Tagged: recipes

Turkey for the uninitiated

Some of the nice people in my family have decided that they’ll spend this weekend in Vegas and go see Paul McCartney in Phoenix, while I get to stay here and take Grandma to her doctor appointment where they’ll probably tell her she needs a hip replacement. These people actually aren’t returning from the west until Thanksgiving Day around 4pm, and they have actually asked me if I wouldn’t mind, oh, cooking the Thanksgiving turkey.  So.  It’s a great honor, but seems like I’m getting the raw end of the deal (P.S., where’s my free trip).  And of course, this is a real winner for me because if I do fine, then everybody gets turkey as usual, but if I screw it up, I’m the Bad Son Who Ruined Thanksgiving.

Without further grumbling, here are the directions for cooking a turkey, courtesy my mom.

  1. On Monday buy the frozen turkey it takes two days for it to thaw in your refrigerator.When you buy the Turkey you will need also
    • Two loafs of bread
    • Four Apples
    • Four Cups of Walnuts
    • Two cups of Raisins
    • One stalk of Celery
    • Four Eggs
    • Sage
    • Parsley
  2. On Wednessday night about 5PM take all the bread and lay it out all over the counter to “dry”  about 8PM it will be sort of dry, flip it over on the other side for an hour or so
  3. Cut the bread in cubes, a seratted knife works better than a regular butcher knife
  4. Cut up the apples and sprinkle with Lemon Juice.. THey wont turn brown if you put lemon juice on them
  5. Wash and cut up the celery.  The slice in small pieces they dont have to be too small
  6. Put the celery, Raisins, Walnuts, all in a bowl
  7. Mix up four eggs with a fork  add the sage into it about two tablespoons you cant over season it
  8. Put the bread now dried out in a bigger bowl cover with saran wrap and leave it on the counter
  9. Put the celery, raisin, walnut egg thing in fridge with saran wrap and the eggs by themselves with saran wrap
  10. Look into the turkey.. the turkey people put many hidden things inside
    You should find a neck, small bag labeled or maybe not that say liver or gibblets, and often chucks of ice
  11. Take all the stuff out of the turkey body  run some warm NOT hot water make sure  you have all the chucks of ice out
  12. Get a clean garbage bag and stick the old turkey in there if he is messy and bloody from the water you can stick a clean hand towel under the garbage bag so he doesnt gunk up your fridge
  13. Read how many pounds he is, I usually get 25 so you have plenty of leftovers.  The sack will tell you how long to cook stuff verus unstuffed.  I think stuffed is 25 minuts a pound on the turkey sack, but I find the overcook it at that amount.
  14. Count back when you want him done based on the sack cooking directions
  15. When you are ready to cook him take half the dried bread and set it aside
  16. Drain the lemon juice off the apples, you dont need much lemon juice just a little to keep them from getting brown
  17. Dump the apples in the walnut/celery/raisin thing
  18. Restir the eggs, maybe add half a cup of water but not very much really
  19. Dump the apples/walnut celery egg thing into HALF OF THE BREAD, remember you set half aside that has nothing on it.
  20. Stir with a wooden spoon or your hands
  21. Evaluate how it looks.. if it looks 50% bread and 50% other stuff dont add any more bread.. if it doesnt look 50-50 add some more bread, you may end up throwing out bread, dont worry it doesnt cost anything feed the bread to birds for thanksgiving
  22. Get the turkey out of the fridge  You wash his insides the night before so the bread doesnt get drowned in the water you might ahve to put in him to get rid of the ice buildup.
  23. Get some handfuls of the stuffing mixture and put inside his big cavity.. FIll it about 80% full.  Cookbooks will tell you less that it will expand but I have never found it to expand, it soaks up turkey jucies and gets smaller to me but that has been my experience.
  24. Rotate the bird to the neck side.  You can get maybe two cups of the stuffing in this side… The idea is to “puff it up” so he looks pretty
  25. Put him in the over at 325 I belive check the turkey bag.
  26. About half way through the estimated cooking time, check on him..  If he is getting two brown take a sheet of aluminium foil and make a “TENT” over him.. Dont secure the tent edges, leave them to flap in the air, if you seal them down it “Steams him” and makes him tough.
  27. Take the rest of the dressing stuff and put in a greased pan and hold onto it until the turkey is almost done.. If there is room cook the stuffing along with the turkey.
  28. If there isnt room in the oven then bring it with you and  you cook it when you put the turkey on the table.  This stuff cooks in about 30 minutes.

Updated for 2015: This recipe withstands the test of thyme, with people still looking it up and using it ten years later. But there’s something new that I do these days which isn’t in here. Before stuffing the turkey, soften 3/4 to 1 stick of butter, and mix it liberally with sage using your fingers. You should have a mostly pliable butter sludge. Also using your fingers, loosen up the skin from the meat… all over the bird, but particularly the breasts. It is possible to totally loosen all of the skin if you want to (but it’s not necessary). After you get the skin unpeeled, shove the butter under the skin. This is messy work and it is really going to freak you out if you don’t like touching meat. However, what I’ve realized is that the presence of the butter under the skin flavors the meat, and it serves as a moisture barrier to keep the meat from drying out. The fat blocks water from leaving the meat… and you will get an extremely tender bird. Do it!

How to make lobster sloppy joes

I have to say this is totally the best sloppy joe recipe I’ve ever found.  It was stolen from the internet, I just wish I could remember where I got it.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (seriously, y’all — do not freak out about this)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Buns
  • 15 lbs lobster meat, arranged (optional)
  • Your parents’ permission

Usually makes six or seven nice-sized joes.  Sometimes I prefer to use more cumin and less brown sugar, it depends on the mood.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute the ground beef for 5 minutes.  Add the onion and red bell pepper.  Saute for 5 more minutes, or until the onion is tender.  Drain the fat.

Now mix in the tomato paste and water, stirring until the paste is dissolved (doesn’t take very long).  Stir in everything else.  Continue to heat until the mixture is thick and stewy.  Sometimes, I like to add a little extra water and reduce again.

Bon appetit!  If you make it, let me know what you think.

Odds and ends

I recently found an Illinois case where an impaired hand was worth $800,000 and a Louisiana case where an amputated foot was worth only $80,000.  I believe that Louisiana in general is much stingier than Illinois.  Maybe people over there are used to heartache.

I am still learning to romance my crock pot.  Tonight I had a recipe actually tell me, “Place whole chicken on top of vegetables.”  This is very disconcerting.  I had no idea how big a whole chicken would be.  I have a lot to learn.

Let them eat fudge

Fudgelike or cakelike? This is too hard. I just want brownies, not some kind of ethical dilemma.

Recent events and COTA observations

In case you’ve been wondering where I’ve been over the last several months, I’m still here.  Moving downtown has had the effect of joining the witness protection program.  Add to that the fact that I now have a new Rival brand Crock-Pot Slow Cooker and I couldn’t be more home-bound.  So here’s an update from Bill.

I got a parking ticket last week from the good folks at the City of Columbus Parking Violations Bureau. I realize I’m ruining any future political aspirations by admitting this in such a public forum, but I have to explain how it happened.  The short version of this story is, the meters on the new 670 cap are enforced from 7am until 10pm on Saturdays, except for the fact that they’re not enforced from 4pm to 6pm.  (Logical for a day that doesn’t have a rush hour, isn’t it?) Anyway, I tried to get out of it because I didn’t bother to read the sticker carefully and because the meters just a hundred feet away shut off at six, but it didn’t work and they sent me a nice all-caps letter telling me to pay up.  Oh well — it was my mistake.  Anyway, gentle reader, be careful parking on that bridge.

I have to give a shout out to the good people at the Mozilla Organization.  I got their new Firefox browser and it is really good.  In fact, it is the first web browser since Netscape 2.0 I’ve liked better than Internet Explorer.  It’s based on the old Netscape code, in fact, so it’s nice to come full circle.  They’re pitching it as a good alternative to the security nightmare that is Internet Explorer.  Even if you don’t worry about that, though, it’s really fast, and it has tabbed browsing, great keyboard shortcuts, and this wicked cool orange fire logo.  Best of all, Windows SP2 makes it pretty seamless to replace IE with Firefox.  So, click this button, and if you like it, then, all right.
Get Firefox!

I feel compelled to discuss the recent dust-up in the papers about COTA and its last-ditch attempt to save its light rail dreams.  This week, MORPC agreed to help COTA borrow $4 million for an environmental study on the line.  At the same time, the Federal Transit Administration reminded us that its support for the COTA rail plan came with an expiration date, and the support ends soon because COTA never came up with the local matching funds to build the line.

COTA is therefore taking one step forward and one step back.  Some of my friends, and some letter writers in the Dispatch, have suggested that we need to get this sales tax moving so that we can regain federal approval.  Faithful friends and readers of mine will know nobody likes the idea of urban rail transport — or anything that supplements the highway in our cities — more than I do.  But as I’ve been saying for years, COTA’s been so mismanaged that I just can’t support a tax increase until it cleans up its act.  Firing the censured manager Ron Barnes was a great first step, but the agency has a lot more to do to rebuild the public confidence.  How about starting with firing drivers who run red lights?  And fixing the signs that still don’t make sense?  How about a web site that works?  When COTA takes basic steps such as these and improves its existing operations, I’ll be able to push for the tax increase.  Until then, I vote no.

And finally, on a related issue, I believe it’s a mistake for COTA to depend on the sales tax to raise its revenues.  Because a light rail system is a fixed, physical infrastructure improvement, and it does primarily benefit those landowners in the region of the corridor, the economically optimal funding source would be a property tax — say on those landowners within two miles of the route plus all of Downtown.  This undercuts some of the legitimate argument of those who say they would never use the system and shouldn’t have to pay for it.  (However, any decreases in air pollution would benefit the region as a whole, so there should be some way to recover that benefit through a more broad-based tax.)  The other main argument I have with a sales tax is that it is regressive, which means the poor spend the largest share of their income meeting the burden of the tax, and the irony of that is that better transit service benefits the poor more than anyone else.  The sales tax giveth away and taketh back.

The last COTA levy, which was countywide, predictably had its greatest support along the North High Street corridor and lowest support in the low-density south.  The tax increase could have passed comfortably in certain quarters of the city.  COTA should explore a funding mechanism, some kind of special district, that would put the cost on those who would use the service and who demonstrably wanted it the most.

A visit to the grocery store

Well, I’m fresh back from a trip to the wonderful Kroger — a trip that, I maintain, would have been made partly unnecessary by the Fishline.

It appears the pimply, nice U-Scan boy who used to work every single night has quit. I haven’t seen him in about two months. This a shame, because I love him. Even if it’s actually slower than using a cashier (who can say?), doing U-Scan just feels faster. He was the fastest vegetable code number typist I’ve ever seen. So, wherever you’ve gone, Face, I salute you.

Is it just me, or can the steady erosion and decline of American values be traced to when Sunny Delight changed its name to Sunny D?

And finally, it appears that you can now buy these fabulous Butterball chicken breasts that have been marinated for you. This is a Godsend for anyone who is not getting enough sodium in his diet. But here’s the best part: they’re sold in individually sealed chicken bags. No more touching raw meat — ever! All you have to do is carefully cut them open with a steak knife, dump that knife into the dishwasher, and Keshia Knight-Pulliam! you just got off scot free. I can’t emphasize how many “out, damned spot!” washing experiences this could have saved.

Religious musings

I recently discovered a religious paradox while having a discussion with a Muslim friend at work. He is fasting while observing Ramadan, an Islamic holy month.

His definition of the fast is that no food or drink can be consumed between sunrise and sunset. Consequently, he has to get up around 5am to eat a big meal before work, then goes all day without food. There are other restrictions as part of the fast, such as no smoking, I think no swearing, and so on.

However, there is apparently an important exception to the fast. It is OK to break the fast if you are traveling. We both figure the exemption comes because traveling out of town can be exhausting, so you have to eat something.

We think this may have come because when all this fasting business began centuries ago, people pretty much walked wherever they were going. It is certainly unreasonable to expect somebody to walk miles each day with no nutrition, particularly if you don’t know where the food is going to be on the way.

The problem arises with the definition of “traveling.” My friend says there is a specific distance, set by Islamic law, that you must go to be considered a traveler. He didn’t know it exactly, but said it’s about ten miles. We joked that he can get McDonald’s in Reynoldsburg any time he wants and he would be cool with God.

Now, conservative Muslims are more likely to fast — some liberal followers don’t observe it at all. But conservatives are also more likely to stick to a strict interpretation of “traveling” and use the ancient measure of ten miles. I think liberal followers would be more willing to look at the traveling exemption and take into account several obvious differences in 21st-century travel — it’s much faster these days, food is readily available everywhere, and you can travel thousands of miles in a day with no serious physical exertion. Certainly, liberal Muslims should interpret the rules differently based on today’s realities. And ironically, conservatives have given themselves a free pass on fasting as long as they manage to skip a few miles out of town. As I understand it, theoretically, you could do this every day and be considered to have fasted in accordance with Islamic law.

I’m not making a commentary on Islam per se, and I certainly don’t claim to understand the full story here or on all of its precepts generally. But I find it interesting to highlight a situation where it seems clear to me that following the rules strictly (eating ten miles away) produces an outcome that is generally opposite to the actual intent of those rules (fasting as a sign of strength and commitment in one’s religious beliefs). Conservative adherents to all faiths should take a look at their regulations and consider whether the practice actually encourages the desired outcome.

Amy Spicer’s secret artichoke dip recipe

I received this recipe by using my SonyEricsson T68i's infrared feature.

I received this recipe by using my SonyEricsson T68i’s infrared feature.

This is the SECRET, famous recipe from La Spice herself. It’s better than anything you might find in a Mexican retsarint resturaent place to eat.


The original units of measurement were a lot less precise than what I’m giving you, honey. Don’t complain.

Additional note

Because she is a classy dame, everything up in this piece should be generic or out of a can. For example, I used Kroger brand whenever possible, and bought canned artichoke hearts even though fresh artichokes are, presumably, available. Also the garlic should come out of a little jar instead of doing it yourself. You could screw it up! Don’t take that kind of a chance. “Processed means best dressed.”


Amy Spicer

Amy Spicer

“I don’t really know how to describe it. It’s not an exact science.”

  • Half bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Entire can artichoke hearts, drained and cut up into “bite-sized” pieces
  • Goodly amount of parmesan (probably damn near 1/3 cup)
  • 4 oz mayonnaise (also about 1/3 cup)
  • Teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt or more
  • 1/4 cup parsley for color (extremely important — nobody want to eat that stank yellow shizzle without something green in it)
  • Optional: green chili peppers (canned?)
  • Optional: 15 lbs. lobster meat, arranged

How to make it

Basically, dump all this crap into a bowl. I like to use a nice metal bowl that can go right into the oven. Cover the bowl with Reynolds brand aluminum foil and bake in an oven at 400F for 20 minutes. Then remove the foil and cook it “some more, like until it turns brown or whatever.” In my experience, at least 10 minutes’ additional cooking time is required. I like to have a nice brown, half-burnt skin on the sides, which I scrape off with a spoon and mix into the dip.

Serve with a bunch of chips. And don’t be fooled by the Tostitos “scoops.” They taste weird. Get the kind that says, “Perfect for nachos,” because the kind that says “Perfect for dipping” is really just “Perfect for eating right out of the bag.”

And, gentle reader, do let me know how you liked it.