Posts Tagged ‘turkey’

You have probably seen summer rolls before but with beautiful halved shrimp displayed on top. This recipe utilizes ground turkey to change the flavor profile a bit and be a bit more cost effective. This dish is full of Asian flavors and utilizes some ingredients people tend to be afraid of. Fish sauce is not something to fear, but something to embrace. The key is to use it sparingly in your Asian dishes. One bottle will probably last the typical household more than a year unless you tend to cook with it weekly.

Summer rolls may appear labor intensive, but once you get an assembly line going, they come together in no time and the results are beautiful and delicious. These would make a fantastic appetizer at your next dinner party or something you can put together with the kids.


  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/4 c golden raisins, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper
  • 1″ fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • rice paper skins (I used 6″, but 9″ would be much easier)

1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp sesame oil over high heat. When heated, add the onion and ginger and continuously stir until the onions begin to be translucent. Then add the turkey to the pan and cook until the turkey has browned. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, and vinegar to the pan. Stir to combine. Turn the heat down to low and simmer until the liquid has nearly evaporated.

2. Turn off the heat and allow the turkey to cool until easily handled. Add 1 tbsp parsley if you wish for some extra color. Cut the bell peppers and seeded cucumber into 2 inch matchsticks.

3. To wrap the summer rolls, dip the rice paper in warm water as indicated on the packaging. Lay on on a flat surface and pat dry with a paper towel lightly. Place 1 – 2 tbsp turkey mixture, and 2 – 3 matchsticks each of the vegetables. Wrap like a burrito.

Note: If the rice paper is tearing, you are either leaving it in the water too long or are being just way to rough with it. Rice paper is delicate, so be gentle. A little tear here or there is no big deal, but do not try to salvage one with a large tear in it. They are cheap enough to play around with until you get the hang of it. And don’t forget to replace your water frequently when it gets cold.

4. Serve the summer rolls with one or all of my trio of vietnamese dipping sauces.


Lots of people will sit down together at turkey dinners across the country tomorrow and many families will honor the age old tradition of saying aloud the things that they are thankful for. When I was a kid, I always thought this time was a good opportunity to fit in something hilarious like “I’m thankful for Nintendo” or “I’m thankful for air.” I’m not entirely sure what my sense of humor was back then, but at least I thought it was funny. I also find it amusing when husbands take the time to honor their wives in a rare moment of romance indicating to their family and friends how lucky they are to have their wives. Wives of the world, don’t let this dribble fool you this year. If after dinner they immediately head to the television to watch football, nothing has changed.

But I thought it might be fun to write a bit about what I’m thankful for in my life through my environment I know the best: my kitchen.

  1. I’m thankful for olive wood which is not only incredibly light, but marvelously beautiful. I’ve seen a vast collection of kitchen cutting boards, utensils, and  various serving dishes at higher end stores. I’d imagine that in the future this trend will trickle down and more manufacturers will begin using olive wood as well.
  2. I’m thankful for induction burners and the leaps and bounds the technology has developed. When modern induction burners were first on the market, it was almost impossible to set a temperature to anything but boil and they were often bulky and overpriced. Now the technology has produced pretty decent portable induction burner units that have variable temperature settings in addition to full cook top options complete with 4 to 6 different burners. While the better quality burners are still a bit out of my price range, I can see in a couple of years a beautiful shiny new model sitting on my counter top.
  3. I’m thankful for Cuisinart who are quickly becoming my favorite brand of mid range kitchen appliances. Their stand mixer makes me second guess the Kitchenaid version which dominated the market for 40 years and has forced Kitchenaid to rethink their models and offer higher end options.
  4. Lastly, I’m thankful for pie. Pie is without a doubt my favorite dessert. That’s all. I just wanted to mention that.

And to all my readers, friends, and family, Happy Thanksgiving!

If you own a roasting pan, you are probably like 99% of other Americans that take it out once a year to cook a turkey or roast for the holidays. There really is no shame in this. There is actually very little information out there on how to use a roasting pan in your everyday rotation and even less information as to why you should invest in one.

But this article is not for those of you that already own a roasting pan. This article is for the holiday cooks who buy the disposable roasting pans at the supermarket for around $4 and try to cook a 20 pound turkey inside its flimsy walls. Don’t let the packaging fool you. They have different sizes for different sized birds, but in the end, physics and gravity still play a vital role in the cooking process.

My message to those of you who are disposable pan buyers is simple and straight forward:

You have to stop the madness!

I present to you my top five reasons for investing in a quality roasting pan over their rival disposable.

5. Better for the environment: Perhaps my weakest argument, but still. A roasting pan gets cleaned up and put away until its next use while a disposable gets tossed away and sent to a landfill to sit for centuries.

4. Multi-purpose: Turkey, chicken, pork tenderloin, pork shoulder, prime rib, etc. The list of potential cuts in nearly endless, but the point is that your roasting pan is worthy of more than just one use. But wait, there’s more. Not only can the roasting pan be used for different meats, it can also be used for multiple steps in the cooking process. Need to sear your prime rib before cooking it? Just remove the rack and put the pan over two burners. Want to cook some root vegetables with your meal? Just stick them under your meat. Not only will everything come out hot together, the juices dripping off the meat will season your vegetables.

3. Easier clean up: This is one area that disposable lovers have tried to get me on for years, but my retort is air tight. Yes, at the end of a meal, the disposable pan gets tossed away and that’s it. However, in my world, it’s never that simple. What happens if your flimsy disposable has a tiny hole in it and turkey juice begins to drip into your oven creating a solid mass of carbon that no amount of oven cleaner or scrubbing will take off? What happens if on your way to delivering your turkey from the oven to the counter, the flimsy pan buckles under the weight and not only does the turkey hit the floor, but hot juice scalds you and ruins your nice new shoes? I find the potential risk of using a disposable to far outweigh the ease of throwing away a pan at the end of the night. Besides, you’ll have very little to clean up if you consider number two.

2. Ability to make pan sauces: Roasting pans are long enough to cover two burners making it easy to turn your post dinner cooking vessel into a stovetop pan that is ready to make some gravy. Pan sauces, especially after cooking a roast turkey or chicken, are wildly tasty and require no additional kitchen equipment. In fact, the idea of not using more vessels to make a pan sauce makes clean up even easier and by deglazing the pan, you’re going to cook out the worst of the mess from the pan. But if even after all this, consider taking a moment and….

1. Just look at that rack: The rack is put there not as a storage challenge; it’s put there to keep the meat off the bottom of the pan and out of the fat. While roasting, the fat on the meat tends to melt off and drips into the bottom of the pan. Disposable pans do not come equipped with a rack leaving your roast to sit for hours in its own fat. The rack also allows for more air to move around the meat which will give you even cooking and that crispy skin that you’re craving.

Roasting pans are generally inexpensive and by no means should you feel obligated to spend more than $50. I find that most stores offer a great bargain during the holiday season, and almost every department store will have a bargain basement deal on roasting pans the day after Thanksgiving. As for recommendations, ensure that the pan is made of aluminum (plain or hard anodized) in order to keep the weight down and that the handles are riveted to the pan. Some roasting pans have the handles fused to the sides. This is a problem because the handles will heat up as hot as the pan and the handles have more potential to break off over years of use. Calphalon and Cuisinart make a pretty decent pan in general and I find their roasting pans to be fit for the job.

Chili is classic cowboy food. During cattle drives, cowboys would pound together dried beef, fat, spices, and dried chile peppers into squares. They then would rehydrate these “chili bricks” on the trail with a pot of boiling water. Trail cooks even went so far as to plant onions, peppers, and spices along the way for future trail rides.

My turkey chili recipe would be laughed out of Texas if I brought this on the trail. However, this version is heart healthy by replacing the chuck beef with lean ground turkey and loaded with protein with the addition of kidney beans. Prepared salsa bought in the store will save you time from dicing tomatoes, peppers, and onions.


  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 28oz can red kidney beans, drained
  • 2c salsa (16oz jar)
  • 12oz beer (darker the better)
  • 1/2c chicken stock
  • 1/3c light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp chile powder (homemade is best)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 chipotle peppers, minced (from 7oz can in adobo sauce)

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Heat a large dutch oven or oven-safe skillet over medium high heat (7 on the dial). Add a few tablespoons of olive oil. Put turkey in dutch oven, season with salt, and cook until all traces of pink are gone. Drain fat.

2. Return turkey to dutch oven and turn heat to high. Put chicken stock, beer, salsa, and kidney beans into dutch oven and heat until beer begins to boil.

3. Add brown sugar, cumin, chile powder to chile mixture and stir to combine. Allow ingredients to cook until the liquid can be seen primarily on top.

Note: If you prefer smoky, spicy flavors, you could also add a couple minced chipotle peppers. Chipotle peppers are smoked jalapeno peppers and can be found canned in adobo sauce in the ethnic section of many supermarkets. You can also add the adobo sauce. The more you add, the hotter your chili will be.

4. Cover dutch oven and place in preheated oven for 1 hour. In the oven, starch will be released from the beans and thicken the liquid inside. If there is not enough liquid, the sides will begin to burn so you may want to check on the chili after 40 minutes. If the stew is dry, add another 1/2c of chicken stock.

5. Serve chile as is or top with cheese, raw onion, sour cream, or other condiments.