This will be the first of a series of holiday recipes for brides this year. My new book, Cooking for Love for Brides, will be out the first of the year. It not only focuses on recipes and “how to’s” for brides, but the book also highlights twelve short stories of twelve brides in their first year of marriage. Some stories are funny, some poignant, but all share recipes that cook up better relationships.
Even if you are not a newlywed, these stories and recipes will be relevant in everyday life.
So sit back and enjoy the read! You must might pick up some good cooking for love tips along the way.
Will you be on your own this year? Or will you be at your new in-laws’ or at your family’s Thanksgiving dinner? You are going to be prepared to show your love for family by cooking your first turkey. It’s not hard if you know the tricks to success. Keep it simple. Just remember: Bake at 350 degrees. This goes for turkey or chicken. Baste the bird every 20 minutes with clarified butter. Get a meat thermometer. When the internal temperature for the bird is 165 degrees, then it is done. That’s it!
To keep it simple, don’t stuff the turkey. Turkey affects the cooking time and doesn’t cook evenly. I cook stuffing separately. Focus your efforts on baking a great turkey, just like the magazines show.
Here’s the Recipe for the Love of Turkey
Size per number of guests.
Get a turkey that will feed the number of guests you have. If you have 8-10 people, get a 12-16 lb. turkey. If you only have 4-6 people, then you only need a 10-12 lb. Bones and giblets inside the turkey add to the weight.
Defrost the turkey.
Get the frozen turkey several days before you need it. The safest way to defrost it is to allow a few days for it to thaw in the refrigerator.
Seasoning the turkey.
On the morning of Thanksgiving, take the turkey out of the refrigerator and take out the giblets. (Giblets can be cooked in water and used for gravy. This is another recipe.) Rub the outside and inside of the turkey with two cloves of garlic, smashed. Throw the remnants inside the cavity along with one half lemon cut into quarters. Salt and pepper the turkey inside and out. You can also sprinkle its skin and cavity with Thyme and Sage.
Tress the turkey legs
It’s important to tress the turkey legs so that the whole bird cooks evenly. Take the cooking twine, and start from behind the neck down over the legs and cross down below the drumsticks and bring the strings back up on top of the legs. Tie the two ends like you would your shoe laces, but cross the laces twice to hold it tightly while you tie the knot. Cut the excess string.
Basting the turkey
Make clarified butter, which is two sticks of butter melted in a small shallow sauté pan. As the butter simmers, the milk solids separate from the oil and float on the top. Take a spoon and skim off that milk solid film that is white looking. Once you have skimmed off all the fat, you have clarified butter. This remaining oil has a very high smoke point, so it won’t burn and has a very nice flavor.
Take your clarified butter and put it in an open container and brush it onto the skin, inside and out, with a cooking brush or pastry brush. The clarified butter will seal in the seasonings you added and keep the bird moist. Baste it all over before putting into the oven.
Baste every 20 minutes. Basting will give it the beautiful brown moist color you see on magazine covers.
Take the temperature
Get a pocket thermometer that cooks use, or a good meat thermometer. After the turkey starts looking like it is browning and starting to look done, stick the thermometer into the thickest part of the bird, usually the breast or thigh areas. Once the thermometer reaches 165 degrees, it is done.
Take the turkey out and let it settle. Place a large piece of foil on top of it and let it rest 15 minutes before carving. It will be delicious, moist, brown, and you will be a star!
Cranberry Raspberry Sauce
This is a great Recipe for Love when you are bringing a side dish for Thanksgiving dinner at your in-laws, or at your family’s home. It is beautiful and shows you care. It is red, shiny, fresh, and sweet. Who wouldn’t love to have this as a side next to the turkey? The raspberries bring a sweetness to the cranberries. This would also be good over cheese as an appetizer if you have leftovers.
12 oz. package Cranberries, or 3 cups
2 small packages of raspberries, or 3 cups
3/4 cups sugar
1/8 cup fresh minced mint
1-2 Tbsps. Fresh minced ginger, depending on how spicy you want it
2 Tbsp. Chambord, raspberry liquor
In a large saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, mint, ginger, and liquor over medium heat. Stir until liquid forms from mixture. Turn down to low and simmer while stirring for 5 minutes, or until cranberries start to break open. Once they begin to open, then add the raspberries and stir for an extra few minutes or until they are heated through. Take off the heat, cool, and serve warm or cold.
If you are invited to Thanksgiving dinner, bring home made macaroons. These delicate cookies are a hundred year old Scandinavian tradition and are always appropriate. They are the perfect after dinner light desert served with coffee or tea. They will show some love for your new family!
1 7 oz. Box of Odense Almond Paste
2/3 cup granulated sugar
Scant 1/4 cup egg whites, beaten, pour off any excess egg whites greater than 1/4 cup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Add grated almond paste and sugar to mixing bowl. Beat until the texture of crumbs. With mixer on low, slowly add egg whites and beat until mixed. Beat on high for 3 minutes, until a creamy paste is formed, scraping down bowl 2-3 times. Drop teaspoon size dollops of batter onto paper, leaving 2 inches of space between cookies. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool cookies completely before removing from baking sheet. Store in an airtight container between layers of wax paper for 3-5 days. *Sometimes, depending on humidity or if raining, cookies may be best made a few days ahead so they have more time to settle.