Waking Up From a Food Coma

(Blink, Blink) What day is it?  Where am I?  Why did I wake up typing on my laptop?  If you couldn’t tell, I am just now waking up from the food coma I entered on Thanksgiving.  I hope everyone enjoyed all of their favorite dishes.  In my eyes, Thanksgiving has to be one of the better holidays ever invented.  To start off with, aside from the grocery store, there isn’t any shopping involved.  No decorations to get out of the attic (so no spider webs in face) and no gifts to purchase.  You don’t have to be of a certain religion, race, or sexual orientation to participate.  No one argues about whether or not it is okay to wish someone a happy Thanksgiving.  Everyone gathers with their loved ones, enjoys an enormous feast (perhaps some football) and, if they are doing it right, takes a moment to be grateful for all of the good things in life.  Or maybe it’s just me, what do you think?

English: Saying grace before carving the turke...

Thank you for all of the family and good friends that I have.  Please allow them to eat more of the pumpkin pie than me, so that I don’t have to diet so hard.

This Turkey Day presented me with an opportunity to do something new and make my own turkey stock after all of the festivities.  For those of you who like to split hairs, I am being very careful to refer to this as stock and not broth.  Stock is used as a base for sauces and soups and such.  It is unsalted and not really meant to stand on its own.  Broth is basically seasoned stock and can be eaten/drank on its own.  The recipe was based on one found in the book: Soup & Bread Cookbook by Martha Bayne and originally intended for a chicken.  While making stock is a simple thing, I had never done it before and was excited to try.  Now that I have done so, I will be equally excited to find takers for the gallons of stock I have created!  All joking aside, it is nice to have complete control over what goes into your food and making your own stock is a good start.  Now I just need to figure out what to do with it.  Anyone who has any great recipes using turkey stock, please let me know, I would like my freezer back.

Turkey Stock

Ingredients:

1 turkey carcass

1 large onion, quartered

4 carrots, peeled and cut in half

4 ribs celery, cut in half

1 leek, white part only, coarsely chopped

10 sprigs of fresh thyme (All out of thyme?  Ha, ha, couldn’t resist, you can use a few teaspoons dry)

2 bay leaves

10 peppercorns

2 cloves garlic, peeled

Enough water to cover the carcass

Directions:

Put all of the ingredients in a large pot, add enough water to cover the bones by an inch.  Simmer, uncovered over low heat for 4-6 hours.  Do not let it come to a rolling boil, this tends to make it more cloudy.  Periodically skim scum from the top of the pot.  When it is done, strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth and discard all of the solids.  Once cooled, refrigerate overnight, then skim the fat from the surface.  You can then use or freeze.

A Much Needed Success in the Cornbread Department

Ever have a person in your life that was like a bad cigarette habit?  You know that the best thing for you is to quit, and you know that irreparable damage is being done to yourself, but you have invested so much of your life in that habit, and you really enjoy parts of it, even now.  In light of the current stress and to avoid spending the next 6 weeks sobbing into my pillow, drinking unhealthy amounts of vodka while relearning how to smoke and putting the Bridget Jones DVD on a loop, I am turning to my kitchen for therapy.  Look out dieters, here I come.

Day one of kitchen therapy. I recently read a lovely free book about Soup and Bread.  This has inspired me to go out and purchase a 16 quart stock pot so I can learn how to make soup.  Clearly I am reaching out for comfort, as I have never felt that urge before.  The book also contained the seeds for the cornbread recipe that may be “the one”.  If you have been following my blog, and if not why not?, you know that I have been trying to find a great cornbread recipe.  The recipe that follows is just about perfect.  Super moist, not too cakey, and just sweet enough.

The cornbread was served alongside a basic turkey chili.  I know that there are purists in the chili department who will cry over the lack of beef or the beans.  To them I would say that there is enough divisiveness in the world, just look at any race for public office.  Let it go.  I won’t force you to eat beans, people from Cincinnati won’t force me to serve with noodles and we can all enjoy our own version of chili in peace.  This recipe is for a mild, fairly plain chili.  That is the beauty of it, you can add more/different spice as your personal preferences call for.

Corn Bread

Ingredients

1 cup flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 eggs

1/4 cup melted butter, cooled

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°.  Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil.  In a large bowl whisk the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt) together.  In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients (butter, eggs, buttermilk, heavy cream) together.  Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Stir just until combined, taking care not to overmix.  Let the batter rest for 5 minutes, then spoon into muffin tin, filling each cup 3/4 full.  Bake 18-20 minutes, or until muffins are golden on top.
Basic Turkey Chili

Ingredients:

1.5 lbs lean ground turkey

1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2-15.5 ounce cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

2-14.5 ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed

2-15 ounce cans tomato sauce

1/4 cup chili powder

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1 dash cayenne powder

Directions:

Add turkey, onion, garlic, and chicken broth to a large pot.  Brown the turkey until cooked completely.  Add remaining ingredients to the pot.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The longer the chili simmers the more the flavors blend together. Remove the bay leaves and serve with whatever toppings work best.