Monthly Archives: November 2015

THANKSGIVING – SHARING AND FELLOWSHIP

Thanksgiving Wayward Turkey Day.  We had three generations present.  Two families came together (we basically raised each others children).  The Kids (second generation) all started out in diapers and now they are sharing wine.  Where does the time go!

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A collage of the day from food preparation to the dining.  No recipes today just a sharing of our blessings and fellowship.

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Second Generations Diapers to Wine Group20151126_172232

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I am THANKFULL  for my family and friends.  Blessing on your and yours!  HAVE A WONDEROUS HOLIDAY SEASON!!

Chef Shay

P.S.  I’m thankful I wasn’t born a turkey – Chef Shay’s Husband

JUICY! JUICY! TURKEY

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Blessings on your family and friends!!

A Thanksgiving blog is hard. I’ve looked at other blogs and they are loaded with recipes on green bean casseroles, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, everything for your Turkey Day dinner. There is really not much else that I can tell you that you can’t get elsewhere. In my blog I like to tell stories because my food is all about who I am and what’s going on in my life. The recipes that you see posted are the foods that I prepared each night for my family. Well, Thanksgiving is all about tradition and here is a little tradition with some truth thrown in. I do not prepare or cook the turkey. My husband has that dubious honor backed by, I my opinion, an honorable heartfelt tradition… and this is as far as I will take it. I am going to turn this blog over to my husband and let him tell you the story of Wayward Turkey Day … and how he prepares a simply but the  best tasting turkey a family could ever encounter.

Hi, Chef Shay’s husband here! I’m excited to tell my Wayward Turkey Day story. Yes, it is true I prepare and cook the turkey. I have been doing it for over 38 years. It has been a long trial and error process but I’ve got it down tighter than a gnat’s ass (Okay Hubby … be nice, it’s Thanksgiving). Wayward Turkey Day got started way back in 1977.   I started my college career at Southwest Texas State College, now Texas State. Wanting to be a professional in my chosen path (I was a drama geek) I filled out an application to get into one of the hardest Theatre Department in this country. Low and behold UCLA accepted me. I got my degree in Theatre Arts. I graduated, started working and slowly I found out that several of my Texas State colleagues made their way out to LA to work in the “biz.” We hung out a lot. Needless to say we were poor – very poor. None of us could afford to go home for the holiday – any holidays for that fact . A bunch of us (and some read this blog),  being alone and depressed, got together and had our own “away from home” Thanksgiving. We kept doing it year after year, as years were lean. As time passed life went on and the original group began to drift away. As they went away, others found their way in. Thus the name “Wayward Turkey Day.”

After a while we stopped but about 15 years ago I started it up again. The word was, if you don’t have family or no place to go –  you were wayward -come to you place.  Fortunately Chef Shay embraced the idea.

Wayward Turkey Day 2012
Wayward Turkey Day 2012

Somehow along the way I became the Turkey Guy.

Each year the guest list changes but I always feel it is a blessing to see people in the house, sharing food, and talking. This year I feel even more blessed with our Ward and her sister. My family grows and I love sharing it.

Okay let’s get this turkey started.

 

My Wayward Turkey Thanksgiving

Well, the first thing you got to do is get the Turkey. You don’t need to get a fancy one that self-bastes or has that pop up “I’m done” button (Ugh!). Using them you get a dried out bird. Just get a plane ‘ole turkey. I like Butterballs. 20151124_194759But Chef Shay usually brings one home from Trader Joe’s. You know, employee discount and all. The size of the turkey depends on the number of people you want to feed. Usual 1/2 to 3/4 lbs. per person. I always get 20 -22 lbs. Turkey no matter how many people are coming for dinner. Who cares if you have a lot left over, Thanksgiving is all about the leftovers anyway. Those turkey sandwiches and all. Chef Shay will be blogging about the left overs.

Recipe

Preheat oven 350.

Remove bird from its packing. Don’t forget to remove all those gross organ thingies. “All right Chef – Giblets,” (she keeps reading over my shoulder) from the neck and the cavity in the chest. You would be surprised how many forget. My first turkey – I didn’t even know they were there.

Rinse thoroughly.  There’s a story about a call coming into the Butterball Hotline asking how to keep the turkey from suds-ing up. …  secret here is don’t use dish soap!

Anyhow, you should already have your stuffing prepared. My stuffing is simple I use Mrs. Cubbisions cornbread stuffing. Plain and simple. But people just go Gaga over it – go figure! I prepare it according to the instruction on the box and only add in diced walnuts or pecans, diced white onion, dried cherries and NO CELERY. I HATE celery.

Place turkey on a cutting board and with twine create a cradle to be able to pick up the bird. I coat the entire inner cavities with Lawry’s Seasonings Salt. Put the stuffing into the two cavities; abdomen and neck. Fill the cavities 3/4 full. The stuffing will expand. Brush vegetable oil over the entire turkey. Place turkey in roasting pan, but do not cover it with the lid. Cover with a foil tent. I do this so the turkey will get a nice and golden brown.

I always get the questions on how long should you cook the turkey. The time chart thingy in the cookbooks say 15 minutes for every pound. So, technically a 20 lbs. turkey should be cooked four hours (ARGHHH!). Want a dried turkey, cook it for four hours! You don’t cook a turkey by time! You cook it by TEMPERATURE! Place a meat thermometer in the breast meat just in front of the thigh. Don’t let the probe touch the bone. You will get a false temperature reading.

Place turkey in the oven and let cook for a couple of hours, undisturbed.

After the temperature gets to about 120 degrees and the juices begin to emerge start basting every 20 minutes. When the turkey reaches about 150 degrees remove the foil tent so the top of the bird can brown. Cook until the temperature reaches 165 degrees. I know, I know many say to cook to 170 – 175. Again if you want dried meat (jerky) that’s what you cook it to. Remove from oven at 165 degrees, and let rest for at least 20 minutes. The turkey will continue cooking and will reach 170 on its own. Remove the stuffing.

What is really cool here is as it rest the temperature peaks and begins to cool and as it cools the juices re-absorb back into the turkey. That is the secret to the juicy turkey.

After it rests you are ready to start carving. You will see juices coming from the white meat – that is what you want to see. A big smile will come over you face, your family will praise you and then you can go watch the Dallas Cowboys lose again.

SHORT RIBS – NO “SHORT” COMINGS HERE

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This is one of my family’s favorite dishes. When they walk in the door and get a whiff of the rich aroma emitting from the kitchen the drooling doesn’t stop. I have to push them away from the oven. When those beauties come out of the oven, the color is so rich and immensely juicy and the meat just melts in your mouth. If you were a vegetarian you would be converted. I served this on a bed of Japanese sweet potatoes and the combination of the flavor of the meet and the sweetness of the potatoes would satisfy the pickiest of gourmet-ist.

Ingredients

  • 4lbs. Beef Shot Ribs
  • 2 cups of Flour

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  • 2 tsp. Lawry Seasoning Salt
  • 1 tsp. Black Pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp. of olive oil
  • The above is approximate – you may alter the amounts to suit your tastes

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  • 1 container of Trader Joe’s Mirepoix
  • or if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you…
  • ½ cup diced Celery
  • ½ cup diced Onion
  • ½ cup diced Carrots

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  • 1 tbsp. Tomato Paste and if you don’t have that try, God forbid, Ketchup Yup that’s right!
  • 1 – 2 inch sprig of fresh Rosemary
  • 1 -2 inch sprig of fresh Thyme
  • 1 cup of hearty Red Wine or 1 bottle of Dark Beer or Ale (now your talking!!)
  • 1 can of diced Tomatoes
  • 1 cup of Beef Broth
  • 1 Bay Leaf

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. Place Flour and Seasoning in a zip lock bag. Place Ribs in the bag and work together with the Flour. Remove Ribs and shake off excess Flour.

In a large Dutch oven put the Olive Oil in and heat over medium high for approximately 1 minute. Add several Ribs. Be sure not to crowd the Dutch Oven. We don’t want the meat to steam. We what them to brown … so, brown the Ribs on all sides in batches. Remove Ribs for the oven and set aside.

Now, add the Mire Poix to the Dutch Oven (you may have to add more oil). Sauté the vegetables until tender. Reduce heat to medium. Now add the tomato paste and stir together for 1 minute. Next add Rosemary and Thyme and stir together for approximately 1 minute. Add the Wine (or Beer, Yeah!) and stir together for 2 – 3 minutes. Add diced Tomatoes and simmer together for 5 minutes. Return Ribs to the Dutch oven. Add Beef Broth to cover the meat halfway. You might need more but that’s okay. Add the Bay Leaf and bring to a light boil. Cover and place in over for 4 hours. Now you might think that is a long time but when those babies come out the will be so tender and juicy it will be well worth the wait.

Take the pot from oven. Place on stove top. Remove the Bay Leaf and Thyme and place Ribs on a plate.

If your sauce is a little too thin, mix 1 tbsp. of Flour with 1 tbsp. of Butter and mooch (a technical chef’s term) until well combined. Heat sauce to a light simmer and whisk in the butter mixture in little bits until the sauce thickens (approximately 3 minutes). Return the Ribs to the sauce and serve. You will have heaven on a plate or a cosmic awakening better than the Big Bang. By the way, I served this dish over mashed potatoes.

You will have heaven on a plate or a cosmic awakening better than the Big Bang.

Foodhistory

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In the recipe I use a cast iron skillet called a Dutch oven. I have one that has been in my family for decades and I use it every chance I get. As a matter of fact the Dutch oven over the decades were considered as inheritable commodities. Mary Ball Washington (mother of our first President, George Washington) specified in her will of 20 May 1788 that half of her “iron kitchen furniture” would go to her grandson.

The Cast Iron cookware appeared in the late 17th century. Many European countries has developed iron pots but it was the Dutch that developed the sand casting system that gave the pots a smoother surface. Abraham Darby, an Englishman studied the system and began producing cast iron cooking “vessel for Britain and the American colonies. The Dutch oven name has endured for over 300 years and has undergone numerous design. Paul Revere actually design the flat lid with a ridge and legs on the bottom. This was done to allow coal to be placed on top. A lot of cooking was done in the fireplace or, if you were a Mountain Man, in the ground. My husband was a boy scout and he has cooked many of a peach cobbler in the ground.

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I need to say a few works about cleaning the Dutch oven or any cast iron cookware. All I ever do is rinse it out with hot water and hand dry, not air dry. Never, and I mean, NEVER, use soap and water. A cast iron “furniture” needs to be seasoned. Use a thin coating of cooking oil to re-season.

If you have a new pot, “season” it with cooking oil and set in an oven at a low temperature for a couple of hours. Your continued use of the Dutch oven will make it dark black, very smooth and non-stick. With proper care you will be passing down your Dutch over to your great-grand children.

 

SHRIMP SCAMPI – no small thing

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My family loves seafood and in coming blogs we will explore recipes with tuna, salmon, halibut, etc. but, for this meal I’ve prepared my Shrimp Scampi. It seems in the culinary world that all chefs have a signature dish. I’ve never thought that I had one but my friends and family say my Shrimp Scampi is worthy of the “signature dish” designation. This is simple to prepare, and serves four.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb of peeled deveined Shrimp – 30 cut per pound
  • ½ cup of baby tomatoes sliced in half (more if you like)
  • 1 tbsp. fesh Basil thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp. Butter
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil or Garlic Olive Oil
  • 1 Shallot – minced
  • 2-3 cloves of Garlic – minced
  • 2 tbsp. oil packed Sundried Tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tsp. prepared Pesto
  • ¼ cup Dry White Wine (Pinot Grigio) or juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp. Capers (optional)
  • 1 lb. of Linguine, Fettucine or Papadarelle pasta cooked as directed (always like more pasta than I might use.

Defrost shrimp and rinse and allow to drain. Place olive oil and butter in a large sauté pan (about 12”) on medium to medium high heat until butter melts and bubbles slightly. Add shallot and sauté for about 1 minute. Next add the garlic and sauté another minute or until tender but not brown. Now, add the sundried tomatoes, plus a teaspoon of the oil from the jar. Continue by adding the pesto and white wine. Cook for about 2 minutes.

Add the shrimp and capers.  Cook together until shrimp are just pink in color. Now add tomatoes, toss, heating them through, but not breaking them up. Add pasta (approximately 2/3 of what you cooked) and toss together. Add fresh basil at the last. Serve.  A Shay Gourmet Hint; if you like it spicy add a pinch of chili flakes when you sauté the shrimp. I like it spicy; my hubby “shrimps” out.

Foodistory

Scampi is the Italian plural of scampo, Nephrops norvegicus. In English, scampi is used as singular, plural or uncountable. The Italian word may be derived from the Greek kaunn kampe (“bending or winding”). What this has to do with enjoying this delicious entrée, I have no idea other than you don’t have to count the number of shrimp that you are eating or count the calories. Unwind and Enjoy!!