wherein we spatchcocked the thanksgiving turkey ( and it was delicious ).

wherein we spatchcocked the thanksgiving turkey ( and it was delicious ).

typically we travel for thanksgiving and i’m not “in charge” of The Bird so i don’t have strongly held opinions about The Best Method to Cook To Cook a Turkey. but this year, we stayed home and i found myself wondering how on earth i was going to cook the Twenty Three Pound Organic Poultry Monster in our freezer that was too big to fit in any of our pans. and i know enough about turkey to understand that cooking a bird that big without special prep would probably result in a bird with dried out breasts. what to do? spatchcock the bird by removing the backbone and flattening it out before cooking.

i learned about the technique from a serious eats article from a few years back, “How to Cook a Spatchcocked Turkey: The Fastest, Easiest Thanksgiving Turkey”:

“This particular method is for folks who don’t give a damn about whether or not the whole, barely-adulterated bird makes an appearance at the table, but want the fastest, quickest, easiest route to juicy meat, and ultra-crisp skin. Basically, it’s a method for lazy folks with great taste. ”

i don’t know about the lazy part, but i do know i don’t care much about having a perfect bird presented on the table but i do care a lot about the juicy, crispy, fast part! and as an added bonus, i could cut the bird in half and cook the monster in a more manageable manner. ( side note, apparently spatchcocking turkeys is A Thing thanks to mark bittman ).

i followed the serious eats directions and removed the backbone and cooked at 450F for about 90 minutes. whoila! crispy skin and incredibly juicy meat.

henceforce, if i’m in charge, all the turkeys will be spatchcocked!

recipe: how to cook perfect fried eggs ( hint, use ghee *and* butter ).

recipe: how to cook perfect fried eggs ( hint, use ghee *and* butter ).

when you have backyard chickens you discover the divine pleasure of a perfectly cooked, fried egg straight out of the nesting box. and by perfectly cooked, i mean crispy edges with tender whites ( not snotty! not overcooked! ) and runny yolks. it’s a tough trick to get the trifecta of crispy, tender and runny and i could never get it consistently until i read this cooks illustrated fried egg recipe ( great magazine, highly recommended ).

it explains that yolks and whites set at different temperatures. yolks set at 158F and whites set at 180F, so the trick is getting the whites to cook before the yolks. you can get the whites to set first using the “hot and fast” method by using a fat with a high smoke point. drop the eggs in a sizzling hot, hot, hot pan and the whites set before the yolks know what hit ‘em.

recipe: how to cook perfect fried eggs ( hint, use ghee *and* butter ).

the cooks illustrated recipe recommends using a vegetable oil, but what has a higher smoke point than almost any vegetable oil and has a delicious buttery taste that you want with a fried egg? ghee ( aka clarified butter )! throw in a few tablespoons of butter into the pan right as you add the eggs to add a boost of extra butteryness. awesome eggs every time.

you can take this general philosophy to its logical conclusion and jump right on the crispy egg train.

ingredients
2T purity farms organic ghee
2T organic valley cultured butter
2 organic valley eggs ( or from the backyard if you’re that lucky )
salt and pepper

directions
– preheat ghee in skillet on low heat for 5 minutes
– crack 2 eggs in bowl and season with salt and pepper
– turn up heat to medium-high until sizzling hot ( and! i! mean! sizzling! )
– add butter and quickly swirl around pan ( this is a little tricy because you don’t want to burn the butter. act fast and don’t burn yourself ).
– pour eggs from bowl into skillet ( they should just about explode when they hit the oil )
– cover skillet and cook for 1 minute ( that’s right, just 1 minute )
– remove from heat and let stand covered – about 30 seconds will get you runny yolks, 60 seconds will get you soft set yolks and a few minutes will yield medium set yolks.

i typically let sit until the layer surrounding the yolk turns white which is a good indicator the whites are completely done and i avoid serving snotty eggs. at that point the yolks are right between runny and very soft-set.

recipe: homemade soft pretzels.

recipe: homemade soft pretzels.

thanks to a tweet from xeni jardin i discovered that homemade soft pretzels are easy to bake and while i try to live a pretty-much-mostly-gluten-free lifestyle i love a soft pretzel as much as anyone else, so i had to give it a try. and, yes, they are ridiculously easy to make. and super tasty.

odin and discovered that the only thing better than a soft pretzel straight out of the oven is one slathered in melted organic valley butter :-)

here is the recipe we followed. king arthur has a similar sourdough pretzel recipe that i’m going to have to try soon.

Jason and Hannah’s pretzel recipe

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups AP or bread flour
¾ cup of warm water
1 tsp bread yeast
1 Tbs brown sugar
⅛ tsp salt
Additionally: Baking Soda, and Salt
Pre-heat your oven to 400ºF.

Mix yeast and brown sugar in the ¾ cup of warm water and let proof for 10 minutes.

Put flour and salt in large mixing bowl. Add liquid. Knead until the ball of dough has picked up all the loose flour and is smooth.

Start a 3-5 quart pot of water boiling. Add 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda. Let boil.

Roll out pretzels. I suggest taking golf ball sized balls of dough and rolling them in your hand until the string of dough is about the diameter of a grease pencil or sharpie. Then twist into pretzels.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or your favorite non-stick method. Boil pretzels in the baking soda water mixture for 10-15 seconds each. My rule is to let them sink to the bottom and then retrieve a few seconds after they float to the surface. Place the pretzels on the baking sheet.

Immediately before placing in the oven, sprinkle with salt to your preference. Bake for 18-19 minutes.

on interstellar and the illusion of time.

i saw interstellar last night and it’s a great movie. not perfect by any means, but it’s sci-fi and even Neil DeGrasse Tyson is okay with the ending.

many of the theories in the film are explored in the embedded NOVA episode, “The Fabric of the Cosmos: The Illusion of Time” which has quotes from physicists that sound like they could be buddhist monks – e.g. “everything that has ever happened or will happen – it all exists.” and from an NPR story on the show, “Our days certainly seem numbered. We long to know if this countdown to darkness is real, or simply the trick of a more limited perspective.”

for even more Deep Thoughts About Time, give a listen to the Radiolab Time episode and remember that all of this has happened before and all of this will happen again.

just ship.

just ship.

the “just ship” philosophy is, i believe, an homage to the steve jobs quote, “real artists ship”. it’s mostly seen in tech circles but i like the general philosophy that at end of the day “shipping” is the only thing that matters and it’s a valuable lesson outside tech. when i saw that kellan ( now cto of etsy ) was shipping the shirts originally developed for the etsy engineering shirt, i knew i had to get one.

in retrospect I should have ordered 6 more so I could make it my everyday shirt.

at the time of this writing he’s sold out of men’s sizes but you can pre-order at 50% off! hmmmmm…

recipe: odin’s “Kick in The Asgard” hot sauce.

recipe: odin's "kick in the asgard" hot sauce.

i made several batches of odin’s “Kick in The Asgard” hot sauce using starter fuel from our organic valley garden based on a “green dragon sauce” recipe. i ended up with about a gallon of sauce and will give most of it away to fellow gardeners. not knowing how hot the peppers were, i was happy to find that none of the batches ended up being “melt your face off” hot.

it’s analogous to a tabasco sauce – simple to make and tasty!

in the interest of full disclosure, odin doesn’t actually like hot sauce but i like the punny nature of the name. maybe someday his taste buds will change :-)

ingredients

20 peppers or so, stems removed, rough chopped (2 1/2 cups)
1 onion, chopped
3 or 4 or 8 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 cups water
1 cup white vinegar to taste

directions

combine the peppers, onion, garlic, salt and oil in a saucepan over high heat. saute’ for 3 minutes.
add the water and continue to cook for about 20 minutes. Stir often.
remove from heat and allow to steep until mixture has cooled.
place mixture in food processor and puree until smooth.
with the processor running, pour in the vinegar through the feed tube in a steady stream.
pour into sterilized pint jar and seal.
let age at least 2 weeks before using.
can be stored in the refrigerator up to 6 months.

to can: pour into clean hot jars [no need to sterilize jars if water bathed for at least 10 min. and process in boiling water bath for 10 min.

day 3774: doing drills at a laura stamm power skating clinic.

day 3774: doing drills at a laura stamm power skating clinic. I.

it’s the beginning of hockey regular season so we’re spending more time in hockey arenas. and this weekend we spent even more time than usual as we signed odin up for a laura stamm power skating clinic in baraboo, wisconsin. the well-regarded clinics are taught all over the country and usually cost over $200 but the baraboo youth hockey association subsidizes the cost and it costs just $75 if you’re not part of the association ( $35 if you are a member of the baraboo youth hockey league ). so it’s quite a deal for an intensive 6 hours of skating split over 2 days.

day 3774: doing drills at a laura stamm power skating clinic. II.

drills! drills! drills!

in this drill, the kids skate fast and drop down and alternate sliding on each knee without standing up.

i am certain that i could not do this.

day 3774: doing drills at a laura stamm power skating clinic. III.

lots and lots of drills to improve their skating backwards skills.

day 3774: doing drills at a laura stamm power skating clinic. IV.

and maybe a bit of goofing off with friends who give odin a hard time when his poppi is trying to take pictures :-)

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