Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Bathing Tom Turkey

© Can Stock Photo / gajdamak

It's the time of the year when I get up close and personal with Tom Turkey. 

The first, and most important step in preparing the traditional Thanksgiving feast is making sure the turkey is thoroughly washed and properly prepared for roasting. Turkey, like any poultry, is prone to salmonella, an airborne pathogen that can find its way to your turkey by improper handling at the packing house or by improper handling at your house.

Most of us buy frozen turkeys, and the best way to defrost them is to put them in the refrigerator several days before the Thanksgiving meal, but sometimes things don't always go as planned. If you have to do a quick defrost the best way to proceed is by filling the sink with scalding hot water and soaking the bird. You may have to repeat several times over the course of a few hours. And be sure to keep the bird covered. The original wrapper works best. Salmonella can be airborne, so an uncovered turkey, or any meat for that matter, left out to defrost is an open invitation to trouble.

Once the turkey has been completely defrosted it needs a good bath. With any poultry I always go on the assumption that salmonella is there, so I put it in the kitchen sink, (which by the way, needs to be cleaned and sanitized first), and I run the water over all over it. Salmonella can hide in the nooks and crannies. This is when you get up close and personal, so be sure to wash under the wings and thighs, in all the joints, and make sure to thoroughly flush out the body cavity while you're at it. Yes, this process can get a little messy, particularly if you're washing a big turkey, but trust me, it's well worth the effort.

Once the turkey has been completely washed it's ready for the roaster, the fryer, or the smoker, and be sure to clean the sink and countertops with disinfectant wipes to help prevent cross-contamination so you don't end up with a rather nasty, uninvited guest.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.


Sunday, November 18, 2018

An Amazingly Simple Thanksgiving Side Dish

I love cooking a full-course Thanksgiving dinner, even though it's a lot of work. So much food to prepare in so little time. I have, however, figured out one quick little shortcut that helps save time, and confusion, in the kitchen.

I first discovered baked sweet potatoes at a buffet restaurant. The friend I was dining with pointed them out to me and raved about how delicious they were. While not a huge sweet potato fan myself, I noticed what an easy side dish it would be to prepare. Simply take a sweet potato, or a yam, quarter it, wrap it in foil, and bake it like a regular potato.

I tried it myself a couple of Thanksgivings ago, and it was a big hit. Much less prep time and less hassle than candied yams, with no added sugars or preservatives, no casserole dish to wash, and fewer calories to boot. Best of all, my guests loved them.


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Pumpkin Walnut Cheesecake Pie

© Can Stock Photo / karenr
It's the most wonderful time of the year. It's Pumpkin Spice season

This recipe may not exactly be low carb, but it is pumpkin spice season after all, and that's what makes it so special. Did I also mention that it's sinfully delicious? If you're a pumpkin spice fan like I am you'll have to try it. You may even want to consider serving it with your holiday dinner. 



   2 packages (8 oz) cream cheese
   3/4 cup sugar
   1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin
   2 eggs
   2 frozen pie shells, thawed
   1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
   1/2 teaspoon ginger
   1 teaspoon nutmeg
   1/4 teaspoon salt


   6 tablespoons butter, softened
   1 cup brown sugar
   1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream sugar and cheese together in a large mixing bowl. Add pumpkin and spices and mix thoroughly. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add salt and blend until creamy. Pour equal amounts into pie shells and bake for 30 minutes.

While cheesecake is baking prepare topping. Cream butter and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl. Add walnuts and blend thoroughly. Remove cheesecakes from oven after 30 minutes and sprinkle on topping. Return to oven and bake for approximately 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool. Serve with whipped cream topping, if desired.