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Volume 18   Number 46

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  THIS WEEK'S FEATURES AND RECIPES:

  > Article: Turning Your Slow-Lane Turkey Into a Roadrunner

  > Food Funnies: Questions the Butterball Hotline Just Hates to Get

      T H A N K S G I V I N G  C O U N T D O W N :

    * Herb Roasted Turkey Breast
      
    * Southern Country Dressing
      
    * Cream Cheese Ranch Potatoes
      
    * Glazed Pearl Onions
      
    * Sweet Potato Balls
      
    * Green Bean Casserole
      
    * Glazed Baby Carrots
      
    * Chocolate Pecan Pie

    Healthy Eating:

    Low Carb: Mushroom Casserole

    Diabetic: Raspberry Angel Food Cake

    Low Fat: Shrimp Thermidor

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  This Week's Cooking Tips

* Roasting a turkey breast-side down for the first hour will keep the
  turkey moist. Turn turkey over after first hour to finish cooking.

* Celery layered at the base of a roasting pan adds flavor to the
  juices for delicious gravy.

* Rub a stick of butter over the turkey before roasting for a more
  moist turkey.

* Place sliced lemon, or a whole onion into the cavity of a turkey
  while roasting, the flavor will create a tasty juice for gravy.

* If you have chosen to use a roasting bag, open the bag for the
  final 15 to 20 minutes of roasting to allow the skin of the turkey
  to crisp. More Cooking Tips

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  This Week's Culinary Quiz (Answer at the bottom of page)

      Which Little Debbie snack was the first to be introduced?

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  Quote of the Week:

    "I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as the representative
    of our country ... The turkey is a much more respectable bird,
    and withal a true original native of America."

    - Benjamin Franklin

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    UPCOMING FOOD HOLIDAYS:

        November is: National Pepper Month
                      National Georgia Pecan Month
                      National Raisin Bread Month
                      National Peanut Butter Lovers' Month

          November 13 - National Indian Pudding Day
          November 14 - National Guacamole Day
          November 15 - Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day
          November 16 - National Fast Food Day
          November 17 - National Baklava Day
          November 18 - National Vichyssoise Day
          November 19 - Carbonated Beverage with Caffeine Day
          November 20 - National Peanut Butter Fudge Day

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  Turning Your Slow-Lane Turkey Into a Roadrunner
    By Mark Bittman

  It's almost a given that both time and oven space are at a premium
on Thanksgiving. Both of those problems are caused by the same
animal: the turkey. With an average cooking time of three hours and a
size that fills even a big oven, turkey can be trouble.

  Yet it's hard to argue with tradition. Otherwise sophisticated cooks
remain wedded to canned sweet potatoes with marshmallows, packaged
stuffing and canned cranberry sauce. Trying to wean them from the
turkey to something equally festive but more flavorful (capon, goose,
pork roast and standing rib all come to mind) is akin to trying to
sell a tofu dog at Yankee Stadium: there will be takers, but don't
bet against the norm.

  There is at least one way, however, to cut the cooking time of the
average turkey by about 75 percent while still presenting an
attractive bird. That is to split it down the middle before roasting.
The technique, commonly used with chickens (and sometimes called
spatchcocking), is simple. You turn the bird backside up and use a
sharp, sturdy knife to cut along both sides of the backbone, where it
meets the ribs. The bones there are thin enough for the process to be
easy and straightforward, and it usually takes less than five
minutes. Turn the bird over, press on the breastbone, and you've
reduced an eight-inch-high monster to something under four inches
(you can even roast the turkey on one oven rack and something else,
simultaneously, on the other).

  You've also exposed the legs, which need more cooking than the
breasts, to more heat - you'll notice how they stick out - and
allowed the wings to shield the breast. Roasted at 450 degrees (with
the heat moderated if the bird browns too fast), a 10-pound bird will
be done in about 45 minutes. Really. It will also be more evenly
browned (all of the skin is exposed to the heat), more evenly cooked,
and moister than birds cooked conventionally.

  This method of roasting precludes stuffing the turkey. (Because I've
long maintained that stuffing is best cooked outside of the bird,
where it can become crisp, rather than inside, where it is mushy,
this is hardly a disadvantage.) You can still make a great pan gravy:

  First, pour off all but a few tablespoons of the fat from the
turkey's roasting pan. Leave as many of the solids and as much of the
dark juices behind as possible. Place the roasting pan over high heat
(use two burners if necessary) and add about three cups of stock.
Bring to a boil, stirring, then turn the heat to low. If you want a
thick gravy, stir in a couple of tablespoons of cornstarch blended
with an equal amount of cold water (if that doesn't thicken it to
your liking, repeat). Simmer while you carve the bird, and stir in a
little butter if you like.

  Some people will balk at the inclusion of garlic in the recipe here,
but the turkey must derive its flavor from something. And I might
suggest a couple of possible variations:

  You can roast a mixture of vegetables - diced carrots, onions,
parsnips, potatoes, turnips or a combination are all good - beneath
the bird. Or you can substitute a couple of tablespoons of finely
minced ginger, a bunch or two of chopped scallions and a couple of
tablespoons of soy sauce for the tarragon.

  But perhaps this is too heretical. You'll already be presenting a
bird with a surprising new look.

  45-Minute Roast Turkey
  ==================
    1 - 8 to 12-pound turkey
    10 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed, more to taste
    1 branch fresh tarragon or thyme separated into sprigs, or
      1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or tarragon
    1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil or butter
    Salt and pepper to taste.

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Put turkey on a stable cutting board
    breast side down and cut out backbone. Turn turkey over, and press
    on it to flatten. Put it, breast side up, in a roasting pan. Wings
    should partly cover breasts, and legs should protrude a bit.

2. Tuck garlic and tarragon under the bird and in the nooks of the
    wings and legs. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle liberally
    with salt and pepper.

3. Roast for 20 minutes, undisturbed. Turkey should be browning.
    Remove from oven, baste with pan juices, and return to oven.
    Reduce heat to 400 degrees (if turkey browns too quickly, reduce
    temperature to 350 degrees).

4. Begin to check turkey's temperature about 15 minutes later (10
    minutes if bird is on the small side). It is done when thigh meat
    registers 165 degrees on an instant-read meat thermometer. Check
    it in a couple of places.

5. Let turkey rest for a few minutes before carving, then serve with
    garlic cloves and pan juices. Yield: At least 10 servings.

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    Find out why the E-Cookbooks Library is one
    of the greatest values on the internet!

    Discover The E-Cookbooks Library

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  FOOD FUNNIES: Questions the Butterball Hotline Just Hates to Get
 

9. "Dude. I can't figure out how to smoke this turkey ...."

8. "What are the microwave instructions for a frozen 12-pound
    bird? And can you hurry? The guests arrive in an hour!"

7. "Can you explain the infield fly rule?"

6. "I tried this popcorn stuffing recipe I found on the Internet,
    and my oven blew up. Who should I sue?"

5. "So I stuffed the candy in there and glued the opening shut,
    and the kids have been whacking at it for like an hour now.
    When should it break open? The birthday guests have to go home
    now and they want their candy."

4. "Do you have a recipe for turkey sushi?"

3. "It says, 'Bake at 325 for 15 minutes a pound.' I weigh 143.
    How much time does that come to?"

2. "As I pulled the turkey out of the oven, my dog jumped me and
    ran off with it. My question is, what is the recommended
    cooking time for stuffed terrier?"

... and the #1 Question the Butterball Hotline Just Hates to Get ...

1. "Yes Mr. Perdue, our refrigerators *are* running, thank you."

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  Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast
  ======================
    1 whole bone-in turkey breast, 6 1/2 to 7 pounds
    1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
    2 teaspoons dry mustard
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 tablespoons good olive oil
    2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1 cup dry white wine

  Preheat the oven to 325F. Place the turkey breast, skin side up,
on a rack in a roasting pan. In a small bowl, combine the garlic,
mustard, herbs, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice to make a
paste. Loosen the skin from the meat gently with your fingers and
smear half of the paste directly on the meat. Spread the remaining
paste evenly on the skin. Pour the wine into the bottom of the
roasting pan.

  Roast the turkey for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until the skin is golden
brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 165F when inserted
into the thickest and meatiest areas of the breast. (test in several
places.) If the skin is over-browning, cover the breast loosely with
aluminum foil. When the turkey is done, cover with foil and allow it
to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Slice and serve with the
pan juices spooned over the turkey.

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  Southern Country Dressing
  =====================
    2 baguettes (long French bread), stale, cut into 1-inch cubes
    2 cups cooked white rice
    1 sleeve crushed saltines
    1 pound bulk breakfast sausage
    2 cups chopped celery
    1 large onion, chopped
    7 cups chicken stock
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
    1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
    3 eggs, beaten
    1/4 stick butter, melted

  Preheat oven to 350F. Place bread in a large bowl. Add rice and
saltines. Cook sausage in a large skillet until it starts to brown.
Add celery and onion and saute until transparent, 5 to 10 minutes.
Pour over bread and rice mixture. Add stock and mix well. Add salt,
pepper, sage, and poultry seasoning. Mix well. Add the beaten eggs
and melted butter. Mix well.

  Pour stuffing into a greased pan and bake until cooked through and
golden brown, about 45 minutes.

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  Cream Cheese Ranch Potatoes
  =========================
    8 baking potatoes, peeled and quartered
    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    1 (1 ounce) package dry Ranch-style dressing mix
    1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
    1/2 cup butter, softened

  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook
until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and mash.

  In a large bowl beat the cream cheese and dressing mix until smooth.
Stir in mashed potatoes, sour cream and butter; beat until desired
consistency is reached.

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  Glazed Pearl Onions
  ================
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 package (16 ounces) frozen small whole onions, thawed
    2 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
    1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

  Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the
onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to
brown on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle with the brown
sugar and gently stir in the mustard to make a smooth coating
over the onions. Cook two minutes more. Sprinkle with parsley
and serve hot.

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  Sweet Potato Balls
  ===============
    4 large sweet potatoes
    2/3 cup packed brown sugar
    2 tablespoons orange juice
    1 teaspoon orange zest
    1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    2 cups shredded coconut, sweetened
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 large marshmallow per potato ball

  Preheat oven to 350F. Bake the potatoes until tender, then peel and
mash them. Stir in the brown sugar, orange juice, zest and nutmeg.
In a separate bowl, toss the coconut with the sugar and cinnamon.
Press mashed potatoes around each marshmallow, creating a 2 to 3-inch
diameter ball. Roll the balls in the coconut mixture. Bake for 15 to
20 minutes. Watch carefully for the last few minutes of cooking; the
expanding marshmallows can cause the potato balls to burst open.

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  Glazed Baby Carrots
  ================
    1 (1-pound) bag baby carrots
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1/4 cup water
    1/4 cup maple syrup
    2 tablespoons orange juice
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    1/4 teaspoon salt

  Place all the ingredients in a medium, heavy saucepan. Bring to a
boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the carrots
are tender and the sauce becomes a shiny glaze, about 15 minutes.

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  Green Bean Casserole
  ==================
  For the topping:
    2 medium onions, thinly sliced
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    Nonstick cooking spray

  For beans and sauce:
    2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
    1 pound fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and halved
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    12 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 cup chicken broth
    1 cup half-and-half

  Preheat the oven to 475F. Combine the onions, flour, panko and salt
in a large mixing bowl and toss to combine. Coat a sheet pan with
nonstick cooking spray and evenly spread the onions on the pan. Place
the pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake until golden brown,
approximately 30 minutes. Toss the onions 2 to 3 times during cooking.
Once done, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use.
Turn the oven down to 400F.

  While the onions are cooking, prepare the beans. Bring a gallon of
water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil in an 8-quart saucepan. Add
the beans and blanch for 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately
plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
Drain and set aside.

  Melt the butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet set over medium-high
heat. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring
occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their
liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and nutmeg and
continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over
the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and
simmer for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the
half-and-half. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally,
approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

  Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 of the onions and all of the
green beans. Top with the remaining onions. Place into the oven and
bake until bubbly, approximately 15 minutes. Remove and serve
immediately.

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  Chocolate Pecan Pie
  =================
    3 tablespoons butter, melted
    3 eggs, beaten
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    2 tablespoons flour
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3/4 cup dark corn syrup
    3 tablespoons bourbon liquor
    1 1/2 cups pecan halves
    1/2 cup mini milk chocolate morsels
    1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell
    whipped cream

  Preheat oven to 350F. Melt butter in a small saucepan. While butter
is melting, add beaten eggs to a medium sized bowl. Stir in brown
sugar, flour, vanilla extract, corn syrup and bourbon until combined.
Add butter when just melted.

  Mix in the pecans and chocolate morsels. Mix all together. Pour
mixture into pie shell. Place on a sheet tray and bake for 50 to
60 minutes. When ready to serve top with a dollop of whipped cream.

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  This Week's Culinary Quiz Answer: Oatmeal Creme Pie

    The Oatmeal Creme pie was introduced in 1960 by the founder of
  the company, O.D. McKee. He named the company after his 4 year
  old granddaughter, Debbie, and the pie itself sold over 14 million
  within the first ten months of production. The ever popular Swiss
  Cake Roll wasn't invented until 1964.

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