Thursday, November 24, 2011

Perfect Turkey! Well Okay, Almost!

Good Day Everyone.....It is Thanksgiving and what better thing to post on Thanksgiving than a Turkey Recipe?

Actually...since it is Thanksgiving and all...You should have started this already...but if you're like me at times..a Johnny come lately...Here is the near perfect Turkey recipe for you-


Chopped vegetables, take about half an onion, a carrot, and a half celery rib and combine them with about 1 tsp. thyme and a tablespoon of melted butter. Mix them until evenly distributed.

Oh yeah...and of course you'll need a Turkey!


The term "classic" is often associated to a minimally seasoned roast turkey. Many people have developed roast turkey recipes that involve cajun spices, honey glazing, lemon infusions, and other techniques that produces a turkey that sets them apart from the classic roast. Since this is our first Thanksgiving together, I thought I would start with the basics and reveal how I roast a turkey.

This recipe is for a 10 to 14 pound turkey. I will update for larger turkeys later. (I rushed this recipe out after roasting a turkey in the wee hours of the morning, so everyone could get a head start on planning for their turkey dinner. I'll correct any mistakes I may have made after the weekend.)

Before you even think about roasting the turkey, you'll need to budget enough time to thaw, brine, and dry the turkey. If you're purchasing a frozen turkey, allow at least 5 hours per pound of thawing time in the refrigerator. After the turkey has thawed, treat it as if it were fresh (for the purposes of this recipe). Remove the giblets and the neck (found inside the chest cavity). Prepare a brining solution of 1 cup table salt to 1 gallon water in a nonreactive container and soak the turkey in the solution in the refrigerator for four hours. (If your turkey has been infused with a solution, then reduce the salt content in your brine or soak it in a container filled with water.) Pour out the brining solution and rinse the turkey. One convenient way to do this is to position a rack in the sink and place the turkey on the rack to rinse. After the turkey has been rinsed, let it dry by placing it on a rack on a sheet pan in the refrigerator overnight (or for eight hours). Alternatively, use a blow drier on cool setting (no heat) to blow over the skin of the turkey until dry. This is why I said that you should have already been past this part....Think of this as advice for next year!

Now that the turkey is ready to go, preheat your oven to 400°F. Chop up two medium onions, five carrots, and two celery ribs. Also melt 3 tablespoons butter and set aside 2 tablespoons dried thyme (or two sprigs of fresh thyme). Quantity and even chopping is not that important for this recipe, so feel free to prepare these steps quickly to save time.

From the chopped vegetables, take about half an onion, a carrot, and a half celery rib and combine them with about 1 tsp. thyme and a tablespoon of melted butter. Mix them until evenly distributed.

Throw the prepared vegetables (from the previous step) inside the turkey. Now, tie up the turkey's wings and legs so they will cook evenly. Take a 5 foot (1.5 m) long piece of kitchen twine and tie the drumsticks together. Loop the twine around the turkey and over the wings. At the head of the turkey, tie a knot over the flap of skin to hold everything in place.

Place the rest of vegetables and thyme in a roasting pan. If you don't have a roasting pan, you can use a disposable aluminum foil roasting pan from the supermarket. Pour one cup water into the pan and place a V Rack into the pan. Brush breast side of the turkey with butter. Place the turkey on the V rack with the breast side facing down. Brush the back with butter. Place in a 400°F oven.

We're roasting this turkey upside down (usually turkeys are roasted breast up) to cook the breasts at a slower rate. Starting breast side down, gives the legs a head start on cooking. This is desirable because drumsticks and thighs need to be cooked to a higher temperature (about 170°F) in order to remove any trace of pink flesh. The breasts would become very dry and unpalatable if cooked to temperatures as high as the legs.

After 45 minutes, remove the turkey from the oven and baste it with the juices from the roasting pan. I've tried to come up with an easy way to do this without a turkey baster, but I was unable to. Use a turkey baster to reach in between the rungs of the rack and suck up some juices and squirt it over the turkey. Then rotate the turkey onto its side (with a leg sticking up) and brush some more butter on. Return to oven for fifteen more minutes, then baste again and rotate onto other side. Roast for fifteen minutes. Roasting the turkey on its sides lets the sides brown (for better presentation). If you don't care about even browning, you can skip these two rotations and just prolong the breast down roasting by thirty minutes. (You may want to baste once after the 45 minute mark, though.)

Now, rotate the turkey so it is breast side up. Baste again and brush on the remaining butter. Roast for thirty more minutes and then start to check the temperature every ten minutes. The turkey is done when an instant read thermometer thrust into the breast reads 165°F. The deepest part of the thigh should read between 170°F to 175°F. Remove the turkey and allow it to rest for twenty or thirty minutes.

You know...As I write this in the wee hours of the morning...You may still have time to do all of this....If not...Pour yourself a glass of wine and call Boston Market...They cater an entire Thanksgiving Dinner!

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

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Food Safety Tips
Protect yourself against food-borne illnesses.

1. Use a "refrigerator thermometer" to keep your food stored at a safe temperature (below 40 degrees fahrenheit).

Cold temperatures slow the growth of bacteria. Ensuring that your refrigerator temperature stays at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of food-borne illness. You can buy a refrigerator/freezer thermometer at appliance stories, home centers (i.e. Home Depot), and kitchen stores including online ones, such as

2. Defrost food in the refrigerator, the microwave, or in cold water... never on the counter!

Perishable foods should never be thawed on the counter for longer than two hours because, while the center of the food may remain frozen, the outer surface may enter the Danger Zone, the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly. If you’re short on time, use the microwave or you can thaw meat and poultry in airtight packaging in cold water. Change the water every half-hour so it stays cold and use the thawed food immediately.

3. Always use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/fish and cooked foods/fresh produce.

Bacteria from uncooked meat, poultry, and fish can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. An important way to reduce this risk is to use separate cutting boards for raw meat/poultry/ fish, and cooked foods/fresh produce.

4. Always cook meat to proper temperatures, using a calibrated instant-read thermometer to make sure.

One effective way to prevent illness is to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of meat, poultry, and egg dishes. The USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures are as follows:

* Beef, veal, and lamb (steaks and roasts), fish - 145 degrees fahrenheit

* Pork and ground beef - 160 degrees fahrenheit

* Poultry - 165 degrees fahrenheit.

Cook meats like roasts and steaks to lower temperatures, closer to medium-rare, so that they retain their moisture. It is recommended that those who are at high risk for developing food-borne illness (i.e. pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, people with weakened immune systems, or certain chronic illnesses) should follow the USDA guidelines.

5. Avoid unpasteurized/raw milk and cheeses made from unpasteurized milk that are aged less than 60 days.

Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not been pasteurized (heated to a very high temperature for a specific length of time) to kill harmful bacteria that may be present. These bacteria, which include salmonella, E. coli and listeria, can cause serious illness and sometimes even death. The bacteria in raw milk can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses. Raw milk cheeses aged 60 days or longer are okay, since the salt and acidity of the cheese-making process make for a hostile environment to pathogens.

6. Never eat "runny" eggs or foods, such as cookie dough, that contain raw eggs.

Even eggs that have clean, intact shells may be contaminated with salmonella, so it’s important to cook eggs thoroughly until both the yolk and the white are firm. Casseroles and other dishes containing eggs should be cooked to 160 degrees fahrenheit and you can use an instant-read food thermometer to check. Eggs should always be cooked fully and those who are at high risk for developing foodborne illness (pregnant women and their unborn babies, newborns, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems or certain chronic illnesses should follow the USDA guidelines. If you can’t resist runny eggs or sampling cookie batter, use pasteurized eggs. They’re found near other eggs in large supermarkets.

7. Always wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before handling food and after touching raw meat, poultry, or eggs.

You can pick up a lot of bacteria out in the world, so it’s important to always wash your hands before you eat or prepare food. You should also wash your hands after touching any uncooked meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, as the bacteria from these foods can contaminate cooked foods and fresh produce. Use soap and warm water and wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.

8. Always heat leftover foods to 165 degrees fahrenheit.

The USDA recommends heating all cooked leftovers to 165 degrees fahrenheit in order to kill all potentially dangerous bacteria.

9. Never eat meat, poultry, eggs, or sliced fresh fruits and vegetables that have been left out for more than two hours or more than one hour in temperatures hotter than 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you leave perishable foods out of the refrigerator or freezer for more than two hours they may enter the Danger Zone—the unsafe temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, in which bacteria multiply rapidly.

10. Whenever there’s a food recall, check products stored at home to make sure they are safe.

You should discard any food that’s been recalled because it’s associated with the outbreak of a food-borne illness. But, according to a survey conducted by Rutgers University during the fall of 2008, only about 60% of Americans search their homes for foods that have been recalled because of contamination. For more information on food recalls, visit the website

Cavier & Vodka
Courtesy of The Lady (Bug) of the Household