" I truly think it is best to be a robin lightly dressed concocting soup inside my nest" ~Maurice Sendak

Loving It

This is the time of year when the kitchen becomes the heart of my home again, after hanging out on the patio all summer.
The island is the "hub" where we gather to do homework, cook, crafts or just hangout.
I love the warmth of the kitchen as cosy comfort food cooks in the oven filling the room with the aroma of dinner.

This is an easy dish to put together and smells wonderful while cooking.
You can use any parts of chicken that you wish. I used legs and thighs this time as they were on sale that week.

This dish can be served over pasta or rice.

Baked Italian Chicken

  • 8 chicken parts (legs, thighs or breasts)
  • olive oil
  • flour
  • 2 tbsp of crushed garlic
  • 1 798ml can of tomatoes
  • handful of chopped basil, rosemary and oregano
  • 1/2 cup of pitted black olives
  • 1/2 pound of mozzarella and Romano cheese blend shredded.

Preheat oven to 375F

Dredge chicken in flour until coated.
Heat olive oil in skillet.
Brown chicken on all sides. Remove to a platter keeping warm.
Drain off all but 1/4 cup of juices in pan.
Add the garlic tomatoes and herbs to the pan. Cook on medium breaking up tomatoes while stirring.
Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Spoon some of the sauce into a large deep baking dish. Place chicken onto sauce and top with remaining sauce.
Top with cheese and olives.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and cook 5 to 10 minutes longer.
Let stand for a few minutes then serve.

Wine Suggestion: Montepulciano


Turkey Time

My favorite holiday is only days away.
The holiday that celebrates family, food and the fall harvest.

This is a bit of a twist on the usual run of the mill roasted turkey.
I brined and smoked this bird to take it up a notch.

Brining is a method of placing the turkey in a salt water bath that is centuries old. It makes the proteins in the meat change their pattern which traps the moisture to create the ultimate juicy turkey.
To finish it off I brushed on a Bourbon Glaze that created a very tasty crispy skin.
A Spicy Apple Gravy to serve along side and simple cranberry salsa completes this dish
There may seem to be a lot of steps to this dish but it is well worth every minute.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Smoked and Brined Turkey with Bourbon Glaze , Spicy Apple Gravy and Cranberry Salsa

Brine and Turkey
  • 1 turkey 10 to 25 pounds
  • 4 cups of kosher salt (or 2 of table salt)
  • 2 gallons of water
In a large vessel such as a cooler or deep roasting pan combine the salt and water. Mix well.
submerge the thawed turkey . If not covered make more salt water until covered.
place in a cool place or in a fridge overnight.

Preheat the grill to 400F

Remove turkey from the brine and rinse well. Remove as much water as you can so that it is as dry as possible.
Stuff as desired.
Brush with oil and place on a grill that has a prepared smoker box or smoker packet as described here.

Bourbon Glaze
  • 3/4 cup of Bourbon
  • 1/4 cup mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1 tsp chili powder
Combine in bowl and brush on turkey during the last half of roasting time.

Roast until turkey is cooked through.
The temperature of the thermometer inserted into stuffing should read 165F and in the turkey thigh 180F when the turkey is fully cooked.
Remove turkey from pan to a platter and remove stuffing to a serving dish and carve turkey as desired.

Spicy Apple Gravy

  • 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 tsp of oil
  • 4 tbsp of flour

In a pot heat the oil and add the flour.
Stir until it thickens. (this is called a roux)
Add the remaining ingredients while stirring.

Simmer and stir until desired thickness.

Cranberry Salsa

  • 1 can of cranberry sauce
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • tbsp of minced white onion
  • 2 tsp of minced jalapeno pepper
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • 1 tsp cracked peppercorn
  • 2 tbsp tequila
  • 1 tsp each of orange and lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve.

Wine Suggestion: Riesling