Monday, December 3, 2007

Leftover Turkey? Make turkey soup!

When I made the Thanksgiving turkey, after the turkey was carved, I immediately bagged the carcass (with vegetable stuffing) and threw it in the freezer.

I finally decided to take the turkey carcass out and make soup out of the bones, leftover turkey meat, and vegetable stuffing.
Nothing beats hot brothy soup on a chilly evening!!

Brothy (Leftover) Turkey Soup

- 1 Thanksgiving turkey carcass. (and any other leftover turkey bones you have)
- Handful of excess Thanksgiving turkey (in chunks or shreds)
- Vegetable stuffing from the turkey carcass' cavity
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 Italian squashes, sliced
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 3 tsp salt
- 6 cups boiling water
- Add any herbs if you desire. I didn't, but you sure can.

*note: salt and pepper amount varies depending on your preference, and also on the saltiness of your turkey bones and meat. Adjust accordingly*

1. If your turkey bones/leftovers were in the freezer, defrost your frozen goods.
2. Tear your turkey carcass into small pieces, so they fit into your pot.
3. Fill a pot with 6 cups of water, and bring to a boil.
4. Submerge your turkey carcass, vegetable stuffing, and any turkey bones, and boil for about 40 minutes. This creates the broth for your soup.
5. Skim off any foam or fats on the surface of your broth.
6. Wash and chop all your fresh vegetables

7. Place the carrots and onions into the soup, and boil for about 8 minutes.
8. Toss chopped celery and leftover turkey meat and boil for about 3 minutes.

9. Toss in Italian Squash and bring soup to a boil.
10. Add the salt and black pepper and herbs (optional)
11. Let soup simmer for another 10 minutes, or until desired vegetable tenderness.

12. Soup is done! You can either discard the turkey bones from the soup or enjoy your soup while gnawing on the turkey bones.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Breaded Pesto Pork Chops

A quick post, a quick recipe!
Perfect for pesto fans, such like myself.

Breaded Pesto Pork Chops


- 3 pork chops

- 2 tbs basil pesto (store bought is fine!)

- 3/4 cup bread crumbs

- ¼ cup parmesan cheese

- salt and pepper


  1. Wash and pat dry your pork chops

  2. Sprinkle your pork chops with salt and pepper

  3. Thinly coat the pork chops with pesto

  4. Mix parmesan cheese and bread crumbs together in a separate bowl

  5. Coat the pork chops in the bread crumb mixture.

  6. Preheat oven to 400 F.

  7. Place pork chops in a oiled baking pan, and spray the top of the pork chops with cooking spray, to make the bread crumbs crunchy.

  8. Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes, and then decrease temperature to 350 for another 20 minutes. Turn the chops halfway.
All done! Close-up shot:

Popular Pumpkin Pie!

I made 2 pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving this year, that received many many praises!!

I also personally feel that these pies were the best pumpkin pies I have ever had, and this was my first time making pumpkin pie too!!

I hope every thing I make in the future will just get better and better.

Popular Pumpkin Pie
for this recipe, I actually followed the recipe printed on the Libby's Pure Pumpkin can but made a few alterations and revisions to the recipe, to my liking :)

- 1 canned pumpkin, 29 oz. (I used Libby's canned pumpkin)
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2.5 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1.5 tsp ground ginger
- 4 jumbo or large eggs
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cans (2 fl oz each) evaporated milk
- 2 pre-made deep dish pie crusts (you can find this in the frozen section of the grocery store.
You could also make your own pie crust at home, but I feel that is too time consuming and not worth the effort.

1. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, cinnamon, salt, and ginger.

2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then add the vanilla and canned pumpkin. Mix.

3. Combine the sugar and spices into the pumpkin mixture.

4. Mix while slowly adding the evaporated milk.

5. Stir and mix thoroughly.

6. Pour batter evenly between the 2 pie crusts.

7. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

8. Bake pies for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 F and bake for another 50 minutes.

9. Stick a toothpick down the center of each pie. If the toothpick comes out clean, then the pie is done!

Serve with whipped cream if desired. Let pies cool before serving

*note* if you feel that the pie comes out wetter/soggier than you would like, you can add 0.5-1 tsp flour to the pumpkin batter prior to baking.

Such a delicious dessert

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Jeff's Yummy Smashed Potatoes

Jeff made the mashed potatoes for our Thanksgiving dinner, and they were wonderful!
Perfect saltiness and texture. Not too dry at all =)
He should contribute to this blog more often.. =D

Jeff's Yummy Smashed Potatoes

- 2 pounds of potatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup half & half


1. Wash and scrub potatoes.

2. Peel and cut the potatoes into 1 inch cubes.
3. Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes or until potatoes are thoroughly cooked.

4. Drain the potatoes and mash.
5. Add half&half, butter, black pepper, and salt, and mix/beat until seasonings are evenly distributed. An electric hand beater could also be used, but Jeff used his arm muscles instead =D
6. Add more salt or pepper if desired.

(Don't forget to enjoy this with Jen's homemade gravy! =D)

Homemade Gravy from the Turkey!

Gravy is not the healthiest, so please consume in moderation.
Of course, a Thanksgiving dinner is not the same without gravy made from scratch, so the following is a recipe for the gravy that I made!!

Making Homemade Gravy Requires the Following Steps:
Step 1: Create the turkey stock
Step 2: Cook the stock with the turkey drippings.

How to make turkey stock:

- Turkey giblets (located in cavity of the turkey)
- 1 carrot
- 1 onion
- 1 celery
- 4 cups of water

1. Get your turkey giblets (neck bone and organs) from the turkey.

2. Chop giblets into chunks. The neck bone may require a large kitchen cleaver and arm muscles.

3. Chop the vegetables

3. Throw vegetables and giblets into a pot.
4. Pour 4 cups of water into the pot, and bring mixture to a boil.

5. Turn the heat down and simmer for 1 hour.
6. After the hour, strain the solids and keep the broth. Discard all solids.

7. Congrats! You just made turkey stock!

How to make Turkey Gravy:
1. Skim oil from the turkey drippings, on the bottom of the roasting pan.
2. Scrape all the dark bits loose from the bottom of the roasting pan. These dark bits add the dark color and meaty flavor to gravy!

3. Turn on the stove, and heat the turkey drippings on the stove, be sure to cook using the same pan that you roasted the turkey in.
4. Pour turkey stock into the roasting pan, and stir the stock and drippings together.
5. In a separate bowl, get 4 tablespoons of flour or corn starch and add just enough water to dissolve the flour.
6. Slowly pour the dissolved flour into the gravy and stir, until all lumps are gone. Pour enough flour until the desired gravy consistency (you may not use all your flour, or you may need more).
7. Simmer the flour in the gravy for 10 minutes, to get rid of the raw flour taste.

The gravy is now done!
Enjoy with mashed potatoes and turkey!

Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey!

I gathered information from many turkey websites and turkey recipes, and I created my own very delicious turkey this year!
Very very successful with many many praises!
I definitely would follow this recipe next year too =)

Here is the Thanksgiving dinner I made for my boyfriend Jeff and I (quite a lot for only 2 people!)

Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey


- 1 young turkey (around 15 pounds)

- ¾ stick of butter (room temperature)

- 1 stalk of celery

- 1 carrot

- black pepper

- juice of 1 lemon


  1. Brine the turkey the night before, following the turkey brining recipe posted below.
  2. Rinse the turkey clean of the brine. Pat dry and loosen the skin from the turkey. (the giblets already be removed and set aside to make turkey stock)
  3. Using clean hands, rub butter under and over the turkey’s skin.
  4. Sprinkled desired amount of black pepper all over the outside and inside of the turkey.
  5. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the cavity of the turkey.
  6. Place chopped celery and carrot into the cavity of the turkey, then cover the turkey’s cavity with a piece of aluminum foil.
  7. Ensure that the turkey’s legs are tied together, any flaps of skin around the neck are pinned down, and the wings are tucked against the turkey.


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F degrees.
  2. Melt the remaining amount of butter, and brush a layer of butter all over the turkey.
  3. Place turkey into the oven, BREAST DOWN on the roasting rack and roast for 30 minutes. Be sure there is a pan below the roasting rack, to catch the drippings to make gravy.

11. * Note * a turkey should roast for 15-18 minutes for every pound of turkey. I took a bit longer, because I kept taking the turkey out to check on it =P
12. After 30 minutes reduce the temperature to 350 F degrees and roast for 2 hours.
13. If the turkey seems to be browning too fast, then place a tent foil over the turkey.
14. After the 2 hours, brush a thin layer of melted butter over the turkey, and reduce the temperate to 325 F degrees for the remainder of the cooking time.

15. If you would like the turkey breast to be browned, then turn the turkey breast side up during the last 30 minutes of roasting
16. Always check the done-ness of a turkey using a meat thermometer. Thigh meat should be 180 F degrees, and breast meat should be 170 F degrees.

Once the turkey is done roasting, remove the turkey from the oven and let it stand for 20 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Braised Pork in Soy Sauce (non-thanksgiving recipe)

There has been a hunk of pork sitting in my freezer begging to be eaten.
Luckily for me, my boyfriend also likes meat braised in soy sauce.
(He liked the time I made Braised Chicken in Soy Sauce.... unfortunately, I did not document that recipe on this blog).
So here is the braised pork recipe to make up for it!

Braised Pork in Soy Sauce

- 2 pounds of pork
- 3.5 cups boiling water
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 slices of ginger
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce

1. Defrost and trim fat off your chunk of pork.

2. If your pork is bone-in, then debone the pork, then cut into small cubes.
(Save the bone for later use, like making soup broth!)

3. Blanch your pork in 3 cups of boiling water.
(To blanch, is to boil your food, in this case the pork, in water for about 30 seconds). I do this to rid the meat of any foam.

4. Wash your pork pieces under cold running water.

5. In a seperate pot or saucepan, boil the remaining 1/2 cup of water, soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic.

6. When sauce boils, submerge the pork cubes in the sauce. If there is not enough sauce, then ad some more soy sauce and water.

7. Simmer covered for about 15-20 minutes, or unti fully cooked.

Enjoy the pork on steamed white rice, and be sure to also pour the sauce onto your rice.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Turkey Brine!

Hi Everyone!!
I will be brining my turkey tomorrow night (Wed), so expect pictures shortly after.

What is "brining"?
Brining is a procedure that moves moisture into the turkey.
Freezing, drying or refrigerating the turkey takes out the moisture. Brining puts it back.
A bird is much tastier and juicier than an bird that is just dry-rubbed with salt prior to roasting.

How much brine is needed?
For most birds, approximately 2 gallons of brine is needed or at most 3 gallons for a large bird. You want to make sure the bird is fully submerged in the brine. If not, then be sure to turn your bird over frequently.

How much salt do I use?
The proportion of salt for a four hour brine is:
- 1 cup for table salt per gallon of water
- 2 cups Diamond Crystal Salt
- 1 ½ cups Morton Kosher Salt per gallon of water.
For an over night brine, halve the amount of salt.

How to brine:
You want to find a pot or bucket big enough to fit a 15 pound bird, submerged in the brine. And you also want to make sure this pot/bucket fits in your refrigerator.
Another technique that could work, if your refridgerator cripser is large enough, is to line your cripser with a clean garbage bag, place your turkey into the crisper, and pour the brine in.

The brining turkey's temperature cannot be above 40F. So if you live somewhere cold (below 40F), you can place the bird+brine in a bucket, wrap the bucket in a garbage bag, and set the bucket outside over night, or in your basement.
However, I live in Los Angeles where the coldest winter day is about, oh 60F, and basements are nonexistent, so expect to find my bird in the fridge.

Below is the recipe for the brine I will be soaking my Thanksgiving turkey in!

How To Brine a Turkey

- 1 cup table salt (Kosher salt is recommended but I'm going down the cheap route here).
- 1 cup brown sugar (yay sweets!)
- 2 gallons of cold water
- 2 apples (quartered)
- 2 oranges (quartered).

1. Make sure the bird is fully thawed, washed, and giblets are removed.
2. Save the giblets for gravy stock (palce giblets back in the refrigerator).
3. Prepare enough brine to submerge turkey entirely. I may double my recipe if I do not have enough brine.

4. Place your turkey in the bucket, pot, or plastic bag, and set in the refrigerator (or outdoors or in the basement) overnight.

the next day....
5. When you are ready to roast the turkey, remove the turkey from brine and discard the brine.
6. Rinse the turkey thoroughly in cold water and pat dry with a clean towel.
7. Loosen the skin under the turkey and rub butter under and over the skin.
8. Your turkey is now ready for brining!

Good luck everyone!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pre-Thanksgiving Jitters + Tips!

Is anyone nervous about cooking for Thanksgiving this year?

I'm sure there are many people out there who are very experienced Thanksgiving cooks, and are quite confident about cooking.
However, for Thanksgiving novices such as myself, this Thursday feels very sinister, and I'm feeling nervous about cooking!

However, I should remain positive, and see this year as a practice-thanksgiving, allowing me to prefect my turkey-making skills!!

I've been doing some research on how to prepare a turkey, trying to ingest all the information, so I can help other novices!!

Below are a few thanksgiving turkey tips, for those with thanksgiving jitters!

When to buy the turkey:
A frozen turkey can be purchased months in advance, however, you must take into consideration that a turkey could take up the majority of your freezer.
A fresh turkey should only be purchased 1-2 days in advance.

How much turkey to buy:
A good way to ensure that no one goes hungry, is to buy about 1-1.5 pounds of turkey per person.

Defrosting a Turkey:
The best and safest way to defrost the turkey, is to let it slowly defrost in the refrigerator. Allow 24 hours for every 5 pounds of turkey.
My turkey is 13 pounds, so I will be defrosting it in the refrigerator for 2.5 days, then brining it in the refrigerator for another 12 hours. (I will write a post about brining later!)
If you do not have enough time to defrost a frozen turkey, you can defrost the bird in a cold water. Allow 30 minutes per pound.
You could also use a combination of these methods.
A fully defrosted turkey will last an additional 1-2 days in the refridgerator.

How long to roast the turkey:
About 15-18 minutes (unstuffed) and 18-24 minutes (stuffed) per pound at 325F.
Here is a simple chart to understand:

Always use a meat thermometer to also determine done-ness:
The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F, and when the breast meat reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees F.
("Internal" as in, you measure from the inside of the turkey).
If your turkey has been stuffed, stuffing should be 165 degrees F.
When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 20 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Seasoned, Roasted, Potatoes - for 1.

I have potatoes sitting in the kitchen, that I should quickly consume before they start to sprout.

I know, I know.....
Potatoes are still good when they sprout. But I personally don't like how they look once they start sprouting, so I never feel inclined to consume them.

However, there is only one mouth to feed in the house now (mine). Oh sadness...
It sure is depressing to cook by myself, for myself.

Ho hum. But life goes on I guess.
Here is a recipe I made, fit to feed 1 person.
Feel free to double or triple the recipe if you actually have other mouths to feed.. unlike myself.
Lucky you.

Seasoned, Roasted, Potatoes- for 1.
(this is a very very simple recipe. You can easily throw this together with any spice, herb, or seasoning of your choice. the following are just my preferences)

- 1 large potato
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1 pinch of garlic salt
- 1 pinch seasoning salt
- 1 pinch paprika
- 1 tsp olive oil

1) Cut potatoes into cubes
2) Mix the remaining ingredients.
3) Coat the potatoes evenly with the oil & seasoning mixture.

4) Heat oven to 325F degrees.
5) Lay potatoes on a baking sheet (1 layer)
6) Bake for 25 minutes until golden and crunchy, turning mid-way.

7) Enjoy with your meal. I enjoyed mine with little cheeseburgers I made on the George Foreman.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pork Sirloin Roast

I spent 3 hours in the kitchen making this delicious Pork Sirloin Roast.

Where is this "sirloin" cut in the pig, you ask?

The sirloin comes from the "loin" area of the pig.
The loin can also be divided up into roasts (blade loin roasts, center loin roasts, and sirloin roasts come from the front, center, or rear of the loin), back ribs, pork cutlets, and pork chops.
(refer to the yellow area in the photo)

This recipe is a full meal in itself, since it is also roasted with vegetables in potatoes.
However, I found out the hard way, that I cannot eat abundant amounts of pork, nor eat pork in 2 consecutive meals.

But don't get me wrong. This is a very delicious, juicy, and tasty recipe.
This recipe is ideal for a romantic dinner occasion (I.e: Valentines, Anniversary, Birthday, etc)

Pork Sirloin Roast

- 1 pork sirloin (about 3-4 pounds. Mine also had bone-in. Try to find boneless if you can)
- 1.5 small onions, chopped.
- 1 apple (I used gala).
- 1 cup of celery, chopped.
- 2 large potatoes, chopped (I used russet. However, red potatoes are more ideal).
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped.
- 7 oz white wine
- 3 oz water
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1) Cross hatch the skin and fat on your pork sirloin.
2) Melt butter in a large skillet and fry all sides of your pork on high heat. Caramelize the meat until the skin is crispy and puffy. Carmelizing your meat will give it a more meaty flavor.

Look at crispy-puffy goodness.

3) Heat your oven to 325F degrees.
4) Place your hunk of meat in a large baking dish. Set aside.
5) Pour off all the excess fat and butter our of your skillet, then add the onions into your skillet.
6) Saute until onions are clear. Then add in celery, apples, and tomatoes.
7) Saute some more, then add the white wine, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and water.
8) Bring mixture to a boil, then pour the mixture over your pork sirloin in the large baking dish.

Ready to go into the oven!!

9) Place your baking dish into the oven, and roast for 1.5 hours. Turn your meat every 30 minutes.
10) In the mean time, boil your potatoes in water for about 20 minutes, or until almost fully cooked. (You could just place the raw potatoes straight into the oven, but boiling the potatoes first saves SO much time)
11) After the 1.5 hours, submerge the potatoes into the saucy vegetables in the baking pan, and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
12) Check your pork sirloin, if the center is not pink, nor bleeding, then your pork roast is finished!

2 hours later..
All done roasting!

13) Thinly slice the pork, and serve with the vegetables and potatoes.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Appetizer: Baked Zucchini Sticks (not fried!)

I love fried zucchini sticks, when ordering the appetizer sampler plate at restaurants.
Mmmm oh-so-good but oh-so-bad for you. =(

Luckily, however, when you bake oven sticks in the oven, it tastes just as good, and so much healthier than their deep fried counterpart!

With my recipe below, the zuchini sticks came out cripsy on the outside, and soft in the middle. My boyfriend chowed down the whole plate in one sitting! I take it that he liked it =).

Serve these finger foods as appetizers. Great when hosting a party!

Baked Zucchini Sticks

- 3 zucchinis (medium sized)
- 1/2 cup of bread crumbs
- 2 tsp freshly grated parmesan cheese (I didn't have any fresh cheese, so I used the canned kind... it still came out good!)
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp olive oil

1. Wash and peel your zucchini (i only peel off half of the skin)

2. Cut your zuccini into 2 inch sticks

3. In a bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, the cheese, the oregano, the garlic powder, the pepper, and the salt.

4. In large bowl, evenly mix the zucchini with the olive oil.

5. Toss the dry bread crumb mixture into the bowl of zucchini, and evenly mix.

6. Heat oven to 450F degrees.

7. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, and place zucchinis on baking sheet.

8. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn, then bake for another 10 minutes

9. So pretty!