November 2012

Delish Dish Editor

Turkey, Perfected

 

Hi everyone, Carlos here! I’m one of the senior food editors at Better Homes and Gardens. Years ago, one of my first work assignments after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America was to develop the ultimate Thanksgiving Day turkey recipe. Talk about a daunting task!

See, the problem with poultry is that white meat and dark meat taste best when cooked to different temperatures. The white breast meat is moist and succulent at about 165°F, while thighs and drumsticks are much better at 180°F. But the oven roasts everything at the same temperature so that’s impossible, right?

Well, turns out it is possible. It took me three weeks and 20 turkeys to crack this holiday nut, but I eventually hit upon several unique strategies that can help every part of the turkey cook to perfection. Start with this Classic Roast Turkey recipe, then try one or more strategies from my personal bag of turkey tricks.

  1. Help the drumsticks cook.When preparing the turkey, use a sharp knife to cut through the skin and tendons all the way around the bone just below where the drumsticks end. This allows the skin and meat to pull away during cooking, exposing bone. The bone conducts heat deep into the meat of the drumsticks, which makes them cook faster.

    Cutting the skin below the joint helps the drumsticks cook fast by exposing bone during cooking.

  2. Dive in, legs first.Position the turkey’s legs toward the back of the oven, if your roasting pan will fit that way. The back is hotter, which will help cook the legs a little faster.

    The back of the oven is hotter than the front so that’s where you want the legs to go.

  3. Flip the bird.My favorite technique is to start cooking the turkey breast-side down on the roasting rack. This slows the cooking of the white meat because it’s under the body, while elevating the hard-to-cook hindquarters so they can roast faster. Halfway through the cooking time, remove the turkey in the roasting pan to your stovetop or a secure spot on the counter. Then, use kitchen towels or oven mitts to grab hold of the turkey at the tail end and gently pivot the bird up and over until the breast is facing up. That way, it can get golden brown and crispy. (Note: I recommend limiting this maneuver to smaller, 12- to 14-pound turkeys. Larger birds can prove difficult to turn).

    Start the turkey breast-side down, then flip it after a few hours. I like to wear a pair of oven mitts for this. They go right into the laundry afterward.

By implementing these tactics, the dark meat will have an internal temperature up to 15° hotter than the breast meat. All that’s left to do is finish cooking per your recipe’s directions and then carve and enjoy a perfectly cooked turkey! To round out your Thanksgiving Day meal, find more excellent holiday recipes at BHG.com.

After resting the turkey for 20 minutes, it was moist, succulent, and oh so delicious!

To round out your Thanksgiving Day meal, find more excellent holiday recipes at BHG.com.


Michael Wurm, Jr.

Celebrate Friendsgiving

 

Hi BHG readers! Michael here from Inspired by Charm. As soon as the first of November roles around I am in full Holiday mode. Despite the madness of the season I attempt to spend as much quality time as possible with family and friends. In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it’s often difficult to plan the downtime needed to relax and refresh our spirits. I think the holidays offer an excellent excuse to push the pause button on our crazy-busy lives and revel in the company of the people who are dear to us.

 

While Thanksgiving is typically family time, this year I suggest celebrating a new tradition – Friendsgiving. This is a special time around Thanksgiving when you gather with friends (like you would with family) to spread a little holiday cheer, and of course, to consume large amounts of your favorite comfort foods. It’s a chance to let loose, escape the usual holiday chaos, and just enjoy!

1. Hearts of Romaine with Creamy Feta Dressing // 2. Candied Sweet Potato Casserole with Parsnips and Carrots // 3. Twice-Baked Pesto Mashed Potatoes  4. Glazed Carrots with Pistachios // 5. Lemon-Thyme Split-Roasted Turkey // 6. Porcini-Chestnut Stuffing // 7. Caramel Apple Pie // 8. Cranberry-Orange Spread // 9. Pumpkin Sandwich Cake

 

To make this as easy as possible, I’ve searched through the BHG recipe archives and put together a delicious, stress-free Friendsgiving feast that will wow your friends and still give you time to enjoy this new tradition. So call your friends, pick up some wine, get cooking, and have a fabulous and memorable Friendsgiving!

 

Cheers!

Michael Wurm, Jr. - Inspired by Charm

 

 


Erin Gleeson

Let’s Party: Spiced Apricots in Dark Chocolate

Greetings from the woods! I am Erin Gleeson, the creator of the food blog  The Forest Feast. After working as a food photographer in New York City for many years, I recently moved to a cabin in the woods in Northern California. The Forest Feast features simple recipes that I present visually, using my handwriting, photography, and watercolor illustration. I am excited to be working with Better Homes and Gardens to share some of their recipes, like these Spiced Apricots in Dark Chocolate that I made recently for a party, and they were a hit! I entertain often and I will certainly make these apricots again- they are unique, colorful, and easy to prepare ahead. Delish!

Spiced Apricots in Dark Chocolate

  • 3 ounces bittersweet (dark) chocolate, chopped (approx one bar)
  • 1 seven ounce package dried apricot halves
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (regular or ground chipotle chile pepper)

1. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper (plastic wrap also works); set aside. In a small microwave-safe bowl microwave chocolate on 50 percent power (medium) for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds. You can also melt the chocolate in a metal bowl set atop a pot of boiling water (double boiler).

2. Dip each apricot half halfway into melted chocolate; place on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with ground chili powder while the chocolate is still soft. Let stand about 1 hour or until chocolate is hardened.

 


Lauren Brennan

Ingredient Obsession: Pumpkin!

Hello! My name is Lauren Brennan and I’m a food blogger from Oregon. My site is called Lauren’s Latest and I develop recipes with everyday, common ingredients for my little family of 3 and share them with my readers, along with my 3 year old’s daily antics. I love blogging, probably because I love food! Therefore, the whole food blogger thing is right up my alley. I’m thrilled to be sharing some Better Homes and Garden’s recipes with you on their new blog, Delish Dish! It’s going to be a fun ride.Tis the season to throw pumpkin into EVERYTHING! With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought it only fitting to start off the season with a post devoted entirely to our orange friend the pumpkin.

A lot of times pumpkin is used in desserts, but these days you’re seeing pumpkin pop up anywhere and everywhere! Pumpkin Mac and Cheese is pretty popular. {I know I made a version with lots of bacon that went over swimmingly!} Pumpkin stews, soups, and even bruschetta are popping up all over the web.

Today, I wanted to share a cute little recipe I found on BHG.com for Pumpkin-Pecan Tassies aka cute little mini pies that are a cross between pumpkin and pecan pies! Totally adorable treats that can easily be made in advance…if you can resist eating these bite sized pies!

Here’s how you make them:

Start by making some pie dough. The recipe calls for refrigerated pie dough, but I didn’t have any on hand, so I made a BHG recipe found here. Once that is good and chilled, you can roll the dough out and cut out 24 2-1/2-inch rounds.

Fit these down into some ungreased mini muffin tins to line. Set aside.

For the pumpkin filling, measure out some pumpkin, sugar, pumpkin pie spice*, salt, egg and milk. Stir to just combine. Set aside.

For the pecan topping, stir pecans, brown sugar and melted butter together and that’s it! Super simple, right? {I didn’t have pecans on hand, so I used hazelnuts…still yummy! Feel free to use walnuts or almonds in place of pecans. I say use what you have!}

To make these cuties, spoon about 2 teaspoons of pumpkin filling into each crust…

and then top with a scant 1 teaspoon of pecan topping.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until filling is set and crust is golden brown. Remove tassies from muffin tins cool to room temperature. Before serving, add a drizzle of maple syrup, if desired and that’s it!

Really simple to make and totally delicious!

For this recipe and more pumpkin treats, click here.

*If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice on hand, you can make your own! Check out that recipe here.


Delish Dish Editor

Cooking the Cover: Thanksgiving Pie

Hi there! I’m Beth, Assistant Digital Food Editor for BHG. It’s always my job to make the pies for Thanksgiving. So for my first post, I decided to make a pie as a dry run for the big event. But not just any pie. The holy grail of pies. The Caramel-Apple Cherry Pie from the November BHG cover, developed by none other than Gesine Bullock-Prado, the unofficial queen of pies. When I told my coworkers I was attempting this pie, I got a lot of skeptical looks. My sister even told me I was crazy.

I started with my Grandma’s piecrust recipe because it’s the only one I use. My other secret weapon was a pica pole my friend had loaned me. A pica pole is just a long metal ruler that was used to make newspaper layouts long ago. She slides it underneath her rolled out piecrust so that it doesn’t stick to her counter. Which is awesome because my piecrusts always stick to my counter. It worked like a charm. I skipped the pie weights, but I must admit that I stuck pretty close to my oven, checking through the window every couple of minutes like an anxious mother. For my apple filling, I swapped out a few Granny Smith apples for Honeycrisp to add some sweetness, and both of my fillings came together in a snap. As my caramel apples started to bubble and thicken, I began to think that I just might pull it off.

Then came the leaves. I was in a pickle. I didn’t have a fancy leaf cookie cutter (who has a fancy leaf cookie cutter?!), but I did have a Christmas tree cookie cutter. So I just pressed the end of the Christmas tree in opposite directions to form a shape I thought looked leaf-ish. After buttering and sugaring my “leaves” I alternated the fillings to put together the pie. Since I knew that my pie plate didn’t really qualify as deep dish, I only filled it to the brim and left out some of my caramel apples. Which I was pretty sure could easily double as a delicious ice cream topping later.

After another round of obsessively checking through the oven window, my masterpiece was done! Though it wasn’t an exact replica of the cover, I was one proud baker. At work the next day, everyone gobbled up my pie. Which was a good thing considering it was my Thanksgiving rehearsal pie. All in all, though it might have been the hardest pie I’ve ever attempted, I can proudly say I tackled the holy grail of pies. Get the recipe. Watch how to make it here!

 

Grandma’s Piecrust

1  1/2    cup of flour

1/2        tsp salt

2/3        cup of Crisco

1/3        cup of water

 

Cut Crisco into flour and salt with fork. Add enough water (cold) to knead into large ball. Divide dough in half and roll on floured board. Makes 2 crusts.

 


Delish Dish Editor

Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

Hello! Katie Parker, Senior Digital Food Editor for BHG, joining the conversation. I hate wasting food and I recently nabbed a nifty tip from our Test Kitchen to capture every last bit of a stock of broccoli: Namely, use the stems. Stop making that face!, they really can be just as tasty as the hog-the-spotlight florets. I used my new method in our 4-star-rated Sesame Chicken with Broccoli for dinner last night.

Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

Watch the 1-minute method for cutting and cooking broccoli (cough, cough, that’s me doing the voiceover…hi Mom!). The gist: Peel off those knobby pieces to get to the smoother stem. For me, this looked like:

Chopping Broccoli

To cook, toss the stems into a pan with some water for 3 minutes, then add the florets and continue on for 2 minutes more:

Cooking Broccoli

The rest of the recipe was Wok work. Cook your marinated chicken (you will LOVE the tangy-sweet smell from the honey-soy marinade!):

Cooking Chicken

Set the chicken aside and cook yummy ginger, garlic, and green onions:

Chicken Flavorings

Then stir in chicken broth, soy sauce, smell-the-sweetness honey, cornstarch, rice vinegar, and chili paste. I plated without rice (and without sesame seeds, which were suspiciously unavailable at my local grocery store). I also like to eat with chopsticks when reasonable because it slows me down and helps me appreciate my dinner. And my crisp-tender broccoli florets and stems?—Perfection. Get the Sesame Chicken with Broccoli recipe here: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/sesame-chicken-with-broccoli-stir-fry/

Sesame Chicken with Broccoli