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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Dinner Party Series: Turkey Sukiyaki

Have you ever given a Sukiyaki Dinner Party? I have! It’s a great way to host dinner because your guests do the cooking - and have fun doing it! I cooked this dish in a large skillet last night, but doing so reminded me how enjoyable it is to have your guests cook dinner themselves. If you like that idea - I’ve done it and it worked brilliantly - I recommend you do three things. 

Buy yourself a butane-fueled Japanese cooker - or a couple, if your dinner table seats eight or more. I love these ultra-safe cookers and have two of them. Theyre intended for use right at the dinner table; their base remains cool so you dont need to worry about heat-marking any surface. So here is my Japanese cooker!

This.

Not this.

Buy yourself a heavy, broad-based, low-walled cooking pot. Cast iron is ideal. Asian grocery stores, some hardware stores, and online sources sell such cookers and pots. These broad, low-walled pots are natural partners for Japanese cookers. Now print, photocopy, and laminate one or two copies of this recipe (removing my chit-chat, of course), and you’re ready to have a party!

This delicious Turkey Sukiyaki recipe is tremendously easy to cook, but takes some fussing to prepare. If you have a large kitchen with an island, have everyone chop and measure the ingredients, but if your counter space is limited, do it yourself, early in the day. 

Spread the prepared ingredients on platters and in a couple of small bowls beside the guest or guests doing the cooking at the dinner table, hand them the laminated recipe, and let them go to it!

Be sure youre completely familiar with how your Japanese cooker works and how to insert the can of butane so your guests won’t lose confidence in you or the designated cook. If you like, the guest beside each cook can act as sous-chef, handing over the ingredients required.

This recipe requires less than 10 min. cooking time. Behind the scenes, flip your rice cooker on in the kitchen about 15 min. before the designated guest/s start cooking, so everything will be ready at the same time. Trust me: Everyone will love this economical dish, and no one will guess you’re serving Plan-Overs.

And remember … You don’t have to give a party to enjoy this great dish right out of a skillet, as I served it last night!

Turkey Sukiyaki:

1 lb. (454-to-500 g) cooked turkey, slivered to equal 4 c. (see Note)
2 tbsp. lemon juice
¼ tsp. finely ground pepper
2 tbsp. canola oil
2 c. sliced mushrooms
½ c. chopped celery, in ½-in. pieces
¼ c. chopped green onions
⅓ c. chopped red bell pepper (“capsicum”)
1-½ c. bean sprouts, rinsed and blotted dry
¼ c. sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
2 c. cooked rice
2 c. fresh baby spinach, large stems removed
Soy sauce, to taste

To Prepare the Seasoned Broth:

½ c. turkey or chicken broth (see Further Note)
1-1.2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tsp. mirin or dry sherry

Combine and set aside.

In small bowl, sprinkle turkey, tofu (or both) with lemon juice, seasoning to taste with pepper. Cover, refrigerate, and set aside. On medium-high setting, heat oil in large, heavy skillet or work. Combine and add mushrooms, celery, green onions, red bell pepper, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, and onion. Stir-fry 2 min. 


Add and stir-fry turkey and/or tofu until heated through, about 1 min. Pour in seasoned broth and bring to a boil. Stir in rice, spinach, and bean sprouts. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 5 min., until mixture is heated through, removing cover to stir occasionally. Pass plates to serve, with each diner seasoning to taste with soy sauce. Serves 6.


Note: Last night, 
I substituted tofu for half the turkey in this recipe. It was excellent! You could certainly serve this as an entirely vegetarian dish, if you prefer. 

Further Note: See Index for How to Make Stock (Poultry).

Combine vegetables, stir-frying 2 min. Add turkey or tofu.


Add soy-mirin mixture.

Add rice ...

Spinach … 

Cover … Cook until heated through … serve.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Turkey Lurkey: Parmesan Turkey Schnitzel

This very easy recipe uses uncooked turkey. Say hello to the carcass, which makes great soup. Turkey is often advertised at a deep discount: I’ve had my share of free” turkeys bought with supermarket points” or by spending a certain amount on other groceries. It feels great to get a bargain! 

Four years ago, Ron and I bought a large turkey at an Oregon Safeway for $4 by doing nothing at all! We were staying at a ranch for American Thanksgiving, and prepared the traditional meal for ourselves and a guest. Not only did she take turkey home, but we dined on it for weeks!

Had I thought ahead, I might have bought two turkeys, sectioning one of them uncooked for labeling, freezing, and future meals. Eating well on a budget takes a bit of planning, but the satisfaction and savings are well worth it. 

Parmesan Turkey Schnitzel:

1-¼ lb. thawed, uncooked turkey breast
Salt and pepper, to taste
All-purpose flour, as needed
1 egg beaten with 2 tbsp. water
½ c. fine, dry bread crumbs
¾ c. grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp. butter or margarine
3 tbsp. canola oil
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Pound turkey slices to ¼-in. thickness. On three separate plates, combine seasonings with flour; combine egg with water; combine bread crumbs with Parmesan. Dredge turkey slices in flour, then egg, then cheesy crumbs. Set aside to dry on rack 30 min. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter together with oil. Add schnitzel slices to hot fat. Sauté 3 min. per side, until golden, crisp, and cooked through. Add a squeeze of lemon over meat, serving at once. Serves 4.

Tomorrow: Turkey Sukiyaki

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy American Thanksgiving!

The Pilgrims celebrated America's first Thanksgiving nearly 400 years ago. Enduring many hardships, they still gave thanks. Perhaps you and your family have also endured hardships. Reflect on the sacrifices of the Pilgrims. Give thanks. Never lose faith in others' good hearts - and never lose faith in yourself.



Plan-Overs: Quick Turkey Curry

Several years ago, in an exotic restaurant perched in an even more exotic setting - a jungle - I spotted a curried prawn soup on the menu and just had to have it! The soup arrived lukewarm - a disappointment. When I asked the friendly server to heat the soup, he obliged, presenting it with a flourish. It was still lukewarm - but now it burned my mouth, fried my taste buds, and left me with tears in my eyes. Somehow, the language of curry” got lost in translation!

I dont create my own curries because the authentic, bottled pastes and sauces do it so much better. The simple curry recipe below is at just the right level for me, giving me the sense of preparing a curry” while expending only minimal effort. The result is delicious - except that, as with my jungle experience - I’d like this dish much hotter.

The recipe comes from Canadian writer Johanna Burkhards 1999 book titled Fast & Easy Cooking. Burkhard agrees with me on turkey-roasting - be sure to keep Plan-Overs in mind - but what she and I clearly do not agree upon is the amount of curry this dish should have. 

If you’re the timid type who seeks just a pleasant hint of curry, use the 2 tsp. Burkhard suggests. If you can never get enough (Curry! Curry!), start with 1-½ tbsp., gradually adding more until the dish suits your taste. Or - as I did when I made this recipe - substitute curry paste for the relatively mild curry powder, cooking it in with the vegetables, apple, and seasonings. 

Quick Turkey Curry:

2 tsp. vegetable oil (I like canola or olive)
1 small onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, chopped fine
2 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
1 medium apple, peeled and chopped
½ c. finely diced celery
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1-⅓ c. chicken or turkey stock (see Note)
6 tbsp. mango chutney
2 c. diced cooked turkey
¼ c. raisins
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Add oil to large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger, apple, celery, and curry. Cook 5 min. or until softened, stirring frequently. Blend in flour; add stock and chutney.
Cook until stock comes to a boil and thickens, stirring constantly. Stir in turkey and raisins. Season to taste. Cook a further 3 min., or until heated through. Serves 4.

Note: See Index for How to Make Stock (Poultry).

Tomorrow: Parmesan Turkey Schnitzel.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Hanukkah!

May the blessings on the kindling of the Menorah light your way through all that is dark in the world.


- Google Image

Plan-Overs: Turkey Lurkey

This is a very easy and delicious way to use leftover slices of turkey! Its also a very good way to make a little turkey stretch further. Adding sherry or white wine is optional, of course, but I like the depth of flavor it adds. This recipe also works well with sliced chicken breasts in place of turkey or sliced carrots, green beans, or asparagus in place of broccoli. 

Turkey Divan:

1 lb. (4.5 kg) fresh broccoli 
6-to-8 thin slices cooked turkey
3 tbsp. butter or margarine
5 tbsp. all-purpose flour
Salt and finely ground pepper, to taste
¼ tsp. ground oregano
2 c. chicken or turkey stock (see Note)
¼-to-⅓ c. dry sherry or white wine
½ c. grated cheddar
Paprika, as garnish 

Preheat oven to 375 deg. F. Section broccoli into mid-sized flowerets; peel stems to remove woody layer and cut into 1-in. pieces. Steam or cook 3 min. in covered pot containing lightly salted boiling water. Drain well. Place broccoli in spray-greased 1 qt. (1 L) oven-safe casserole. Lay turkey slices over broccoli. Cover and refrigerate.

Melt butter or margarine over medium-low heat in skillet. Combine flour with salt, pepper, and oregano. Stir into butter. Raise heat to medium. Gradually add stock, whisking until all of stock has been added and mixture is thickened, smooth, and glossy. Remove from heat, whisking in ¼ c. sherry or wine,  adding more only as needed. 

Remove turkey from refrigerator. Pour sauce evenly over turkey,  topping with cheese and sprinkling with paprika. Bake 15-to-20 min. until cheese melts and top is bubbly. If casserole needs further browning, broil 1 min. Serves 4-to-6. 

Note: See Index for How to Make Stock (Poultry).

Tomorrow: Quick Turkey Curry

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Plan-Overs: Turkey Lurkey

Imagine the fragrance rising from this stew as it simmers away on the stove! Imagine youself salivating as the scent drifts through your kitchen, so that you can hardly wait to taste this Farmhouse Turkey Stew! This stew uses uncooked turkey. Technically, it’s not a “Plan-Over” - the deliberate setting aside of leftovers for a future meal. However, I’ve included it in this short series of turkey “Plan-Overs” because many of you with small needs and small appetites will most certainly be cooking turkey parts, rather than a whole bird, during the holidays. 

Not only does this recipe work splendidly with turkey parts, but it can be frozen for future use and easily made into soup. So I guess that makes this a “Plan-Over,” after all. As with many turkey recipes, this one also works well with chicken breasts or thighs.

Farmhouse Turkey Stew:

2-½-to-3 lb. (1.3 kg) turkey parts, skin-on, bones removed
1 c. coarsely chopped onion
1-½ tsp. salt
1-½ tsp. poultry seasoning
3-½ c. chicken or turkey stock, divided (see Note
1 chicken bouillon cube (or powdered or concentrated extract)
3 stalks celery, in 1-in. slices
8 small carrots, in 1-in. slices
4 large potatoes, cut into 8ths 
½ c. all-purpose flour
1 c. frozen peas

Slice turkey into 2x2-in. pieces. Place turkey with skin and detached bones in large, heavy-based pot. Add onion, salt, poultry seasoning, 3 c. stock, and chicken bouillon cube or similar flavor extract. Bring just to the boil, immediately reducing heat to simmer. Cover, cooking on low 1-to-1-½ hr., until turkey is tender but not stringy. 

Strain turkey parts and bones from pan. Remove skin, discarding together with bone. Cover and refrigerate turkey parts. Raise heat to medium, adding celery, carrots, and potatoes to stock in pot. Cover and simmer 12-to-15 min. until vegetables start to become tender but are not fully cooked. 

Whisk flour into remaining stock until flour dissolves completely. Gradually add flour mixture to pot, whisking constantly until broth thickens and bubbles. Return turkey parts to pot, cooking an additional 3-to-5 min. Add frozen peas, cooking 1 min. longer. Serve at once.

Note: See Index for How to Make Stock (Poultry).

Tomorrow: Turkey Divan

Monday, November 25, 2013

Plan-Overs: Turkey Lurkey

Croquettes are small, crumb-covered balls filled with meat, fish, or poultry bound with potatoes, rice, or sauce, before being - wait for it! - deep-fried. YUCK!” sez you. “I’d never eat that!” Croquettes are a great way to use up leftover turkey. “Gimme the recipe! sez you, again.

You can eat only so much turkey chowder, turkey pot pie, or turkey tetrazzini. So let’s try a few new turkey recipes to liven things up after the holiday crowd departs and it’s just you and the turkey, duking it out over the next several days. This recipe should come in handy as the next few weeks unfold. 

Turkey Croquettes:

2 tbsp. finely chopped onion
2 tbsp. finely chopped celery
3 tbsp. butter or margarine
¼ c. flour
½ tsp. salt
⅛ tsp. pepper
Dash of cayenne
¼ tsp. savory
1 c. whole milk
3 c. finely minced cooked turkey
1 egg
1 tsp. water
¾ c. fine, dry bread crumbs

Sauté onion and celery in butter or margarine at medium heat until onion is translucent. Combine flour with seasonings. Blend into onion-celery mixture. Gradually add milk, stirring and cooking until thickened and smooth. Add turkey, combining well. Cool to room temperature before shaping into 12 croquettes.

Whisk together egg and water. Dip formed croquettes into crumbs, then egg mixture, then crumbs again. Chill 1 hr. Deep fry at 375 deg. F., a few at a time, 2-to-3 min. or until crisp and golden. Drain fat on paper towels. Cool 5 min. before serving.

Tomorrow: Farmhouse Turkey Stew

    Sunday, November 24, 2013

    The Perfect Pizza Crust #1

    I have many recipes for pizza dough, but this one - which my brother René and his lovely wife Leslie passed along several years ago - is the easiest and the best. It costs only pennies and makes two large crusts. Below, I’ve included another of my favorite pizza dough recipes, as well as a couple of my favorite pizzas. Pizza is very, very easy to make - and you can top it with almost anything. Because it uses quick-rise yeast, this first recipe takes hardly any time at all! 

    The Perfect Pizza Crust #1:

    3-to-3-½ c. all-purpose flour, divided
    1 pkg. (2-¼ tsp.) quick-rise yeast
    ¾ tsp. salt (do not reduce)
    ¼ tsp. dried oregano
    2 tbsp. olive oil
    1 c. very warm water (120-to-130 deg. F.)
    Cornmeal, as needed

    Preheat oven to 400 deg. F. In large bowl, combine 2 c. flour, yeast, salt, and oregano. Add olive oil to water, quickly stirring into flour mixture with clean hands. Gradually, add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough (see Note). Knead in bowl 4-to-6 min., until dough feels smooth and elastic, adding extra flour as needed. Cover and let rest 10-to-15 min. Spray-oil two 12-in. (30 cm) pizza pans. Sprinkle surface with cornmeal. 

    Gather up dough, dividing in half and flattening slightly. Roll each half very thinly on lightly floured surface with lightly floured pin (I use a pastry mat and a rolling pin cover). Slip into cornmeal-sprinkled pizza pan. Top as desired. Bake 15 min. Turn oven heat to broil setting. With rack still in center of oven, broil 2 additional min. Makes 2 large thin-crust pizzas.

    Note: The amount of extra flour you need depends on the temperature, humidity, and other factors. I recently made this pizza dough on a dry, cold day when the temperature dipped below freezing. I needed a total of only 3 c. flour. You’ll know when youve added enough by the way the dough “feels.” I haven’t tried making this crust with whole wheat flour or unbleached flour, but have a hunch it would be excellent. 


    Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.

    Knead until dough becomes smooth and elastic. 

    Sprinkle prepared pans with cornmeal.

    Roll from center out for even thickness and size

    This is the ideal thickness for a thin-crust pizza.

    Prick crust to prevent air bubbles. Pinch 
    edges of dough to contain fillings.

    Tip! You can refrigerate pizza dough for up to 24 hours. Here’s how:
    • Transfer kneaded dough to a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap. Refrigerate, removing from fridge 1 hr. before shaping crust. Or ...
    • Roll or shape kneaded dough on lightly floured surface. Place on cornmeal-sprinkled baking sheet or pizza pan. Cover with spray-greased plastic wrap. Refrigerate. Remove dough from fridge, topping and baking as desired.

    The Perfect Pizza Crust #2

    This excellent pizza dough recipe is my second-favorite! Using traditional (rather than quick-rise) yeast, it takes a little longer to achieve the result of The Perfect Pizza Crust #1. The method is somewhat different - there’s no “rolling out” of dough - but the flavor and texture are every bit as good! I often make notes on the recipes I keep on file: My note on this pizza crust literally reads “Fantastic!” This recipe makes one thick-crust 12-in. pizza or two thin-crust pizzas with the toppings of your choice. The pizza recipes below this post offer some suggestions! 

    The Perfect Pizza Crust #2:

    1 tsp. granulated sugar
    1 c. warm water (100-to-110 deg. F.)
    1 pkg. (2-¼ tsp.) active dry yeast
    1 tbsp. olive oil
    2-½-to-3 c. all-purpose flour, divided
    1 tsp. salt (do not reduce)
    Cornmeal, as required

    Preheat oven to 450 deg. F. Dissolve sugar in warm water. Add yeast and let stand 10 min. Stir in oil, 1-½ c. flour, and salt. Beat with electric mixer until frothy and well combined. Gradually, hand-stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough (To gauge how much flour to use, please see the Note I added to the recipe for The Perfect Pizza Crust #1). 

    Knead on lightly floured flat surface about 10 min., until dough feels smooth and elastic, adding extra flour if needed. Transfer dough to lightly greased bowl, turning dough until all sides are greased. Cover and let rise in warm place away from drafts until dough doubles in size, 30-to-45 min. Briefly knead on lightly floured flat surface to eliminate large air bubbles. 

    Spray-oil one or two 12-in. (30 cm) pizza pans, depending on crust thickness you prefer. Sprinkle surface/s with cornmeal. 

    For two crusts, gather up dough, dividing in half and flattening slightly. For one, use entire ball of dough. Press dough (or roll) very thinly using method for The Perfect Pizza Crust #1Slip into pizza pan/s, topping as desired. Bake 20-to-25 min. Makes 1 large thick-crust  pizza or 2 large thin-crust pizzas.

    Note: There was a time when I tried very hard to do as the Italians do by whirling pizza dough into the air to enlarge it. My efforts were a disaster - not as bad as Lucille Ball’s, but still hopeless. If your mobile device won't let you see Lucy’s efforts at making pizza, I hope you’ll catch this YouTube classic at 




    Tip! Preheating a baking sheet or cast iron skillet in the bottom of the oven can make your pizza crust crunchier. When the pizza’s ready to bake, toss ice cubes into the hot pan, creating a burst of steam.

    Pear ’n’ Prosciutto Pizza

    Pear ’n’ Prosciutto Pizza: An unexpected treat
    You’d never find this slightly unusual pizza at the grocery store! Expect to pay at least $15 for it in a fine restaurant, but far, far less if you make it yourself. You can always buy a pizza crust, but I hope you’ll try one of the excellent recipes for pizza dough you’ll find listed in the Index or by scanning the posts above. I made a 12-in. pizza using the quantities I’vsuggested, but add extra and heap it high, if you wish! 

    Pear ’n’ Prosciutto Pizza:

    One 12-in. (30 cm) thin-crust pizza, purchased or homemade
    2 or 3 ripe pears, each sliced into 16 wedges
    3 thin slices Prosciutto, each cut into 4 or 5 pieces
    One 4 oz. (113 g) pkg. soft goat cheese, crumbled
    1 oz. (35 g) Stilton or soft blue cheese, crumbled

    Preheat oven to 400 deg. F. Layer ingredients over unbaked pizza shell in order given. Bake 20 min. until cheese has melted and crust has browned.

    Get it while its hot! Slice into 8 wedges.

    New York-Style Pizza

    The perfect pizza starts with the Perfect Crust. That’s why Ive posted a couple of outstanding recipes for pizza dough on todays blog, as well as this terrific New York-Style Pizza recipe, the one above for Pear ’n’ Prosciutto Pizza, and the one just after this for Turkey-Pineapple Pizza. If you’ve landed on this recipe as a stand-alone, search the Index under Pizza to find what you’re seeking. 

    New York-Style Pizza: 

    One 12-in. (30 cm) thin-crust pizza, purchased or homemade
    ½ c. tomato sauce
    ¾ c. shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
    2-to-4 oz. salami, thinly sliced (see Note)
    ¼ c. chopped green bell pepper (capsicum”)
    ¼ c. chopped onion
    ¼ c. sliced black olives, well drained
    ¼ c. sliced fresh mushrooms
    Dried basil and oregano, as needed

    Preheat oven to 450 deg. F. Spread tomato sauce over unbaked pizza crust using back of spoon or spatula. Top with ½ c. Mozzarella and remaining ingredients in order given. Dust with basil, oregano, and remaining Mozzarella. Bake 20-to-25 min.

    Note: If you prefer, substitute ¼ lb. ground beef, (optional), cooked, seasoned to taste, and well drained of fat, for the salami in this recipe. 


    Assemble ingredients

    Have prepared pizza crust ready

    Pile on the toppings

    Add extra Mozzarella

    Bake and eat! Don't worry if your pizza crust is slightly
    irregular. That’s what gives it the artisan's touch!

    Dinner Party Series: Turkey-Pineapple Pizza!

    Yesterday, we invited our grand-daughters to what I said would be a veddy-veddy formal dinner party at our house. When they asked what was on the menu, I chirped: “Pizza! In turn, they said: “That’s not formal! When I greeted them in sweat pants and running shoes, they again said: “That’s not formal! And so I said: I must wear my evening gown! I’ll change, right away! And arrived at the table wearing a dressing gown over those same sweat pants and running shoes. Which set the mood for pizza, and plenty of it!

    This last-minute post presents yet another idea for pizza - one I threw together with a little of this and a little of that. But the idea of serving such a simple meal with a formal table setting appeals to me in the same way that using Limoges china at a picnic table strikes me as lots of fun. When the occasion, the food, and the table-setting are deliberately mismatched, you can expect the mood to be playful.

    I’ve included this post as part of my Dinner Party Series because it’s always fun to set a nice table, even if the meal is casual and dessert is a handful of fresh grapes (which it was). The recipe below could just as easily be included in the newly begun Plan-Overs series because it uses turkey - and I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of that particular bird consumed this week!

    And what goes best with turkey? Cranberries! While this blog has several Cranberry recipes indexed under Sauces, here’s an easy little trick: Serve your Cranberry Sauce in the hollow of seeded papaya slices to add color, flavor, and variety to any fall- or winter-themed holiday table. 


    Canned Cranberry Sauce looks and tastes every bit as good  
    as homemade when it
    ’s served in slices of seeded papaya 

    The coming week’s blogs are devoted to turkey leftovers and what to do with them. But today, on with our Dinner Party, and this Turkey-Pineapple Pizza recipe that highlights turkey’s easy versatility. 

    Turkey-Pineapple Pizza:

    One 12-in. (30 cm) thin-crust pizza, purchased or homemade
    ½ c. tomato sauce
    ½ c. chopped green bell pepper (capsicum”)
    ¼ c. chopped onion
    ½ tsp. chili flakes (optional)
    1 or 2 large, fresh mushrooms, sliced to equal ¼ c. 
    Half a 19-oz. (540 mL) can cubed pineapple, well drained, to equal 1 c.
    ½ c. chunked turkey
    1 c. shredded Mozzarella cheese

    Preheat oven to 400 deg. F. Spread tomato sauce over unbaked pizza crust using back of spoon or spatula. Layer ingredients over unbaked pizza shell in order given. Bake 18-to-20 min. until cheese has melted and crust has browned.


    Use a scant amount of tomato sauce ...

    Add chopped green bell pepper and onion ...

    Layer on sliced mushrooms ...

    Pineapple cubes ...

    Cubed turkey ... and cheese.

    As for our dinner party ...

    I added a simple Ham and Green Onion Quiche,
    indexed under Main Dish: Quiche

    Anticipation …!

    And  now … pizza! Served in a dressing gown.