Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Turkey Coma ...

Hey there! Well, I am just now waking up from what I like to call my "Turkey Coma", a bit of hibernation, if you will. Truthfully I woke up yesterday from the coma, but by the time I got home from work ... it was time for a Tylenol PM coma. I somehow got the sniffles and with recipe testing this week among other events, I can't really be sick. I thought I could post a blog last night, but just 30 minutes after taking the meds, I couldn't even aptly respond to emails without thinking about how to spell simple words or compose a thought. So anyway, I hope you had a great turkey day and an enjoyable hibernation as well!!

I started last week with a trip to Martha Stewart radio where I handled the Turkey Hotline. The reason I mention that is the hosts, Kim and Betsy laughed and shunned me when I said I was frying my turkey ... inside instead of the recommended back/front yard suggestion. I told them, "Reeeeelax, I'd found a counter-top turkey fryer and intend to test drive it". Well ... it drove ...
Look at that wing!!! Look, I'm not an endorser, but if you want to know where I got the counter-top turkey fryer just ask in comments and I'll give up the goods. The fryer does up to a 22 pound turkey and what I really like about it other than it actually works, is it's also a huuuuuuuuge vat for deep frying at home, so the next day instead of doing my stuffing bites in batches, I threw all 10 of em in the big vat with confidence that the temperature wouldn't fall due to overcrowding. I actually did my Stuffing Bites as croquettes, a bit bigger than the bites. I just roll the stuffing into a ball, flatten it, dredge in flour, then egg wash, then panko breadcrumbs. 350 degrees and about 6 mins later after a sprinkle of salt ... yum yum yum ...Perfect thing about this recipe is if you like your stuffing ... you'll love your very own stuffing bites! I serve it with the leftover cranberry sauce blitzed with some walnuts. This year I thought I wouldn't make cranberry sauce, but ended up doing it anyway. Hey, wait ... can't get ahead of myself. Did you want to see the bird? It was an 11.11 pounder, I brined it in a small cooler for 2 days in my fridge (I was shooting for 3 days, but my schedule didn't really allow it). Then I rubbed and rested it on it's end right on my counter top to let it dry and come to room temp. It took just 38 minutes to fry. I promise when I get my website relaunched, (I'm on track for a late January launch!) I'll get my act together and have more "styled" photos if you like, but there's nothing like a cell phone cam in a pinch ... :-)That's right before I tented it with some aluminum foil for a rest. Lemme tell you those legs just pulled right off! I broke it down and plated it. What do you do? Do you make slices of the breasts or do you take off the breast as a whole and then cut it against the grain? I do the latter, seems like there's more meat that way, a total optical illusion for me. Then I made mac and cheese, collard greens, sweet potato casserole with a pecan topping, rice, sweet ice tea, chorizo and plantain stuffing, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce and a blueberry apple pie. Ok, ready for the "real" part of Cooking for Real? I was so busy the few days before Thanksgiving that I got up late that day, therefor starting late ... I did everything that day with no prep other than the bird brining. Here's the real part ... we didn't eat until Conan O'brien was on! Pretty late, but totally worth the wait. Take a look at dessert in the oven!I know they sell pie guards, but Kim over at Martha Stewart radio and I agree, it just takes up too much drawer space. Aluminum foil does the trick, non-stick aluminum foil is even better! (Cooking for Real! Don't need the fancy stuff to get it done!) The day after Thanksgiving we continued to hibernate and had pie first then I made some turkey pot pies out of the dark meat, the leftover gravy, some frozen rice, carrots, stock, cream and I made extra dough for the blueberry apple pie and froze it, so I used that for the crust. And yes, I totally support pre-made pie crusts in a pinch, but it's the holidays and I was feeling it, so I went old school and made it :-). Here are a few of the pot pie shots ...
We tore into those for late lunch, because of course the pie was a late breakfast, gluttons. For dinner we did a turkey day repeat with the stuffing bites being the only difference. Then Saturday for breakfast I made eggs, grits with the giblet solids I strained out of the gravy on Thursday and left over chorizo that didn't make it into the stuffing. I also made waffles and folded in the leftover sweet potato casserole, then made a pecan caramel sauce to drizzle over it, pretty darn good. I wrote down the recipe and I'll try to share it in a future show. We did the waffles two days in a row. I froze them the first day so day two, was all toaster time! I just sat here trying to remember every meal so I asked my guy for help, let me tell you how much we ate ... we just both got tired even trying to list the meals and what we had. So I've totally missed some meals here, but I just wanted to share. There were so many "snack" meals lol. The "hey, go warm up some of the stuffing bites real quick" or the "gimme a piece of skin". I feel like I'm in confession, I really over ate! Check out Holly's blog Random Cravings to see more turkey talk! She decided weeks ago to cook for real for 6 weeks, so last week she made some of my Thanksgiving recipes. Check out I'm Thankful for Sunny's Turkey Recipe and Thanksgiving Leftover Bonus!

Ok, well as if all that eating that wasn't bad enough, Monday morning was the first day of pre-production for Season 9 of Cooking for Real! What that means is I get in the Food Network kitchens and pretty much demo the bulk of the recipes from the menus I've pitched for the upcoming season. Lot's of eating!!! There are so many reasons we do this, but the main one is to make taping that much easier. When everyone on the team knows how I make it, what it looks like and how long the processes are, it makes planning each act of the show and each taping a breeze! You'd never guess how much time we spend talking about where in the show to start making each dish or if we need to move things from the oven to the stove top or vice versa. I totally enjoy the process and can't wait for you to see the new shows! So far I've plowed through shows I have tentatively titled "Easier than it looks", "Diner Breakfast", "Cookin' it Old School", "Comforting Classics", "Much Ado About Stuffing" and "Fish n Grits". Here's the first pic I took Monday, pretty much says it all ...
Alright, that's it. I'm headed to Chicago for a quick trip. Can't wait to tell you all about it and hope you'll join in on the plan! Especially if you like baking cookies :-) Stick around!

10 comments:

Heather said...

We're heading to Chicago next month, I can't wait to see where you're eating :)

Charles said...

Daaayyuuummm Sunny you know what I like LOL! Those turkey pot pies look so good (salivating). Love the idea of the stuffing bites as well-I would pop them like tic tacs! hehe! Tremaine's mom made like 11 or 12 sweet potato pies that were out of this world, along with homemade yeast rolls...HEAVEN!We also had fried turkey but between you and me, Imma have to let her in on the brining tip! tee hee hee! It was still juicy and delicioso though. The PeeWee Herman show was ridiculously fun btw, as was New York. We want to move there so bad, like yesterday! :P

P.S. I haven't received an email regarding your taping in January. I know it's a month away but it'll be here in no time and I see you're already in pre-production and I reaaalllly want to come! I'm not sure how to contact you other than this site so here is my email again: chalz29@yahoo.com...sorry to be a pest! Thanks, Sunny!

Holly said...

Wow!! You are the official queen of Thanksgiving leftovers! I can't believe how many yummy things you came up with - those waffles sound a-ma-zing!! The new shows sound pretty cool - I am already excited to see what you make for "Fish N Grits!" I hope you are feeling better...

Jen @ OneCurlyFry said...

Okay - don't be surprised if I end up on your front porch next Thanksgiving Eve. Your dinner sounds amazing!! And stuffing bites?! Sign me up. I LOVE stuffing...so they sound right up my alley!

And Sunday I made Turkey Pot Pie Soup - which was Aaron McCargo's Chicken Pot Pie Soup but using leftover turkey :) Looks like we were on the same page! Although I went the easy route and used the pre-made crust, but if I had more time I would've preferred making homemade crust! I LOVE the pie crust - I could sit and nibble on the crust all day!

Lindsey Christensen said...

Ahhh where to begin?! Such a terrific thanksgiving spread. You had me at stuffing fritters but then the fried turkey...ooommmgg! We fried a turkey one year and frankly I wish we would go back to doing that every year. Solo succulent. What's better than a lil hibernation after a lil over-indulgence ;)

Ps...I'm coming at you from my iPad!!! I just couldn't resist. I'm totally the type of person that once I get an idea in my head, it's not really a question of if it will happen, only WHEN!

Cassandra Boston said...

Sunny the fried turkey looks fabulous! My mom and Grandma are great cooks but they could never get me or my siblings to eat Turkey. My poor mom would want the tradition so she would continue to cook the turkey every year.

It wasn't until the commercial turkey fryer was invented that me and my siblings finally ate turkey on Thanksgiving. About 5 years ago my sister bought my daddy a safer turkey fryer by masterbuilt but he thinks that the oil is going to boil out of it while the turkey is frying because it not as deep as a commercial fryer. So now my mom uses it to fry big batches of fish and chicken. This year my sister bought him a commercial charbroil turkey fryer that uses infer-rated heat to fry a turkey. The turkey this year was just as good as the turkeys that were fried in oil.

Sorry I haven't commented in a while. I'm still reading and watching when I have the opportunity

Anonymous said...

Okay,
I've decided that when I get old, I want you to take care of me. That comfort food just looks soooo good. So happy about season 9 for you Sweetie and glad that you are having a BLAST! That crust looks so flaky and wonderful...as much as I love to cook (for real) you know some things are kinda hit and miss; would you share how you make that crust? You make us all proud Sunny. Love you much!
Linda(B'ham)

Mo Diva said...

we fried our turkey too this year! we got a great deal on an indoor deep fryer large enough to hold our turkey! We will never have oven turkey again! for realz!
Looks like you had a great turkey day!!!!

Dolphinfanhg said...

Sunny,
A few comments today....
1. How come my foil never stays on my pies like yours? :(
2. I don't believe those are phone photos, the pot pie ones could totally be from a magazine!
3. Season nine already? yay! I LOOOOVE the names of your episodes!!!
4. Gonna miss Random Cravings posts about you! So great!

Keep up the great work, Sunny!
Much love, Heather

tamilyn said...

Deep fried is the way to go-we love it better than any other way!

Have fun in Chicago, but watch out for sandwich eating rats...yeah, that was my experience when we went a couple years ago....