Thursday, November 23, 2006

Herbed Turkey Breast with Cider Gravy

Impress your (carnivorous) friends and family! Roast a turkey breast -- it's so good you won't want to wait 'til Thanksgiving. This makes a delicious dinner and equally delicious sandwiches the rest of the week.

One 4 lb turkey breast

Zest of one lemon
15-20 fresh sage leaves
Large handful fresh parsley
2 T fresh thyme
1 t salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 T butter, at room temperature

Small yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 orange, washed and quartered
4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half
2-3 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Oil a roasting pan just big enough for the turkey breast.

Mince the lemon zest and herbs and mix into the butter along with salt and a couple grinds of pepper.

Rinse and dry your turkey breast. Carefully run your fingers between the skin and the flesh from one end, being careful not to pull it completely off, creating a pocket. Rub the herb butter under the skin on each side, spreading it evenly. Season the turkey breasts generously inside and out with salt and pepper. Place the onion, orange, and garlic in the cavity, along with a few bay leaves and some extra sprigs of sage, thyme, and parsley.

Place the turkey in the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes, until it’s started to brown nicely. Decrease the temperature to 400 degrees and roast for another 50 minutes or so, until a meat thermometer reads 175 degrees.

Remove from the oven, transfer to a platter, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes before carving. Do NOT wash the pan yet - you need the drippings to make the gravy. Don't be scared! Good gravy is easier than you think:

1 1/2 c apple cider (or so)
1 T butter
4 T all-purpose flour
1/4 c white wine
tiny bit of lemon juice

Pour the juices from the roasting pan into a measuring cup. Let stand for a few minutes to allow fat to rise to top, then skim fat off. Add apple cider to pan juices in measuring cup to total 2 cups of liquid.

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add flour and whisk thoroughly to get out any lumps. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes until just starting to turn tan-colored. Add white wine and whisk it in. Add the pan juices/cider mixture and whisk until completely smooth. Bring to a simmer, and stir until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and a small squeeze of lemon juice to taste.

Slice the turkey breast and serve with gravy.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Grilled Salmon and Potato Pomegranate Salad

Being the shameless Harris Teeter bargain shopper that I am, I came across some strong value plays for both Alaskan Sockeye Salmon and pomegranates. As far as cooking them up, the salmon was pretty intuitive but I had to work a little more to find something to make with pomegranates

Rating wise - I'm giving the Salmon 4 stars and the Potato/Pomegranate salad 3 stars . The salmon was bursting with flavor and easy to prepare. The salad was very tasty as well and very distinctive looking but honestly, I'd probably prefer a kickin' more traditional potato salad instead.

Grilled Salmon
Take a large fillet of salmon and cut into pieces and marinade in 1/3 cup soy sauce and 1/3 cup maple syrup in a flat dish flesh side down. After marinating for about an hour - grill on high on ye old gas grill for 3 mins a side.

Potato Pomegranate Salad
2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 red onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Place the potatoes in a pot, and add enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the sour cream and vinegar, season with salt and pepper, mix, and set aside. Drain the potatoes, and add to the bowl with the sour cream mixture. Using a fork, lightly press down on the potatoes to slightly mash them as you mix. Add the celery, apple and pomegranate seeds, and toss well. Drizzle with the olive oil, and adjust seasonings.