Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Anise & Orange Dry-Rubbed Spatchcock Turkey Breast

And now. For the main event. The star of the show ladies and gentlemen. But first can we just take a minute to talk about the word: spatchcock. It's odd. It's dirty. It makes me giggle like a 7th grader. But nevertheless, it makes for a perfectly cooked turkey where all of the skin gets nice and crispy. Last year I made a liquid brine turkey, but this year (courtesy of Bon Appetit mag) I made my version of their dry brine bird. I also ripped the spine out of a turkey for the first time. It's a little creepy, but also makes you feel powerful at the same time. When you conquer it you'll understand. If you've missed any of my side dishes recipes leading up to today, check them out below!

Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Biscuits
Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Cabernet Sauce
Rye, Kale, Mushroom, Chorizo Stuffing
Brussels Sprout Leaves with Hazelnuts & Bacon
Broccolini Au Gratin
Pumpkin Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktails
Orange Scented Goat Cheese Cheesecake

Anise & Orange Dry-Rubbed Spatchcock Turkey Breast

  • 4 tsp. aniseed
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp. freshly grated orange zest
  • 4 strips orange peel
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp. freshly chopped rosemary + 1 sprig
  • 1/2 tbsp. freshly chopped thyme + 1 sprig
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 5-10-lb. turkey breast (backbone removed)**
  • 1-2 large onions, quartered
  • 3 carrots, peeled and halved
  • 3 celery stalks, halved
  • 1 head garlic, halved lenghtwise
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

In a food processor or spice grinder chop 3 tsp. of the aniseed, salt, zest, brown sugar, rosemary, thyme, and pepper until fine.

Place turkey on a cutting board, skin side down and score with a knife along the bone in the center of the breast. Flip over to have it skin side up and press down firmly to flatten the bird. You may hear some cracks, that's okay. Just a few bones breaking, allowing the bird to lay flat. 

Place the bird onto a baking sheet with a wire rack set inside and rub the turkey all over with the spice mixture. Chill uncovered in the fridge for 6-18 hours (the longer the better).

Prepare your roasting pan by layering the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and rosemary and thyme sprigs. Rinse the turkey clean of the dry rub in the skin and pat dry. Place on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees F and prepare the basting oil.

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat with the remaining aniseed and the orange strips until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Brush the turkey with the oil and add 1/2 cup of water to the bottom of the roasting pan. Add the turkey to the oven and roast for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes lower the heat to 350 degrees F, brush the turkey with some more of the oil and roast for another 20 minutes. Brush the turkey again and roast another 20 minutes. Repeat one more time (for a total of 1 hour at 350 degrees). 

Once the center of the breast reads 165 degrees F on a instant thermometer, remove the turkey, cover with foil, and let rest for 30 minutes. 

While the turkey rests, prepare the gravy. After the turkey rests and the gravy is made, slice the turkey breast and serve hot along your favorite side dishes. But don't forget to leave room for dessert!

  • pan drippings
  • 3 1/2 cups homemade stock (chicken/veggie)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. brown ale
  • salt and pepper to taste
Strain the drippings into a soup pot with 3 cups of the broth. Heat the broth and drippings over medium heat until hot. You may toss the vegetables in the bottom of the pan. Add 1/2 cup broth to the roasting pan and cook on the stove top over medium-high heat, scraping them up with a wooden spoon. Add in the flour and whisk constantly, cooking out the flour taste and creating a roux. After about 5 minutes, lower the heat to a simmer and add the broth/drippings mixture to the rough 1 cup at a time as you whisk constantly, creating a thick gravy. Once all of the broth and drippings has been added, pour in the vinegar and ale. Season with salt and pepper. Whisk until combined and serve hot.

**Note: feel free to use a larger/whole bird. I am a breast girl, so I did not bother with a whole bird with legs and wings. Just increase the spice rub to 4 tsp. aniseed, 1/2 cup salt, 1/4 cup orange zest, 2 tbsp. sugar, and 2 tsp. black pepper. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mini Orange Scented Goat Cheese Cheesecakes

I personally am a huge advocate for taking a small slice of each dessert at Thanksgiving so that I get to have a taste of each piece of heaven. This usually includes a classic pumpkin pie (my mom's favorite), a wildberry pie (my doing), and maybe a pecan or apple pie from the neighbors. These individual serving cheesecakes are the answer of trying to decide how big or small of piece to cut after stuffing yourself (both as a Thanksgiving pun and literally) because they decision has been made for you. Just sit back, top these babies with some of this Cran-bernet Sauce, and you and your sweet tooth are all set!

Mini Orange Scented Goat Cheese Cheesecakes

  • 10 gingersnap cookies
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. melted butter
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a food processor, process cookies to fine, even crumbs, about 30 seconds. Add sugar and pulse two or three times to incorporate.

Add warm butter in slow, steady stream while pulsing; pulse until mixture is evenly moistened and resembles wet sand, about ten 1-second pulses.

For individual cheesecakes, spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Add 1 tbsp. of the mixture to a muffin tin and press down firmly using the bottom of a small glass.

Bake until fragrant and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
  • 1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 6 oz. goat cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. orange zest
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
For the cheesecake, place cream cheese, goat cheese, orange zest, orange juice, and vanilla in large bowl. With an electric hand mixer/in your stand mixer, beat until just smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. In two additions, beat in sugar until mixture is creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating and scraping down sides of the bowl after each addition. Continue to beat until mixture is very smooth.

Pour batter into prepared crusts, filling them to the top. Bake until edges of cheesecake look set and the center is still soft and slightly jiggly, about 30 minutes. Place pan on a rack to cool completely in the pan. Then cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sparkling Pumpkin Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktails

WARNING: these are both delicious and dangerous at the same time. All you can really taste is the cider, so maybe you just might have 1 too many? But it's Thanksgiving, and what's wrong with a little extra holiday spirit?! Feel free to use your favorite apple cider, or homemade (even better!), I just couldn't turn down this pumpkin apple cider at my local market, and I loved it so much that I used it again in some cider margaritas for taco night with friends. The point is, you need a good cocktail on Thanksgiving. And this my friends is it. 

Sparkling Pumpkin Apple Cider Bourbon Cocktails
Makes 2 cocktails


  • 5 oz. sparkling pumpkin apple cider (I used Sprout's Farmer's Market Brand)
  • 2 1/2 oz. bourbon
  • ice
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 2 rosemary sprigs for garnish
  • 2 cinnamon sticks for garnish
  • 1 orange slice, halved for garnish

Pour sugar and cinnamon onto a small plate and mix well. Run orange halve around the rim of each glass and carefully set the glass rim into the cinnamon sugar. Fill the glass with ice.

Combine the cider and bourbon in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Pour over the iced glasses and garnish with a rosemary sprig, a cinnamon stick, and an orange slice.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Broccolini Au Gratin

Normally green bean casserole is my favorite side dish served on Thanksgiving day (well, second mashed potatoes, duh), but since I wanted to create some non-traditional recipes this year, I went with a broccolini au gratin. It's cheesy. It's crunchy. And the broccolini is cooked to perfection, crisp and flavorful. Plus, this on a leftover Thanksgiving sandwich makes ALL the difference. Trust me on this one.

Broccolini Au Gratin

  • 4 slices rye bread
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. broccolini, halve the large pieces lengthwise
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil, halved
  • 4 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan
  • 4 oz. freshly grated white cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss broccolini with 2 tbsp. oil, salt, and pepper Bake for 8 minutes until bright green. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, pulse the rye bread in a food processor until it resembles large crumbs. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet. Add the breadcrumbs, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook until crisp, about 5 minutes.

Prepare a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and lay down half of the broccolini. Top with half of the cheddar and 1 tbsp. of the parmesan. Then add the other half of the broccolini, the remaining white cheddar and another tbsp. of the parmesan. Top with the cooked breadcrumbs and the remaining parmesan cheese. 

Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Recipe inspired by Bon Appetit.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Buttermilk Biscuits

What's Thanksgiving without a biscuit to soak up all of gravy and to wipe up any remaining food on your plate. These are the easiest thing you can make next to store bought. And how are you going to impress your guests with store bought biscuits? These biscuits are perfectly buttery and flakey, just like a good biscuit ought to be. Plus, you can pile leftovers in between them to make a perfect sandwich. And as if you weren't already convinced, you can make these ahead of time and just reheat them when you are ready to serve. Yay carbs!!

Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Buttermilk Biscuits

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 12 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, chopped + 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cup cold buttermilk
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare oven to 425 degrees F. Place a sheet of parchment paper or silpat down onto a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add the cold butter, and using your fingers, crumble the butter until it is well incorporated into the flour mixture. Once only a few pea sized butter pieces remain, using a spoon to mix in the buttermilk. Mix until the mixture is just combined. Do not overmix.

Dust your work surface with some flour and scrape the dough from the bowl onto the prepared surface. Sprinkle with a little flour on top and use your hands to pat the dough into a rectangle. Fold it over in half and pat down. Do this 3 times, kneading the dough.

Pat the dough into a 1-inch rectangle and cut into 6-8 even squares (depending on how big you like your biscuits). Cut flat down into the dough and lift up with the knife, do not slide the knife.

Place the biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart from each other. Brush the tops with the melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.

Lower the oven temp to 375 and bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Crispy Brussels Sprout Leaves with Hazelnuts & Bacon

The day has come when my boyfriend doesn't flinch when I suggest brussels sprouts at dinner time. I guess all of those times sautéing them in bacon fat has paid off! Naturally when we were thinking of side dishes for our 2nd annual Thanksgiving-for-the-two-us but-we-actually-made-enough-for-a-small-village dinner, I suggested brussels sprouts, and Andrew was game. This is actually a very simple recipe, which can be a blessing on Thanksgiving day when you are trying to tend to 10 different dishes. The most time consuming part is separating all of the brussels sprout leaves. I suggest you recruit a team of helpers for this, or maybe make it into a contest of who can separate all of theirs first?! Yeah, I like that game! Plus, there's bacon. But my favorite part has got to be the tang from the splash of red wine vinegar. It just adds something extra to an already incredible side dish. 

Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

  • 2 lbs. brussels sprouts, stems trimmed, halved, leaves separated
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil (or bacon fat)
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig thyme, peeled from stem
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. chopped hazelnuts
  • salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add in 1/2 the brussels leaves and allow to wilt slightly. Then add the other half of the leaves, wilting. After about 5 minutes, remove from the heat and toss in the bacon, vinegar, and hazelnuts. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday Tip: The Perfect Mashed Potatoes. Every. Time.

Mashed potatoes are pretty basic. Potatoes. Milk. Butter. But what if I told you that there was a secret to the perfect mashed potato? Well, actually it is a couple of secrets. But for the sake of time, and your sanity, I am going to lump them all into one post. First of all, the potato makes the mash, so choose wisely. I love yukon golds for mashed potatoes. They are rich in flavor and fall apart easily. Second, make sure to use full fat milk and butter. If you're going to eat potatoes, you might as well enjoy them in all their glory. None of that skim milk and margarine crap. Third, and the most important secret to the perfect mashed potatoes is, drum roll, please. A food mill! I currently own and use this one, and have not been let down. By running the potatoes through the mill, you get a smooth texture, no lumps. Plus you get a nice little arm workout when churning the potatoes. Fool proof. Oh, and one last tip! Don't allow your potatoes to cool before mashing them. They tend to turn gummy. And ain't nobody got time for gummy potatoes!

The Perfect Mashed Potatoes


  • 2 lb. yukon gold potatoes, peeled, chopped into 2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: thyme, rosemary, garlic. simply add into the hot potato mash
Add the potatoes to a large soup pot and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Season with the kosher salt and bring to a boil. Once the water has come to a boil, lower to simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, until a fork or knife carefully inserted into a potato appears very tender. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the boiling liquid and add the potatoes back into the hot pot. Allow to sit and steam for 1-2 minutes to release any extra liquid. 

Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter over medium heat until the butter has melted and the mixture is warm throughout. Set aside. 

Add the potatoes to a food mill and run through over a large bowl until all potatoes have been riced and the mixture is smooth. Pour in the hot milk and butter and whip with a large spoon. Season with salt and pepper, or any other add-ins you like. Serve hot with extra butter!


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