29 September 2009

Turkey Broth

Remember last Friday when I told you I'd share a blog post about the broth you're supposed to be making with your leftover turkey Karkass? Well, this is it, people. Pay attention.

So you roasted your turkey. (It was easy like I said it would be, right?) And you saved the carcass and the giblets because I told you to. Well now you're gonna want to do the following (this recipe is loosely based on the one from Nourishing Traditions):

1.) Get the biggest pot you can find.

"Not like practical joke big..."

2.) Put in it the carcass and giblets, a couple splashes of white vinegar, and fill it almost to the top with cold water. Let sit at room temperature for half an hour. (I promise this makes the broth way better than if you heat it straight off.)

3.) Bring to a boil. Meanwhile, chop up some carrots, an onion, and some celery if you have it. After everything has come to a boil, skim off all that foamy gunk from the top. Add your veggies and maybe a couple of bay leaves.

4.) Turn the pot down to a simmer and leave it there, covered, for at least 6 hours, up to 24. (At least that's what Sally Fallon says -- I've personally never left it longer than 10.) If you have an electric range, feel free to leave your house and come back later.

5.) Turn off the heat and let the broth cool a bit. Then take ya some kitchen tongs and pull out all the big pieces of stuff and throw them away. Strain the liquid into a bowl (or in my case this time, two bowls and a pot). Store in fridge overnight.

[Batman villain's fridge?]

6.) Go to sleep and dream of tasty soups.

7.) In the morning, take your bowls out of the fridge and skim the congealed fat off the tops. (When you use a carcass for making broth, you will have very little fat. If you boil a whole chicken or something, there will be a lot more. In that case, you should save the fat for sauteing things in.)

8.) Measure the broth out and store in jars, tupperware, or ziplocks. Freeze, or store in fridge and use within a couple days. (I put 2 cups in a container so it can substitute for a can of broth -- mostly in ziplocks, because they will lay flat in my freezer and subsequently defrost quickly.)

You may also want to pour some into ice cube trays. Then you'll have little bits of broth for throwing into skillet meals or sauces (like the cheesy white sauce).

[My freezer, newly reorganized. Blog post to come.]

Broth is good for all sorts of things, but I mainly use it for soups, white sauces, and for cooking rice in. I also took a bag of broth cubes with me to give birth. Norman threw a few at a time in a mug and warmed them up for me. Yum!

25 September 2009


Mmm... Doesn't that look tasty? I mean, even with poor lighting it looks tasty. (Taking pictures of food is always tricky, don't you find?)

I've always thought that cooking a whole turkey is something to be done once a year -- maybe. You've gotta buy it and thaw it and rinse it and rub it and stuff it and season it, and the whole thing just sounded like a big hassle. Until I actually did it. So if any of you out there are thinking these same things about turkey preparation, I have a secret for you. It's not hard. It's easy, in fact.

I followed the instructions that I found here. Which are approximately as follows:

1.) Obtain a turkey. (I obtained mine the way I obtain most of my large chunks of meat -- my mother-in-law cleaned out her freezer. Thanks, Mary!)

2.) Let it thaw in your fridge. (This will take 2-3 days, so just chill for a while.)

3.) Remove packaging. Stick your hand all the way down inside and remove the neck and the giblets, if you're lucky enough to have a turkey that comes with them. Save the neck and giblets! You're gonna want to put them in the broth that you are obviously going to make with the carcass when you're done.

4.) Rinse the inside and outside of the turkey, then pat dry with paper towels.

5.) Rub that bird down with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt and pepper.

6.) (This is all going on in the giant roasting pan you bought for $3 at that estate sale.)

7.) Stick in a 325 degree oven for about 3 hours. Don't cover it. If it starts to brown too fast for your liking, put the lid (or some foil) over the pan. Cook till the little plastic thingy pops out.

Now, at this point you will have a gorgeous turkey, ready for consumption by a.) a large group of people on a normal day, b.) a normal sized group of people on Thanksgiving, or c.) three teenage boys one day after school.

Or you can do like me (who only has to feed one husband and one nursing mama), and tear the turkey carcass to bits and separate the bits into three categories:

Skin and Fat


Everything Else

And here is everything divided up into bags.

That's 8 bags of meat to throw into skillet meals or casseroles, one bag of skin + fat for making cracklings, and one bag of Karkass, to be combined with the neck and giblets (which are in a bag in the fridge) to make broth (blog post to come).

Yes, I go all 4th grade Indian on my turkeys. Chickens, too. And ducks.

(But seriously, if you don't click on any of the other links in the post [and who could blame you?], click on the cracklings link. It's a fabulous article, and you need to know how to make cracklings.)

22 September 2009


The husband and I made up a new word the other day: garbatrage. (Rhymes with garage.) (See also, garbatrageur, one who engages in garbatrage).

I know you all know garbage.

But do you know arbitrage? It's a great word, and extremely personally validating. There's a word for one of the major things I do with my time! Hooray!

I learned arbitrage from my economist husband, because the word generally refers to stocks and currency and things like that. But when I use it, it generally refers to craft supplies. Or vintage goodies.

Or in the case of April and/or October in Norman, OK, anything that people leave on their curbs that looks semi-useful and will fit in my car.

Now, ever since I learned of this semiannual tradition, I've been hitting the streets of Norman with my trusty driver, keeping my eyes peeled and yelling "PILE!" when I see, well, a pile. Of junk. Although, as they say, one man's trash...

Up until this summer, I could only pick up things that I knew would be useful to myself (or that I knew for sure would be immediately useful to someone I know). But that all changed when we moved into a house with a garage. (Which is suspiciously similar to both garbage and arbitrage. Coincidence?)

Now I can pick up anything of any value, store it in my garage, and sell it at discount prices in a yard sale next spring. And that, my friends, is garbatrage.

10 September 2009

When I Forget to Defrost...

...dinner starts out looking like this:

Yeah. That's a big ol' hunk of frozen chicken boolah. I'm trying to stop using the microwave.

Oh, you're probably wondering what a "boolah" is. It's a weird name for an incredibly tasty casserole, courtesy of my college Bible study leader, Larycia. But of course, because it's me and I'm lazy, we eat it as a skillet meal.

Oh, also, the original recipe calls for a can of condensed soup and a bunch of Velveeta, both of which we have cut out of our diets. A big batch of cheesy cheddar white sauce replaces both nicely.

So I'd type the recipe out for you, but I don't really measure. But it looks mostly like this:

1.) Saute:
Bell pepper
minced garlic
can of Rotel
salt and pepper

2.)Bunch of pasta (our current favorite with this is radiatore -- so much fun!)

3.)Cheesy white sauce:
Melt some butter
Stir in an equal amount of white flour -- let cook 1 minute
Whisk in some milk (and some cream, if you have it) and some chicken broth
salt and pepper
STIR (stir, stir, stir) until it starts to thicken. It seems like it will never happen, but it will. KEEP STIRRING. Don't let it bubble.
Add a whole mess of shredded cheddar. Some cream cheese is a nice addition, but I usually leave it out. It makes it smoother. Stir until cheese melts.

Mix 1, 2, and 3 together. If you're not lazy like me, you can pile it in a casserole dish and heat through in the oven.

Also, the cheesy white sauce makes a great queso, especially if you add a can of Rotel.

04 September 2009

Status Report

Got this meme from SortaCrunchy, a blog whose name and posts I thoroughly enjoy, so I thought I'd share.

My Status Report - September 2009:

Sitting . . . on the love seat, as usual. It's my nursing nest.

Drinking . . . water, mostly. Gotta stay hydrated!

Moving . . . not a darn thing. Which is nice most of the time.

Reflecting . . . on what I thought life with a kid would be like. Not much like what it is. Everyone tries to tell you what it will be like, but no one can explain it properly; it must be experienced.

Planning . . . what to buy my daughter for Christmas. It's very odd to consider buying presents for someone who has absolutely no opinion on the matter. But she's part of the family, so we want to celebrate with her.

Looking Forward To . . . this weekend! My parents are in town, and my dad has not yet met my 4-month-old daughter.

Wanting . . . Rusty's. Usually.

Hoping . . . that I do right by my baby. Or that I at least apologize when I do wrong.

Regretting . . . breaking that snow globe. I was dusting (that'll teach me!) and I broke a snow globe that a friend brought me from New York City. I am very sad.

Stressing . . . about holiday craft inventory. I have very little time to craft these days.

Surprised . . . ... ...... Hmm. Nothing surprises me anymore? Anyone who knows me have any suggestions?

Studying . . . up on how to use my new camera. So many functions!

Frustrated . . . by people who oppose the president speaking to public school students. But I think that's mainly because I expect very little of public schools.

Eager . . . to watch Glee. Looks to be the best guilty pleasure show ever. The singing! The dancing! The unrequited love! The earnest teacher! The bitchy wife! Fabulous.

Enjoying . . . the peace and quiet of eating dinner and watching Friends while the baby sleeps in the other room. A rare treat.

Missing . . . Kelly Rose. I miss her as I have never missed anyone before.

What about you? If you post this meme somewhere, please let us all know in the comments!

01 September 2009

Modern Equipment

I bought a new camera. It came in the mail yesterday. It takes very artsy-fartsy photos without my even trying. See?

So expect lots of new pictures of things, and expect them to be very clear and have excellent lighting, through no fault of my own.

(This might have something to do with the fact that my old camera has 4 megapixels and the new one has 12.1. Hmm. Four years is a long time in digital camera time. Like dog years.)

(In case you're wondering, it's a Canon A1100IS. Green.)