Monday, December 27, 2010

mr. turkey, mr. turkey

Mr. Turkey, Mr. Turkey, Run away, run away...

A Thanksgiving song, but this post involves the ultimate demise of my Thanksgiving turkeys which I hope may give you ideas for the remains of your Christmas feast. After the meal is over and the best pieces gone to turkey sandwiches the bones are left for stock. (Note: I don't get people who complain about leftovers, I could eat turkey sandwiches for days. But with my family I rarely get more than two before the turkey's gone, not matter how big of a bird we have.) I made the first batch of stock after my family's Thanksgiving roughly following the Barefoot Contessa's Chicken Stock recipe (because that was on my mother's shelf) excluding the parsnips. Instead of 3 5 pound chickens, I used a 14 pound turkey. Stock is great because you can really use whatever you have. Below is the second stock I made, using the turkey from my apartment's holiday party. I used fresh scallions, carrots and celery from the farmer's market
and a package of 'roast chicken herbs' that I think had rosemary, thyme and dill. I tossed in peppercorns and garlic and left in the lemons the turkey was originally roasted in.

[Stock simmering]

When the stock is done (3-4 hours of simmering) take out all the solids (throw out anything unless it's usable turkey meat) and set in the refrigerator overnight. Or do what my grandmother does in the winter and use your garage as a fridge. The next day, skim off the fat and the stock is ready to use.

The first batch of stock I made a soup with about 2 cups of leftover turkey (dark meat is great in soup), a pound of Italian sausage, 2 cups cauliflower, 1 cup carrots, 1 can corn, and 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies.

The second batch I wanted to do something similar, but with the addition of orzo. I used turkey and turkey sausage, 4-5 carrots, a bag fresh spinach, a can of white beans. Then, I dumped in one box of orzo. With all the stock, I felt like there wasn't enough pasta so I immediately added another. This was a mistake. For the first part of cooking, it seemed great. The orzo was al dente so I covered the soup up and waited for my roommates to get home.

[The soup, pre-orzo]

[The soup, as the orzo cooks]

[The end result]

In the end, we had less of a 'soup' and more of a warm pasta dish. The orzo absorbed all the stock, so was very flavorful. In the future, I'll definitely use only one box of pasta per stockpot of soup, unless I want to recreate this dish... which I definitely will want to do someday.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

holiday potluck

When I moved in with my current roommates, they informed me they do an annual Thanksgiving Dinner for friends the week before Thanksgiving. We didn't get to it in time this year, so instead had a general Holiday Potluck. We decorated with Christmas lights, Hannukah lights and random orange lights. Not the most cohesive but the important thing was that we cooked- and ate- well.

[Our turkey, stuffed with carrots and onion]

To continue wrapping all the winter time holidays together, my roommate Julia made latkes using a recipe from her Dad (aka the one from Epicurious or that you get if you google latke recipe.) It is very good. We made far too many but they were all eaten.

[This is what 5 pounds of potatoes looks like once it's been shredded. Check out the sweet cupcakes in the background to celebrate of the UofR women's rugby team.]

My house supplied the turkey and asked everyone to bring side dishes. Not content to sit on the sidelines, I decided to make appetizers. Originally planning on keeping it simple, I made Sage and Brown Butter Cashews and bought brie and fruit. I decided to turn the berries into a Blackberry and Raspberry Compote, making up the recipe as I went. I've posted what I did below.

[Sage and Brown Butter Cashews]

A highlight was the candied bacon, which was a last minute addition. TheKitchn wrote that not eating it all immediately would be very tough. This proved true as the first batch was consumed while half the party guests were out picking up the last few items on the list. Lesson learned: thin center cut bacon is better than thick but cook it on a drying rack or something that drains. Coat heavily with brown sugar.

[Candied bacon]

Blackberry Raspberry Compote
1.5 cups blackberries
1 cup raspberries
2 tablespoons honey
1/3 of a lemon (eyeballed)

Put in a sauce pan and heat on low-medium heat. Mash the berries up a bit and once there is a decent amount of juice in the pan, bring to a low boil. Let simmer 10-15 minutes. Pour over brie.

[Super bad picture. Super yummy brie.]

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I had not seen my college roommate (of all four years!) since graduating a year and a half ago, so last weekend I went up to New York/New Jersey to visit. The week before I discovered a new blog to love, The Man Repeller. This was fortunitous timing for many reasons. First, because roommate L and I often were items that would have graced the pages of The Man Repeller. They had names like Boxer Dress and Sailor Suit. Secondly, because we had already stated that no men should attempt to talk to us during our weekend of girl time. So we swore to each other to do our manrepelling best and I took the following photos to document the weekend. Many of my piece repeat as I took the smallest luggage possible for the long weekend.

[Chinatown bus in RVA]

[With our very adorable non-manrepelling friend at brunch. Romper=manrepeller]

[In Central Park. Fur coats=manrepeller.]

See more after the jump.