Saturday, November 19, 2011

What to do if your bird is still raw when you thought it was done courtesy of Leite's Culinaria

My friend and fellow Greenbrier attendee (and panelist), David Leite has an awesome website In a recent post, his team explains how to avoid the dreaded undercooked turkey. It's a must read for all who are responsible for cooking this year's bird. Please take a look here

You won't regret it.

Kitchen Tips for the Holidays

With Thanksgiving only a few days away (and the rest of the Holidays just around the corner), I thought I’d share a few suggestions to help you make the most of your time in the kitchen.

• Always plan ahead. If there's anything you can do a day or three before, do it. It'll make things a lot easier on the big day.

• Know your recipes. Take the time to actually read your recipes all the way through before you even start organizing your ingredients.

• Make your kitchen time fun. Enlist family and friends to help, turn on the music, and pour yourself a glass of your favorite beverage.

• Do all of your “mise en place” (the prep and assembly of your ingredients and equipment) before you start cooking.

• Always taste your food while you’re cooking. It allows you to make any necessary adjustments to the dish before you serve it.

• Try to clean as you go and return everything to its place as soon as you can. After hours prepping and cooking, you won’t be in the mood to deal with a sink full of dirty pots and sticky greasy counters.

• Instead of placing your turkey on a roasting rack, cut onions, celery, and carrots into large chunks and place them in an oiled roasting pan. Then, place your turkey on top of the vegetables.

• Always let your meat rest. One of the biggest kitchen mistakes is not letting meat rest after cooking. So, this Thanksgiving, after roasting your turkey let it rest while you make the gravy (instead of making it while the bird is in the oven).

• If you don't have time to brine the turkey, heavily salt it (inside and out) about an hour before cooking. Then, pat the bird dry and roast it. The skin will still be crispy and the meat will be just as juicy.

• If you are going to bake anything, leave your butter and eggs out the night before. This will make incorporating them easier, smoother, and you’ll have a better final result.

• Pick up some parchment paper for lining your pans. It will make everything you bake easy to remove and it makes for a quick cleanup (no greasy or pasty butter-flour mixture; no errant batter; no scraping).

• Lastly, don't be too hard on yourself — sometimes the best recipes are discovered through mistakes.