Holiday Turkey and Ham

Turkey and HamI’m posting this recipes mainly to archive these recipes, since we only cook them once or twice a year.

After sufficient trial and error, we have settled upon these approaches for holiday bird and pig.  (And yes, when faced with the question of ‘turkey or ham?’ our family is an ‘all of the above’ family.)  Several years ago, we started cooking our turkey in an electric roaster, out of convenience, but have come to realize it is the absolutely best way to roast the bird.  As for ham, it is very straightforward, and the raisin sauce comes courtesy of my Grandma Mox.

Ingredients

For Turkey

  • Whole turkey, 10 to 12 pounds
  • 1 stick of salted butter, softened
  • 3 Tb. each, chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, and parsley
  • 1 Tb. dried oregano
  • 1/2 Tb. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Tb. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 3 whole sprigs rosemary
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 2 to 3 Tb. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

For Ham

  • 7 to 10 lb. bone-in ham
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tb. honey
  • 1 Tb. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tb. raw organic apple cider

For Raisin Sauce

  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 blackcurrant jelly
  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 orange, zested
  • 2 Tb. dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tb. corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground allspice
  • Dash salt

Process

  1. Assuming that your meats are thawed out and ready to go, preheat electric roaster to its maximum temperature.  Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Stir together butter, chopped herbs, oregano, black pepper, garlic, celery seed, nutmeg, ginger, and paprika.  Set aside.
  3. Place turkey on roasting rack. Stuff turkey with rosemary sprigs, quartered onion, and lemon.  Rub butter mixture underneath skin of turkey.  Coat turkey with olive oil and season liberally.  (Insert remote thermometer into thigh.)
  4. Place turkey inside roaster and cook at maximum temperature for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 300.  Pay attention to your internal temperature readings and adjust heat accordingly.  Thigh meat should be cooked to 180 F – once that temperature is reached, hold at that temp for 20 to 30 minutes.  Most importantly – do not open the lid of the roaster until you are ready to carve.
  5. Place the ham, face-side down, in a large oval roasting pan.  Cover with aluminum foil and roast in oven for about an hour (depending on overall cooking time – you will need to reserve 45 minutes of cooking time at end for the glaze.)
  6. While meats are cooking, prepare glaze and sauce.  For glaze, stir together brown sugar, honey, Dijon mustard, and cider and simmer.
  7. For raisin sauce, mix together all ingredients and simmer until thickened.
  8. Pour glaze all over ham to coat for last 45 minutes.  Recover ham with foil.
  9. Remove turkey and rest for about 15 minutes (or 30…).  Carve and serve!

Vietnamese-style BBQ Chicken

Viet ChickenI keep fiddling around with this basic theme, and I’m not sure if I’ve gotten there yet, but this one is pretty darn good. We love barbeque in general, but it’s also fun to push the boundaries a little.

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken drumsticks
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup beer (amber ale works well)
  • 2 Tb. Sambal
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup honey

Method

  1. Place chicken in a gallon plastic bag. Mix remaining ingredients except ketchup an honey and pour over chicken.  Toss to coat and marinate for at least two hours.
  2. Remove chicken from bag and reserve marinade.  Grill chicken using indirect grilling.
  3. Meanwhile, combine reserved marinade, ketchup, and honey in a small stockpot and simmer.  Reduce to about half, until a sticky consistency is reached.
  4. Brush chicken with sauce and cook until it ‘sets.’ I also like to give it a little burn over direct heat.

Spicy House Burgers

Fresno PeppersOK – I was so hungry, I forgot to take a picture of this one.  But trust me.  It was pretty.

We are hardcore hamburger enthusiasts, and to be honest, we have a hard time finding a better burger than what we make at the house.  In general, recipes for hamburgers are a little silly, since it really just comes down to ingredients and technique.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. 90/10 grass-fed ground beef (yes it matters)
  • Salt and pepper (more than you think)
  • 6 to 9 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 poblano pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 red fresno pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced (optional)
  • 4 to 8 oz. white sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
  • 3 whole wheat kaiser rolls
  • Butter, enough to spread on rolls.
  • Sliced vine-ripened tomato
  • Mixed baby greens (spinach, frisee, arugula, red leaf lettuce, bibb lettuce)

Procedure

  1. Mix diced peppers and mayonnaise.  Put in fridge to get happy.
  2. Heat large flame-proof skillet to med-high heat.  Divide beef into three equal portions and pat into thin patties.  Slap down in the pan, salt-and-pepper side down.  Preheat broiler.
  3. Vigorously salt and pepper top side.  Hit each patty with 2 to 3 dashes of Worcestershire.  Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, butter rolls.  Toast under broiler, about 20 seconds or so.
  5. Flip burgers, cover, and cook for another two minutes or so.  Uncover burgers and continue to cook.
  6. Top burgers with sliced jalapenos, if desired.  Also top with sliced cheese.  Slide pan under broiler until cheese melts a bit, about 15 seconds.
  7. Spread spicy mayo on both sides of roll.  Top with spring mix and tomato.

We serve with roasted potatoes (house recipe – to follow).  But it’s always good with French fries or sweet potato fries.

Meatloaf II: Bat out of Hell

Meatloaf 2I know that there aren’t a lot of recipes on here, so it seems silly to have a second meatloaf recipe, but we really, really like meatloaf at the Mox house.  And, more importantly, I didn’t want to forget how to do this one, which was ad-libbed with ingredients on hand.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. ground beef (grass-fed, please!)
  • 1 medium onion, diced fine
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs OR crushed whole-wheat Ritz crackers (I used 1/2 and 1/2)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbs ground yellow mustard (Coleman’s)
  • 1 tbs Hungarian paprika
  • 1-2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1-2 tsp chopped fresh sage

For glaze

  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire
  • 1/2 to 1 tbs Crystal hot sauce
  • 1 tbs ground cumin

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients very well in bowl.  On a greased 9 x 13 pan, shape meat mixture into loaf shape.  Dust with additional salt and pepper.  Cook for 1 hour.
  2. Mix ingredients for glaze, remove meatloaf from oven, and coat loaf with glaze.  Cook an additional 15 minutes.
  3. Serve with mashed potatoes and Kristine’s green beans!

Grilled Chicken Tacos

Chicken TacoI suppose many people would call these “fajitas.”  As with most things, I am a stickler and a purist; therefore, I would not actually refer to these as fajitas, since the translation of fajita is “little belt,” referring to skirt steak.  So just as I will refuse to call anything involving vodka a “martini,” I shall also refuse to call anything that is not skirt steak a fajita.

Etymology aside, this is a simple delicious dish that is representative of our house style of cooking.  Not too heavy, fairly healthful, and full of big flavors.  As with any simple dish, however, ingredients do matter.  For the love of Pete, don’t use frozen, salt-water-injected supermarket chicken breasts from Frankenchickens that have pumped full of hormones and antibiotics.  Find yourself a source for free-range (or at least free-roaming), vegetarian, air-chilled chicken.  Organic is a plus.

Ingredients

For marinade

  • 3 to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced + 1 lime, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. tequila
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. chile powder
  • 1 tsp. + 1 tsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, more or less to taste

For toppings

  • 1 white onion, sliced
  • Avacado, sliced
  • Tomato, sliced
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Full-fat Greek-style yogurt or sour cream

Process

  1. Combine chicken and marinade ingredients in a large plastic bag and toss to coat.  Allow to marinate for as long as you have – at least an hour.
  2. Heat grill to high heat. Remove chicken from marinade (discard) and grill over high heat for about 10 minutes a side.  While grilling, squeeze lime half over chicken breasts.  Cut  the other half of the lime into wedges and serve with shots of tequila (this step is very, very important).
  3. Meanwhile, saute sliced onion, adding salt and a little soy sauce while cooking.  Stir frequently and cook until well browned.
  4. Remove chicken from grill to a warm plate.  Squeeze remaining lime juice over chicken and dust with salt.  Cover plate with foil and allow to rest while preparing the onions.
  5. Slice avocado and tomato and drizzle with lime juice and salt.  Slice chicken into thin strips and cover.
  6. To serve, spread a small amount of yogurt/sour cream on a warm tortilla, add avocado and tomato, then chicken, then onions, and top with cilantro.  Serve alongside Spanish rice and pinto beans.  And beer.

Hungarian Goulash

PaprikaSo don’t ask why, but we had a couple of pounds of stew beef in the freezer, so we decided to make ‘real’ goulash, which is a dish we haven’t had for several years.  It’s hard not to notice that almost every ethnic cuisine has a dish like this, whether it’s carne y papas (meat and potatoes) or beef tips and gravy.  It’s very simple and somehow feels very luxurious.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. stew beef, cut into smallish chunks
  • Oil
  • Flour, to coat beef
  • 2 yellow onions, sliced thin
  • 2 tblsp Hungarian paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 1/2 cups of (good quality) beef broth
  • 3 tblsp flour
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
Procedure
  1. Heat oil in dutch oven or large stock pot; dredge beef chunks in flour and then brown nicely (don’t cook – just brown).  Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Saute onions until browned at edges
  3. Add back meat; stir well and add spices
  4. Add beef broth, bring to simmer, and reduce heat to very, very low.  Simmer gently for at least 1 hour
  5. Mix flour with 1/3 cup of water and stir into sauce, to thicken
  6. Turn of heat and fold in sour cream
Serve with a cucumber and onion salad.
Beer pairing: A hefeweizen actually works pretty well.  I had Sierra Nevada’s Kellerweiss.

Pesto-stuffed Pork Loin Chops

Honest, we had really intended to eat leftovers and clean out the fridge, but I’ve had a bumper crop of arugula and had a couple of extra batches of pesto in the freezer.  To make matters worse, the grocery store had nice-looking pork loins on sale BOGO.  So we devised this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 4-6 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups of coarsely chopped arugula
  • 1/4 cup of chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of grated parmesean cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 butterflied boneless pork loins
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, to taste
Directions
  1. Combine walnuts, arugula, garlic, and basil in a food processor and blitz until evenly chopped.  Drizzle in olive oil while the machine is running. Stir in cheese and salt to taste and blitz again for consistency.
  2. Place pork loins between sheets of waxed paper or aluminum foil and hammer angrily with a meat tenderizer or rolling pin until you feel better and the meat is evenly 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick.
  3. Season interior with salt and pepper.  Spread a thin layer of pesto and roll up into a tight roll.  Truss up with cooking twine.  Season outside with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  4. Set up a charcoal grill for indirect cooking.  Sear pork rolls on all sides over insanely hot charcoal (alternately, sear in a very hot cast iron skillet).  Once seared well on all sides, move to center of grill and cook indirectly until cooked through, about 25 or 30 minutes (?).  (Alternately, transfer skillet with loins to oven preheated to 450F and cook for 15 or 20 minutes.)
  5. To serve, cut into cute little rounds and serve with baked potato and salad.
Beer pairing: I drank my own organic amber ale.  I should think Saint Arnold’s Amber Ale, Bell’s Amber, or Abita Amber would do nicely, as would any sort of Marzen or Octoberfest.

    Ojo de Cabra Beans with Andouille

    So I regularly order heirloom-variety beans from this place called Rancho Gordo New World Specialty Food in Napa, California.  I really like the company, because they promote  many “old” variety of new-world foods, including many varieties of beans that have been eaten by the indigenous people of the southwest US and northern Mexico for centuries.

    This is my take on a recipe of theirs using a bean called “Ojo de Cabra” (Eye of the Goat)

    Ingredients

    • 3 slices center-cut bacon. Cut into 1 inch squares
    • 1 andouille sausages
    • 1/2 lb. dried Ojo de Cabra beans (could substitute pintos)
    • 5 to 7 dried chile pequin, ground to dust in a molcajete/morter and pestle
    • 1/2 tblsp. red chile powder
    • 1/2 large white onion. Medium dice
    • 1 poblano pepper.  Medium dice
    • 5 cloves garlic. Minced
    • Salt(to taste)
    • 2 tsp black pepper
    • 1/2 bottle IPA beer (I used my homebrewed SWMBO Slayer)
    • 1/2 to 1 tsp. lemon juice
    • 5 to 8 leaves epazote, minced*
    • Cotija cheese, crumbled, to garnish
    Procedure
    1. Rinse beans and soak in cold water for at least 3 hours.
    2. Add beans to a large stockpot and cover with about 3 inches of water.  Bring to a rolling boil for about 5 minutes, then reduce heat to a minimal simmer for about 1 to 1.5 hours.
    3. In a cast-iron skillet (what else?), render bacon pieces–do not fry crispy or brown.  Remove bacon with slotted spoon, reserving in a bowl and leaving behind grease.  Fry andouille over medium heat until skin browns and crackles, about 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove sausage to cutting board to cool.  Reduce heat under skillet to lowest setting.
    4. Allow skillet to cool for a bit.  Add onions, garlic, peppers, crushed chile pequin, chili powder, salt, and pepper.  Saute mixture until onion begins to turn translucent and before garlic browns.
    5. Add beer.  Drink the other half.  Raise heat to low-medium and reduce by half.
    6. Test beans – if they are mostly soft, add in sausage, bacon, onion, epazote, and lemon juice.  Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, and test broth, adjusting seasoning as necessary.
    7. Simmer over very, very low heat until you feel like eating.  Serve over white rice with crumbled cotija cheese!
    *I don’t have any suggestions for where to find epazote – I just started growing some in my patio herb garden.  It loves the hot Texas weather.

    Luleh Kabobs (Armenian-style Lamb)

    This is one of our “house” dishes – it comes up in the rotation quite a bit.  Now that it’s grilling season, I imagine that we’ll see it more often!  Serve with hummus, toasted pita bread, grilled vegetables, lemon wedges, and tzatziki sauce (recipe follows).

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb. ground beef (very lean)
    • 1 lb. ground lamb
    • 1 onion, grated
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/4 to 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs (as needed)
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 2 tsp. salt (to taste)
    • 2 tsp. pepper (to taste)
    • 12 wooden skewers, soaked for 30 minutes
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 2 tblsp fresh mint (habek mint, if you happen to have it…)

    Procedure

    1. Mix meat, egg, bread crumbs, and seasonings in large mixing bowl.  For best results, set aside in refrigerator for about 1 hour.
    2. To make kabobs, squish a handful of the meat mixture onto a skewer, forming an oblong patty
    3. Grill kabobs over charcoal at high heat, about 4 minutes a side (until nice, dark grill marks form).  Turn to grill each of four sides, as needed.
    4. To serve, arrange on platter and drizzle with fresh-squeezed lemon juice and sprinkle with mint.

    Tzatziki Sauce

    Honestly, I could just sit and eat this stuff with a spoon (and I often do, when no one’s looking).

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup full-fat Greek-style yogurt (thickest possible)
    • 1/3 of an English cucumber, peeled & grated
    • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, mashed into paste or finely chopped
    • ~ 2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 tblsp. white wine vinegar
    • 1 tsp. salt (to taste)
    • 2 tsp. dill

    Procedure

    1. Grate cucumber, salt, and place in strainer – allow to rest for 30 minutes
    2. Squeeze water from cucumber and mix with remaining ingredients
    3. Allow sauce to rest in fridge for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour (2 or 3 hours is better)

    Roast Pork Loin with Sweet-n-Spicy Sauce

    Again, one of those great dinners that came about because we just didn’t want to go to the store.  We had some pork loins in the freezer, and I found some sweet potatoes rattling around in the cupboard, so I just improvised.  Came out fantastic!  Serve with wild rice and sauteed kale.  My beer suggestion is Brooklyn Brewing Company Pre-Prohibition Lager.

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 lb. pork loin
    • Garlic powder, mustard powder, salt, pepper
    • 2 good-sized sweet potatoes
    • ~ 3 tblsp. olive oil
    • 1/4 cup orange juice
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 2 tblsp. red currant jelly (grape would also do)
    • 1/2 to 1 tblsp pureed chipotle en adobo
    • 1 to 2 tblsp corn starch (dissolved in water)
    • 1 1/2 to 2 tblsp brown sugar
    • 1/2 c. of raisins
    • 1/4 tsp. lemon zest

    Procedure

    1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Liberally rub pork loin with equal parts salt, pepper, garlic, and mustard and set aside.
    2. Cube sweet potatoes into bite-sized chunks.  Toss with olive oil and lay out in a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Salt and pepper.
    3. Put potatoes on top-rack of oven (bake for 45 minutes).  Heat cast-iron skillet to med-high heat.
    4. Sear pork loin on all sides (about 2 or three minutes a side).  On last side, place entire skillet in bottom rack of oven.  Roast for 35 to 45 minutes (until internal temp of 160).
    5. In small saucepan, mix orange juice, water, cornstarch, and jelly.  Bring to boil, then simmer for 5 or 10 minutes, until sauce thickens.  Stir in raisins, lemon zest, and brown sugar.  Simmer gently and adjust thickness of sauce with additional corn starch, if necessary.
    6. Meanwhile, prepare rice.
    7. Remove pork from oven and rest for 10-15 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare kale.
    8. Slice pork into 1/2 slices.  To serve, fan out slices on the plate and drizzle with sauce!