Friday, November 21, 2014

Whole Boneless Thanksgiving Turkey – As Close to Turducken as I’ll Ever Get

If you’re a turkey, and you’re getting boned-out, there’s a good chance you’re about to become Turducken, which in this chef’s opinion, is one of the most overrated recipes of all time. When was the last time you sat down in a restaurant and thought, “I hope the chef’s doing a turkey, duck, chicken trio.”

However, the idea of removing those pesky bones before your bird makes its grand entrance may be worth considering. Not only do you get an impressive looking roast to wow the table, but carving is significantly easier. I didn't have time to show here, but of course you are making a killer turkey stock with all those bones, so that's another advantage. Also, if you're worried about losing flavor, don't. This tastes virtually identical. 

If you’ve ever found yourself hacking up a perfectly good turkey in front of the family, while flop-sweat drips onto the mangled meat, then this approach may be for you. Sure, it takes a good hour to prep, but that’s pretty much where the hard work ends.  

These types of videos are near impossible to edit into any reasonable length, but the good news is this is a lot easier to do than I make it look. Just go slow, and keep that knife against the bone, and you’ll be fine. By the way, chickens make an affordable and delicious thing to practice on.

I’ve included my “prop” stuffing below, which was great. It’s more the style you’d see in a stuffed pork chop, but as I said in the video, your favorite stuffing will work beautifully.

I’ve also posted a bonus video below that goes into more detail on the tying technique. So, if you’re looking for a new and exciting challenge for Thanksgiving, I hope you give this a try. Enjoy!


Notes:
  • My turkey was about 15 pounds, but this will work on any sized bird.
  • I wanted to try salt only on the outside, without butter or oil, like in our salt chicken recipe, just to see what would happen, but nothing did. So, feel free to slather on the butter.
  • You’ll need about 3-4 cups of prepared stuffing depending on the turkey.
  • My pan sauce was nothing more than the drippings with a big splash of cream, reduced until slightly thickened, and strained.  
Procedure:
Start in a 450 F.  oven for 15 minutes
Reduce to 325 F. until you get an internal temperature of 150 F. (mine took about 1 1/2 hours more)

For the stuffing I used:
1 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup finely minced onions, sautéed golden
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup turkey or chicken broth, or enough to moisten
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary leaves


Bonus Knot Tying Video

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Singapore Chili Crabs – King of the Crab Recipes?

Living in San Francisco, I’ve had more than my fair share of crab; prepared in more ways than I can remember, but I’ve never enjoyed it more than in this Singapore-style chili crabs recipe. Just be sure to have lots of napkins around. Lots of napkins.

Apparently, this is the national dish of Singapore, and you can’t throw a rock without hitting someone eating a plate of it. By the way, that’s not something you’d want to try. Just ask Michael P. Fay.

As far as I can tell, there’s no one standard way to make this. Besides the crab, and some kind of tomato product, I couldn’t find two recipes alike. What you see here is my take on this, but it does contain many of the most typical ingredients.

Most are easy to find, except maybe the tamarind paste, although any high-end grocery chain should stock some in their international foods section. If you can’t find it, maybe add a little extra pinch of sugar, plus the juice and zest of one lemon.

Obviously the most important ingredient is the crab, so find something really nice. The store up the street had a special on freshly steamed, Dungeness crab, so that’s what I used here, but any similar variety will work. 

If you can somehow get live crabs, that’s the ultimate choice, but I know that’s not realistic for most of you. The good news is, this is incredibly delicious either way. I really hope you give this Singapore-style chili crabs recipe a try soon. Enjoy!



Please Note: My friends in Singapore tell me they serve this with at least twice the amount of sauce, and a type of fried roll to soak up the goodness with. So, if you want to rock the chili crab like a Singaporean, then you should probably double the sauce ingredients!

Ingredients for four appetizer size portions:
2 whole cooked Dungeness crabs (about 2-3 lbs. each), cleaned and cracked
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup minced shallots, or other onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger root
1 tbsp minced serrano pepper

For the sauce:
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoon sambal (or any spicy ground chili sauce)
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp palm sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup chicken broth or water

Finish with:
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp sliced green onions (the green parts) or 1 tbsp sliced chives

Monday, November 17, 2014

Homemade Flatbread – If You Have Flour, You Have Bread

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, possibly in our last post, today is National Homemade Bread Day. So, I decided to do a flatbread video, demonstrating what was probably the world’s first wheat-based bread.

It never ceases to amaze me how a little flour and water can be transformed into such delicious, gorgeous bread, and in just a matter of minutes at that. Inspired by the thought of these earliest flatbreads, I went with about half wheat flour and half all-purpose, as well as a little spoon of corn meal for some extra texture. 

I’ll be giving no ingredient amounts below. Flatbread’s not like that. Combine water, flour and a pinch or two of salt; and mix together as shown until you have a soft, sticky dough. That’s it. The other key is to use a very hot cast iron pan or griddle. You can wipe the surface with a tiny bit of vegetable oil, but basically a dry pan works the best.

If you’re not in a hurry, wrap your dough and let it sit on the counter top for an hour or two. This will give the flour time to hydrate, which will provide a little nicer texture. Having said that, I didn’t wait at all, and mine came out fine.

So, if you’re interested in making flatbread like they did when people thought the earth was flat, then I hope you  get this easy and delicious technique a try soon. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lose Weight and Live Longer with the New Homemade Bread Diet!

Word on the street is that tomorrow, November 17th, is National Homemade Bread Day, and to celebrate I thought I'd post a few of our most popular, and critically acclaimed videos. By the way, I have this idea for a diet where you get to eat bread, but only if you bake it fresh yourself. 

Since most of us are fairly lazy, this would become maybe a once a week thing, which has to be a better alternative than that daily dosage of supermarket, pain d'preservative. It's still in the brainstorming stage, and there's no book deal yet, but I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, go make some homemade bread. Click on the title to see the original post, and as always, enjoy! 


No-Knead Beer Bread


You like beer. You like bread. So, what are you waiting for? Pro Tip: Even though you only need one beer, get a six-pack.

Perfect French Baguette


This is the video French bakers don't want you to see. People don't think they can make bakery-quality loaves at home, but those people are wrong.

No-Knead Ciabatta


One of the most popular Food Wishes videos of all time. If you've never made bread, this is the recipe for you. Warning: The dough is going to be sticky. Don't be afraid.

Pita Bread


What this amazing bread lacks in height, it more than makes up for in stuffability. And yes, that is a word.