Flavor of the Gods

 

This is a quick post about one of my favorite easy, healthy and flavorful combinations. We all know chicken and turkey breasts are low fat and high in protein. They’re a bodybuilder’s best friend. However, especially with turkey, it’s hard to flavor to be palatable enough to taste good.

I have found the ultimate duo of coconut oil and a mixed spice made by Flavor God.

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Flavor God‘s Everything spice mix has everything to make this otherwise tasteless turkey breast taste superb. And if you use it on chicken, even better. Sprinkle liberally. It is low in salt, and is Paleo-diet friendly.

You can buy it on Amazon or on their website.

 

But wait. Try pan-frying the turkey/chicken in coconut oil. We’ve all heard how healthy this is. It has a low smoking point of 350F, which makes it fine for stir-fry, but since I want to sear the breasts more, I usually add a bit of Grapeseed oil.

So try this combination. Coconut oil + Flavor God.

 

They also have other flavors, but I found their Everything one, the best tasting one.

 

 

Canelé (Cannelés) test part 1

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The first time I’ve tasted this pastry, I was in Paris. Gerard Mulot‘s pastry shop was a few blocks from the hotel. One bite past its crunchy shell into its custardy interior and this pastry had a fan for life; not to mention it was redolent with the scent of vanilla and the essence of rum. Except, it seemed to hard to find these outside Paris or big cities. For one thing, like macarons, they’re finicky to get right. As always, if you want food a certain way, you have to make it your damn self.

Anyway, this post from Chez Pim got me started on my canalé quest. I would say its partly successful with the silicone molds. The first batch (from the gray molds) tasted too eggy for me, and the second batch (red-orange) was almost right in texture and taste.

I just received my copper molds and can’t wait to get started using them. I will also try the recipe from Gerard Mulot’s baking book and see if it’s less eggy since he only uses yolks in his recipe.

 

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Cross section. A bit too “eggy” in taste.

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The white “butt” maybe because I didn’t cook them on wire racks and the heat didn’t properly transfer.

 

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Results from the two different molds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tribute to the Queen of all Daring Bakers, Lis

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The world has lost a great person, I have lost a great friend. I have never met Lis in person, but we have exchanged countless of long, funny emails over the years. I first “met” Lis when the Daring Bakers was formed. And through the months and years we both laughed and exchanged emails about our baking triumphs and disasters. Lis was such a great writer, I told her she had some Bridget Jones feel going on in her writing.

Pictured above was the epic croissant challenge

She was such a staunch supporter when I decided to go full-time baking macarons and other little desserts. She was one of my test subjects when I tried shipping the macarons. She even had them for her wedding way back in 2008.

After both of us sort of fell off the blogging bandwagon, we found another common interest: True Blood! So we spent endless emails drooling over Eric and Alexander Skarsgaard and then bashing Bill Compton. And when Alcide showed up, well, we drooled all over him too.

Oh, Lis, I don’t think I ever told you, but I’ve finally watched Sons of Anarchy and you’re right, Charlie Hunnam is yummy.

And Lis was my biggest supporter when I told her I was writing a book. It was kind of funny how that went actually. Late last year, we were both exchanging emails about what books to read and I told her I’m writing my own book. So I sent her five chapters of a shitty first draft telling her I had no expectations of her reading it since it’s not her usual genre. She emailed me back and said she really liked what I had so far. So I think nothing of it and then a month later she emailed me again and asked: “Where’s the rest of the story?”

So I sat down and finished the manuscript and sent it to her. She said she loved it! Mind you this was an unedited final draft with all the horrendous grammatical errors and all. She became my beta-reader before I even knew what a beta reader was.

Lis,

I’m so sad you won’t get to read Viktor and Marissa’s story (although I have a feeling you’ll be reading over my shoulder as I write). But know that I’m thinking of you when I write them. You were my cheerleader—always. And somehow I know that wherever you are you’ll continue to give me that little nudge when I’m stuck.

You sent me an email the day before you passed, and I was wishing I had responded immediately, but if you’re reading this right now, I agree with what was in that email too.

I‘ll always remember you as the sister of my heart.

xoxo,

Your Sis

Ground Turkey kebabs (stove top version)

Ground turkey kebabs (kubideh) topped with chopped green onions and parsley.

Ground turkey kebabs (kubideh) topped with chopped green onions and parsley.

I’ve got a delicious recipe for you and it’s quite simple to make once you’ve gotten past grating the onions. 🙂

The best dishes are the recipes you get from friends. I had a photoshoot with a friend one day and she prepared this for lunch. It took 15 minutes for her to whip this up. Ofcourse, the meat was already seasoned and prepared ahead of time and so was the topping. This could be served with flat bread (lavash or pita) or rice.

Ground Turkey kebabs

1-lb ground turkey meat (I mixed dark and white)

1-tsp salt (or to taste)

pepper to taste

1/2 grated onion (yes grated)

1 egg

Mix the egg, onion, salt and pepper. Add the ground turkey and mix well. (I put on disposable gloves and used my hand to mash the meat into the seasoning)

Add a swirl of oil on a non-stick skillet. Add the mound of seasoned ground turkey.

ground turkey— flatten into a disk

ground turkey— flatten into a disk

Set on medium high. Now, my onions were too juicy and it started to water a lot. You can choose to soak up the sides with some paper towel so it would brown the bottom better.

When the disk of turkey is almost cooked, cut it into sections, let it cook a bit more and then flip.

Cut into sections

Cut into sections

Serve with green onion-parsley mixture (recipe to follow)

Green Onion-Parsley dressing

3 stalks of green onion, finely chopped

1/3 bunch curly parsley (or cilantro)

juice of one lemon

olive oil (drizzle to taste)

salt (to taste)

sumac (optional: to taste)

Green Onion and parsley

Green Onion and parsley

It’s Alive !!!

Persian-style Lamb stew

 

 

Well, I’m back for the nth time. The look is different since I’ve moved my hosting—I lost some of the cool design—but hey, life happens. I’ve been busy on another project which I will share here pretty soon. Anyway, my silence on this food blog does not mean I have not been cooking. I may not be bringing out the big-gun cameras since Iphone photos have been doing so well anyway, but I hope dusting off the Canon DSLR soon. Not sure which direction this blog is heading at the moment. I’ve got a couple of new cookbooks I haven’t even tried out yet. Sometimes though, the best recipes are the ones you get from your friends … like this one.

Persian Lamb Stew

3 lbs. of meat

1 bulb of garlic

1 onion

16-24 oz of diced tomato (you can use fresh)

bunch cilantro (reserve some for topping at end)

juice of two limes

1 chicken bouillon,

salt and pepper to taste

You can choose to brown the meat first, which I did. Saute garlic, onions, add the meat, add tomato and cilantro. Simmer on low heat for 1.5 hours. During the last 10 minutes of cooking add the juice of lime.

 

It’s great to be back!

A simple roast turkey for Thanksgiving

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Roast Turkey 2012

My eldest brother came to visit with his family a couple of weeks ago. His wife and daughter were supposed to go up to New York but then Hurricane Sandy hit and so they had to stay in Richmond. Fine with me. Actually, it was perfect so now I can plan an impromptu Thanksgiving dinner.

Whole Foods had a fresh whole Turkey when I went to pick one up so I didn’t have to deal with thawing it out. As for a recipe, I didn’t want to deal with brining either and the November 2012 issue of Bon Appetit had all the recipes I needed to throw a feast!

Important to take the Turkey out an hour before roasting. With the size of the bird, there is no doubt that when it’s too cold, it’s going to drop the temperature of the oven significantly which is why I think the oven temp is first set to 450F.

A Simple Roast Turkey

from Bon Appetit November 2012

1           12-14 lb. turkey, giblets and neck removed, at room temperature for              1 hour

3           tbsp. kosher salt (I used Maldon, so had to use a little bit more)

1.5        tbsp. freshly ground pepper

1           medium onion, quartered

2           celery stalks, coarsely chopped

6           tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, divided

3           tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce

1           tbsp. mirin

3          sprigs of rosemary

Preheat oven to 450F. Set a rack inside a large roasting pan. Pour 4 cups of water into the pan. Pat turkey dry with paper towels. Tuck tips of wings under bird. If turkey is not brined, rub bird inside and out with salt. Season inside and out with pepper and place on rack in pan. Place onion and celery in cavity. Rub 3 Tbsp. butter over turkey. Roast turkey uncovered for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir remaining 3 tbsp. butter, soy sauce, and mirin (or substitute store-bought teriyaki sauce for soy and mirin) in a small sauce pan over medium heat until melted and smooth. Add rosemary. Cover; keep glaze warm over lowest heat.

Reduce oven to 325F. Baste turkey with pan juices; add more water if needed to maintain at least 1/4″ liquid in pan. Roast for 30 minutes; baste with pan juices. Brush lightly with glaze.

Continue roasting turkey, basting with pan juices and brushing glaze every 30 minutes, tenting with foil if turning too dark, until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone registers 165F (juices should run clear when thermometer is removed), about 2.75 hours total.

Transfer turkey to a platter. Tent with foil; let rest for an hour before carving.

Cooking Notes:

I like getting a turkey that has a button that pops out when it is done, still I do like to double-check using a thermometer. Here are the guidelines for cooking.

15 minutes/lb in an oven set to 325F.

165F registers at thigh when done.

For a 12-14 lb. bird, roughly 4 hours

For a 16-25 lb. bird, roughly 5 hours

For a 20-26 lb. bird, roughly 6 hours

I take the bird out everytime I baste and brush with glaze. This is so the oven doesn’t lose heat. Anyway, when returning the bird to the oven, I always like to rotate the pan for more even cooking. I only rested the bird for 30 minutes before carving.

What about the gravy?

I didn’t want to mess with making a roux when cornstarch will work in a pinch. Dissolve 3 tbsp cornstarch in 3 tbsp. cold water. Anyway, while the turkey was resting I poured all the pan juices through a sieve. I had a pan of chicken stock sitting on the stove top (this was made with Knorr homestyle stock) and added a little to the strained pan juices until I had enough liquid for the turkey. Add 1-2 tbsp. of soy sauce, 1 tbsp. of brown sugar (I think I also added a squeeze of lemon). Taste the gravy base before thickening. If it lacks a savory taste, add some chicken bouillon – trust me on this – I love to use knorr. Once satisfied with flavor, bring pan juices to a boil and  thicken with the cornstarch-water mixture (you may not need to use all of it).