Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

All around today, kitchen's are beginning to fill up with the comforting smells of Thanksgiving. I am in charge of birds out of state. Yes, out of state, my dear friend Heather is in Virgina taking on the big day with her natural free range bird and Jill and Kevin in Oklahoma are preparing for the holiday in their new home. My cell phone will be close all day. I myself am honored to be attending a large feast, home in Vermont. I will bring a Chocolate Maple Pecan Pie and a Rosemary & Pear upside down cake. Yum!

I am thrilled to have received a sweet last minute call for a recipe. The call came early morning for me and when I listened to the message, eyes barley open, it was a need for a brine recipe. Instantly I thought a brine recipe on Thanksgiving but not to worry it will be for turkey breasts.
I have offered my Maple Brine recipe and a wonderful Port Cranberry Sauce that works great as a a Thanksgiving side or to serve with all sorts of desserts.

Be well, have good thoughts and keep in touch!

Maple Turkey Brine

1 12-18 pound turkey
2 quarts chicken stock
1 large bag of Ice
1 gallon water
1 pound kosher salt
2 tablespoons whole cloves
1 pound maple syrup
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 tablespoons allspice berries

1.Line very large (about 16-quart) bowl with two 30-gallon plastic bags, one inside the other. Rinse turkey inside and out. Place turkey in plastic-lined bowl or bucket.
2.Combine salt and hot water until it dissolves.
3.Add maple syrup, broth, herbs and spices to mixture. Once thoroughly mixed, add ice.
4.Pour cold brine over turkey in plastic bags. Brine must be cold. Gather tops of bags together, eliminating air space above brine; seal bags. Refrigerate turkey in brine 18 to 20 hours. You may also place your brining turkey in a the bag in a large cooler covered with ice and place it outside or in your garage.
5. When ready to roast remove turkey from brine and pat dry, then place in your roasting pan on a rack. You are now ready to roast your bird!!! Have fun.

Port Cranberry Sauce

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 - 18 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Makes: 8 – 10 servings

1 12 ounce package of fresh cranberries
½ to ¾ cup sugar
1 orange zested
1 cup port
¼ teaspoon cardamom or cloves
½ teaspoon sea salt

1. Assemble and cook:
-Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and place over a medium flame.
-Bring to a low boil.
-Cook until the cranberries pop and the mixture becomes syrupy, about 15 minutes.
2. Chill and serve:
-Place mixture in a serving dish and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.
-Serve either chilled or at room temperature.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tis The Season To Get Cooking!

I love cooking with Vermont grade B maple syrup. As you see I buy in bulk from local sugarers. Besides turning desserts into a smashing success, maple syrup is great added to vinaigrette's with a nice aged red wine vinegar, roasted squashes, drizzled over aged cheddar, and Best Friends with Chicken and Pork. I especially like to make a quick pan sauce after searing pork or chicken by deglazing the pan with apple cider vinegar then adding equal amounts of maple syrup and high quality chicken stock. Do not forget some fresh herb element like thyme or rosemary. Reduce until you have a nice sauce consistency then turn heat off and swirl unsalted Vermont butter in and season with fine sea salt! You will love it! If it is too sweet add a touch more vinegar.

Cooking can be fun!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Seasonal Recipe: Fall

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread Pudding with warm Rum Sauce

Bread pudding
2 1/2 cups half and half
1 15-ounce can of pure pumpkin
1 cup (packed) plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 large whole eggs
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
10 cups 1/2-inch cubes of egg bread or white bread (about
1/2 cup 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Powdered sugar for sprinkling
Rum sauce
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Bread pudding
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Whisk half and half, pumpkin, dark brown sugar, eggs, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, vanilla extract and salt in large bowl to blend. Fold in bread cubes. Stir in chocolate chips. Transfer mixture to 11x7-inch glass baking dish. Let stand 15 minutes.
3. Bake pumpkin bread pudding until it is firm to the touch, about 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven.
4. Sift powdered sugar over bread pudding and serve warm with rum sauce.
Rum sauce
1. Stir brown sugar and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until dissolved and smooth, about 2 minutes.
2. Add cream, rum, and cinnamon and bring to simmer. Simmer until sauce thickens, about 6 minutes.
3. Serve warm. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead: cover and refrigerate. Re-heat before
Serves 8
For those of you who are looking for a new twist to your Thanksgiving dessert, this is a perfect option.
Combining pumpkin and spices is the most comforting warm dessert.