Christmas 2010

Standard

I have learned from my previous experience  that I should never buy a turkey that is too big to brine.  This time I bought a bird that is about 15 pounds, and it is the perfect size.

I am constantly searching for brine recipe, and I came across this apple-spiced-tea brine in Food.com, and by far this is the best one I have tried.  The turkey is absolutely flavorful, the white meat is very moist and it is so delicious.  Besides the brine timing is very  important, I read some where that once you brine the turkey, the meat will be moist even though you might over cook it.  I found out that it is not true, as in the case of the turkey I made last time.  It was so dry because I had cooked it longer than usual.  Another thing I have  learned is the temperature that I had used  previously is incorrect, I usually cooked the bird till the internal temperature is 180 ( according to the instruction of my meat thermometer) ,  but the proper temperature should be at 165 .  I tried it this time, and it turned out to be just the right done-ness.  I took the bird out and let it sit for 20 minutes under the foil, and by the time I carve the bird, the meat is just right.

  1. In a very large pot (big enough to hold turkey) bring all the brine ingredients but turkey to boil then lower heat to simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove tea bags.
  3. Cool.
  4. Add washed and towel dried turkey to apple mixture and cover with ice cold water making sure turkey is completely submerged adding more water if needed.
  5. Refrigerate for 10 to 15 hours just so the turkey absorbs the brine.
  6. Remove turkey from brine discard brine and rinse turkey towel dry inside and out.
  7. Proceed with grilling, frying, roasting your turkey just remember brined foods will cook quicker!

For the Cranberry Sauce, I found this very intriguing one also from Food.com, the crushed pineapple made it very fruity.  Somehow the sauce turned out to be a little too watery, I think next time I will add in the pineapple until the sauce is cooler.  But over all I like it.

  1. Combined cranberries and 1 cup of water in a pan.
  2. Cook until berries start to pop.
  3. Add 2 cups of sugar, 1 pkg of Jell-O, and 1 can of crushed pineapple.
  4. Mix well until sugar and Jell-O is dissolved.
  5. Put in loaf pan.
  6. Chill until set and ready to serve.

Stuffing is a must in this household, actually the girls love the stuffing more than the bird, they can eat the stuffing on its own.  Once again, I wanted to try a new recipe, I used to make wild rice casserole as one of the side dishes, and when I found this recipe, I thought it is a very good way of combining the two favorites, wild rice and stuffing.

  1. Crumble and cook the sausage, drain and set aside.
  2. Wipe out skillet and add bacon, onion, mushrooms and celery; saute until bacon is crisp and vegetables are slightly softened.
  3. Add this to the wild rice, along with the oregano, sage and bread crumbs; add cooked sausage; add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Bake, covered, in an oiled casserole at 350° for 30-40 minutes; add 1/4 to 1/2 cup stock, if needed, for moisture

This dish is a favorite tonight, Charlotte told me that it is the best stuffing she has ever tried.  Even Ariella who likes the traditional stuffing said that this is good.

For the sweet potato, I roasted it with granny smith apples, and the favor of the two really complimented each other.  I love this recipe, it is so simple and I really love the fruity favor.

1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 small red onion, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4 cup Kraft Extra Virgin Olive Oil Aged Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
6 fresh sage leaves
1 Granny Smith apple, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

HEAT oven to 450ºF.

COMBINE first 5 ingredients; spread onto bottom of 17×11.5×3/4-inch baking pan sprayed with cooking spray. Cover tightly with foil sprayed with cooking spray.

BAKE 20 min.; turn potatoes. Add apples; spread to evenly cover bottom of pan. Bake, covered, 10 min.

STIR potato mixture; bake, uncovered, 5 min. or until potatoes are tender and lightly browned. Discard sage leaves before serving.

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