Monday, November 15, 2010

Tips for a Safe and Juicy Thanksgiving Turkey

Turkey Tips to Keep Your Thanksgiving Holiday Safe and Happy
(The updated information in this post is in Italics.)

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.
You may also wish to flavor the brine by:
adding some fresh squeezed orange juice as a part of the water required
add orange halves to the brine when you bring it to a boil
you may also add any other herb or aromatic you desire to the brine when bringing it to a boil.

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. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

shrimp and rice egg roll

I just realized that I am running behind in my quest to publish a recipe a month that uses 8 ingredients or less.
So..........  Here is this months installment: 

Shrimp and Rice Egg Roll
4 servings

4 each egg roll skins
1 cup cooked rice
5 oz hot, pre-prepared shrimp bisque 
4oz cooked, peeled, de-veined, medium shrimp cut in ½ inch pieces
3ea green onion, medium, sliced ¼ inch thick, green and white

Combine rice with warm shrimp bisque, shrimp and green onion.
Lay out four egg roll wrappers, on a cutting board, so they look like a diamond with tips at top and bottom.
Center, even portions of the Japanese rice mixture on the wrappers, from the left to the right side, leaving a 2 inch piece of each side of the wrapper uncovered.
Paint the bare portions of the wrapper with water.
Fold the lower tip over the filling.
Fold in each side to overlap the lower “tip” and to enclose the filling from the sides.
Roll forward to fully enclose the filling.
Deep fry each egg roll in 350 F° canola oil until golden brown.
Remove from oil and drain excess oil. (There may be a small amount of filling left over.)

Serving suggestions
Cut each shrimp and rice egg roll diagonally.
Overlap the two pieces of each shrimp and rice egg roll on the plate, so the person eating the egg roll can see the filling.
Accompany the egg roll with a small salad of snow pea shoots and mung bean sprouts lightly dressed with rice vinegar and roasted sesame oil; and wasabi green peas as a garnish.
If you do not want to make your own shrimp bisque use a good quality canned one.
You can use steamed/boiled shrimp purchased from your local market for this recipe if you like.  Just make sure you like the overall flavor of them.
You can prepare these by blanching them in hot oil until they just start to brown and chilling them rapidly.  This allows you to finish frying them for service without having to make them from scratch.  
To do this prepare the egg rolls up to the frying stage.  Fry them until they just start to color.  Remove from the oil and allow to cool at room temperature on a rack (so excess oil drains away) for 15 - 20 minutes, then refrigerate (preferably on the rack).  
When you are ready for service, remove the egg rolls from the refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Deep fry to desired doneness.  This will give the egg roll proper color, heat it through and make it very crisp.
                                                               Shrimp and Rice Egg Roll

This recipe combines several things I like:  Shrimp in a shrimp flavored "sauce", combined with rice in a crispy edible wrapper.  Comfort food!

Until next time.
Happy Eating.

Chef Leslie Bartosh

Phi Theta Kappa Induction

I am pleased to report that one of our culinary arts students has been inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.  Alex Johnson is the student.  I had the pleasure of teaching Alex in both management and lab classes.  He embodies the concept of a scholar/culinarian.

Well done Alex.

Until next time.
Happy Eating
Chef Leslie Bartosh