Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Leftover Special: Tom Turkey Kha Gai

One of the great blessings, and curses, of Thanksgiving is leftover turkey. The next day it’s great reheated, or made into sandwiches, but by Day 3 you want something that tastes like not turkey. That’s where this spicy Thai coconut soup recipe comes in.

This is my take on Tom Kha Gai, and as usual I make no claim as to its authenticity. I do know it tastes amazing to me, and will make you forget you even roasted a turkey. There’s lots of everything going on here, so be prepared to adjust radically to your tastes. It should be fairly spicy, sweet, sour, and salty, all at the same time. 

If you can, see if you find galangal, or galanga root, as it's sometimes called. It looks like a thin-skinned ginger, with a sort of similar flavor, although people that make this soup for a living will say it's much different and far superior. I decided to use ginger, since that's what the majority of my audience will use, but I thought it was worth mentioning, in case you live in an area where this rhizome is available.      

As far as the chili oil goes, all I did was mash together a couple tablespoons of sambal with twice as much vegetable oil with a mortar and pestle. Once it settles, the gorgeous, red oil rises to the top, and you’re ready to drip. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving, and that some of your leftover turkey finds its way into this delicious soup. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 serving:
 6 cups turkey or chicken broth
3” piece ginger, sliced thin
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, bruised and sliced
kefir lime or lemon leaves, sliced
2 tbsp cilantro stems
1/2 tsp chili flakes, or to taste
Simmer for 15 minutes

Add:
1 pound cubed turkey or chicken
1 cup little mushrooms
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 (13-oz) can coconut milk
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup green onion
2 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
Chili oil, cilantro leaves, and lime wedges to garnish

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cranberry Sauce Like a Boss

Just in case you’re still deciding on which of the roughly one million different cranberry sauces you’ll be going with this Thanksgiving, here are a few ideas. Technically, the Cumberland isn’t a cranberry sauce, but it’s close enough, and serves the same delicious purpose. If you're tempted, just click on the bold titles, and away you go. I hope you give one of these great sauce a try, and as always, enjoy!


Tangerine Cherry Cranberry Sauce


Could you just use orange, and call it "tangerine?" Sure, why not, it's only your family you'd be misleading.

Ginger Pear Cranberry Sauce


This one just sounds like it will be great with roast turkey. In fact, when you tell people what it is, they'll say, "Oh, that sounds great." Try it, and see.

Cumberland Sauce


Do you think they just name any old sauce after the Duke of Cumberland? Well, they don't 

Maple Walnut Cranberry Sauce


As you'll read, there was a time when I didn't think putting nuts in a cranberry sauce was a good idea. I've evolved on the issue.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Whole Boneless Thanksgiving Turkey – As Close to Turducken as I’ll Ever Get

If you’re a turkey, and you’re getting boned-out, there’s a good chance you’re about to become Turducken, which in this chef’s opinion, is one of the most overrated recipes of all time. When was the last time you sat down in a restaurant and thought, “I hope the chef’s doing a turkey, duck, chicken trio.”

However, the idea of removing those pesky bones before your bird makes its grand entrance may be worth considering. Not only do you get an impressive looking roast to wow the table, but carving is significantly easier. I didn't have time to show here, but of course you are making a killer turkey stock with all those bones, so that's another advantage. Also, if you're worried about losing flavor, don't. This tastes virtually identical. 

If you’ve ever found yourself hacking up a perfectly good turkey in front of the family, while flop-sweat drips onto the mangled meat, then this approach may be for you. Sure, it takes a good hour to prep, but that’s pretty much where the hard work ends.  

These types of videos are near impossible to edit into any reasonable length, but the good news is this is a lot easier to do than I make it look. Just go slow, and keep that knife against the bone, and you’ll be fine. By the way, chickens make an affordable and delicious thing to practice on.

I’ve included my “prop” stuffing below, which was great. It’s more the style you’d see in a stuffed pork chop, but as I said in the video, your favorite stuffing will work beautifully.

I’ve also posted a bonus video below that goes into more detail on the tying technique. So, if you’re looking for a new and exciting challenge for Thanksgiving, I hope you give this a try. Enjoy!


Notes:
  • My turkey was about 15 pounds, but this will work on any sized bird.
  • I wanted to try salt only on the outside, without butter or oil, like in our salt chicken recipe, just to see what would happen, but nothing did. So, feel free to slather on the butter.
  • You’ll need about 3-4 cups of prepared stuffing depending on the turkey.
  • My pan sauce was nothing more than the drippings with a big splash of cream, reduced until slightly thickened, and strained.  
Procedure:
Start in a 450 F.  oven for 15 minutes
Reduce to 325 F. until you get an internal temperature of 150 F. (mine took about 1 1/2 hours more)

For the stuffing I used:
1 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup finely minced onions, sautéed golden
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup turkey or chicken broth, or enough to moisten
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary leaves


Bonus Knot Tying Video

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Singapore Chili Crabs – King of the Crab Recipes?

Living in San Francisco, I’ve had more than my fair share of crab; prepared in more ways than I can remember, but I’ve never enjoyed it more than in this Singapore-style chili crabs recipe. Just be sure to have lots of napkins around. Lots of napkins.

Apparently, this is the national dish of Singapore, and you can’t throw a rock without hitting someone eating a plate of it. By the way, that’s not something you’d want to try. Just ask Michael P. Fay.

As far as I can tell, there’s no one standard way to make this. Besides the crab, and some kind of tomato product, I couldn’t find two recipes alike. What you see here is my take on this, but it does contain many of the most typical ingredients.

Most are easy to find, except maybe the tamarind paste, although any high-end grocery chain should stock some in their international foods section. If you can’t find it, maybe add a little extra pinch of sugar, plus the juice and zest of one lemon.

Obviously the most important ingredient is the crab, so find something really nice. The store up the street had a special on freshly steamed, Dungeness crab, so that’s what I used here, but any similar variety will work. 

If you can somehow get live crabs, that’s the ultimate choice, but I know that’s not realistic for most of you. The good news is, this is incredibly delicious either way. I really hope you give this Singapore-style chili crabs recipe a try soon. Enjoy!



Please Note: My friends in Singapore tell me they serve this with at least twice the amount of sauce, and a type of fried roll to soak up the goodness with. So, if you want to rock the chili crab like a Singaporean, then you should probably double the sauce ingredients!

Ingredients for four appetizer size portions:
2 whole cooked Dungeness crabs (about 2-3 lbs. each), cleaned and cracked
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup minced shallots, or other onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger root
1 tbsp minced serrano pepper

For the sauce:
1/2 cup tomato ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoon sambal (or any spicy ground chili sauce)
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp palm sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup chicken broth or water

Finish with:
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp sliced green onions (the green parts) or 1 tbsp sliced chives