These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things… PAZAZ™ Style!

With the holidays fast approaching lets look back in time to a simpler more ingenuous time when poems, prayers, and promises were more important than Facebook, cell phones, and linked in.

Fall introduces the beautiful colors of reds, oranges, and yellows that beckon us to the representative symbols of the following holidays… pumpkins for Halloween, turkeys for Thanksgiving, and prime rib for Christmas. The most important aspect of all of the above holidays is the connection we have with each other.

Almost every family has recipes that we connect with our mom, our grandmother, or other close relatives. This connection through food is the centerpiece of some of our most important holiday memories. Halloween recipes not produced by the aforementioned family members but are fun none the less, include; “Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Skulls”, “Bloody Red Wine Pasta with Mozzarella Bats”, or even “Frankenstein Snack Cakes”. These treats will bring a real sense of spookiness to the dinner table while providing memories that will not be forgotten.

The more traditional holiday, Thanksgiving is where our family recipes took root and then were passed down from generation to generation. The turkey is the centerpiece of any Thanksgiving table, so it’s no surprise that cooking the perfect bird can feel like an overwhelming task at times. Following this recipe will provide a wonderful experience for the 12 guests this bird will feed.

Turkey Recipe

  1. One Whole fresh turkey or frozen turkey that has not been injected with sodium solution (20 lbs)

  2. Turkey Brine for infusion of wonderful cider, sugar, and spice.

A. 2 gallons of water

B. 3 cups apple cider

C. 2 cups of brown sugar

D. 3/4 cup kosher salt

E. 3 tablespoons of green peppercorns

F. 5 whole bay leaves

G. 5 cloves of minced garlic

H. 3 large oranges peeled and cut into large strips

I. 4 rosemary sprigs, leaves stripped

3. Remove turkey from its packaging and remove the bags with the neck and giblets from the cavity. Rinse the neck and giblets and put them in a plastic bag in the fridge.; you’ll need them for the gravy. Rinse the turkey thoroughly with cold water. Place the turkey into the large brining pot. Pour in the Brine and place in the fridge for 16-18 hours so the brine can effect its magic.

4. Preheat oven to 275 degrees

5. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse thoroughly inside and out. Soak the turkey in cold water for 15 minutes, the rinse again and dry.

6. Truss the bird or tuck the legs and wings however you like. Place the bird, breast side up on a rack in a large roasting pan. Cover the whole pan, tenting the bird with heavy-duty foil so that it’s well sealed. Place in oven and roast turkey for about 10 minutes per pound. A 20 pound turkey will be about 3 1/2 hours.

7. When it’s time to remove the turkey from the oven (mix together 2 sticks of butter, 3 chopped rosemary sprigs, and 2 tablespoons of julienne orange zest). After you’ve removed the turkey from the oven increase the temperature to 375 degrees. Remove the foil and set aside. (Put your favorite stuffing in the bird at this point if you’d like). Rub the butter mixture over the skin of the turkey getting in all of the crevices. Insert a meat thermometer into the thigh near the hip joint. Place the turkey (uncovered) back into the oven and continue roasting, basting, brushing with the juices from the pan every thirty minutes, until the thermometer registers 165 degrees. This process will take another hour and a half to 2 and a half hours depending on the size of the bird.

8. Remove from the oven and cover lightly with foil until you are ready to carve.

Side dishes suggested with this wonderful turkey recipe would include but not be limited to the following: mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, green beans with bacon, stuffing (of course), green jello with shredded lettuce inside and mandarin oranges topped with miracle whip, gravy (of course), and no Thanksgiving dinner would be complete with out crescent rolls and cranberry sauce.

This is the season to forget the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in and pray for our communities, families, and friends. Next week I will outline a wonderful recipe for prime rib for that very special Christmas dinner. Also, an unusual twist on the tradition as I outline vegan recipes for Thanksgiving and Christmas that will bring healthy alternatives to your holiday table.