation, but it is so, so worth it.

Sage Roasted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy
From Prudence Pennywise
Notes: Thaw turkey in fridge from Fri-Mon before Thanksgiving, brine from Mon-Wed night.
8 quarts cold water
1 cup salt
8 dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoon allspice
1 16- to 17-pound turkey; giblets removed,
Herb butter and gravy
3 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
3 tablespoons minced fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 cups apple cider
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 large Granny Smith apples, quartered, cored
2 large onions, quartered
1 cup apple cider

To brine the turkey:
Line extra-large pot or bowl with two 13-gallon (or larger) plastic bags, 1 inside the other. Combine 1 quart water, salt, bay leaves, peppercorns, and allspice in large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until salt dissolves. Remove from heat. Add 1 quart cold water and cool to lukewarm. Pour into plastic bags; mix in remaining 6 quarts water. Submerge turkey in brine to cover completely, gathering bags tightly to eliminate any air; tie bags closed. Refrigerate turkey in brine in pot at least 18 hours and up to 20 hours.
Line large roasting pan with 4 layers of paper towels. Remove turkey from brine and drain well; discard brine. Place turkey in prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

For herb butter and gravy:
Mix parsley, sage, and nutmeg in small bowl. Transfer half of chopped herb mixture to small bowl; mix in 1/2 cup butter.
Combine broth and apple cider in heavy large saucepan. Boil until reduced to 3 cups, about 20 minutes. Pour broth reduction into bowl. Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter in same saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour; stir 1 minute. Whisk in broth reduction, then cream, and remaining chopped herb mixture. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until gravy base is thickened and reduced to 2 3/4 cups, whisking often, about 20 minutes. Cool gravy base slightly. (Gravy base and herb butter can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

To roast the turkey:
Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 350°F. Remove turkey from roasting pan; drain any accumulated juices from main cavity. Discard paper towels from roasting pan. Melt herb butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Brush bottom of roasting pan with some of herb butter. Return turkey to prepared pan. Tuck wing tips under; tie legs together loosely to hold shape. Place some apple quarters and onion quarters in main cavity. Brush remaining herb butter over turkey; sprinkle with pepper. Scatter remaining apples and onions around turkey in pan.
Roast turkey 1 hour. Baste with 1/2 cup apple cider. Roast turkey 30 minutes. Baste with remaining 1/2 cup cider. Roast turkey until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, basting turkey every 30 minutes with pan juices and covering breast loosely with foil if browning too quickly, about 2 hours longer (3 1/2 hours total). Transfer turkey to platter; let stand at least 30 minutes before carving (internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees).
Discard apples and onions from pan. Pour pan juices into large glass measuring cup; spoon off fat from surface. Pour
degreased juices into gravy base and bring to boil over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally. Boil until gravy thickens enough to coat spoon and is reduced to 3 1/2 cups, about 15 minutes. Season gravy to taste with pepper.
Serve turkey with gravy.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

This has been a rough week. 3 employees have left, 3 have been out sick. We hit a gas line on a job, we have a gas leak in the office. It's snowed, it's rained, it's freezing cold and our heat is turned off.

On top of that, I've had test after test ran last week. I told J. "I've been poked more times than Paris Hilton!" Apparently there's nothing major going on, I do have a cyst on my right ovary, but we aren't doing much about it at this point. Just "wait and see." It's better news than it could have been, but it's still a bit scary.

When it all gets to much to bear, what else is there to do but bake? I pulled out an old recipe of mine. These are my best friend's absolute favorite cookies. He was sooooooo mad when he found out I made them (he does not live in the same town). They are the perfect milk cookies, not really soft, not really crisp. Just the kind of chewy texture that demands a big icy glass.

Mint Chocolate Cookies
Recipe by me!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup Andes mint chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream butter and sugars in mixing bowl. Add egg and vanilla and mix at medium speed.
In separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
On low speed, add dry ingredients to the wet. Mix well. Stir in chips.

Drop dough onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

Oh and don't take these anywhere near plumbing technicians or they will be gone before you know it!

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bad Blogger Lady

Well, I failed the NaBloWriMo challenge. I was doing SOOO good! But I have been bringing hours worth of paperwork home at night, and have not been feeling well on top of that. I have not really cooked anything in a long time, just quick easy things, if I cook anything at all. I had a doctor's appointment today, and some tests over the next two days to see what is going on. Hopefully we can get it all figured out, I really miss cooking.

I did cook tonight, just some quick steamed fish. It was delicious, but I was almost too tired to even do that! I cheated a bit here and used a bottled sauce, so this is more of a "how-to" than a real recipe.

Asian Steamed Fish

2 fillets white fish (I used catfish, use what you have on hand)
1 cup of your favorite stir fry sauce (I used General Tso's)
Red pepper flakes
Sesame Seeds
Soy Sauce

Heat 2 Tbsp oil over Medium high heat. In a separate dish, coat fish in sauce. Sprinkle red pepper flakes and sesame seeds on both sides. When oil is hot, place fish in pan and cover. Cook for approx. 5 minutes, or until flesh flakes with a fork. Serve over rice.

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