Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Food Safety Alerts


I normally am not a fan of widgets and those type of things. But, I just saw this one and could not resist.
At the bottom of the page is a widget that displays real time food alerts and recalls from both the FDA and the USDA in one setting!
This application is really neat. Unlike some widgets, that you can put on your "desktop", you do have to have this one posted on a website or blog for it to work. If you have a website or blog that you would like to post this gadget on you can get it for free at the following URL: http://www.foodsafety.gov/widgets/index.html
Happy eating!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holiday Tips for a juicy and safe turkey

Turkey Tips to Keep Your Thanksgiving Holiday Safe and Happy

The following tips will help keep your turkey safe to eat.

1.        If you are using a frozen turkey, allow ample time for it to thaw in your refrigerator. 
A twelve pound turkey can take up to four days to thaw in the refrigerator.  The time required for your turkey to thaw is dependent on how big it is and the temperature your refrigerator is operating at.
2.       Do not thaw your turkey at room temperature.  Doing so, allows the exterior of the turkey to get hot enough to support microbial growth while the interior is still frozen solid.
3.       If you discover your turkey has not thawed sufficiently in the refrigerator, you may use the following method to help it along:
Put your turkey into a clean sink or container and fill it with cold water (hopefully your sink/container is deep enough for the turkey to be fully covered; if not, turn the turkey over periodically).  Leave the turkey in the water for 20 minutes and then drain.  Repeat as needed.
4.       Be sure to cook your turkey to appropriate temperature; 165˚ F.  Use a calibrated stem thermometer to check the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh.  The juices should run clear.

If you suffer from dry turkey syndrome you may wish to brine your turkey

Combine 1 gallon of water, 1 cup sugar and ½ cup kosher salt in a large pan and bring to a boil. 
When the sugar and salt are dissolved turn off the heat allow the brine to cool to room temperature.  Place your thawed turkey in a container large enough to hold it and cover with cooled brine.  
Place in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
When you are ready to cook, remove the turkey from the brine and discard the brine.
Dry the turkey with paper towels.
Season and cook your turkey as normal.
A 12 pound turkey will take about 1 ½ - 1 ¾ gallons of brine. 
Remember it must be thawed and refrigerated at a temperature below 39˚ F.
Brining flushes out some blood and helps the bird retain water so you will hopefully wind up with a juicy turkey.

Need further assistance with your turkey or other holiday cooking projects?
You may wish to access the following sources of help:
 Reynolds Turkey Tips Line
(800) 745-4000 Open through December 31, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Butterball Turkey Talk Line
(800) BUTTERBALL (800-288-8373) Available November 1 through December 28, weekdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CST; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST; Thanksgiving Day, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST; Nov. 24 to Dec. 25, weekdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CST.

Honeysuckle White
(800) 810-6325 Recorded answers to frequently asked turkey preparation questions.

Crisco Pie Hotline
(877) 367-7438 toll-free.  Provides answers the most common questions about baking pies for novice bakers as well as offering tips that will benefit the most seasoned baker. The hotline also offers the option for callers to connect to a live pie expert for pie baking guidance. Hours: 9 - 7 EST except for: Nov. 16 - 25 (8am - 8pm EST) and Dec. 14 - 23 (8am - 8pm EST).

Foster Farms
(800) 255-7227. Live operators answer your questions 24 hours a day November 19 through December 1.  The rest of the year, hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST, Monday through Friday.

Perdue Chicken
(800) 473-7383 Available weekdays year-round (except the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m Eastern Time. Thanksgiving week: Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST, Nov. 27, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST, Thanksgiving Day, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m EST.

Shady Brook Farms Turkey Line
(888) 723-4468. Available 24-hours, 7 days-a-week, automated messages by famous chefs and winemakers, through Jan. 1.

Empire Kosher
(800) 367-4734. Year-round Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST; Fridays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m EST. Closed on Jewish and secular holidays.

Land O' Lakes Holiday Bakeline
(800) 782-9606 Available through Dec. 24 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m, CST, 7 days a week.

Betty Crocker
(888) ASK-BETTY (888-275-2388) Open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST weekdays; staffed year-round.

Campbell's Soups Holiday Leftovers Hotline
(888) 453-3868 Open the day after Thanksgiving through December 31 for questions on leftovers; otherwise there are recorded recipes which can be faxed to you.

Fleischmann's Yeast Baker's Help Line
(800) 777-4959 Weekdays, 9am to 4pm CST, year round advice for bread bakers.

Nestle Toll House Baking Information Line
(800) 637-8537 Year-round baking help, plus recipes, from 10am to 6pm.

Ocean Spray
(800) 662-3263. Staffed year-round, weekdays (open Thanksgiving Day; but not Christmas Day, New Year's Day and other major holidays) 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., EST. 

Happy eating ya’ll

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday November 17, 2009

It always seems like the pace of life on campus picks up as the semester starts to come to an end and the holidays approach.  I guess this is evidenced in yesterdays activities.  Tuesday, November 17,  I had the opportunity to visit with students enrolled in the Alvin Independent School District, Adapt program.  I visited with them during their lunch hour about being a chef; different dishes I've prepared and like; and the importance of getting an education.  Thanks for all the questions guys.  It really makes a visit go by fast.
I returned to school at 1:50 PM and started working on my lecture notes for my 3:00 PM class.  When that class was over at 4:00 PM, I immediately went to the student center and participated in the Alvin Community College Open House - Career Choices.  The turn out was good and time passed quickly.  I got to visit with some nice people.  Before I knew it, it was 7:00 PM and time to go home. 
I wish to thank all involved in the organization of the event.  The room was laid out well and it was a real treat to have snacks and beverages available.

Friday, November 6, 2009

As a part of our saucier class we make classical sauces as well as salsas and dessert sauces.  This year we made a recipe that we had not previously done.  The recipe is for a lemon cream napoleon with raspberry coulis.  It uses fried wonton skins for the layers.  I was really happy with how it came out.  It has great visual interest and texture.  I think, when you look at the photograph, that you will agree.
Happy Eating!