Thursday, November 17, 2011

Simply Scrumptious

  This is a somewhat strange post, but in my mind it's absolutely necessary.
  I've been feeling rather burdened for those that have not been gifted with a natural cooking talent.  I remember the first time I met someone that truly was not a "cook", and the feeling of amazement I had upon learning that they did every thing "by the (cook)book".  I was even more surprised when I found that most people do use a cookbook when preparing a dish.  My mother almost never used a cookbook, and I will be forever grateful to her for teaching me to "just throw things together".
  I do enjoy seeing what others create in the kitchen, and have recently started writing down basic measurements for some of my recipes, so that they can be shared with others.  My siblings started this habit, as they have demanded that I record my recipes (previously written or not) and print out a book for each of them.  Eventually my cookbook will be finished, Lord willing!
  Now, back to my reason for writing this post.
  I was reading an article on Yahoo Shine about "How to Make the Perfect Turkey".  They recommend using a wet or dry salt brine, and that just sounded like way too much work for one bird (in my opinion, anyway).
  So, here's the super simple way we prepare turkeys at my house (and they're good!).
  You'll need:
 1 thawed Turkey
 1/4 cup or so Salt
 About 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil (we use Light Olive)
 A stick of Butter - you'll use it melted for basting
 A very large Roasting Pan
 Some Aluminum Foil (or the lid of your roasting pan, if it fits over your turkey)
 Enough prepared stuffing for your turkey, optional (if you want to bake it with stuffing)
          Take your thawed Turkey to the kitchen sink (we'll just hope it fits!) and unwrap it.  Remove the bag of giblets that usually comes tucked inside, as well as the neck.  You can use these for gravy, if you like, but I don't like to use them at all.
  Now wash that turkey.  Use cool water, so you don't freeze your fingers, and scrub that bird inside and out.  When you're sure it's clean, internally and externally, turn it upside down and let it drain for a few minutes.
  While your turkey is draining, oil the inside of your Roasting Pan.
  Find a helper, if you can.  A child is perfect for this next part!
  Give the Oil to your helper.  Now, have them pour some oil into your hands, and start rubbing it over your turkey.  Oil your turkey inside and out.  Repeat with the Salt, being sure to get it thoroughly salted.
  If you want to bake your turkey with Stuffing, fill it now with your prepared stuffing mix.  If not, just use a few metal skewers to pull the skin shut at both ends of your turkey. We always stuff our turkeys, so these baking instructions are for a stuffed turkey.
  Place your turkey into the Roasting Pan, Breast side down, and cover with foil.  Bake @ 350 for 15 minutes per lb of turkey ( for a 16 lb turkey, bake for 4 hours).  When your turkey is half baked, pull it out of the oven and very carefully flip it over in the pan (for a big bird, this takes two people with big forks and/or wooden spatulas).  Baste it with that stick of melted butter, and return to oven, uncovered.  Baste with drippings every 15 - 20 minutes to keep it moist.
    If your turkey came with a Pop-up indicator to let you know when the turkey is thoroughly cooked, you can just go by that to know when it's done.  If not, the turkey is done when thermometer inserted into deepest part of thigh reads  165F - 180F, and all juices run clear.  Your turkey should also be a beautiful brown.
   Remove your turkey from oven, and let cool 10 - 20 minutes or so before attempting to cut (carve) it.
   Serve with gravy (store bought or made with drippings from pan), and Enjoy!
   Sorry there are so many words in this post.  The whole process is really easy, and the results are always amazing!

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