Here’s an update on the dishes I planned with comments in italics.
I’ve not done much cooking lately. Household projects, and travel have taken up most of my cooking time. Thanksgiving dinner, a time when I usually pull out all of the stops, will be low key this year as I am joining my brother’s family for Thanksgiving dinner. My contribution will be the famous Brown Butter Pumpkin Cake. Very little work but, alas, no leftovers. I’d hoped to have a small group here for an early Thanksgiving dinner but my volunteer work at the American Diabetes Association’s, Portland Expo and Step-Out events conflicted – so I am now going do a small dinner for the two of us in the next couple of days. I am going to prepare an Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast, and try a couple of recipes that, if successful, may make it to the Christmas menu.
First, the Herb Roasted Turkey Breast. This is an easy choice, easy to prepare, with loads of left-over white meat for sandwiches. You must watch this cut carefully because the naturally dry meat can quickly overcook if left in the oven too long. The usual directions say to let the meat reach an internal temperature of 165° and then let it rest for 15 minutes during which time it reaches 170°. I say take the breast out of the oven at 160° and let it reach 165° while resting. This is a recipe from the Food Network’s, Ina Garten, that combines garlic, mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a paste that is then applied under and over the skin. It’s always a hit. This is a terrific way to cook turkey breast. The skin crisped nicely and the meat was juicy and flavorful. Next time I will cut down on the amount of garlic and maybe add a little more lemon juice.
Next, I am going to test a recipe for Crispy Jerusalem Artichokes with Aged Balsamic. I don’t recall ever tasting these knobby little tubers but I am told they have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, rather like an artichoke. This is a recipe from Bon Appetit magazine’s November, 2014 issue. Jerusalem Artichokes (or sunchokes) contain a carbohydrate called inulin that can cause a little intestinal distress in some people. If you’ve noticed that apples, for instance, get things moving and shaking down below, sunchokes are probably not for you. I think I overcooked the sunchokes during the initial steaming phase. During the crisping phase I felt that the vegetables became too mushy. I also felt that the finished dish seemed a little greasy. Other than the texture issues the dish was quite good. I would like to try it again, this time reducing the amounts of cooking time and vegetable oil.
Finally I’d like to try the Sourdough, Italian Sausage, and Chestnut Stuffing recipe from the same issue of Bon Appetit. This recipe is very similar to my favorite, go-to stuffing discussed in my Thanksgiving 2013 article. The addition of roasted chestnuts in this recipe intrigued me. I’ve cooked with jarred chestnuts and I felt they were expensive and not that good. This time I’ll try fresh chestnuts and see what the fuss is all about. This dish was an unqualified success. I used Grand Central Bakery’s, Como Bread and it was a good choice. The chestnuts, apples and sausage were a delicious, sweet/savory combination. I will definitely add this recipe to my keeper list.
In the meantime I hope you all are enjoying the Fall cooking season.