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Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Family-style Lemon-Dill Topped Salmon

Delicious salmon recipe and easy as can be!  Perfect when feeding a crowd.  You can serve alongside rice, homemade potato wedge fries, potato salad, coleslaw-type salad, or salad of your choice. I made this recently for a larger family dinner alongside the BBQ style salmon (for some variety), and it was a hit. Enjoy!
Lemon-Dill Topped Salmon
Lemon-Dill Topped Salmon, ready for baking! 
Lemon-Dill Topped Salmon

Lemon-Dill Topped Salmon

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Mix together a saltwater brine:
2 quarts water
5 Tbsp salt

Soak/brine 1.5 lb salmon filet for 15- 20 minutes.  (Yes, you can use a smaller or larger size salmon filet, just adjust cooking time and toppings a bit).   Pat salmon dry (use paper towels) and set on foil-lined baking tray.

Mix together in a bowl, then spread on top of salmon:
1/4 - 1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp fresh dill, minced
1 Tbsp fresh chives, minced
1-2 tsp minced garlic (optional)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 - 1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 - 1/2 tsp paprika

Salmon topped with mayonnaise spread 

On top of mayonnaise spread, place:
lemon slices

Ready for baking! (or you can BBQ off-heat aiming for a similar overall temperature in your BBQ)

Bake salmon at 425 F for 20-22 minutes, or until nicely cooked at thickest point. (Thinner cuts may take less time, thicker may require a few extra minutes).

It was delicious served with rice, seasoned generously with garlic, onions, parsley, squeeze of fresh lemon, salt and pepper during cooking.  

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Our Favorite Chocolate Brownies!

These brownies are our all-time favorite brownies.  I've been making them in smaller pans (for a thicker brownie) for years.  Over the past year or so, I've been making them in a 9" x 13" pan for two reasons:  1. They're a rich brownie, so small pieces are perfect.  2. They cook in only 20 minutes!  I'm all about efficiency, and this speeds things up without compromising on taste.  Happy baking and eating! Enjoy!
Favorite Chocolate Brownies - with a side of ice cream

Family Favorite Best Chocolate Brownies EVER!
Line a 9” x 13" glass pan w/ parchment paper.  It doesn’t have to be well done, just fold sides so it works and it’s covered.  If you don’t use parchment paper, expect to spoon your final brownies out – buttering just doesn’t cut it this time, folks.

Heat oven to 375F.

Melt in bowl in microwave: (I like to microwave chocolate at 50% power in the microwave in small, 30-45 second increments, stirring regularly to avoid any burning - yes, chocolate can burn and it's very sad when it does). 
7 oz. high-quality dark chocolate (60-70% works best)
¾ cup + 2 Tbsp butter

Add:
1 ¼ cups sugar
Allow to cool a little bit.

Mix, incorporating one at a time:
4 eggs (5 eggs for a gooier brownie)

Add and stir until incorporated:
1-2 Tbsp. brown rice flour or gluten-free flour mix. (2 Tbsp for less gooey brownies)

Pour into parchment paper lined 9 x 13 baking pan. 
Ready to bake in a 9" x 13" pan lined with parchment paper

Bake at 375 F for 20-22 minutes.
Fresh from the oven.

Remove from oven, leave to cool and rest on a metal cooling rack.   Yes, you can eat warm, but it’s best to let it cool a bit. These are great served warm or cooled.  We love them warm with ice cream on top.  Once fully cool, these can be cut in small pieces and frozen to eat later.  Tastes great, and a nice way to have treats on-hand for special occasions.
These are wonderfully rich, so I recommend small pieces, but maybe not quite this small.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Whole Roast Turkey & Gravy

This method for roasting turkey was taught to me by my wonderful friend Julie.  While so many recipes for turkey recommend starting at a high temperature, then lowering the temperature, often resulting in hours of baking and wondering when it will be done, this method works perfectly every time!  One temperature, basting occasionally, and a moist turkey at the end! The turkey preparation prior to baking is easy and straight-forward, and the gravy turns out nicely every time.  Happy turkey baking!
Fresh roasted turkey, out of the oven.  You can see the meat thermometer has popped up.

Whole Roast Turkey & Gravy
This recipe is based off the one I enjoy using for roast chicken.  I tend to bake turkeys around 15 - 18 pounds, but you can make a smaller or larger one, if desired, you'll just need to adjust the cooking time.  (I listed guidelines below)

Roast Turkey:
Preheat oven to 425 F.

Fully thaw turkey, if frozen, according to directions.   Rinse, and pat turkey dry with paper towels, making sure all insides are removed (You can use the innards, simmer in a pot to make a stock, but I tend to just throw them out and use drippings and later the carcass to make homemade stock/broth

Place turkey on the rack in your roasting pan.  (You can tie the ends of the legs together with kitchen baking twine, to make a nice, neat turkey.  I am always looking for ways to speed up my cooking, and I've just never noticed any difference whether I tie or don't tie legs together when cooking the turkey at a high temperature.)

In a bowl, mix together:
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp ground thyme
1 Tbsp minced garlic (fresh or freeze-dried)

Rub the seasoning mixture inside the turkey, making sure to coat tops, sides and bottoms of the inside.  Then place inside the turkey:
2 oranges or lemons, quartered or halved

Brush the top of the turkey with:
~6 Tbsp butter, melted

Sprinkle the entire bird with:
salt & pepper

Place in the oven and roast at 425 F, basting every 30 minutes (instructions after baking times). 
Turkeys will cook at 425 F for approximately: 
14 lbs ~2 1/2 hrs
15 lbs ~3 hrs
16 lbs ~3 1/4 hrs
18 lbs ~3 1/2 hrs
20 lbs ~3 3/4 hrs
22 lbs ~4 1/4 hrs
I highly recommend testing the internal temperature of the thick part of the turkey, like thigh, breast, leg.  I have found when baking the turkey using this method, the pop-out turkey testers work well, and are consistent with me testing the thigh temperature with a thermometer for a temperature of 185 F.

Every 30 minutes, baste the turkey with at least a 1/2 cup of chicken broth.  I just pull the turkey out a bit, pour chicken broth over the turkey, then return to the oven.  This will make sure you have good drippings in the base of your pan AND keep the turkey nice and moist during cooking.

To baste, make up 3-4 cups of chicken broth, using either homemade chicken broth, OR water plus 1 tsp gluten-free chicken bouillon paste or mushroom seasoning per cup of water. 

Once the turkey is done cooking, remove from oven.  Carefully move the turkey on it's roasting rack to a cookie sheet and cover with a foil tent for 20 minutes, allowing it to rest. 

While it is resting, prepare the gravy.

Gravy from drippings:

Place drippings from roasting pan, removing any burnt pieces, into a medium saucepan.  (Usually there aren't many spots that are burned if you are basting regularly and cooking a smaller bird that only requires 3 hours of roasting).

Add to saucepan with drippings, and heat over medium heat:
3 cups water
1 tsp mushroom seasoning OR gluten-free chicken bouillon paste. 
1/2 tsp ground paprika 

Once drippings and broth come to a boil, whisk together and whisk into gravy:
3/4 cup milk (milk substitutes work well, too)
2 Tbsp cornstarch

This is a general guideline for thickening your gravy - you can make your gravy thicker or thinner depending on how much cornstarch you add.  Just make sure to whisk cornstarch with a cold liquid (water or milk) before adding it to the boiling gravy.  

Stir constantly, letting mixture thicken and boil for a minute or two.  Season to taste with salt & pepper

Slice turkey and serve with fresh gravy!  Enjoy!!!

* You can use the turkey carcass to make stock/broth, if desired.  Just follow the directions for making chicken broth.  Sometimes you need to only use 1/2 the carcass, since it tends to be so large. 
* Leftover turkey and gravy can be frozen, too.  I like to dice up the meat and freeze in ziplocs to use later in recipes that call for cooked chicken or turkey. 

A big pan filled with turkey is just in the middle, surrounding by the rest of our yummy Thanksgiving meal