DIY Martinelli's

Dish Gracepoint sparkling juice


Here's a quick and easy recipe:

Whenever we get together for the holidays it's nice to have a bottle of Martinelli's. The only problem is that it's not too practical for a large gathering. It's kinda pricey and there's only 3 cups in each bottle. Why not make your own?

Go to the freezer section and get a can of frozen apple juice concentrate - the kind you add 3 cans of cold water to. It's about $1-2 on sale. Buy enough seltzer water, sparkling water, or club soda. It should be about $1 for a 2liter. Thaw the frozen concentrate until it's a thick syrup and chill the carbonated water. Mix together and serve immediately.

The nice thing about this is that you're not limited to apple. You can try cranberry or a mixture like cranberry and apple, apple peach, cranberry pomegranate...etc by mixing syrups. I would not recommend carbonated orange juice -- I doubt it'll be good.

If you want the authentic Martinelli's experience, you can add cider mix to make sparking cider.

Turkey - Dry Brining

At Dish Gracepoint, we're all about streamlining and saving time/work. Brining is great, but it adds extra steps (and it's a bit messy). Jim Kwak sent me this article on dry brining and in theory it's an excellent technique: http://www.latimes.com/theguide/holiday-guide/food/la-fo-calcook18-2009nov18,0,6560622,full.story. You could do this in about 5 minutes.


Application:

  • Unwrap the frozen turkey (at least 3 days before use), you probably want to do this as soon as you get it.
  • Measure 3/5 tsp salt per lb turkey. (a 15lb turkey would be 3 tablespoons).
  • Measure about 1/4 tsp dry herb/seasoning per lb (15lb turkey = 1.5 tablespoon).
  • Mix salt & herbs in a bowl and rub onto the turkey. It'd be nice to get the herbs under the skin, but you can just rub it on the outside of the skin to save time.
  • Double bag 2 large trash bags and place the turkey in the bags.
  • Try to seal the bag as best as you can (to prevent juice from leaking into fridge)
  • Thaw in fridge for 3 days or so. Rotate the turkey once or twice during this time.
  • When the turkey is fully thawed, it will be seasoned/brined from center to skin.
I personally like an herb mix called Poultry Seasoning. You can pick it up at Safeway. It's a mix of Thyme, Sage, Marjoram, Rosemary, Black Pepper and Nutmeg.

Turkey - how to carve

It's pretty simple, but for someone who's never done it before it may seem intimidating. Here's the first result I found on google. It gives a quick visual on how to do it.

Turkey - brining

Brining is a good way to make a juicy turkey. I personally like to inject saturated salt-milk solutions into the meat, but brining is a classic/proven method of adding flavor and juciness. Here are some tips on brining your bird:
  • 1 turkey, about 12 pounds

The brine:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 gallons cold water

(the ingredients below are optional, but add a nice touch)

  • 2 bay leaves, torn into pieces
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 5 whole allspice berries, crushed

To prepare the brine:

  • Remove giblet bag from turkey, along with any extra internal fat and pin feathers.
  • Rinse well under cold tap water.
  • Combine sugar, salt and 3-4 quarts of the cold water in a large bowl. Stir until sugar and salt dissolve. Add remaining brine ingredients except for the remaining 1 1/2 gallons water.
  • Use a special brining bag or double-bag two heavy-duty, unscented trash bags and put them in an ice chest that is large enough to hold the turkey.
  • *you can also use a large stockpot if it fits - just keep this in the fridge
  • Place turkey in bags, pour in brine and remaining 1 1/2 gallons water - there should be enough liquid to completely cover the bird.
  • Press out air in bags; tightly close each bag separately.
  • Keep turkey cold with bags of ice, which will also help keep it submerged in the brine.
  • Brine for 12-24 hours.

Braised Turkey

Quick Look_______________

dish gracepoint braised turkey

This post comes from Jim Kwak. Braised Turkey based on Mark Bittman's NY Times recipe published: November 12, 2008. In order to soak the turkey, it's cut into pieces. Braising is a good way to cook evenly and get juicy meat.

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 3 hrs
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Labor Intensity: Could do by yourself
  • 10 servings, adjust by 1.5x if your group tends to eat multiple servings.

Ingredients_______________

Directions_______________

  • Rub salt and pepper into turkey.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil.
  • Add sausage, bacon and as many thighs as will fit comfortably, skin side down
  • Brown all well, removing bacon first(it will brown first), then sausage; set aside.
  • Turn thighs when they are well browned and cook a minute on skinless side. Remove them, too, and repeat with remaining thighs if necessary. Add breast to pan and brown it well, skin side down, then flip and cook for just a minute and remove. Set pan aside.
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Soak mushroom in hot water and cover.
  • In pan used for turkey, cook carrots, celery, onions, sage and rosemary in leftover fat.
  • When all vegetables are tender and beginningto brown, add drained mushroom, reserving liquid. Return bacon and sausage to pan. Cook another minute and turn off heat.
  • In a large roasting pan, place turkey, browned side up
  • Fill space between turkey with vegetables. Add mushroom soaking liquid, leaving any sand and grit behind.
  • Add stock or water as needed to come about 3/4 the way up sides of thighs and breasts, or just under the browned skin.
  • Put in oven and roast, uncovered, for 3 hours, checking occasionally to make sure liquid level remains sufficiently high and stirring vegetables if they threaten to brown too much.
  • To serve, put vegetables on a platter; slice turkey and lay them on top.

Turkey Q/A - fresh/frozen

Is there a difference between fresh and frozen turkey?

I don't have a definitive answer on this one, but our house made fresh and frozen turkeys in the past and we think the fresh turkey is juicier and more tender. However, when done right, it's hard to tell the difference between the two. It's more important to not mess up the turkey rather than the type you get. Since frozen tends to be much cheaper, I get frozen.

Tip: Make sure you give enough time to fully defrost or you might have to resort to this: http://www.disgracepointonline.org/2008/11/dishgracepoint-recipe.html

5 hrs/lb is a minimum for thawing a turkey in the fridge. If you are cooking for this Sunday, Thursday would probably be the absolute latest for thawing.

30mins / lb is a minimum for thawing by submerging in cold water. Replace the water every 30 mins. It'll take about 8hours on average with this method.

Turkey Q/A - how many people

I've been getting this question often in the past few days:

Q:"How many people can a turkey feed?"


A:For a co-ed college group: I'd do 1-1.5lbs/person (depending on how much you eat)

For praxis/post-grads: I'd do 1lb/person

Does this sound like a lot? A turkey has lots of bone/skin/fat and other non-meat portions to it. In my experience with cooking whole chicken, I usually do 1.5lbs per person.

For a second opinion, check out the bottom right corner of http://www.butterball.com/en/index.jsp -- they suggest 1lb/person and 1.5lb/person for big eaters. I would err on the side of too much cause it's nice to have leftovers instead of running out.

Also keep in mind how much side dishes you are making when you estimate the food. My experience is there are bags and bags of leftovers taken home in gallon ziplocks

---Again, this is true if the turkey is good. A dry, bland turkey might be closer to 0.5lb-0.75/lb (child size portions)---

Peaches and Cream Pie

Quick Look_______________

'gracepoint-peaches-and-cream-pie

The following recipe comes from David Dip. The holiday season is quickly approaching and with family gatherings and other special dinners it's nice to have good desserts. This recipe was used for many potlucks and has been a hit evertime. It doesn't seem too difficult from the look of it.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Labor Intensity: Could do by yourself.
  • 1 pie = 8 servings?

Ingredients_______________

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 (3 ounce) package non-instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 (29 ounce) can sliced peaches in heavy syrup, drained and syrup reserved (you can buy peaches in lite syrup too, but don’t buy the peaches in syrups flavored from other fruits)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Total: fairly cheap, you should have mostr ingredients already.

Directions_______________

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease sides and bottom of a 10 inch deep-dish pie pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl (bowl #1), whisk room temperature butter until it’s has a smooth consistency. Then mix in flour, baking powder, and pudding mix. Mix together to get a semi-homogeneous mixture.
  • In another mixing bowl (bowl #2), use a hand mixer or a whisk to beat cream cheese or Neufchatel until ‘fluffy’ (to a smooth consistency is fine). Then beat in sugar and 3 tablespoons of the peach syrup. The syrup makes the mixture more liquid-y and easier to mix. Then mix in 1 tsp of ground cinnamon.
  • Mix together ½ cup of milk and 1 egg and pour into bowl #1. Mix together by folding the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients. Don’t over-mix; lumps are okay.
  • Pour contents of bowl #1 into pie pan and place peach slices on top of this in any arrangement you want. Then pour contents of bowl #2 into the pie pan making a concentric inner circle with a radius of 1 inch smaller than the pie pan. (so the outer crust can rise and brown)
  • Top it off with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool before serving

Tips and Tricks_______________


I usually make double this portion at one time, so I like to have a mixture of cream cheese and Neufchatel.
The original recipe had ½ tsp of salt, but I don’t think it adds to the flavor. It might even turn out too salty if you don’t take into account types of salt. So I just don’t add it all.
I like to microwave my cheese for 10-15 seconds in the microwave to soften it up before beating.
Instead of using a whole 29 ounce can of peaches for one pie, I usually split the can amongst 2 pies or use a 16 ounce can per pie instead.