Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Lemon, Rosemary and Thyme Turkey!
On Thanksgiving we go to my Mom's for a typical Dominican dinner of Turkey and Pernil (Roast Pork), White Rice, Black Beans, Potato Salad, Salad Greens, Sliced Avocado and Sweet Potatoes. I made Pumpkin Pie, Potato Salad and Salad. My sister in law Sonia, made Brazilian Cheesy Bread and Stuffing for us. She was catering a dinner and unfortunately could not be with us. On Black Friday, Allen and me stay home in our PJs and cook up our own Thanksgiving dinner and we enjoy leftovers for days. Our Thanksgiving dinner consisted of Turkey, Giblet Gravy, Stuffing, and Jalapeño-Sour Cream-Chives Mashed Potatoes, Dinner Rolls and Cranberry Jelly.

Lemon, Rosemary and Thyme Turkey

This Turkey recipe is the third one I have made and is so juicy thanks to the Compound Butter. Not only is the Turkey moist, it is rich with flavor from the Herbs (Thyme, Rosemary) and Lemon slices under the skin and stuffed inside the cavity.

My advice to you is to have all the ingredients out and prep everything in advance to save time and to make sure you have all the ingredients you need.

Lemon, Rosemary and Thyme Turkey; pic from another angle

12-16 pound Turkey (thawed)

1 bunch of fresh Thyme, + 3 tablespoons minced

1 bunch of fresh Rosemary, + 3 tablespoons minced

3 lemons

Zest of 1 Lemon

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

Olive Oil

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper

2 sticks unsalted Butter, room temperature

2 Shallots, minced

2 Garlic cloves, minced

Close-up of Lemon, Rosemary and Thyme Turkey

Once Turkey has come to room temperature pat dry with paper towels.

Remove Neck and Giblets and put aside for the Gravy.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Make sure oven shelf is positioned in the lower third of the oven.

Compound Butter 
Make the Compound Butter:
In a large bowl, combine Butter, minced Thyme and Rosemary, Shallots, Garlic, Lemon Zest, Lemon Juice, Kosher Salt and Black Pepper with a spatula. Combine well.

Place Turkey in a roasting pan with a rack and season inside the cavity with Kosher Salt and Black Pepper.

Take two lemons and poke them all over with a fork and stuff inside the cavity of the Turkey. Then stuff the bunches of Thyme and Rosemary inside the cavity.

With a small spatula take compound Butter and carefully put under the skin of the Turkey. You can also do this with your hands but make sure you do not have rings on so you do not break the skin.

Thinly slice remaining 1/2 lemon and slide into the skin.

Take Olive Oil and rub all over the Turkey.

Season with a good amount of Kosher Salt and Black Pepper.

Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

After the first 20 minutes, lower temperature to 325 degrees. For cooking time look at Turkey package instructions for guidelines according to how many pounds your Turkey is. Our Turkey was 12 pounds and cooked in 3 1/2 hours. The Turkey will be cooked when an instant read thermometer inserted into the thick part of the leg joint is at 160-165 degrees.

Take cooked Turkey out of oven and cover it with foil and let it rest for 1 hour before serving.

Giblet Gravy

Giblet Gravy
I love this Giblet Gravy. It is rich in taste and is worth the effort you put into it. The Bay Leaf comes from my In-laws backyard so I just wanted to share that! :)


4 cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock

Turkey Neck and Giblets

4 tablespoons, Flour

1 Bay Leaf

1/2 stick, unsalted Butter

4 tablespoons, Carrots, chopped

4 tablespoons, Celery, chopped

4 tablespoons, Shallots, chopped

3 cloves Garlic, minced

Kosher Salt


In a large pot, add Neck, Giblets and all the pan drippings from Turkey (remove excess fat), Chicken Stock and Bay Leaf. Heat on low-medium heat for about 15-20 minutes.

In another large pot, on medium heat, melt Butter and add Carrots, Celery, Shallots and Garlic. Cook in Butter until slightly browned. About 10 minutes.

Stir Flour into Butter and Veggies to make a roux.

Cook for a few minutes until the roux turns golden brown in color. I feel so Julia Child doing this.

Drain stock to remove Neck and Giblets and return stock to pot. Slowly pour the stock in the pan with the roux, whisking as you add it. Do not stop whisking. Once incorporated stop whisking and return to a boil. Then lower heat to a simmer and reduce by a third. Takes about 15-20 minutes.

Strain the gravy through a mesh strainer. Season to taste with kosher salt.

Jalapeño-Sour Cream-Chives Mashed Potatoes

Jalapeno-Sour Cream-Chives Mashed Potatoes
To give this dish a kick, I added roasted Jalapeños which are not store bought. The Jalapeños are from Allen's urban garden (in our apartment windowsill) and it gives the mashed potatoes added texture and goes great with the Chives. These mashed potatoes are so creamy and a little spicy too!


2-6 Jalapeños (depends on size and how much heat you want)

3-5 pounds Potatoes

3-4 tablespoons, Chives

1/2 cup Sour Cream

1 1/2 cups Milk

6 tablespoons, Unsalted Butter

Kosher Salt

Olive Oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash Jalapeños in cold water and pat dry with paper towel.

Cut top off and slice Jalapeños in half, remove seeds and membrane or leave them in.

Coat Jalapeños with Olive Oil and Kosher Salt on both sides. Place on cookie sheet.

Roast in oven for about 20 minutes; turn over half way through.

Roasted Jalapenos
Let cool and chop, set aside for now.

Chop Chives, set aside for now.

Peel and cut Potatoes in half. Place Potatoes in a large pot with cold water and add Kosher Salt.

Bring Potatoes to a boil on medium-high heat, then lower heat and simmer uncovered for 12-15 minutes. Make sure Potatoes are fork tender.

In a small saucepan, heat Milk and Butter until Butter melts and is hot. Do not let it boil. Remove from heat until Potatoes are cooked.

Close-up of Jalapeno-Sour Cream-Chives Mashed Potatoes
When Potatoes are cooked, drain in colander and return to pot or a large bowl. Mash the Potatoes with a masher or use a food mill for as long as it takes to get the texture you want. I like mine with some lumps but not chunks of potatoes. I used a masher since I do not own a food mill yet.

Slowly add melted Butter and Milk mixture and stir with a spatula. Keep adding as you mash until you have poured it all in and the Potatoes have a creamy texture.

Add Sour Cream, Jalapeños and Chives and blend together well. Add 2 teaspoons of Kosher Salt, taste and add more Kosher Salt if you wish.


Stuffing, yum!

Stove Top Chicken Stuffing (or any kind you like)

2 cups of sliced Mushrooms

1 Celery stalk

1 Shallot

1 Bay Leaf  (from Allen's parents backyard)

Close-up of Stuffing!

Take paper towel and clean Mushrooms gently removing excess dirt; slice Mushrooms.

With a peeler, remove outer skin of celery and thinly slice.

Chop Shallot

Follow box directions and add above ingredients for added taste and texture. This Stuffing is very hearty, moist and full of flavor.

This Stuffing was the Giblet Gravy's best friend.


I bought Salad Greens, Red Cabbage, Campari Tomatoes, Cucumber, Radish, Shredded Carrots, Croutons and Blueberries.

I had the dressing on the side so the salad wouldn't get mushy. I bought Olde Cape Cod Balsamic with Olive Oil Vinagrette.

Salad I made for Thanksgiving at my Mom's
Potato Salad

Potato Salad I made for Thanksgiving at my Mom's.

1 bag Potatoes

6 Eggs


Pickle Relish


Dijon Mustard

Apple Cider Vinegar

Kosher Salt


I do not measure the ingredients I use in my Potato Salad. 

All you need to do is cook the Potatoes, let them cool and peel them and cut into even pieces.

Cook Eggs and smash them with a fork, put aside until you are ready to add everything to Potatoes.

Chop 1/2 or 1 Shallot depending on how much you want.

In a large bowl, add Potatoes, Eggs, and as much Mayo, Relish, Shallot, Dijon Mustard, Apple Cider Vinegar as you want. I use a wooden spoon to blend everything together. Some people like less Mayo than others so add the amount you like.

Add 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt. Stir well.

Taste and add more Vinegar or Salt if needed.

Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight if possible.

-Sophia and Allen/Two Frys

Friday, November 29, 2013

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie
On Thursday morning, I baked two Pumpkin Pies, one to take to my Mom's Thanksgiving dinner. This is the famous Libby's recipe, but I just add Nutmeg. This is the best tasting Pumpkin Pie and so simple to do.


1 box Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust

1 can (12 oz) NESTLE CARNATION Evaporated Milk

1 can (15 oz) LIBBY's 100% Pure Pumpkin

2 Large Eggs, + 1 Egg just the Egg Whites, lightly beaten

3/4 cup Granulated Sugar, + 1 teaspoon to sprinkle around Pie Crust

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground Ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground Cloves

Pumpkin cutout

Pumpkin Cutouts to top the pie

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Let Pie Crust come to room temperature for 15 minutes and place into glass or ceramic pie dish and press sides and bottom firmly.

Decorate edge of Pie Crust whichever way you want. I made one using the edge of a fork going in opposite directions around the Crust and crimped the other one.

Take 1 Pie Crust and make as many Pumpkin Cutouts as you wish. I do three for each Pie. If you are not baking right away, cover Pumpkin Cutouts with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Freeze extra Pie Crust for later use.

Place Pumpkin Cutouts on a cookie sheet, brush them lightly with Egg White Wash and sprinkle Sugar. Put aside for now.

Pumpkin Pie
In a medium sized bowl, add Sugar, Salt, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger and Cloves and combine with a spatula. Put aside for now.

In a large sized bowl, beat 2 Eggs for a few minutes with a handheld or stand mixer. Add Pumpkin and mix for one minute and then Sugar-Spice concoction. Mix together for one minute. Gradually add Evaporated Milk as you mix until all the ingredients are combined.

Carefully pour into pie shell.

Brush outer edge of Crust lightly with Egg Wash and sprinkle Sugar around it.

Bake Pumpkin Pie at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.

Place Pumpkin Cutouts in oven for 7 to 9 minutes until Crust is golden brown. Remove and place on cooling rack for 1/2 hour.

My piece of Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream; second pie I baked for Allen and me
After the first 15 minutes of baking, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Place pie shield or cut strips of aluminum foil over Crust to prevent burning. Bake for another 40 to 55 minutes until cake tester or toothpick comes out clean. My pie took 50 minutes. Since every oven is different check your pie at the 40 minute mark.

After 20 minutes of cooling, place decorative Pumpkin Cutouts gently on top of Pumpkin Pie. Cool Pumpkin Pie on a cooling/wire rack for 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours, so it can set. Keep refrigerated until you serve.

Enjoy with Whipped Cream or Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Sprinkle Pumpkin Pie spice on top of the Whipped Cream or Ice Cream if you wish!

-Sophia/Two Frys

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cake

Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cake

Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cake
A week before Halloween, I was shopping for the ingredients I needed for my Halloween cookies and I came across Pillsbury Specialty Gingerbread Mix. I bought it because you can make Gingerbread cookies or cake with just a few ingredients. To make it even more interesting, I bought a bag of Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Premium Baking Chips.

This Gingerbread Cake tastes like it was made from scratch and the dark chocolate bittersweet chips compliment the Gingerbread so well, and when warm they melt in your mouth. This cake is dense and has a strong flavor profile, so it does not need frosting. When you do not have a lot of time or have a craving for Gingerbread, try this mix. You can also make cupcakes or buy two boxes and make a Gingerbread Layer Cake with whatever frosting you like.

Main Ingredients - so simple!

1 box Pillsbury Specialty Gingerbread Mix

1/2 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Premium Baking Chips

1 Extra Large Egg

1 cup Water

Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cake fresh out the oven, time to cool

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a large bowl and a whisk, combine the Mix, Water and Egg until well blended (about 2-3 minutes). Add Chocolate Chips and fold in gently with a spatula.

Pour into an ungreased square pan and bake.

8x8-inch pan - 25 to 30 minutes.

9x9-inch pan - 20 to 25 minutes.

Place on wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

I prefer this Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cake warm, so I microwave it for about 30-45 seconds (do it 15 seconds at a time until you reach desired warmth) and serve with a dollop of Whipped Cream.


-Sophia/Two Frys