AND An Approximation Of
Em’s Wonderful Hors D’Oeuvres
Let’s start with those snacks. This is Em’s recipe.
Photo/ Sugar Plum
Fig and Prosciutto Tartlets
About 1/3 cup fig preserves (like this one)
15 slices brie
15 1-ish inch pieces prosciutto
15 phyllo tart shells
Spoon a bit of fig preserves in the bottom of each tart shell then top with a slice of brie. Cover with a square of prosciutto. Place in a preheated 375° F oven and bake for 5 minutes.
Note: Someone else assembled these, for which I was very grateful. However, she was really mingy with the brie. My slices would have been bigger.
I made a corn version of this soup last year.
Scallop and Clam Chowder (serves 6)
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 tsp. unsalted butter
1 can chopped clams
clam juice, milk and cream
1 large red potato, peeled and diced
6 sea scallops or ½ lb. baby scallops
Soften onions and carrots in butter until completely translucent. Drain canned clams into measuring pitcher. Set aside clams.
Add clam juice, milk and a little cream to make up to 4 cups. (I usually buy a bottle or two of clam juice, add a few spoonfuls of cream and make up the rest with milk.) Add potato and bring to the boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes.
Add clams and scallops. Simmer for 5 minutes, just until scallops are cooked and soup is hot.
Variation: For Corn and Clam Chowder, add 1 cup of corn - fresh, frozen or canned – with the clams and leave out the scallops.
Ever since I saw this show of Sunny’s, I thought about brining a turkey. On Christmas Eve, I went looking for a boneless turkey breast, but I guess I waited too long. I could only find a breast on the bone, so I bought one and boned it myself. (Go me!)
Thank goodness, Sunny mentioned removing the tenderloins and saving them for another day. I had such a hard time rolling the breast, that it would have been even more difficult with those things in it.
On Christmas Eve night, I used Sunny’s recipe as a general guide and made her brine and put the turkey breast in. I refrigerated it until the next afternoon.
I took out the breast and rinsed it under cold water and dried it. Rinsing poultry is usually not advised. All it does is to spray raw poultry water around the kitchen, which is never a good idea. But, in this case, I was rinsing off the salty brine.
I pounded the turkey breast a bit in an effort to even it out and make rolling it up easier. I added the stuffing – this recipe (not Sunny’s) with whole wheat bread, instead of cornbread - and attempted to roll it up.
It just wasn’t cooperating.
Finally, with brute force I wrested the thing into a roll and tied it up. Sunny said to use plastic wrap to help get it into a roll. Most of the stuffing had been squeezed out, so I cooked it separately in a buttered dish, covered, for 40 minutes.
As per Sunny’s directions, I seared the breast and then cooked it in a 375° F oven for about an hour and 20 minutes. I started with a 6 pound bone-in, turkey breast. I have no idea how much the boned breast weighed.
I allowed it to rest and, again, I was grateful for help, this time from H, and I let him slice it, which he did while I wasn’t looking! Big mistake! Did he think he was slicing a jelly roll or maybe a beef tenderloin?!! He made each slice an inch thick! Oh well, here’s what it looked like with the other things I served.
Letting H slice the turkey was a small mistake compared to my next one, which, I admit, not everyone thought was a mistake. When I took out the turkey breast, I had all these nice dark drippings in the bottom of the pan.
They looked so flavor-licious that I decided to pour in my-frozen-from-Thanksgiving gravy with some saved turkey stock and deglaze the pan. I strained it all and came up with a beautiful dark rich colored gravy. I tasted it. OOPS! I forgot about brining the turkey and having the drippings taste salty...really salty!
I decided not to say anything and see if anyone else noticed. My son LOVED the gravy, no one else said anything until I said, “Don’t you think it’s too salty?” They did, but were being unusually restrained. Dumb me.
I forgot that that was one of my reasons for avoiding brining in the first place. (The other one is that the turkey is too salty to stuff. It’s hard to tell if THAT was a problem with THIS breast, because I cooked most of the stuffing separately.)
Anyway, it was good, very moist and flavorful, but I will never use brined drippings again. And I’m glad I saw Sunny rolling up her turkey breast. I would have had even more trouble if I hadn’t seen her do it.