Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tim's Turkey Tips

Alright, while some folks are out nearly burning their houses down trying to deep-fry a turkey, I am using more civilized methods to prepare the Thanksgiving bird. Years ago, while I was a cruise director, I used to have my meals in the Officer's Mess on board. They used to fix incredible turkeys that were seasoned with fresh garlic and olive oil.

I experimented at home with cooking turkeys and finally came down to a great recipe that, not only makes a tasty turkey but, makes a moist and tender turkey as well. You'll need the following items.

Turkey (thawed, giblets removed)
2 onions
2 apples
2 oranges
1 whole bulb of garllic
1 cup olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper
1 stick butter
¼ cup soy sauce (optional)
several sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)

You might want to have a pair of disposable plastic server's gloves (like they use at Subway)

Make sure the turkey is thawed and the cavity is cleared out of the giblets and the neck. You can use the neck for stock, do not use the liver, etc. for stock. Rinse the turkey off, inside and out and pat dry.

Cut your onions, apples, and oranges in half and stuff them into the cavity of the turkey trying to position the cut side out against the inside of the cavity. You can peel a few cloves of garlic and add to the cavity, as well as lodge the stick of butter and fresh thyme up in there. Try to gather the skin around the turkey's backside, pull it together, and secure with a toothpick or skewer.

Now for the outside. If using soy sauce, give the turkey a rubdown all over with the soy sauce, (you can use low sodium). Smash and mince the remaining cloves of garlic, and mix them with the olive oil and rub this over the turkey's surface. You might want to tuck some garlic up under the wings and legs. Once you have covered and rubbed-in the garlic and olive oil, give the bird a light coat of salt and pepper. NEVER pierce the skin! This allows moisture to escape.

Place the turkey in the oven uncovered, and bake at 450º for the first hour. Then cover with foil, turn down the heat to 325º, and bake for approximately 15 - 20 minutes per pound. Use a meat thermometer and let it go to a 170º internal temperature. You can also check the turkey provider's chart for cooking time and add about an additional 10% in time.

Remove the foil for the last hour and baste every 15 mins. When the time is up, turn oven off and allow turkey to relax in the oven for about 15 mins. and outside the oven for 20 mins. before slicing. Although it is difficult lifting the foil and replacing it, it doesn't hurt to baste the turkey earlier in the baking process every half hour or so. Bottom line, don't be in a hurry. Better to let it cook longer at slower temp, and keep it moist. Some folks even braise it in a few inches of stock.

Either way, Happy Thanksgiving!


The Napolean House

Thursday Nov. 20 I was back in NOLA for the day. We actually didn't go to NOLA Grocery as we usually do. My friends couldn't make lunch today, so my friend from Mexico City, Eric and I went to a restaurant in one of the oldest buildings in town, The Napoleon House.

Very reasonable, (as a matter of fact downright inexpensive, comparatively) and great service. We ate out in the courtyard of this building built in 1821 for Mayor Girod, by his brother. The mayor offered it as sanctuary for Napoleon Bonapart, if he had gone into exile. Evidently it survived both great fires, (I believe they were after this) and has been a thriving restaurant for some time.

Eric had a roast beast Po-Boy with gravy, I had gumbo and Jambalaya. Both were good, the gumbo being the better of the two, had a nice flavor, the jambo was the Creole Red variety, I prefer brown, and it was a little tomato-ey for my taste. It could've cooked more, but all in all, it was a nice meal. The waiter was attentive and the place was very relaxing. Everything else I saw looked great and as I said earlier, it was very reasonable, maybe the best meal deal in the French Quarter.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Grits… boilt', fried, and cherished!

I love grits. Always have, even before snooty people started eating them. I bought some coarse stone gound, grits from Parks Mill in Abingdon, VA. They make great corn meal, grits and other items. I am including their recipes for grits and cornbread here. It might not seem like alot of grits in the recipe, but it made a whole bowlful. I added a bit more water.

After you make your grits, try this… put them in the fridge overnight, dump them out and slice them about half and inch thick. Dredge each grit plank in seasoned flour (flour, Tony C's Cajun Mix, black pepper) and fry it in a skillet with, I use margarine when I fry mine. Let them get brown and crispy on the outside. Oh man are they good. Check out Parks Mill for great products.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sorry About Thanksgiving!

OK, OK, I am the one that fusses the most about early Christmas content, but I love Christmas and wanted to get my Christmas recipes on the ol' blog. I also changed my logo on top. The mansion in the picture is Kinnity Castle in Ireland, (I love this picture) I really hope you try and enjoy these Christmas Recipes.

The shortbread recipe is simply awesome, as well as my Dad's Peanut Butter recipe. My father W.J.Harkleroad Jr. was an wonderful father and a really good cook. He left me this recipe for his candy. It is similar to a fudge, but so much better. The last is my sweet wife's sugar cookies with buttercream icing. Enjoy these and look in the future for more fun during Christmas.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Joe the NOLA Cat

Well, Thursday lunch was at our current favorite NOLA Grocery with Murray, and then a stop off to see Joe the Cat. Joe is a fixture at "The Foundry," a catering facility a few blocks over. Joe can be found sleeping most of the time. His friend Robin informed us that, amazingly, he HAD BEEN SLEEPING before we got there. Whew, that's a relief!

Joe and I took to being friends immediately, I guess since I am a confirmed cat-person and Joe smelled the smokiness on my boudin-stained fingers. At the NOLA Grocery I had a Ferdi special Po-Boy, this is roast beef debris with Chisesi ham. MMMmm, I loved it. Can't wait to go back for it and that lovely boudin. Oh, Murray is the only person I know that has Mexican imported Fresca to drink. It is a grapefruit flavored drink. I know there is an American version but it is awful in comparison.

Seeya next week!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Chicken Fricassée

Well, I delved into the dish Chicken Fricassée this weekend. I got it a bit confused with something else and added tomatoes. Now it wasn't bad, but it did over cook a bit, and all those little bones in the wing-tips, etc. became a real nuisance. I got a recipe from fellow blogger Arthur Hebert at The Bear Growls. He reviews restaurants around the Lake Charles, LA area.

Hopefully with this truly Cajun version it will turn out better next time. I also mede some great cornbread and pinto beans this weekend. Cornbread is one of my favorites, but DO NOT PUT SUGAR IN IT!!!! It's a bread not a cake.

Here is the Chicken Fricassée recipe…

4 to 5 lb hen cut into serving pieces
salt and cayenne to taste
6 tbs oil
6 tbs flour
2 large onions
4 cups hot water.

Season meat and brown in oil. Remove and add flour stirring to make a dark roux ( some recipes call for flouring the chicken pieces and going from there)

Add onions and cook until transparent. return hen to pot add water and cook on low for about 2 hours or until tender. (some recipes call for the trinity and garlic and sauteing them in oil then adding the flour) Serve over rice. Slow cooking is the key!

Mmmmmm Good! Thanks Arthur!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New Season, new posts

I am getting ready for the Thanksgiving season, and hope you are too! I don't know about the Cajun craze of TurDuckEn. I just don't know about foods that begin with the word Turd. Anyway, we will feature some new recipes and possibly some restaurant suggestions for those of you spending the holiday in New Orleans or SoLa. (that's South Louisiana)

I hope all have a great season, it's a beautiful time of the year. Get out and see the pretty colors, and if your area doesn't have them, go somewhere that does.