I made another batch of the Chipotle Cumin Turkey Sausage, this time using freshly roasted whole cumin seeds. I liked it even better. Still haven’t gone the home ground turkey thighs route, I bought some free-range organic ground turkey from US Wellness Meats so I used some of that. This one is definitely a keeper. We had it with the zucchini from the box, sliced into rounds and roasted in the oven with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. It browned up enough to remind me of the way my mom used to do it, dredged in flour and then pan fried, salt and pepper when it came out of the oil. It was delicious but it is nice to not have the flour element and still get (pretty much) the same flavor.
I managed to score an organic free-range turkey and didn’t have freezer room for it so I went ahead and cooked it right away. One thing led to another and I wound up echoing Thanksgiving (we have so much to be thankful for this year that an extra Thanksgiving isn’t a bad thing). I have this charcoal roaster thing I had bought years ago and never used so we broke that out to cook the turkey. Brined it first with the Good Eats Roast Turkey brine (sans candied ginger, I mean, seriously?). Stuffed him up with fresh herbs and garlic, put butter and Herbes de Provence under the skin, lubed him with olive oil, and into the cooker he went. He was a little guy, so only took a couple hours. Sides were the butternut squash from the box (see there is a box item in this post), roasted with butter, salt, and pepper, then mashed and (I’m really proud of this one), Primal Dressing. I love turkey dressing, it has always been my favorite part of the Thanksgiving feast. How to get that flavor profile without all that crappy white bread? Turns out you can just leave it out and life is good. I made the base the way I always have, saute onions and celery in butter until soft. Add some Bell’s Poultry Seasoning (you know, until it smells right), and some salt and pepper. At this point I diced up the liver from the turkey (biggest one I’ve ever seen) and sauteed that too. Then added some scrambled eggs and stuck the pan in the oven to set. Crazy good. We did indulge in a treat for ‘dessert’, there is a brand of eggnog we get here that does a seasonal pumpkin version. It tastes like liquid pumpkin pie and isn’t scary sweet (my tolerance for sweet has decreased, most commercial things taste way too sweet to me). And as an added bonus, we’ll have fresh turkey stock this week, the carcass went straight into the slow-cooker (had to break out the big one). Go me!
I was afraid the radicchio was going to be extremely bitter so I admit I was avoiding dealing with it (I had a bad experience years ago with a huge leaf of it on a sandwich that I bit into thinking it was red cabbage (couldn’t get it out of my mouth fast enough)). Now I wish there had been more than one of them in the box. I used this recipe from Food Network, cut down for only one head of radicchio. It didn’t specify on the mozzarella, so I took that as carte blanche to do what I wanted (which was use fresh. I also stuck two slices in each wedge instead of one. I like fresh mozzarella a lot). Cooked them on a grill pan. I did alter it slightly, he said to soak in ice water to reduce the bitterness, I soaked in salted water. It came out delicious, a tad bitter but not in a bad way. Grilled some pork chops to go with it, very good combination.
Since I made the flower pot smoker in order to process a box item (jalapeños), can I brag on other things that it does? Pictured here are some catfish filets that I smoked yesterday. They came out so pretty I had to share. They will be used in a fish chowder along with the zucchini from the box. I should have saved the leek for that, but I already used it in a beef stew last night.
Last night I came home from work a little early. Since dinner was going to be salmon, I thought there would be plenty of time to do it on the smoker. So I fired it up, salted and peppered the salmon portions and into the FPS (Flower Pot Smoker) they went. It was 7 before I went to retrieve them (3 hours at about 200 degrees), and they probably could have come off sooner, but they were still moist and very flavorful. A salad from the box (baby lettuce mix, cucumber, and grape tomatoes) and dinner was served. Only down side is the skin was nothing to write home about (when I pan fry them, the skin comes out nice and crispy). Kind of rubbery, not yummy at all.