Satsuma Tequila Sunrise (or Sailor Sunrise)

Leonard on Big Bang Theory said about the Tequila Sunrise, “This drink is a wonderful example of how liquids with different specific gravities interact in a cylindrical container!” Science aside, it is quite tasty, too.

While home for Thanksgiving, I was able to pick a lot of satsumas off my Dad’s tree – there is a five gallon bucket on the floor beside him that is also full of fruit.

We decided to use some of the juice for cocktails. Of course, if you drink a lot of these, you won’t be seeing the sunrise but, who needs to get up early when you spent the evening with a glass this pretty!

Tall glass is the tequila version while short glass is the rum version

A regular Tequila Sunrise is made with tequila, naturally, or you can substitute rum for a Sailor’s Sunrise. We found the best results using regular rum, not spiced.

Sunrise Cocktails

2 ounces tequila or rum
4 ounces satsuma juice (or orange juice)
1/2 ounce grenadine syrup

In a tall glass pour in the tequila or rum. Pour in the juice. Over the back of a spoon, pour in the grenadine. Do not stir.

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Putting All Your Eggs In One Steamer Basket

I’m always looking at other ways to get perfect soft boiled eggs. After trying this method, I can attest that the eggs were easier to peel and I didn’t lose any from cracks. Plus their interiors were exactly as I wanted, whether hard or soft boiled.

The only difference is cook time. Just cook the eggs for longer in the steam and you’ll have perfect hard boiled, easily peeled eggs and pretty yellows. Cook for less and you’ll have soft but solid whites and runny yolks.

Steamer Basket Eggs

Place 1 inch of water in a pot. Place in your steamer basket or insert, put on the lid and bring the water to a boil. Using tongs put the number of eggs you want into the basket and put the lid back on. Cook as follows:

Soft boiled – 6 1/2 minutes for runny yolks but fully cooked whites

Hard boiled – 12 minutes for perfectly done and creamy yolks.

Cool eggs under running water. Peel gently, if soft boiled as the eggs will still be soft.

Turkey Tetrazzini

I had turkey left over from the grilling so I made up a recipe of Turkey Tetrazzini. This was always the way we used up leftover turkey after Thanksgiving.

I was raised on a version that starts with Cream of Mushroom soup but I think the sauce on this one is a pretty good updating of it. Of course, I was also raised on peas being in it but I figured since Charlotte was bringing kale and Nancy brought a salad, those that wanted veggies were covered.

This recipe makes a 9×13 casserole or 10 large ramekins (that you can then freeze what you’re not eating for later meals).

 

Turkey Tetrazzini

1 pound short pasta, such as rotini or gemelli
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups chicken or turkey stock
2-3 cups leftover turkey, shredded
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
salt and pepper

Topping:

1 cup regular bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter your baking dish or spray with vegetable oil. The full recipe uses a 9×13 pan but you can make a smaller amount and freeze the rest.

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling, salted water until it has softened a bit but is still not quite cooked all the way through. (The pasta will absorb the liquid from the sauce as it finishes cooking in the oven.) Drain, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt two tablespoons of the butter and sauté the sliced mushrooms. Once they have released their liquid and most of it has evaporated (about 10 minutes), remove from pan and set aside.

Add the remaining butter to the skillet and melt it over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Whisk constantly until the flour has cooked but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add the milk slowly, whisking to avoid creating any lumps. When it comes to a simmer, add the chicken stock, cayenne and nutmeg and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to thicken, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the sage and season with some salt and pepper. Fold in the mushrooms, turkey and pasta, making sure it is all well coated with the sauce. Pour into the prepared pan.

To make the topping, combine the bread crumbs and Parmesan and moisten with the melted butter. Spread topping evenly over the tetrazzini, put the pan into the oven, and cook until the top is golden brown and the mixture is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

To cook from frozen, place the ramekins in the oven while it is preheating to 350 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes or until it is bubbling.

Grilled Shrimp on Mashed Sweet Potatoes

It was a bit cold last night, so rethought going outdoors to cook dinner. Instead, I cooked the shrimp on the grill pan on the stove top. The timing is the same.

I used my go to cheat – a bottle of Cajun Power Garlic Sauce on the shrimp. This isn’t a hot sauce but so well seasoned that it goes well with chicken, pork, seafood and even vegetables.

It was good to have friends over to enjoy the meal. Jess, Julie and Nancy helped warm up the house with laughter and good conversation. And, thanks again to Kenny for leaving the gallon jug of margarita’s – they were a hit!

Grilled Shrimp

1.5 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup Cajun Power Garlic Sauce

If using wood skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before grilling.

In a bowl, mix the shrimp with the Cajun Power Garlic Sauce. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill, up to 2 hours.

Skewer shrimp and place on a medium hot grill or a preheated grill pan. Grill about 3 minutes per side or until they are opaque throughout.

I placed the shrimp on a bed of mashed sweet potatoes – quite a tasty accompaniment and a switch from the pasta I would have usually served with them.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

2 lb. sweet potatoes (roasted and peeled), warm
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Pinch salt

Roast sweet potatoes in a 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes or until done. Scoop out interiors and place in a bowl.

Mash together sweet potatoes, butter, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Taste and add more brown sugar, cinnamon or salt, if needed. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Place warm sweet potato mixture on plates. Arrange shrimp on top.

Grilling My Free Turkey From Winn Dixie

I walked in my local Winn-Dixie and saw a great offer: Now through 11/21/18 you get a free Thanksgiving turkey when you get a no cost flu shot. As I had been planning to get a vaccine anyway, I headed over to the pharmacist and got a jab and my coupon. Because my health insurance covers annual flu vaccines, I walked out with a 10lb bird for absolutely no cost.

I decided to cook it on the grill. The only way I was going to fit the bird on my Weber was if I spatchcocked it first. A bonus for cutting out the backbone and pressing it flat it it cut down the cooking time. By putting the legs closest to the coals, it also makes sure the white meat and dark meat reach 165 degrees F at the close to the same time.

I cut the backbone and wings off and added them and the neck to a pot with 3 quarts of water, a quartered onion, 3 stalks of celery and 2 carrots, broken in half. After about two hours of simmering, I strained out the solids and had around two quarts stock, perfect for making gravy.

I took a picture at an hour and then forgot to take another. Trust me, it looked prettier in person when done and tasted marvelous – juicy and flavorful.

Grilled Spatchcocked Turkey

1 10-12lb turkey
1 stick butter, softened
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons rubbed sage
1 teaspoon coarse salt
salt and pepper to taste

To spatchcock the turkey, use poultry shears to cut out the backbone. Flip the bird over and press down to snap the breastbone. Set aside the backbone and neck (and I also cut off the wings, as they tend to get dry and burn) to make a stock.

Mix half the herbs with the softened butter. Divide butter mixture in half. Gently lift the skin up and work half the butter over each breast. Massage it around for good coverage. Sprinkle both sides of the turkey with remaining herb mixture. Place the bird in the refrigerator, breast side down overnight to dry out the skin.

Pull the turkey out of the refrigerator about an hour before ready to grill. Coat with olive oil.

Build an indirect fire and place a wood chunk on the coals to smoke. Place a drip pan on the cool side and replace the grill. Set the turkey on the grill, bone side down and with legs closest to the coals. Grill for 60-90 minutes depending on the weight of the bird. Safe temperature is 165 degrees F. If you check it and find any parts getting too brown, cover those areas with aluminum foil.

Once turkey has been grilled to golden perfection, remove to a carving board and tent with foil. Let rest at least 15 minutes and as long as thirty while you make the gravy.

You need two cups of liquid for the gravy. I usually pour about 1/2 cup of stock in the pan with the drippings and use that to help loosen all the brown bits. I pour it in a two cup measuring cup and skim off the fat. I then fill the rest of the measuring cup with stock.

Turkey Gravy

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
Pan drippings and stock to make two cups
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large heavy skillet. Whisk in the flour and stir until well coated. Keep stirring until lightly brown and the flour taste has been cooked out, about 5 minutes.

Slowly whisk in the liquid, adding only small amounts in at a time and stirring until incorporated and lump free. Once all the liquid is added, continue to stir and cook until bubbly. Reduce heat to low. Let thicken and then begin to season.

Should you get it too salty, you can add more stock, stir well and let thicken again. This is why I recommend not seasoning until the gravy has thickened.

Bourbon Milk Punch

This cocktail has a nice warmth from the bourbon which is a lovely contrast to the decadently rich combination of milk and cream. The hint of vanilla makes this really taste almost like dessert and definitely like more.

I’m really enjoying the vanilla paste Michelle got for me – it has vanilla seeds in it so it is a step up from regular vanilla extract but not as pricey as vanilla bean pods.

Bourbon Milk Punch

1 cup milk
1/4 cup cream or half & half
1/4 cup cups powdered sugar
1 whole vanilla bean pod or 1 tablespoon vanilla paste (or 1 tablespoon quality vanilla extract)
Bourbon

Combine milk, cream and powdered sugar in a container with lid. If using a vanilla bean, slice in half and run the back of the knife over the interior to remove seeds. Add vanilla beans and pod to the jar and seal, shaking vigorously to combine. If using vanilla paste or extract, add it and shake well. Refrigerate up to 3 days.

To make the drinks, mix 3 parts vanilla milk with 2 parts bourbon. Place in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into glasses. Garnish with freshly ground nutmeg, if desired.

 

Taking Chicken Kiev South

What’s not to like about the herbed buttery taste of Chicken Kiev? Some may consider the dish old fashioned but I dream sometimes of those hidden pockets of melted, herbed butter that spurt as you cut into it.

It is all good to dream but I knew it could be better if I grilled it instead of coating it in breadcrumbs and baking it. And, of course, everything tastes better with bacon. Here is this southerner’s take on the classic dish.

I did make a few without the bacon and, with judicious handling (and double the toothpicks), the butter pocket stayed intact until they reached the table. Even where the butter had leaked out a bit, the herbs had been left behind, so the chicken still tasted awesome.

8 chicken thighs, skinned and deboned
2 sticks butter
6 tablespoons tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
16 slices of bacon

In a food processor, mix the butter, tarragon, garlic and lemon. Place on a plastic sheet and form into a roll. Place in the freezer for a couple hours to chill.

Take the chicken thighs lightly salt and pepper both sides. Slice the herbed butter and place 2 tablespoons of butter inside each thigh. Close it up to envelop the butter inside and place on top of two pieces of bacon laid crosswise. Use the bacon to seal the chicken closed and secure with baker’s twine or toothpicks. Refrigerate while you prepare the grill.

Set up your grill for indirect cooking. Lay down a drip pan to contain any blowouts. I used a hickory chunk for smoke. Place the thighs on the grill, open side up and cook for fifteen minutes. Melt any leftover herbed butter and baste the thighs before rotating the chicken thighs one quarter turn, making sure to keep the open end up. Continue cooking, basting and rotating until meat is done, about 45 minutes to an hour. Safe temperature for chicken is 165 degrees F.

Remove twine and toothpicks and serve with any leftover basting liquid.

Any bacon that didn’t crisp, save and crisp in the microwave. Freeze in a zip top bag and crumble over salad or baked potato for the best bacon bits ever.