Another turkey post

Every year I run into the usual turkey problem: the breast is cooked at 155-160F and is dry by 170. The thighs are bloody until 170F. You either have juicy breast and slightly bloody thighs, or dry breast and fully cooked thighs. My solution is to cut off the dark meat and allow each section to cook to its optimal temp: (1) Cook entire turkey for 7.5-8 hours at 200F, (2) Remove main body/breast, (3) Cook dark meat for 20-30 min longer at 400F. Read more here: 

We just had a Thanksgiving lunch for Interhigh last week and I'm going to write my notes for how I did my turkey.

Friday afternoon 5pm:
I injected my turkey. 18lb turkey = 12 tsp kosher salt (1/4 cup), 12 tsp sugar (1/4 cup), 1.5 cup hot water. I injected into the breast, thigh, drumstick and then transferred to a small clear trash bag, tied it and put it in the fridge. I like to inject but you can dry brine/dry rub or traditional brine your turkey.
Friday just before midnight: I cut up the turkey. I wrote about this in my last post. I cut off the leg quarters and wings from the main body. It was a little tricky to cut the joints but do your best.

  I put the oven at 200F. Then I arranged the turkey pieces. The thighs flat on the bottom, the wings tucked against the body. It was the best way to tetris it into the tray. I suppose any arrangement would work.

 I wanted to slow cook the turkey while I sleep and have it ready to go in the morning. I was afraid of overcooking it. I put my meat thermometer straight into the middle of the breast and stuck it into the oven. Use one of these thermometers: 

Here are my notes:
*This is for an 18lb turkey. At 200F, most turkeys should cook at the same rate whether 12lbs or 22lbs. That and oven variance can lead to different cooking times. Use the info below as a guideline.

12:30am- in the oven at 200F. Turkey was in the low 40Fs
4:40 am- turkey was 124F
6:30 am- turkey was 145F
7:30 am- turkey was 152F
8:10 am- turkey was 156F

I took out the main body and put into my cooler and put the lid on.
 The dark meat now has to get to 175F. I put the thermometer in the thigh near the bone. I broiled it for about 2-3 minutes or so until it got that nice color. Then I put it on high at 400F for about 20-30 minutes
 At around 8:45am I took it out of the oven and rearranged the legs with the body to make it fit in the cooler. Start to finish about 8 hours 15 mins. Depending on when your event is, you can back track it and figure out start time. Give yourself an extra 15 minutes to be safe.
 Results: The white meat was one of the juiciest turkeys I ever made. I pulled it out at 156F. It's the border of just being cooked. It will be white with some pink tint (look at Costco rotisserie chicken if you are wondering what white w/pink tint looks like). The juice that pools on the bottom will be clear with a slight pink tint but no blood. 6 years ago I made one that I pulled at 152 and that one was juicier (though a little more pink). The thighs were nice and fully cooked with no blood or redness.

That joint that I cut off was very bloody and looked like it had some major blood vessels there (probably the femoral artery). That area is tucked inside between the body and the thigh. It's insulated by all that meat and hard to fully cook. It's normally the bloodiest part of the turkey, affecting some of the meat near that area. This method exposes that area to heat

you can that area on the sides are fully cooked and roasted here.

A Juicier Turkey

There are many ways to do a tasty and juicy turkey and it all comes down to preference. Here are some quick tips:

1. brine, inject, or dry rub your turkey. Whatever way you want to salt (and sugar) the meat. Use whatever herbs you want.

2. Don't over cook the meat. That means mid 150Fs for the breast. The thigh should reach at least 175F-180F. Low heat or high oven temp - do whichever you want.

3. I highly recommend using a meat thermometer like this: you can get something like this at walmart or any local store. Stick it in the middle of the turkey breast, put it in the oven, check the temperature dial. Take turkey out when it reaches temp. There is an alarm that goes off when it reaches the temp

4. Cut the turkey legs and wings off BEFORE it goes in the oven.

If you talk to anyone about how to make a juicy turkey, they will all agree on #1-3. Most people will cook until 175F when the plastic popup timer goes off in the turkey. By then the thighs are done but the breast is now dry and horrible. Others will pull it out around 160F and serve bloody thighs, embarrassment, and excuses. Why is it so hard to do this right?

Norm Rockwell. Most people attribute the iconic thanksgiving dinner to this painting:

 Years of tradition and childhood memories tell us that we need to have a nice centerpiece turkey that looks beautiful on the dining table before it's carved. We sacrifice so much to have that beautiful (whole) turkey. What happens at my house and at sometimes at TC is that we slice up the turkey on the kitchen counter and bring to the table a plate of sliced meat:
If we aren't bringing out a whole turkey, why not cut it up before cooking it?
That way you take out the main part (the breast) when it's 155F-160F and it's just barely cooked, white with a slight pink shade. Then you put the legs and wings back in the oven until it's 180F.
Take your cooked pieces and reassemble the turkey nicely and serve. You have the entire turkey fully cooked but not overcooked while remaining juicy. It's just 1 extra step but makes a big difference. 

Beurre à la bourguignonne - Garlic Butter

This recipe comes from Sam Cho:

Beurre à la bourguignonne - Garlic Butter

It sounds fancy, but it's really just a quick, cheap, and easy 4 ingredient compound butter that works well on a slice of of hot bread, slightly melted on the protein of your choice, or even to flavor popcorn. We used all sorts of compound butters in the restaurant, and this was one of them.

Compound butters are very versatile and can also be frozen and stored away until needed later, or you can use them the day of.

Total time: 10 minutes, ~$4, ~15 servings

~1/2 cup unsalted butter
~2-4 medium sized garlic cloves
~2-4 tablespoons parsley
~Salt (and pepper) to taste
~(optional) 1 tablespoon fine brunoise shallots

1. Bring butter to room temperature until soft and malleable. If necessary, microwave your butter for a couple seconds, but melted butter is a no-no. 
2. Chop your garlic very fine, almost until it is a paste. Sprinkle a good whack of salt on your garlic to help break it down, and that's also how you're going to salt your butter (since salt doesn't melt in fat/oil/butter).
3. Finely chop your parsley.
4. (optional) Finely chop your shallots.
5. Combine butter and garlic first (and shallots), and then fold in the parsley. Avoid over-mixing or the entire butter will turn GREEN.

Enjoy by spreading on a nice slice of (grilled) baguette.

-Buy a decent quality butter like Straus for best flavor, but if not, no problem
-Chop your parsley with a very sharp knife so you get minimal bleeding and smaller specks of parsley.
-Feel free to experiment with different compound butters!
-I'm not a huge fan of pepper in this, but feel free if that's what you prefer.

Kale Salad Dressing

Kale Salad Dressing

100 servings (3 bags of kale salad)

2 cup honey
1.5 cup lemon juice
2 cup water
2 cup olive oil
1 tbsp dijon mustard or spicy brown mustard
salt & Pepper to taste

whisk well with wire whisk and massage well into kale about 20 minutes before serving.  (You have to use your hands to make pinching rubbing motion in order to make the kale absorb the flavor)  Add mango and other items as needed.  (thinly sliced red onion is good.  So are blood oranges or oranges)

Clam Bake

Clam Bake

clam bake
sausages (Kielbasa - 1 bag - Costco)
potatoes (red or yellow potatoes - 7lbs - Costco)
corn (20 ears of white or yellow corn - Safeway)
mussels (1 pack - Costco)
shrimp (2 packs - Costco)
onion (3 large)
clams (1 pack - Costco)
parmesan shredded cheese (1 pack - Costco)
noodles (15 lbs - linguini - Costco)
parsley (3 bundles - Safeway)
lemon (5 large)
3 large cans of chicken broth

Prep (can do night before if cooking is in stages)

Wash/cut corn (into 2" pieces)
Wash/chop parsley
Boil Pasta (al dente)
Cut sausages (1/2 inch thick rings)
Wash potatoes and cut into large chunky cubes
Wash/chop onion into diced size
defrost seafood
Sautee sausages in olive oil with onion (add pepper flakes to taste - pizza pepper flakes are fine - just 1 or 2 packs)
Put chicken broth and bring to boil
Put potatoes and boil till cooked 1/2 way
Add corn and bring to boil
Put seafood and close lid till clams/mussels open up and shrimp is pink through
Put hot broth into the cooked noodles and sprinkle with cheese, chopped parsley

Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri Sauce

Here is the recipe for 30-40 servings:

·        1 large bundle parsley (Italian or curly, doesn't matter)
·        4 medium garlic cloves, peeled or 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
·        1 bundle cilantro
·        1/4 cup red wine vinegar
·        1/4 cup lemon juice
·        3 tbsp sugar
·        1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (about 1 pizza packet)
·        1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
·        Freshly ground black pepper
·        1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Put everything in food processor and blend till smooth.  

This goes well with brisket and all kinds of meat roasts, even can make rotisserie chicken from Costco something special!  People even eat it with roasted veggies.

From Cathy Park

Scalloped Potatoes with Cornflake topping

Work in Progress

Mapo Tofu

“Mapa Tofu”
Main Dish
(Estimate for  10 and 30 people)
Mapa Tofu
Green Beans
1 order has
Quantity for 30 people
Quantity for 10 people
Lean ground pork
Asian Market

1.5 pounds
0.5 pounds

Ginger powder
1/2 small bottle
1/6 small bottle

Chicken Broth (large can)

3 cans
1 can
40 cans for 40 servings was too much. Try to find "SWANSON" brand (or other American brand)
Corn starch
Asian Market
< 3/4 box
¼ box
- pulmulone brand "chigae yong" tofu ("soft tofu" - but it's firm)
- OR other brand (FIRM tofu)
Asian Market
8.5 boxes
3 boxes
Estimate 3.5 persons/box
Oyster Flavored Sauce
Asian Market
1.5 bottles
0.5 bottle
2 bottles was too much for 40 servings
Ground Fresh Chili Paste (Sambal Oelek brand) - 18-19 OZ. jar
OR Lee Keum Kee's Chili Garlic Sauce - 13 OZ.
Asian Market
1 bottle
1/3 bottle
I prefer the fresh chili paste
Green onions
Asian Market
1.5 bundles
0.5 bundles

Fresh garlic
Asian Market
10.5 cloves
3.5 cloves
Buy already-peeled ones, in package
SHOPPING LIST for Green Beans
1 order has
Quantity for 30 people
Quantity for 10 people
French green beans
Trader Joes or Costco

5 from Trader Joes
2 from Trader Joes
1 bag from Trader Joes = 6 servings.  1 bag from Costco = 12 servings
Fresh garlic
Asian Market
 12 cloves
4 cloves
Buy already-peeled ones, in package
Oyster flavored sauce
Asian Market
2 bottles
1 bottle
Try Lee-Kum-Kee brand
Clear Chinese rice cooking wine
Asian Market
1 bottle
1/3 bottle
1 bag from Trader Joes = 6 servings.  1 bag from Costco = 12 servings
RECIPE  for Mapa Tofu (for 30 servings)
Green onions
Ground pork
Ginger powder
Chicken broth
Fresh chili paste
Oyster flavored sauce
Corn starch
Prep Work
  1. Mince garlic (10.5 cloves)
  2. Finely dice green onions (1.5 bundles)
  3. Cut tofu into bite size cubes (size of sugar cubes) and drain water
  1. Stir fry the pork with 6 cloves of minced garlic, salt, pepper, & ginger powder.
  2. Season to taste.
  3. Drain the fat (if the meat is lean, there is not much to drain)
  1. *Start the first batch with 2 1/2 boxes of tofu to get a feel of this dish
  2. Use non-stick wok or non-stick pot; put on high heat
  3. Pour 1 can of chicken broth (49.5 oz) and heat until it boils
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of fresh chili paste
  5. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic
  6. Add 1/4 of the cooked pork) into the chicken broth
  7. Add 4 oz of oyster flavored sauce (1/2 cup)
  8. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar
  9. Stir as it comes to boil
  10. TASTE:  based on its taste add more oyster flavored sauce or sugar or chili paste
  11. Add corn starch mixed with water:  start with 2 tablespoons of starch mixed with 4 oz of water
  12. Keep on stirring:  this is very important that it doesn't get lumpy
  13. If it doesn't thicken enough, add another mixture of corn starch and water
  14. When it comes to a boil, taste again.  Cooking is all about tasting with your eyes and your mouth
  15. When the sauce thickens and boils, add the drained tofu
  16. Fold the tofu into the sauce in big strokes (meaning do not rapidly stir or the tofu will far apart)
  17. Cook on medium heat until it is boiling and the tofu tastes piping hot.  As you are cooking, keep on folding so that it doesn't stick but don't break the tofu!)
  18. Serve the tofu with minced green onions sprinkled on the top as garnish.
*When reheating, you can microwave on the serving dish and then sprinkle the green onions right before serving.
 RECIPE  for Green Beans(for 30 servings)

French green beans
Fresh garlic
Oyster flavored sauce
Clear Chinese rice cooking wine
*Cook 2 Trader Joe bags (or 1 Costco bag) at a time
  1. Turn on stove and add 2 tablespoon of oil to frying pan
  2. Add 2 tablespoons of minced garlic and 2 tablespoon of Chinese rice cooking wine
  3. When the garlic is cooked, add 2 bags of Trader Joes frozen green beans (or 1 bag Costco fresh green beans)
  4. Add 4 tablespoons of oyster sauce and sprinkle some pepper
  5. Continue to stir until it looks fully heated; taste.
  6. If it not seasoned enough, add more oyster sauce
  7. It is ready to serve when it tastes piping hot