Monday, January 28, 2013

New Year Turkey Day

Turkey Day came almost two months after Thanksgiving. The meal was tasty, the timing was just about right, with the only menu item requiring reheating being the oven-roasted veggies. And the dinner guest brought in flowers in a vase and meal accompaniments—oranges, cranberry sauce, and Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake.

It'd been a few years since I decided to roast a turkey—maybe since I underwent a long period of being unemployed and had lots of time on my hands during the holidays. Another year, the refrigerator konked out about a week or so before Thanksgiving. Mercifully, it died before I bought all sorts of food in preparation for the holiday. We went out to a standard-fare TDay meal, reasonably tasty and economical. (Burp!) Brought the dessert home. (Burp more!)

I'd tried using a rotisserie at least once, as I'd mentioned in "Holiday Gadgets to Inspire or Not". I was almost tempted to retry that method this time, as I spotted some frozen turkeys at my supermarket last week that came VERY close to the 10-pound maximum for the appliance. However, my brain kept retrieving that video image from a few years ago of the turkey thump thump humping against the window with every rotation shortly after the start of roasting.

I had considered a week before the dinner that turkeys for sale would be frozen. I recalled that frozen ones seemed to require about four days to thaw in the refrigerator. One source said 24 hours for every 4 pounds, another said a day for every 5 pounds.

When it came to deciding how long to roast, I consulted a BIG-NAME paperback cookbook, which recommended 4 to 4 1/2 hours for a turkey 8 to 12 pounds. The turkey label, however, recommended 2 3/4 to 3 hours for the same weight turkey. What a time difference between the two sources!

The store excursion for the bird made me rethink about roasting a turkey after the holidays, as they were all frozen. Brrrrr!!!!! They were in a vertical, reach-in frozen food case and awkward to turn for viewing the weight and price. After turning over maybe 10 of them and finding most were slightly over 10 pounds and a couple about 18 pounds, I settled on one that weighed slightly more than 11 pounds.

I brought the bird home and made room for it in the fridge to thaw for 4 days. Settled on using a roasting pan because its oblong shape fit better in the fridge than a round pan. Almost thought about using that pan for the roasting. By the time I washed the bird on the 4th day, removed the giblets and neck, which were in different parts of the bird, I decided I'd go ahead with the round pan and lifter method.

After washing the bird, placing it in the round pan and latching the lifter ends, spraying some spray oil, and starting the roasting process (325° preheated oven), I fretted over whether to roast the veggies (celery, onions, carrots, crookneck squash, zucchini) at the same time or start them later. My sense of experience thought that three hours would be excessive, so decided shorter was better.

After an hour of prepping the veggies—cutting, washing, peeling as appropriate, I distributed them into the already-heating pan. More spray oil, including on the veggies. Some foil over the drumsticks and sternum. A second hour passed. More spray oil over everything.

About 2 1/2 hours of the bird roasting in the oven, I saw that the thermometer reading was fast approaching the poultry-done temperature. I turned the oven down to 300°. (The project manager in me told me it was time to start the brown rice, which has a cooking time of 35-45 minutes.) After about another half hour, the temperature already read slightly past done. OK, it was time to shut the oven off, remove the pan, and set it out for the half-hour recommended time for juices to set.

It was time to start the gravy, starting with making the roux (heating flour and oil together in a frying pan) for making gravy. The turkey lifter was handy for raising the bird so I could easily scoop broth for making the gravy with. Yum!!!!

The veggies cooled down, so I scooped the veggies with some of the broth into a Pyrex bowl and microwaved them. Afterward, I strained most of the fluid into the gravy. About the time our guest took pix, I thought hmmm, maybe I could get an article out of the event if one of the pix looked suitable. The profile view is the one I picked for the pixstrip. Amazing to me is that everything came out ready when they were supposed to. And, yes, yummy!

During the meal, our guest mentioned her attempt to prepare a turkey dinner one summer day. She was unhappy with the results—dry, weird tasting, and some other unsavory adjectives. I wondered if maybe the turkey she bought had somehow thawed and refroze before she bought it. The wrapper might also have had a hole that allowed freezer burn or odor contamination. The caution might be to buy and cook turkeys around the winter holidays when turkeys are plentiful in coming to market.

Well, I think I will roast turkeys more often than once every few years. The more often I do them, the more easy it will be to remember what to do. And I'll have blog articles like this one to remind me. :-)

Read a different type of Thanksgiving story ("Mom & A Thanksgiving Turkey: Story"). Her family's turkey flew out of the oven as though it were possessed.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Tubular Waffle Grid Wafers 2

Back in August, I published my recipe for Tubular Waffle Grid Wafers that I used test tubes for helping shape the cooked wafers. (I wanted to use my waffle cone appliance to make shapes besides waffle cones.) This time, I used a 3 x 8 grid text tube rack for holding the shapes. The rack is open air, better for air circulation and avoiding trapping steam than the set of test tubes I used previously. Also, the 24 vertical cavities means I can stand up a lot more tubular wafers.

My pixstrip shows the following images:
  1. Equipment and utensils
  2. Ingredients and mixing
    1. Eggs and salt, to be mixed together first
    2. Sugar, to be added to the eggs and salt mixture (Yes, I'm reusing this and the next pix of ingredients.)
    3. Rest of ingredients
  3. Process completion
    1. Batter baking process (1st and 2nd image in the 2nd row)
    2. A rolled baked wafer
    3. Finished tube wafers in the test tube rack (My batch of 18 includes a few substandard ones for cautionary note.)
Equipment and utensils (spray oil being a bridge from equipment to baking process)
  • Waffle cone maker
  • Mixer (I used an electric hand mixer.)
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Rubber spatula(s)
  • Plastic spatula
  • Mixing bowl(s)
  • Cooling rack
  • Test tube rack, available online for less than $10
Ingredients and mixing (from the Simply Vanilla Wafer Cones recipe of the Bella Recipe Guide)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 C of water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 C cake flour (can sub with 1 C flour -2 T flour +2 T cornstarch)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Recommended: Spray oil application about every other wafer or so.
  1. Beat the eggs and salt.
  2. Add the sugar and beat it. :-)
  3. Add the water, oil, cake flour (or replacement flours), and vanilla.
Process completion (baking, etc.)
Prepare the iron as instructed with your appliance. Because I've used mine a few times, I've only wiped the cooking surfaces with a clean, warm, damp kitchen rag for cleaning preparation, sprayed the cooking surfaces, and plugged the cord. Heating time is a minute or so.

For each disk, pour about 2 T batter, close the lid, and heat for about 30 seconds. Move the cooked disk onto the cooling rack, roll it up, and slide it into a cavity. Continue the batter dispensing and baking process until you use up the batter. My calculations for calories, about 93 calories for each tube.
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