So, I should say that I am a bit embarrassed that it took me way too long to post this recipe, especially considering that the request came from a great friend that I had promised I would write it after an event and send it to him. Now that it is the frigid season in most of the world (it's like 62F in Monterey and I do indeed think that a few people may be firing off flares to be rescued in hills above Pebble Beach because they are "freezing to death") and I find myself getting ready to execute this recipe myself I remember, oh yeah, "You suck!”
For those that followed the toffee link: fear not and PLEASE do not waste your failed toffee! I will deliver you to caramel bliss with one word; cream. (I do miss Prince, even if just a little). But seriously; if your toffee fails you can easily turn it into caramel and store it for weeks in the fridge. I have never wasted a toffee fail. That being said - here is the toffee caramel recipe that you can use for Bananas Foster, coffee drinks, caramel fondue, or just sprinkle it with salt and eat it.
2 C Butter, salted
2 1/2 C Granulated Sugar
1/4 C Water
1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 C Cream
Extra Sea Salt if desired
Melt the butter on medium in a large sturdy pan with plenty of extra space, 6 to 8-quart size with high sides if you have one. The last step can be a bit dangerous otherwise. Once the butter is mostly melted swirl it up the sides of the pan. Now, pour the sugar into the middle of the butter, avoiding the sides. Dump the water and vanilla into the middle. Leave the heat on medium and gently stir the mixture - I used a heat resistant silicone spatula. Take your time here and ensure that the sugar fully dissolves, this will take at least 5 minutes. I used a candy thermometer this entire time and once the mixture was fully incorporated I let the heat start to rise to the "Confection Zone" (Highway tooooo theeee Confection Zone!) and set a timer for 5 minutes. I kept it between 240F and 250F the entire time and afterwards increased my heat to just under medium high.
You can get the thermometer out of your way if you like at the end of that five-minute period but continue to stir, just to keep the bottom clear. DO NOT stir vigorously, too much air will cool it, and screw it up. In five minutes or so, you will notice that as you stir up the bottom it is starting to darken and you can start to smell the toffee and butterscotch notes. Little wisps of smoke will appear and that signals that should have your heavy cream at the ready and grab your whisk. Let the caramel get dark brown, then add half of the cream. Keeps your hands back for a moment! The steam is intense and will burn you! As soon as the plume dissipates start whisking in the other half still being mindful of not burning yourself if the steam is too much at first. The mixture should come together, but if it doesn’t, don’t worry. Medium high heat and more whisking will smooth out any caramel chunks eventually. If need be, you can add more cream to bring it together (this happened once to me, probably a temperature thing – I am not a confectioner!)
So yeah, that’s it. Drizzle it on apple crisp a la mode, mix into spiced apple cider with brandy or apple vodka, or just eat it with a spoon and a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt. Cheers!
Best Holiday Dressing…Ever
As promised to a few people, if not a few days later (sorry), here is the recipe for my stuffing/dressing for tomorrow. Cheers!
To begin, open a bottle of delicious SLH or Monterey County Chardonnay, to make sure it’s not corked and just in case your pan gets too hot and you need to deglaze. Or if you get thirsty, whichever comes first. Place cranberries in a bowl and pour 1 cup boiling water over them. Set aside while they rehydrate. Brown sausage in a six quart Dutch oven and break into small pieces. Add mushrooms and sauté until they lose at least half of their water. Add the butter, olive oil, onions, salt, pepper, sage, and celery. Sauté on medium high for two minutes before adding the garlic sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Deglaze with chardonnay at any point if needed. Next, add the stock and quinoa and bring to a boil for five minutes. Add the cous cous and parsley and then simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and add bread crumbs, cranberries, and walnuts. Toss gently and cover for five minutes before fluffing with a fork. Now it’s up to you, bake it in a Pyrex cake pan until the top gets crunchy and awesome, or stuff as much as you can in your bird. This recipe makes a little over a gallon so invite plenty of family and friends. This dressing was developed especially to go with both of Burgundy’s little darlings, so be sure to pick up plenty and enjoy your family the safest way you can; mildly inebriated.
Hopefully everyone is ready for thanksgiving and your bird is defrosted (don't be like me, mine is not even purchased! But then, I am hoping to get a fresh one - plus we only have 3 adults this year because well, I said so!). Now, once your bird is defrosted and ready to be seasoned you may have already added some salt. If you are a big fan of Cook's Illustrated , they actually recommend one tsp. per pound at least a day before as opposed to brining, which can leave the skin soggy - and who hell wants soggy turkey skin? Not this guy!
If you are in the know and have picked up you POULTRY not PALTRY rub from either Trio in Carmel or the Hahn Tasting Room in the SLH, then you are going to indeed have the best bird on the block*! The rub does contain some salt, so dial back your salt if you are going to use my rub spice blend. If you have a giant bird then you want to salt it 2 days prior if you can to really let the salt penetrate into the breasts and the thighs. This will help your turkey hold on to its moisture while you're roasting it. For smaller turkeys, chicken, or other dinosaur meat you can add the salt and the seasoning at the same time the day before or even the morning of on the little guys. The salt in the blend is relatively low, but is just right if you were just seasoning chicken breasts, thighs, Cornish hens...etc. So for my tastes I will be adding 1/2 tsp. of salt per pound for my turkey but may do a little less for a 3-4 pound chicken. The other things that I will do for my bird(s) is to loosen the skin from the meat and spread seasoned butter under the skin.
Here's how I did it for my roast chicken at La Paulée de Monterey this year at Wrath winery: I melted unsalted Kerrygold butter and stirred in my POULTRY not PALTRY with a little extra salt and then drizzled the melted butter between the meat and the skin, using my hand to squeeze it and move it around through the skin. I used the drippings and melted runoff to baste it while roasting. We started low temp and finished high for browning (when cooking a small chicken, you can break it down and throw it in a screaming hot skillet to really brown the skin - it doesn't suck...) Some sources call for your oven to be between 325F to 350F. I liked our results at 280F, but this will obviously increase the cook time so once again, if you have a giant-ass velociraptor in your oven, you may want to increase your temp a little more, or just plan up to 8 hours roasting time if it is a stuffed 30 pounder. I personally like my dressing with some crunch (and yes, I'll re-post that on here too from last year when I put it up on Hahn's website and served a version of it this last weekend at their Wine Club Party), so I just stuff my bird with veggies and thyme sprigs.
A quick example of how I am rolling my little gobbler this year: Turkey weighs 15 pounds. I will mix 2 tbsp salt with 2 tbsp POULTRY not PALTRY, then mix that into 1/2 C melted unsalted butter and rub that all over under the skin. Then I'll shove some parsley stems, carrots, fennel, thyme, celery, and onions into a very uncomfortable place; like the back of a Volkswagen ;) I'll slowly roast at 180F and plan about four hours. I'll actually warm my potatoes, green bean casserole, and dressing in there during the last 60 to 90 minutes. I'll pull the turkey and turn the heat up to 400F for 10-15 minutes - 5 of which will be preheating anyway - to let the dressing, green beans and potatoes get a good crunch going. Once I pull them, I'll increase my heat to 450F and then put my turkey back in fr 5-10, until it gets crispy on the outside, but has already started to rest and will not increase it's temperature dramatically at all. This will give it about 25 to 30 minutes of resting, while still serving it with good, hot skin.
Now, off I go to the store!
*Unless your neighbors are awesome and are also reading this; then you have to settle for a tie. Sorry.
Dyon J. Foster, Chef/Owner
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Chef’s Palette Spice Rubs