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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Make Basic Turkey Stock

How to Make Turkey Stock 1

After Thanksgiving dinner was over and the turkey was picked almost clean, there's not much else to do except make stock. I'm not of the mindset that you need to doctor much to make a basic turkey stock. Onions, carrots, and celery are nice additions, but if I'm going to add them to soup, then I just turn the whole pot into Turkey Vegetable Soup.

I just add water and simmer the bones for an hour or two to make a basic stock. I don't add salt until the broth has been simmering for a while because the turkey is already seasoned, so additional salt may be unnecessary.

The only two things to keep in mind are to keep the heat on low to medium-low if you'd like a clear broth to make soups such as Bun Mang Ga Tay (Vietnamese Rice Vermicelli Noodle Soup with Bamboo Shoots and Turkey) and Mi Ga Tay Tiem (Vietnamese Egg Noodle Soup with Chinese 5-Spice Turkey), or at medium-high to high heat if you want a milky broth to make Shichimenchou (Japanese Turkey Bone) Ramen. That's it.

Of course, you can also add lemongrass or spices or any other seasonings you wish, but the key to a good broth is more about heat level for whichever type of broth you want and let it simmer for a while, and skim to remove scum and other impurities.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turkey Pot Pie with Puff Pastry

Turkey Pot Pie with Puff Pastry 10

What can I say about pot pies?

I've made traditional Chicken Pot Pie, varied it with Chicken Pot Pie with Cilantro Biscuits and Ca Ri Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Curry) Pot Pie. And when I'm feeling lazy, fall back to using puff pastry crust like with Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) Pot Pie.

So when I'm feeling very lazy and have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving dinner, Turkey Pot Pie with Puff Pastry is the natural result.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

English Cottage Pie with Ground Beef and Mushrooms

English Cottage Pie with Ground Beef and Mushrooms 1

I've already blogged a regular English Cottage Pie with Ground Beef and Peas and Carrots, and Pate "Chinois" (Canadian "Chinese" Cottage Pie) with Ground Beef and Corn. So, I figured I'd change it up a bit by adding mushrooms.

Not much to say. It's a meal-in-one, or a great side dish for Thanksgiving dinner.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tater Tot Casserole with Chicken Pot Pie Filling

Tater Tot Casserole with Chicken Pot Pie Filling 1

Tator tot casserole. Abomination or genius?

What's not to love?

Roast chicken.


Cream of mushroom soup.


Crispy tater tots.


Cheesy crust.


Actually, I should point out that my version differs from the majority of recipes I've found online, which have a filling of ground beef, cheddar cheese, cream of mushroom soup, and sour cream. Where are the vegetables? For that matter, it already sounded too similar to the English Cottage Pie with Ground Beef and Mushrooms I was already making for Thanksgiving dinner. So I decided to use a basic Chicken Pot Pie filling. My tater tot casserole with chicken pot pie filling was a hit, just a spoonful was left at the end of the night.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Roast Turkey with Rosemary and Sage Salt Rub

Roast Turkey with Rosemary and Sage Salt Rub 1

Except for 2008, when I ordered a Chinese barbecued turkey to incorporate into my Asian-inspired Thanksgiving menu, the basic Salt Rub and Butter Turkey has been my staple recipe for years. And even though it has been good every single time, I wanted to change it up a notch.

Remembering the rosemary and sage salt sample I got from Woody's Gourmet on Day 145, I decided adding a bit of herbs to the salt sounded pretty delicious. The sample was only 1/2 teaspoon though. Way too little for a 15-lb turkey. So I added some more dried rosemary and sage from my spice cabinet into the salt rub. I didn't go overboard with the spices since I didn't want them to burn while the turkey was baking for so many hours. The result was the usual perfectly crispy skin and juicy turkey that the salt rub always produces with just a hint of rosemary and sage.

Way easier to make than the Rosemary Olive Oil Turkey Marinade I made back in 2005.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving 1

Happy Thanksgiving!

I was feeling decidedly lazy this year and only planned on roasting the turkey and making Homemade Turkey Gravy from the drippings. I asked the middle '87 to make the mashed potatoes and stuffing. Her mom, my youngest uncle's wife, brought Vietnamese desserts. The older '88 brought pasta salad. Her mom, my youngest aunt, brought over Thit Heo Nuong (Vietnamese Grilled Pork). Cousin A and her husband provided drinks. The younger '88 sent over the cute turkey cake pops. And my friend DP stopped by later with apple and pumpkin pies and a souvenir for me from Brazil.

Since my cousins alleviated my worries about the main side dishes, I decided to make Cottage Pie with Ground Beef and Mushrooms and Tator Tot Casserole.

The main course was a 15.6-lb Roast Turkey with Rosemary and Sage Salt Rub.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer

Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer 1

Shortly before Halloween, I was contacted by Emily Straubel of Reed's Inc. asking if I'd like to sample its Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer. I'm a fan of Reed's Ginger Brew and Virgil's Root Beer, so I eagerly agreed to sample its butterbeer, I mean, butterscotch beer.

While Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer isn't affiliated with Harry Potter, there are plenty of allusions. The flyer said, "Taste the magic of a wizard’s buttery, vanilla, cream soda brew. Since 1374, the Flying Cauldron has been making this magical brew for under-aged wizards, and wizards who are young at heart, at their brew pub in Hogsbreath, England."

Not Hogsmeade, but Hogsbreath. Not the Leaky Cauldron, but Flying Cauldron. Not butterbeer, but butterscotch beer.

It's not affiliated with Harry Potter. Got that?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Healthier Brown Fried Rice with Broccoli and Chicken

Healthier Brown Fried Rice with Broccoli and Chicken 1

In an effort to eat healthier, I sometimes switch to brown rice. I like the firmer texture and slight "pop" as I bite into each grain. And while replacing white rice with brown rice doesn't really need a specific recipe, I thought it'd be nice to come up with fried rice recipe that would be healthier for you. This recipe would be right at home at P.F. Chang's or any Chinese-American kitchen.

I would say it's healthy, but I'm sure someone will debate the nutritional value of rice, even if it's brown. Or chicken, even if it's breast meat. Or eggs, even if you used all whites, which I didn't.

So! Healthier fried rice if you will.

With broccoli.

Because no one will argue with me that broccoli isn't healthy?

And in the run-up to Thanksgiving, perhaps a slightly healthier meal is in order before you indulge?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

North, South, and East


One of my college friends was in town for her maternal grandmother's funeral, which was held at SkyRose Chapel at Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuaries in Whittier. I've never been inside the chapel, though my ba noi (Vietnamese paternal grandmother) and oldest uncle, as well as countless others from my hometown are buried at this cemetery.

Does it look familiar? Will you think I'm a complete nerd when I tell you that I recognized it as the filming location for the scene in "Star Trek" where Spock informed the Vulcan Science Academy that he was going to attend Starfleet Academy instead?