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Flunking social studies.

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Best Turkey and Stuffing Recipe (or How Mom Gets Me to Visit)

December 22, 2013 |  by  |  Featured, Food  |  No Comments

Turkey, turkey, turkey! Here it is, my mother’s amazing turkey dinner recipe, straight from the source [with my notes added in brackets].

I know that everybody’s partial to their mother’s cooking, but my mom’s turkey dinner is always outstanding! It’s her secret weapon for getting me over to the Island to visit. I’m a horrible son. (Sorry Mom!)

It’s not as specific as a cook-book recipe, but it doesn’t need to be. Anybody with a cook’s soul should breeze through it (chef-ery not required). Post your questions, and I’ll answer below. (My Mom may even too!)

Stuffing

  • italian bread, extra long sliced loaf [D'Italiano works great, so do more squirrely breads]
  • onion
  • garlic
  • celery
  • italian sausage [Costco hot italian is outstandingly good italian sausage for any recipe!]
  • mushrooms [I use white, but you can use whatever floats your boat]
  • red pepper
  • eggs
  • salt
  • pepper
  • sage
  • poultry seasoning
  • butter
  • olive oil

Make sure that you freeze the loaf of bread ahead of time so that it is easy to cut into cubes without it getting squishy.

Put some olive oil and butter in a large saute pan. If your italian sausage is in casing, remove and crumble into pan as many to taste, say 5 or 6 for a full loaf of bread [I use 4 or 5 of the big Costco sausages, about 600-700g]. Add onions and brown along with sausage.

In the meantime finely chop one or two celery stalks, loads of garlic, and as many mushrooms as you like [I use lots, you can't have too many!].

When the sausage is browned, turn down heat and add the celery, garlic, mushrooms, some more olive oil and too much butter for anyones good. I use lots of butter as it gives a nice flavour [It's turkey dinner, leave your food-conscience at the door!]. Add quite a lot of sage – again to taste – bearing in mind it will diffuse through the bread so if it seems too strong, it probably wont be. I’d say about 2 tablespoons at least, maybe more. Add about the same, or a little less in poultry seasoning. Grind in some pepper, but don’t use too much salt as the butter is salty. Also at this time add water to the pan, enough to make it all quite moist but not soupy.

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Stirring, Shaking, Sliding

June 27, 2013 |  by  |  Featured, Food, Writing  |  No Comments

He prepared the explosives with slight care, quickly, casually, the ritual well-practiced, components proportioned more or less precisely, burner tuned just-so to an unmarked setting, the steel lid lowered for even heating and explosive containment.

Sirens sang, foreboding shrieks and squawks and shearing sounds, as the vessel was shaken and slid across the element, stirring untouched its contents. Intermittently the concoctor ceased his agitation and crooked an expert ear to the silence, listening for sizzling, steady but not slow, energetic but not angry. It mustn’t burn. Burning meant acrid smoke, accusatory smoke, overpoweringly aromatic smoke, smoking evidence that lingered, alerted the neighbours, testified to his activities, testified to his inexpertise.

An explosion surely overdue, his doubts began to mount. Was it too hot? Not hot enough? Was this batch going to explode? *pop* The first explosion always a surprise, always a relief. *pop-pop-pop* The explosions came faster, faster still. The tin-can rat-a-tat-tat of the popping startled his senses, stimulating salivation before sent was detected.

Still shaking, sliding, stirring the pot, he watched, trance-like, the stochastic explosions sending kernels careening, chaotically clanging and caroming off the pot with each pop, pop, pop.

Eyes drying and mouth watering, he stood mesmerized by the turmoil. Blasted blossoms burst like frozen fireballs, each concussion showering the seething mass with corn-husk shrapnel, triggering secondary and tertiary explosions as ticking time-bombs tumbled.

At last the cacophonous barrage began to abate. But not the stirring, shaking, sliding. He knew the risk of burning was highest now, knew that explosive packages had to be sifted toward the heat, had to be detonated before the now-dry pan overheated.

Three seconds. Three seconds without a pop was all that could be afforded. One—*pop* The clock reset. One…*pop* Reset. One… two…*pop* Reset again. One… two…*pop* Too long, three seconds was too long this time. One… two… —burning, it was going to burn— three! He doused the burner, threw back the lid, and dumped the steaming contents into the waiting container.

Perfect popcorn.
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Never Buy Beef Jerky Again

Never Buy Beef Jerky Again

February 17, 2012 |  by  |  Food  |  5 Comments

I wanted to share this amazingly easy, healthy, and unbelievably delicious homemade beef jerky recipe I made the other day. MrsTemple found the recipe in Clean Eating magazine. Despite its suspiciously ‘health-conscious’ approach, the mag is surprisingly full of delicious recipes. I’d recommend it, as it is for food-lovers, not weight-losers.

Spicy Oven-Dried Beef Jerky

Makes 12 oz (about 50 pieces). Hands-on time: 1 hour. Total time: 10 hours.
Nutrients per serving (2 large strips): Calories: 27, Total Fat: 1 g, Sat. Fat: 0 g, Carbs: 1 g, Fiber:0 g, Sugars: 1 g, Protein: 4g. Sodium: 92 mg, Cholesterol: 8 mg

Ingredients

• 2 lb eye of round beef roast, flank steak or London broil, trimmed of visible fat
• 2/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2/3 cup 1/6 cup low-sodium Worcestershire sauce (1:1 worcestershire to soy is way too much, use 1/4 of the amount of low-sodium soy, and it’s delicious.)
1 tbsp raw honey (Rather than honey, I used the same amount of brown sugar.)
• 2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• 1 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1 tsp smoked paprika or liquid smoke, optional (I used smoked paprika)

Instructions

ONE: If using a large roast or steak, slice beef into 2 or 3 equal pieces. Wrap beef in plastic wrap and place in freezer for about 1 hour to ease slicing. Remove from freezer and transfer to a cutting board. Using only the tip of a chef’s knife, slice beef along the grain into equal 1/8-inch-thick strips.

TWO: Meanwhile, prepare marinade. In a 2-cup measure, whisk remaining ingredients and, if desired, paprika, until smooth.

THREE: Transfer beef to a large, heavy-duty zip-top bag. Pour marinade into bag, seal tightly and turn
to coat beef. Lay flat in refrigerator and marinate for 3 to 6 hours, turning bag 1 to 2 times (NOTE: Do not exceed 6 hours).

Jerky Recipe 1-3

FOUR: Line a large baking sheet with 2 sheets paper towel. Remove beef from bag, shaking or gently wringing each strip to remove excess marinade. Transfer to baking sheet and cover with additional 2 sheets paper towel. Press down through towel to flatten strips and absorb as much marinade as possible. Remove oven racks and place a foil drip pan in bottom of oven, or line bottom with foil. Preheat oven to lowest setting, 140 to 170°F.

FIVE: Thread skewers through 1 end of strips, leaving 1 inch between each strip. Lay skewers horizontally across 1 oven rack. Transfer rack to highest position in oven, allowing strips to hang without touching oven walls. Close oven, propping door open a crack with a small, dry, rolled-up dish towel or a wooden spoon. (NOTE: This is necessary to allow moisture to escape from the oven; the oven temperature is low enough that this is not a fire danger.) Cook for 5 hours.

Jerky Recipe 4-5

SIX: Check strips for doneness; remove dry, hard and darkened pieces from skewers and place on a cooling rack. Cook remaining strips for 1 to 2 hours, checking often for doneness. Transfer to cooling racks. When strips are fully cooled, transfer to airtight containers and store upright at room temperature for up to 2 months (NOTE: Do not pack strips tightly). Discard strips that show signs of spoilage (mold or unpleasant odor) over time.

Jerky Recipe 6-7

SEVEN: Devour. Then, imagine limitless flavour possibilities. Next time we make this (which will be soon), we’re going to try a curry-spiced variety.    

The Seeds of Change

August 4, 2011 |  by  |  Featured, Food  |  No Comments

I remember when you could get both seedless and true watermelon. I remember trying the seedless version. It was but a pale shadow of the vibrantly red, beautifully sweet, and deliciously refreshing true seeded wonder-food.

A true watermelon was pure ambrosia for a child. Similar in colour and property to the high-octane hummingbird food which fuels their unbounded energy, a watermelon served as the perfect pit-stop for young racing machines. Whether participating at the Picnic Grand Prix, the Baseball 500, or the Beach Superspeedway, every nanosecond spent on pit-row eating or drinking meant that you were missing out on everything that was going on.

In this way, watermelon seemed as if it were purpose engineered to suit the needs of youth. Not only would it provide both requirements of life, sugar and liquid, but your last piece could be taken on the go, shaving precious moments off your down-time.

Watermelon Heart

We were made for each other.

That your hands, face, chest, and right forearm from elbow toward wrist would be smeared with stickiness was inconsequential to a kid. It would be washed off by the next plunge, or covered up by a film of dirt, or perhaps neither. To paraphrase a line from Predator: “Ain’t got time to clean”. It’s not that a conscious decision was made by an elite commando to ignore his wound, nor does a kid intentionally ignore the slathering of gluey juice, rather it simply isn’t on the radar of ‘Things That Are Important Right Now’.

Of course, when that final wedge was finished, you were left with a rind of the perfect size and weight that needed to be hucked into the woods/lake/ocean or sometimes onto the roof. It was food after-all, so it wasn’t littering.

Watermelon Rolling

Never throw away a whole watermelon.

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