Monthly Archives: December 2013

Guidelines for Brining Poultry

Whats Cooking America

The secret to perfect juicy chicken and turkey is simple – Brine them before cooking!

This is the secret that {most} chefs never tell you about. It’s very easy and economical, and requires no special cookware.
Brining is like a marinade, as it keeps food moist and tender. Brining or salting is a way of increasing the moisture holding capacity of meat resulting in a moister product when it is cooked. Salt changes the structure of the muscle tissue in the meat which allows it to swell and absorb water and flavorings which results in a tender turkey or chicken once cooked.

Who wouldn’t want to eat a tender, moist, and flavorful turkey for their Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner? Give it a try!

I Had the pleasure of talking with Chef Randy Feltis and it was him that introduce me to this. The link at the top has a mix of variations, but the following is what Randy told me.

“@ChefRandyF 1 cup of salt to 1 gallon of water + flavorings min of 1 hour per pound. Hmmmm ferrari turkey! Watch your seasonings in the gravy”

This will cook a bit faster than if you didn’t brine. While it was brining we zested 1 each of lemon, orange, and manderin orange, cut them in half squeezed the juices and threw in the halves….. the aroma is amazing.

I will follow up with a post of how it turned out.


Our bird was 12 1/2 Kg (about 26 Lbs), so we had to use a cooler to brine the Turkey.

We required…

16 Ltrs (4 Gallons) Water

4 cups of Salt

1 each Lemon, Orange, Manderine Orange


Wash turkey inside and out, put bird in large enough container to submerge the entire bird.

Disolve salt in water and pour over poultry until completely covered.

Zest the citrus right over the salt water, cut them in half, squeeze the juice in and throw in the halves.

Leave the turkey soaking (our require 24 hours) rotate/flip half way through.

Rinse thoroughly, twice.

We stuffed and roasted for 4 1/2 hours until the thickest part of the breast was 165ºF the thighs were 205ºF.

Let rest for 20 – 30 mins

This was simply amazing! I have never in my life had a turkey as juicy and tender as this, you could effortlessly cut with a fork!

I strongly recommend you try this atleast once.

Perfect Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes


Perfect idea to make big get together’s easier


Whats Cooking America

Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Recipe:
Recipe Type: Potato, Potato
HistoryMenu: Thanksgiving Turkey
DinnerYields: Makes 12 to 15 servings
Prep time: 20 min
Oven cook time: 40 min
Crock Pot (Slow Cooker) cook time: 3 hr

15 medium (5 pounds) potatoes, peeled and quartered
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons onion powder
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chopped chives (optional)

Preparing Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes:
Spray a large casserole dish or crockpot/slow cooker dish with vegetable-oil cooking spray.In a large pot, add cut-up potatoes and just enough cold water until potatoes are covered; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and let simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Potatoes are done when the internal temperature registers approximately 200 degrees F. on your cooking thermometer. Overcooking can cause the potatoes to become gummy.This is the type of cooking thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. Originally designed for professional users, the Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is used by chefs all over the world. To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen Thermometer.
Remove from heat and immediately drain potatoes thoroughly in a colander. Return to saucepan; heat over medium-low heat approximately 1 to 2 minutes to dry potatoes, stirring occasionally.
NOTE: Boiled potatoes left in water will start to jellify and may even increase in volume, becoming swollen and watery. That is why it is important to let the potatoes drain for a couple of minutes in a colander immediately after they are cooked.In the same cooking pan, mash potatoes with a potato masher or potato ricer until there are no lumps. NEVER use a blender, electric mixer, or food processor to make mashed potatoes.
Note: Gluey or gooey mashed potatoes are caused by vigorous over mashing, as anyone who has tried to make the side dish in a food processor can attest. When potatoes are boiled, their starch granules swell. If those granules are broken too vigorously, the cells release copious quantities of starch, resulting in a potatoes with the consistency of wallpaper paste. I personally use a potato ricer when making mashed potatoes. Using a potato ricer, you can make velvety smooth mashed potatoes right at home because potatoes come out fluffy without being gummy. Once you use the potato rice, you will never go back to the old traditional potato masher. If you don’t have one and would like to purchase a potato ricer, just click on the green links.Add cream cheese, sour cream, onion powder, salt, pepper, egg whites, and chopped chives (if desired); blend well. Dot with butter.
Cool mashed potatoes slightly, cover, and then refrigerate.
The prepared mashed potatoes may be made up to a week ahead of time. If preparing ahead, place in an ovenproof baking dish, allow to cool slightly, cover, and refrigerate.
When ready to heat the potatoes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Take potatoes out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
Bake, loosely covered, 40 minutes or until steaming hot in center.

Crock Pot – Slow Cooker Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Recipe:
I, personally, like and use this crock pot/slow cooker version, as it frees up my oven for other dishes when making my holiday meals. Cooking the prepared mashed potatoes in the crock-pot is a great way to keep the oven freed up for the other dishes.
Take the prepared mashed potatoes out of refrigerator about 3-1/2 hours before serving time. See Preparing Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes above. Pace the mashed potatoes in the crock-pot/slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for approximately 3 hours, stirring once or twice.
After potatoes are cooked, stir, and then add some additional dollops of butter just before serving.

Leftover Mashed Potatoes:
If you have any leftover mashed potatoes, place them in a re-sealable plastic bag and freeze.Makes 12 to 15 servings.

Thanksgiving traditions: rutmousse.

This similar to our family recipe, I will be posting our’s soon!

I am interested to see how many people have ever heard of or tasted rutmousse (pronounced “root mousse”).  A quick internet search uncovered almost nothing, just a few random mentions of a root vegetable mash, which is basically what rutmousse is. But it is so much more…! My early memories of this dish are fuzzy– as a child I was not terribly excited about turnip casserole, but as I got older I began to like it more and more. I remember it as part of my Mom’s Thanksgiving dinners and (I believe) my aunt and grandmother’s Christmas Eve smorgasbord. My beloved family cookbook includes the recipe, so it’s been on my Thanksgiving menu for the past few years; I even have a special orange casserole dish I use every time I make some. Rutmousse on the table is a nod to my Swedish Nana and a symbol of how important…

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Nabisco Oreo Cookies Recipe


Source:  Top Secret Recipes

1 18.25-ounce pkg. Betty Crocker chocolate fudge cake mix
3 tablespoons shortening, melted
1/2 cup cake flour, measured then sifted
1 egg
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons brown paste food coloring (optional)*

3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 tablespoons hot water

1. Combine the cookie ingredients in a large bowl. Add the water a little bit at a time until the dough forms. Cover and chill for 2 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. On a lightly floured surface roll out a portion of the dough to just under one 16th of an inch thick. To cut, use a lid from a spice container with a 1 1/2-inch diameter (Schilling brand is good). Arrange the cut dough rounds on a cookie sheet that is sprayed with a light coating of non-stick spray. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove wafers from the oven and cool completely.

4. As the cookies bake, make the filling by combining the filling ingredients with an electric mixer.

5. When the cookies have cooled, roll a small portion (heaping 1/4 teaspoon) of the filling into a ball (just over 1/4-inch in diameter), and press it between two of the cookies. Repeat with the remaining cookies.

Makes 54-58 sandwich cookies.

*This is an optional step to help recreate the color of the original cookie. If you do not use the paste food coloring be sure to change the amount of water added to the wafer cookies from 3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup. The food coloring gives the cookies the dark brown, almost black color. The coloring can be found with cake decorating supplies at art supply and craft stores.

Tidbits: If the dough seems too tacky, you can work in as much as 1/4 cup of flour as you pat out and roll the dough. Use just enough flour to make the dough workable, but not tough.

If you can’t find the chocolate fudge cake mix, or just prefer to make your cookies from scratch, you can use the clone recipe for Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix