Turkey Brine, Dry Rub, and Cavity Filling

Man it has been a busy couple of weeks.

I have failed you as a blogger and please forgive me as I have done the cardinal sin of not posting this fast enough.  But alas I like to make myself feel better as I have at least posted it prior to Thanksgiving! Yes?  Yes??

THERE IS STILL  ENOUGH TIME I PROMISE. You can brine everything Tuesday or even Wednesday and STILL be in time for Thanksgiving …and I promise you…you’ll walk out of T-Dinner feeling like a ROCKSTAR!

This will be quick. It’s SO easy, you won’t regret it.

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BRINE. THAT. BIRD.

INGREDIENTS:

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1 gallon of water (16 cups) in a giant pot!

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Add 16 teaspoon of Better then Bouillon Vegetable Bouillon (this equates to 16 cups of Bouillon)

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Add 1 cup of Sea Salt or Kosher Salt – NOT TABLE SALT or you may die of salt overload from puffiness or, on a more serious real person note….HIGH BLOODPRESSURE/STROKE. And no one wants that on Thanksgiving.  I am thankful to be alive.  And that you are alive and reading this. 🙂

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Add all thee dried herbs. Rosemary (make sure to crush it a bit), Sage, Thyme, Poultry Seasoning.

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BOIL THAT BABY.

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Mix. Make sure salt is disintegrated.

THEN. Cool it. Not you. The bird. Once it’s cool, add 8 cups of Apple Juice, and another gallon 8 cups of ICE water to your brine.

THROW THE BIRD IN THERE and make sure the inside cavity is filled with the brine! THEN…VOILA! WAHLAH! MAGNIFICO!

Brine the bird for no more than 24 hours. I actually would recommend 12-18 hrs.  MAKE sure it’s cold and food safety safe.  No need to poison everyone on Thanksgiving because you didn’t keep the bird cold enough…

Also please use a brining bag; trashbags are NOT food safe…

Once the bird is out of the brine…RINSE the bird with water; you don’t want a salt lick. 🙂 MAKE SURE YOU PAT THE TURKEY DRY AFTER RINSING IT.

Please remember!!  Brined Turkeys cook must faster; I don’t want to tell you a time formula but I highly recommend cooking it breast side down for the first hour to two hours (depending on the size of your bird), then turning it over breast side up for the remainder of the time.  After that, blast the oven up to 450 – 500 degrees to brown the skin.


Turkey Brine

1 Gallon of water

16 teaspoons of Vegetable Bullion

1 Tablespoon of Dried Rosemary

1 Tablespoon of Dried Sage

1 Teaspoon of ground Thyme (you can add more but I think thyme taste like DIRT if you add too much)

1 Tablespoon of Poultry Seasoning

8 cups of Apple Juice

1 Gallon of Water Sorry! It’s 8 cups of ice water.


DRY RUB:

Equal parts EVERYTHING:

Salt

Black Pepper

Oregano

Basil

Rosemary

Paprika

Cayenne Pepper

If you dry rub your bird, please make sure you melt butter or use olive oil and coat the outside of your bird, then sprinkle it on; you don’t have to do this, but I love the extra flavor it brings.


CAVITY FILLING:

Salt the inside of your bird; don’t go crazy! You did brine the bird!

2 Celery stalks

1 large Onion

2 large carrots

5 Garlic Cloves

OPTIONAL: 1 Orange (I don’t like the citrusy flavor but A LOT of people do)

Stick it in the bird’s booty after salting and seasoning! BOOTY.


Last Tidbid:  I highly recommend taking cold unsalted butter, slicing it to thin square pieces, dipping it in the dry rub, separating the skin and putting the seasoned butter in between the skin and meat.  This not only adds extra flavor but also helps tenderize the bird EVER MORE.  And who doesn’t like butter?!

Also, whatever you season your bird with on the skin, even if it is just salt and pepper, this will taste amazing.  Just don’t do anything weird that you wouldn’t normally put on a bird…like cinnamon or nutmeg or weird non-birdy ingredients; we don’t want your bird to taste like pumpkin pie. Gross.

Italian Sausage Bolognese Sauce

I’ve always loved Bolognese sauce.  I’m just one of the laziest creatures I know and this takes some work!  But if I can do it…SO CAN YOU!

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But today, I thought hmm…I’m going to make mine with Italian            Sausage.  Why? Because who the heck doesn’t like Italian Sausage?!  It’s tasty, fragrant, and downright delicious!

I will post a standard Bolognese recipe sometime in the future…but for now, you’re stuck with this, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. 🙂

Here is a pix of main ingredients:

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First step.  Take your white wine, and add 1 cup of white wine into your beef and Italian sausage.  This sounds weird.  But trust me, it will help breakdown the mean so when you’re browning it, the meat will help separate into little ground beefies versus GIANT BEEF CHUNKS that you have to break apart.

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I used a fork and mashed the two meats until they looked like one big happy family.

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Chopping. The good news is…you don’t have to do a ton of chopping, just use your food processor (which saves my life in so many things and is the best friend you can have in the kitchen).

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CHOP ALL DEM VEGGIES UP.  SO. Start with cutting your MIREPOIX (dood I feel so fancy but this is basically celery, carrots, and onion).  The only thing, we are going to change up is the ratio of Mirepoix…we are doing equal parts of each one.   I would chop them up into 2 inch pieces to help your food processor out.

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I throw each one in individually.  Not sure why…I guess I’m crazy like that.

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Don’t forget to do your garlic too!

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Now that you’ve chopped all your veggies…let the COOKING COMMENCE!

Start with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.   Let it come up in temperature and throw your onions in.

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Then your garlic. (not pictured cause I’m a dumb dumb).  SALT AT EVERY LEVEL.  I cannot stress this enough.  I will say it again…. SALT AT EVERY LEVEL!  You want to make sure that every level of flavor you are building is well seasoned.  It doesn’t mean salt the crap out of it….but it means salt it enough so that you are bringing the flavors our.  I would say about ¼ –  ½ teaspoon at each level is good (depending on your personal salt preference).  This is something that is learned over time…happy medium between enough salt and not too much salt. I highly recommend tasting each level if it is safe (don’t risk tasting raw meat!)

As soon as your onions are sweating, throw in your carrots and celery.  Stir it around…. SALT AT EVERY LEVEL.

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When your veggies are done (I would give it about 5-7 minutes on medium heat)… take them out.

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Grab the meat/wine concoction and throw it in.  Brown your meat and SALT AT EVERY LEVEL!

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When your meat is nice and brown, throw in your veggies and mix well.

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If it starts to stick and make little brown bits down there, you’re doing a good job.  We want this.  But don’t overdo it and DON’T BURN it!! 🙂  Browning is flavor, burning is gross!

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Next, we are going to pour in your 1 cup of red wine…drink some for yourself…and scrape the little delicious brown bits off the bottom.  Keke.  Scrape de bottom.

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Now. THROW YOUR CRUSHED tomatoes … SALT AT EVERY LEVEL.

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Yum yum yum.  WE ARE GETTING THERE.

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Add your seasonings. Basil, red pepper, Sugar, Garlic, and Onion Powder (not all pictured).

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Taste your sauce. If it does not have enough salt (which if you salted correctly, it should), add more to taste.  Remember, Bolognese sauce will be a tad bit on the salty side when eaten on its own.  Why? Because you are cooking it with pasta! 🙂

This will need to cook down for about 30-45 minutes on low/medium.  WARNING: Just make sure you WATCH IT. and STIR as you go along.  Because Bolognese is a ragu, it is THICK and does not have a ton of liquid and will burn quickly.  Just please be careful when cooking it down.  I added 1 cup of water to let it cook down. We need the flavors to merry and be joyful.

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When your sauce is almost ready, start your pasta water.  Make sure you salt the water.

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I usually put my sauce in a sautee pan on medium to keep it warm, and my pasta in another.  DSC_0881

I cook according to the package and typically subtract 1-2 minutes.  So, if your package says 6-8 minutes.  I would do 6 minutes.

As soon as your pasta is finished at its 6 minute mark, throw the cooked pasta into the sautee pan and finish the pasta in the sauce.  Add a 2-4 tablespoons of pasta water in there to help the pasta cook some more.

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Integrate the pasta and sauce.  (if it’s dry, add a little more water.  A LITTLE. not a ton, then you will have watery gross Bolognese *barf*)

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After you are done, plate and ENJOY.  I usually add shaved Parmesan, but didn’t do so in the picture so you can see the finished product. 🙂


 

Italian Sausage Bolognese Sauce

A twist on a classic dish

Difficulty level: Intermediate (only because it’s a lot of steps and the salting on every level situation )

Serving: 6-10 depending on how much you use

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 1.5 hours

Ingredients:

1 lb of beef

1 lb of spicy Italian sausage

2 stalks of celery

2 carrots

2 medium size onions

5 cloves of garlic

1 28 oz can of crushed tomatos (I highly recommend Hunts)

2 tsp of dried basil

2 tsp of crushed red pepper

1 tsp of garlic powder

1 tsp of onion powder

2 tablespoons of olive oil

½ teaspoon of sugar

1 cup of red wine

1 cup of white wine

1 cup of water


Directions:

  1. Mix together the beef and spicy Italian with 1 cup of white wine.
  2. Chop all veggies in the food processor into a small dice.
  3. Use 2 tablespoons of Olive oil, bring up to temperature, sweat onions, then garlic, salt to taste.
  4. Add the celery and carrots, cook for 5-7 minutes until soft, but not limpy! Salt to taste.
  5. Take veggies out and put aside.
  6. Brown the meat. Salt to taste.
  7. Add veggies back into the meat, cook and let flavors merry with each other a bit. Let this brown a bit on the bottom, but do not BURN! Salt to taste.
  8. Add 1 cup of red wine. Stir, and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  9. Add entire can of crushed tomatoes. Salt to taste.
  10. Add remaining seasoning of sugar, basil, red pepper, garlic powder, onion powder.
  11. Salt to taste.
  12. Add one cup of water. Cook down this sauce for about 45 minutes. Watch the sauce! Do NOT let it burn!
  13. Cook pasta and Bolognese in separate pots. When pasta is done, throw into hot sauce and finish in the sauce.
  14. Enjoy!

Last Tidbid:  I always finish any pasta I made in the sauce.  It makes a night and day difference in letting the pasta soak up the sauces.  You can do this with any and all sauces and it works wonders!

Tuna Salad

Well hallo dere.

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Not sure if you can tell by now but I love things that are easy to make.  The easier and tastier food is, the rounder I get. Keke. Round.

This is a good “healthy” snack.  I put “healthy” in quotes because it really depend on how much may-O you put into this delicious fresh yummy concoction.  The more you put the creamier it gets!

I grew up eating tuna with mayo and celery and I’m not going to say it was horrible but it wasn’t freaking delicious either.  It was like…just OK.

Then…I met this girl named Cristina.  She changed my life.  She opened the doors to canned-tuna heaven and showed me that you CAN elevate canned tuna and make freaking delicious.  She made tuna with all the Mexican flavors I love…and then I decided…I have to make my own.

I came, I saw, I conquered that BEEZIE.

The good thing about this recipe is it is a base.  You can tweak it anyway you want based on your taste buds. I can’t say every time I make this it tastes the same, but I can say, that every time I make it, I love how delicious it is with some Pretzel Crisps or Salt and Pepper Kettle chips.  Yum.  Remember!  I said “healthy”. Feel free to judge me. 😉

OKIE. So here goes!

CHOP CHOP CHOP!  I know its super tempting to throw this all into the food processer…but don’t do it.  Fight the temptation.  You’ll need a bigger dice then the food processor will give you because you want a good nice crunch and texture. TRUST ME! IT’S WORTH IT

So. Here we go!

Main Ingredients:  (as usual…I forgot something…)

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Mayo and Garlic Salt not shown… -_-**

Start chopping the living lights out of these veggies….

For those who don’t know how to cut celery cause it’s all weird shaped:

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Turn on an angle and chop into strips

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DEN WAHLAH! NOW RIDICULOUSLY EASY TO CHOP INTO TINY CRUNCHY SQUARES OF FLAVOR!

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Such pretty colors!  Add the canned Tuna…

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And MIX the beH-gi-ta-bles all up!

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Look at all the colors! So pretty! And tell me that doesn’t smell amazing.

Ok. This is where I secretly like to lie to myself and tell myself I eat healthy and only add a bit of mayo.  But it always ends up the same.  I always start with ½ of a HEAPING cup of mayo…

Then I spread the love…and then I realize….there isn’t enough love in there.  So I end up adding a tablespoon at a time.

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And then I end up…with me have had added a total of 1 cup of Mayo…LOL. #healthyfail

If you fail like I do. Let’s fail proudly. And be proud and fat and happy.  YAH!

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Make sure you toss in at least ½ teaspoon of salt or more to taste.  THEN. WAIT for it….THROW IT IN THE fridge.  It needs to SIT in the fridge for at least 3 hours prior to consuming.  If you have patience for overnight, then that is better.  The flavors need time to merry and be happy!  Give it some TIME!

Then. Indulge with some Pretzel Crisps (I buy the Everything flavor) or Kettle chips. Whatever your hearts deepest desires are.


TUNA SALAD

Dancing Tuna in your mouf!

Difficulty level: EASY

Serving:  Total a little under 3 lbs (sounds a lot but it’s really not!)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook time: none


Ingredients:

4 Cans of 5 oz Tuna in water

2 Tomatoes

4 stalks of celery

1 medium onion or a little over half of a large one

1 bunch of cilantro (or less to taste)

1 small Persian cucumber (not shown and optional – I only do it sometimes but don’t do too much because cucumbers can be overpowering!)

1 serrano pepper (optional)

1 cup of Mayo (start with ½ and add to taste)

½ Teaspoon of Garlic Salt


 

Directions:

Chop all veggies.  Put in mixing bowl.  Add tuna.

Add Mayo and Salt, mix.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours to overnight.

Last Tidbid:  I actually tend to eat this with crackers over in a sandwich.  If you do want to eat it in a sandwich, make sure you get a nice strong bread that can hold up to the juices of this tuna.  Also, when you refrigerate the tuna, it will secret water from the veggies, just mix prior to eating.

Happy Eating!