Ray’s Chili

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All-American

My friend Rochelle got ahold of me one evening to ask about possibly doing a photoshoot with food.  She was looking to beef up her portfolio, and I like taking pictures of tasties.  Sounds like a win-win, no?  So we set up a photography play-date.

But what should we make?  I ran through several ideas, but I wanted to do something a little different.  While strolling through the grocery store, my boyfriend mentioned in passing that he wanted to make some chili sometime soon.  Lightbulb moment!  I decided to not only take pictures of the chili, but to feature Ray’s recipe here in my blog.  A guest feature of sorts.  So we grabbed our ingredients and ran home with them, and I sat back to watch Ray work.

Recipe behind the jump.

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Thanksgiving: Turkey

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Thanksgiving is approaching, and people are starting to get things together for the big day.  And what is Thanksgiving without the main event?  That’s right.  Turkey.  The centerpiece to Thanksgiving dinners for generations.  How could I not post a recipe for Turkey?

Well here I go, then.

Turkey can be a pain to cook.  The problem with turkey (or any fowl for that matter) is it is comprised of both light and dark meat, both of which require different cooking methods and temperatures to come out just right.  Dark Meat usually requires a slightly higher temperature to cook properly, but doing that often dries out the breast meat.  Simply put, you need to find middle ground.

On top of that, turkey, just like chicken, can dry out and become bland and flavorless.  You cannot just unwrap a turkey, throw it in the oven, and expect nirvana on a plate when you take it out.  You really have to work with turkey.  You must soak it in a brine to lock in the moisture, you must cook it at the proper temperature, you must add seasonings.

And so, I shall tell you my methods for an excellent Thanksgiving Day turkey.

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Thanksgiving: Stuffing

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Stuffing is one of those things you cannot go without on Thanksgiving.  It’s practically required, right behind mashed potatoes and turkey.  So, yet again, I’m going to present a Grandma Original Recipe, for stuffing.

I do understand though that a lot of concern has been had about actually putting the stuffing in your Bird of Choice due to the possibility of salmonella contamination.  This recipe can also be adapted to cooking separately in a pyrex dish and will come out just as good.

I must say though, I will be referring to this dish as stuffing regardless of whether you stuff it into your Bird of Choice, or if you cook it separately (which is technically called “dressing.)  Where I am from (Pittsburgh) the stuff you make with bread, veggies, and spices that you can put into your Bird of Choice is called stuffing.  So there.

Anyway.

Recipe after the jump.

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Thanksgiving: Gravy

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This is another Grandma Original Recipe.  Make no bones about this recipe: it’s not good for you.  I’m throwing that disclaimer in here now.  Yet some of the best recipes are terrible for you, so this must be a great recipe.  This can also be adapted to oven-roasted chicken, though I’ve not tried it with any other sort of meat.

The problem with my grandmother’s recipes, and how she taught them to me, was that she eyeballed everything.  With the exception of baking (which is more chemistry than anything else) she never measured.  She never weighed.  She just tossed it in and adjusted as she went.  And that’s how she taught me.  So the measurements in a lot of the recipes I use from her playbook have been approximated.

Recipe after the jump.

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