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Recipes that include peppercorns (black)

Unsquashing Squash Soup

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Squash Soup Ingredients

If the weather is not enough to let you know it’s Fall, the farmer’s market will. Every other stand has a beautiful selection of fall veggies, including many types of squash. After laughing about how some pumpkins were bigger than Ice (our dog); I picked up a butternut and a delicata. My goal was to make a glowing orange, fall soup that could shine above the rest, something to really get people excited about squash soup.

Jessica and I LOVE the finished product. It is perfect, seriously. The spice and fall flavors combine perfectly, this soup will make you feel warmed for the cool weather. While eating it, Jessica said she could imagine herself sitting in a log cabin, by a fire, drinking this soup.

Unsquashed Squash Soup
~ approximately 10 cups


  • ~8 cups roughly cubed Butternut Squash (1 good size squash)
  • ~2 cups roughly cubed Delicata Squash, (1 squash)
  • 2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • 6 ounces Bacon (3 thick-cut slices), cut in 1″ wide pieces
  • 1.5 cups roughly chopped Yellow Onion (2 small onions)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped Carrot (2 large carrots)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped Parsnip (1 parsnip)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper Powder
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon Allspice Powder
  • 8 cups Chicken Broth or Bouillon equivalent (room temp.)
  • 1 tablespoon Buckwheat Honey (or any dark honey)
  • 3 Roasted Pasilla Peppers, roughly chopped (seeded) (use Poblano if Pasilla not available)
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1″ of Ginger, peeled & roughly chopped
  • 2″ Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 teaspoon Black Peppercorns
  • 2 large Bay Leaves
  • Parsnip Leaves, rinsed and most of stems removed.


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Brined, Roasted Turkey

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

While growing up, my family ate turkey. And by that, you shouldn’t think we ate turkey on a holiday here or there; no, my mom was cooking at least six turkeys a year– which maybe doesn’t sound like a lot, but think of how many times you’ve cooked a turkey, or your family cooks them. This post is all about how useful turkey cooking skill is.

When I first moved out, turkey was one of the few things I cooked regularly. It’s pretty cheap and very easy to cook. I know some people get all carried away with cooking time by weight and basting and stuffing, but there is a simple way too. My mom usually bought 12-14lb turkeys, because those are what were usually readily available. To cook a turkey of this size is simple:

Instructions for Simple Turkey Roasting

  1. Place bird directly in roasting pan (not on a rack), breasts-side up, with about half an inch of water in the pan. Roast in oven at 350 deg F for one hour.
  2. Turn the turkey over, breasts-side down. Continue cooking for another hour.
  3. Turn the turkey over again, so it’s once again breasts-side up. Continue cooking about another 30 minutes, or done to your selection. This is a good time to use a cooking thermometer, look for about 161-165 deg F.
  4. Let rest, loosely covered with aluminum foil, for 30 minutes (at least) before carving.

How easy is that!? You can fancy it up by placing aromatic veggies (onions, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, etc.) inside the cavity, but it’s not necessary.

Now if you want to step it up a notch, let’s talk about brining! This is my first time brining a turkey and I did a bit of research beforehand to come up with a winning brine recipe. After having done it and tasted it, Jessica and I agree, this is the best roasted turkey either of us have ever eaten. So please delight yourself with this great, new recipe

Instructions for Brined, Roasted Turkey


  • 1.5 gallons cold water
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, large pieces cut in half
  • bunch of scallions
  • 2 tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp. red pepper sauce (in vinegar)
  • 2 tsp. tarragon
  • 1 cinnamon stick, cut in half

And, of course, a turkey! I used a 12.5lb turkey, unkosher turkey.

Place water and ingredients (not turkey) in a large pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool thoroughly. Add poultry, cover and brine for 24 hours. I did this is in a huge plastic container I had, but if you don’t have one, I suggest using a huge plastic bag, and then keeping that in a pan so it doesn’t leak. In this case, I brined for 18 hours, because that timing worked better for me.

After brining, remove the turkey from the brine and dry it thoroughly with paper towels. Then set it back in the fridge for up to 6 more hours. Your goal here is to allow time for the brined protein to absorb any excess water from the skin. In my case I only did this for three hours, because, again, that timing worked for me.

Finally, I pre-heated my oven to 500 deg F, dried off the turkey once more, and cut an onion in half and shoved that into the cavity. You can put as much or as little in there as you like, but I think at least an onion is a good idea. Also if you want to tie the turkey, now is the time. I did, but you don’t have to. Then put it on a rack, in a roasting pan, and pour half an inch of water in the pan. Cook for 30 minutes.

Reduce the oven temp to 350 deg F, cover the turkey breasts with heavy aluminum foil or two layers of it, insert a thermometer, and continue cooking. Make sure to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the breast. We’re looking for an internal temperature of 161-165 deg F, which for this size turkey is about another 100 minutes of cooking.

When it’s done, remove it from the oven, remove thermometer, and spread the aluminum foil to loosely cover the entire bird. About 30-45 minutes later it’s ready for carving.

This will literally be the best roast turkey ever. (Fried Turkey is even better though)

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