Grilled Turkey Thighs and Garden Potatoes

I was looking to grill chicken thighs, but while I was at the store, the clerk was marking down turkey thighs. I grabbed a couple of packages, froze two and cooked one, along with the remainder of the gold potatoes I dug from the garden. A simple and delicious dinner.

Grilled/Smoked Turkey Thighs

  • 2 lbs of turkey thighs
  • olive oil
  • sage
  • salt and pepper

Rub thighs with oil, sage, salt and pepper. Heat grill to 400 degrees and grill for 5 minutes, flip and grill an additional 5 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and continue to cook until the internal temperature of 175 degrees. Depending on the thickness of the thigh it can take 15 – 25 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving, to bring temp up to 180 degrees.

 

Roasted Garden Potatoes

  • 4 medium gold potatoes (Yukon or other)
  • 1 small onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • salt and pepper
  • foil (or skillet)
  • parchment paper

Scrub potatoes and cut into large cubes. Toss potatoes and onions with oil, butter, salt and pepper.

Make a pan with the foil and place a piece of parchment on the bottom. Add the potatoes and onions, don’t seal.

I grilled along with the thighs above, on the top shelf. They finished up at the same time as the thighs. Crispy and browned on the outside.



 

Grilled Vegetable Salad

This works well as a side or a nice, fresh main course.

Grilled Vegetable Salad

  • 1 large red onion, quartered
  • 4 red potatoes, quartered
  • 8 oz baby carrots
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp rosemary, crushed
  • 1 tsp sage, crushed
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 8 oz bag spinach leaves or spring greens
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp melted butter

serving bowl, large bowl, grilling basket or foil

Mix oil and spices, toss with onion, potatoes and carrots in a large bowl, until well coated. Place in a grilling basket or wrap in foil and grill for 20 minutes, stirring or turning frequently.  Mix together lemon & butter.  In serving bowl, add greens, grilled vegetables and toss with lemon butter

white-bowl-with-fresh-spinach-leaves



 

White Beans in Tomato Sauce with Sausage

 

20160131_105705[1] (1600x1060)

Not much to this one, I opened two cans of cannellini beans and a can of San Marzano tomatoes and dumped them into a pot in which I had browned some Italian sausages and sweated a diced onion in a little olive oil.  I removed the sausages after they had cooked in the sauce for a while and sliced them, in the photo they have just been returned to the pot.

I was pretty sure there was an actual recipe for this dish.  A search for white beans + tomatoes + sausage + recipe found several.  I noted that this recipe called for sage as a seasoning so I added some rubbed sage.  I already had bay leaves and some marjoram and dried basil and the garlic in mine.

Tidbits

DSC_1595 (1600x1060)I suppose I should open with the Christmas Dinner – the rib roast worked out nicely for us and I’m tickled because it was my first time doing one.  We followed, loosely, the Serious Eats recipe, including the ox tail in red wine for the jus.  I’m a little bummed, I made a nice dressing to go with this and left it, forgotten, in the basement fridge until too late.DSC_1603 (1600x1060)I went ahead today and cooked it, I’ll portion it out and freeze it, then vacuum seal it for later.  It, too, is a recipe from the Serious Eats folks.  I had even used my own patio grown sage for the seasoning:20151224_085628[1] (1600x1060)I picked a paper sack full of leaves from the container plant and let them dry atop the freezer, a nice out of the way spot that stays warm due to the heat exchange system built into the walls of the box.  The food processor made short work of them, reducing the sackful to the not-quite-powder that they label as “rubbed sage” in the retailer’s spice rack.ginger sewing help (1600x1060)Mrs J took a snap of Ginger this afternoon, and it got me to searching for the pictures we took of him and his siblings right after they had been dumped at the neighbor’s house:DSC_4288 (1600x1060)This was taken in October of 2013, they are Ginger’s litter mates but Ginger isn’t among them, we didn’t capture him until 3 or 4 days later – he had evaded the initial round-up.  Mrs J took him to our vet for an evaluation and the vet tech said he hadn’t had anything but grass and leaves to eat for a while.  DSC_1591 (1600x1060)Here’s a ham and Swiss on rye, lightly grilled.  I have a nice beef top round brining in the basement and I wanted to try a couple of rye bread recipes in the machine.  This was a light rye with caraway seeds.  Should be perfect for the corned beef-to-be.20151217_155035 (1600x1060)I mentioned in a post this spring that a neighbor bought a couple of swans they were going to raise along with the goats they’ve been keeping.  I was driving past their place when I looked out the window at the goats browsing on their pond dam and had to do a double take – those swans are nearly as big as the goats!DSC_1598 (1600x1060)Here’s a different angle on that rib platter.  Mrs J is wishing we had bought another one to put back, this one was so good.

Dinner Menu: Valentine’s Day Dishes

Since Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year, I thought it was a good time to repeat my annual holiday menu. I prefer this to going out to a crowded restaurant. Easy to fix, but looks and tastes quite elegant. From 2010:

JeffreyW shoots a cornish game hen, served with broccoli and rice

JeffreyW shoots a cornish game hen, served with broccoli and rice

Every year around this time, one of my local grocers offers Cornish Game Hens in packages where they are cut in half. I decided I needed to do something with this idea, so the Valentine’s menu was born. When they are cut in half, it reduced cooking time enough for the recipe to be workable on a week night. Since Valentine’s falls on a Sunday this year, using whole game hens seems reasonable, too. Longer cooking time, but worth it. In case you’re feeling really ambitious, click here for JeffreyW’s wonderful stuffing recipe.  And if you’re looking for a more elegant dessert for Valentine’s Day try this recipe for Raspberry-Chocolate Cupcakes in Raspberry Sauce.

On the board tonight:

  1. Cornish Game Hens w/Stuffing
  2. Buttered Peas and Carrots
  3. Tossed Salad
  4. Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Cornish game hen

Cornish Game Hens

  • 2 pkgs. stuffing mix
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • ½ cup boiling water or chicken broth
  • 4 Cornish game hens, cut in half *
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 tsp crushed rosemary
  • 2 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper

9×13 glass baking dish

Add stuffing mix, 2 tbsp melted butter and boiling water to baking dish, stir & spread evenly over bottom of baking dish. Lay hens cut side down over stuffing (it’s a tight fit, but you should be able to get all 8 halves in the 13×9 pan). Melt remaining butter, add spices and mix well. Brush some over hens and continue to baste every 10-15 minutes while baking. Bake at 350 to 375° until internal temperature is 175 ° about 45 minutes. Remove, cover loosely with foil and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 4

*Hens will have to thawed completely and you’ll need a sharp knife to cut them in half. You can check with your butcher to see if they’ll cut them for you. If you don’t want to cut them in half, cook them whole and allow 1 hour 10 minutes cooking time.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Preheat oven to 375°

  • ¾ cup chunky peanut butter
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 13-16 oz bag Hershey’s Kisses

2 bowls and baking sheet

Combine peanut butter, butter, sugar, milk and vanilla in bowl. Beat with mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add egg, beat until blended. In small bowl, combine flour, salt & soda. Add to creamed mixture at low-speed until just blended (don’t over mix). Scrape sides and bottom and make sure all flour is mixed. Drop by heaping teaspoon full onto baking sheet, unwrap kisses and press 1 into each cookie. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Remove to racks and cool.

Shopping List:

  • 2 pkgs. stuffing mix
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 4 Cornish game hens, cut in half if possible
  • chunky peanut butter
  • 1 ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 13-16 oz bag Hershey’s Kisses
  • 1 egg
  • 16 oz bag frozen peas and carrots
  • Tossed salad ingredients

Also: rosemary, sage, crushed garlic, salt, pepper, milk, flour, baking soda, chicken broth

Friday Recipe Exchange: Thanksgiving Non-Traditional Side Dishes

JeffreyW's Roasted Brussels Sprout and Potato Gratin

JeffreyW’s Roasted Brussels Sprout and Potato Gratin

This is the time of year when we get a lot of blog visits from people looking for side dishes. And I have a lot of recipes for the traditional holiday sides, desserts and instructions on the various ways to cook your turkey. JeffreyW has a ton of mouthwatering photos. All of that can be found at at this link.

I thought it would be nice though, to focus on some non-traditional sides for tonight’s recipe exchange. In case you were looking for something different to showcase this year.

Soups make a nice starter at for any meal and tonight’s featured recipe is a savory winter soup. I also have a nice Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, (click here)

JefferyW favors brussels sprouts and came up with this wonderful recipe, Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin pictured above. (click here)

Roasted Brussels sprouts are pretty easy, and leave it to Emeril Lagasse to “kick it up a notch” with his Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Grilled Onions. (click here)

I’m not big on the whole candied sweet potatoes, so I went looking for alternatives and found three I like,  African Sweet Potato Salad, Cajun Sweet Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes and Apples, click here for all the recipes. You can also just roast them in the oven, and I found two really good recipes here (honey roasted) and here (thyme roasted).

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Are you doing the cooking or does someone else have the honors? And most importantly, what are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes?

The Thanksgiving featured recipe is one that works great as an appetizer:

Need to keep everyone out of the kitchen while you finish up dinner prep?  Set up a buffet table with a raw vegetable tray and dip, a bowl of nuts (in their shells) along with a couple of nutcrackers and this soup in a slowcooker to keep it warm and that should keep your guests occupied while you cook.

Winter Squash Soup

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3-1/4 pounds butternut or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into large pieces
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 1 celery stalk, quartered
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Chopped chives (for garnish)

Large sauce pan

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the squash, onions, carrot, celery and garlic; sauté until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth, apple juice, thyme and sage. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from stove. Puree the vegetables until smooth with a hand blender or in batches in the food processor or blender. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if desired.

***Soup can be made to this point 1 day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.***

Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer. Add the sherry and simmer about 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, sour cream and nutmeg until well combined. Place soup into large soup tureen and garnish with chives. Place on appetizer table with small bowls & spoons and let everyone help themselves.

That’s everything this week. There won’t be a recipe exchange next Friday, but next week I’ll be featuring more recipes for the holiday. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. – TaMara

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Roasted Orange Chicken

A while back, JeffreyW roasted a duck and glazed it in a nice looking sauce. I thought I would use that glaze on my Thanksgiving turkey, but since I didn’t end up cooking on Thanksgiving,  a chicken was going to have to do. I stuffed it with oranges, onion and a spice bag. I roasted it at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then let it finish out at 350 degrees until it was about 150 degrees. Then I coated it with the glaze (recipe below) and continued to roast until it was 165 degrees. I pull it out and let it rest for 15 minutes. It was really good.

EDIT: I forgot to add that I did the herb butter/oil paste under the skin (that’s why there is that small tear in the skin – half the time it tears, half it doesn’t). I added a bit of orange zest into the herb mixture.

I was a bit concerned because when I do the orange turkey, it’s usually in a cooking bag, so the flavor of the orange is intensified. I wasn’t sure roasting was going to give me the same flavor. But between the oranges in the cavity and the orange glaze, it had a nice spicy-orange flavor.

Orange Chicken 2

It looks like it burned, but it was just a trick of the light, making the darker spots look really dark.

Sweet & Spicy Orange Glaze

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp teriyaki, ponzu or soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. Sriracha chili sauce (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp cornstarch

In a small saucepan, bring all the ingredients, except orange juice and cornstarch, to a low boil. Mix together orange juice and cornstarch until smooth and add the to boiling mixture, stirring constantly until it thickens. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 5-10 minutes before applying to the chicken.

Back to Basics: Roasted Chicken

Writing about Julia Child’s birthday the other day gave me a good laugh when I found her dancing chicken video. I’ve been wanting to roast a chicken for a while, but when it’s so hot, turning on the oven is the last thing I want to do. It was supposed to be cooler this weekend, so I picked up a 5 lb roasting chicken.

Today I put it all together. Roasting a chicken is a pretty quick and easy meal. Cooking time is about an hour and a half (17 minutes per pound is the general rule, at 375 degrees F).

First, wash and dry the bird. Gently use your fingers to pull the skin away from the breasts and down to the thighs. Careful not to tear it. I made a paste of  finely minced garlic, rosemary, sage, and olive oil. Spread the paste under the skin.

Next fill either a spice infuser, cheesecloth or I use an unbleached coffee filter, with a lot of garlic, rosemary and sage, and maybe a bit of thyme, and put it in the cavity. I also added 1/2 of an onion, quartered. Tie off the legs, place in the roaster and brush the bird with a mix of olive oil and bit of butter.  Don’t forget to tuck in the wing tips so they don’t burn.

I let it sit for 15-20 minutes to allow it to come to room temperature and allowing everything to meld together. I roasted it at 15 minutes at 450 degrees, lowered the heat to 375 degrees and roasted it until thermometer read 160 degrees. I brushed it a couple of times with the oil/butter mix.  Took it out and let it rest for 15 minutes before carving, at which point the internal temp was 165 degrees without drying it out. Remove and discard the spice infuser and onions. Slice and serve.

Yummy.