Tag Archives: Alton Brown

4th of July Recipe Favorites for Your American Celebration

The fourth of July is the best kind of American holiday — celebrated at the height of summer, with grills going and fireworks sparkling and ice-cold lemonade (or beer) in hand.

When family is around and backyard games are in progress, it’s more fun to be outside than slaving away in the kitchen. These tried and true summer dishes are not only easy, they can also be prepared either ahead of time or on a Weber kettle.

Watermelon Feta Salad with Kalamata Olives

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Fair warning: this salad, by British cookbook author Nigella Lawson, is addictive, and not only during the summer when watermelon is abundant. Sweet with melon, salty with kalamata olives and feta cheese and fresh with chopped mint and parsley leaves, this is a crowd-pleasing summer salad that goes with everything. Steeping raw red onions in fresh lime juice removes their rasp, so start those first.

There are dozens of variations on the watermelon salad — try Whole Foods’ version with goat cheese and basil, or Ina Garten’s take with baby arugula and parmesan.

Deviled eggs with smoked salmon

Deviled eggs for Lila

With a bit of spiced mustard and creamy mayonnaise, deviled eggs are a classic party dish. This Forkful of News recipe, topped with smoked salmon and sliced chives, has a secret tang from pickled onions (you can use dill pickles, too).

To make them even more elegant for a dinner party, add fish eggs (like flying fish roe, or tobiko) for a tiny bit of salty snap.

Grilled Marinated Flank Steak

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Flank steak can be incredibly tender and flavorful if you give it a night in marinade. After trying Mediterranean and Southwestern combinations, the best is an Asian-style combination of soy sauce, garlic, ginger and brown sugar. Start with a marinade like Alton Brown’s or this version from AllRecipes. Then add/subtract ingredients to your taste.

Because flank is a tough cut, the key is to let the steak sit in marinade overnight. Grill for about 15 minutes total and then LET IT REST for 10 minutes, at least. While the steak rests, you can throw on kebabs.

Vegetable/Chicken Kebabs

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The only thing slightly fussy about these skewers is the assembly. Cut up whatever vegetables you have around (peppers, onions, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, squash, mushrooms), brush with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with some interesting spices (cumin, paprika, aleppo pepper) and grill on medium, 6-10 minutes.

The skewers above have small pieces of chicken on them, but shrimp or precooked slices of chicken sausage work, too. Vegetarians at your celebration might appreciate veg-only kebabs, like these from Epicurious.

Martha Stewart recommends threading each vegetable or meat separately, to have better control over the cooking time. That’s certainly an option, but if you’re staying away from super-high heat anyway, the lazy man’s everything-on-one method has worked fine for us.

Patriotic Bundt Cake

June Cook-off Lindsay and Nicole 006

Holidays are no time for restraint. Go big with a lovely pound cake, like the sour-cream based Man Catcher from Melissa Gray’s “All Cakes Considered” (try it with fresh blueberries in the batter) or Ina Garten’s lemon pound cake, cooked into a bundt pan as the Smitten Kitchen suggests.

Shown above is my friend’s deliberately patriotic bundt cake, which she topped with fresh white whipped cream and stewed fresh berries (bright red strawberries and blueberries, of course). A scoop of ice cream would be delicious, too!

However you celebrate, we wish you a very happy 4th of July and share our gratitude that we are a country that believes in freedom  and Democracy.

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Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
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Comfort Winter Soups | Recipes for Recovering

Something has been going around my office, church and social circles, and it’s not a funny Facebook meme. Everyone seems to be coming down with a strange cold-flu hybrid, an exhausting, hacking, miserable illness that takes a good week to work its way out.

When you’re sick, the last thing you might feel like doing is cooking. But if you happen to be the healthy one — or if, like me, you’ve already recovered from the plague and are ready to help your sniffling family or even your coworkers — one of these soups should do the trick.

Chicken soup

1. Chicken Noodle Soup

This is the soup I made two weeks ago when I was guzzling NyQuil at night and curling up with tea during the day. Alton Brown uses chicken stock (homemade if you’ve got it), a few savory elements (onion, celery, garlic) and relatively quick-cooking egg noodles for a quick and easy pot of healing goodness. It’s so simple, I’ll repost the recipe right here.

Note: If you don’t want to cook the noodles in advance, they cook right in the broth if you let it simmer for about 6-8 minutes.

  • 4 cups chicken stock, home-made or store-bought
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 ounces dried egg noodles, cooked to al dente
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Lemon halves, for serving

Bring stock to boil for 2 minutes in a large, non-reactive stockpot with lid on, over high heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic. Lower heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Add noodles and cook 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and add herbs and salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with lemon halves and add squeeze of lemon juice if desired.

2. Kabocha Squash and Celery Root Soup with maple syrup and browned butter

Squash celery root soup

My all-time favorite soup tome is Anna Thomas’ “Love Soup,” a 2009 James Beard Award-winning cookbook with some 160 recipes for green soups, bean soups, squash purees and more.

This lovely blend can be altered by using butternut or acorn instead of kabocha squash, and carrots in place of turnips. The brown butter gives it a wonderful depth, and an immersion blender makes quick work of the finishing steps.

3. Basic Green Soup

green-soupOne more from Anna Thomas — and this one takes awhile, but it’s worth it. Her green soups begin with caramelized onions, which themselves can take 30-45 minutes to fully brown into a sweet “onion jam.”

In the meantime, stem and chop a few bunches of greens, like dinosaur (lacinato) kale, spinach and chard. Cook arborio rice to give the soup heft, and finish with a swirl of fresh “green” olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.

4. Pasta Soup with Potatoes and Pancetta

photo by  Kate Whitaker

photo by Kate Whitaker

Recipe writer  puts this soup under the heading “Craving Comfort” on the blog Leite’s Culinaria, and it’s certainly hearty enough to warrant the name.

“Many people would never associate pasta and potato, but in this case, you’re really going to have to trust me,” she writes. “This recipe has been in my family for more than 50 years, and considering that so far there’ve been two chefs in the family, it must be fantastico!”

Pancetta is important in this one; find it at Whole Foods or specialty markets.

5. Hearty Tomato Soup with Lemon and Rosemary

EI1109_Tomato_Soup_lg

I love this rich tomato soup from Giada De Laurentiis for several reasons. First, the addition of cannellini beans pureed into the soup gives it both texture and hidden protein.

Second, the creme fraiche and lemon zest give it a zing! of tanginess, offsetting the sweetness of the tomatoes. And I love how streamlined it is, starting with veggies I always have around in winter (onion, carrot, garlic) and building with pantry staples, like crushed tomatoes.

What are your favorite comfort soups?  We hope you stay well this flu season.

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

How to Cook, Glaze and Carve a Holiday Ham

Few centerpieces are more anticipated than a perfectly pink holiday ham, glazed with a spiky coarse mustard and sweet fruit preserves, and sliced into lovely petals.

But if you’re cooking a ham for the first time, getting from the package in the grocery store to that beautiful Christmas Day dinner-table picture can seem like a daunting journey. So, for the newbie, this is our ham primer.

Nueske's spiral sliced bone-in ham

Nueske’s spiral sliced bone-in ham

Start with a cured or smoked (precooked) ham. (You can definitely make a fresh one, but today let’s leave that to the more experienced cooks.)

The most popular kind of ham is a city ham. Much like a brined Butterball turkey, city hams are wet-cured, injected with a mixture of salt, seasonings and curing agents. An article on Real Simple claims that “bone-in city hams tend to be moister and more flavorful than the boneless variety,” though both come ready to eat.

Benton's Smoky Mountain Country Ham

Benton’s Smoky Mountain Country Ham

Country ham is favored in the south. These hams are dry-cured with a salt/seasoning rub, then smoked and aged. Real Simple explains, “salty and chewy, the intensely flavored meat is usually served with biscuits or incorporated into casseroles and salads. It’s sold both uncooked and cooked, and mostly bone-in.”

Bon Appétit recommends getting a ham with “some kind of bone in it. It will give you a sense of where to take the ham’s temperature to determine doneness (see below), plus, that leftover bone will bring a soup or pot of beans to the next level.”

According to a Rachael Ray how-to, “spiral hams cook faster because the heat penetrates better.” Either way, if you have a whole ham, be prepared to dedicate your oven to it for a good chunk of time.

Alton Brown, the lovable science-geek chef on the Food Network, recommends warming a precooked ham for three to four hours at a low temperature (250°F) under foil, then increasing the heat, adding a brown sugar/bourbon glaze and then upping the heat (350°F) for a final hour.

A classic holiday ham recipe on Chow.com estimates five hours of cooking and prep time, using a temperature of 325°F. The Neelys’ recipe is a little faster, about three hours for a 14-pound ham at 350°F. Choose a recipe that fits your time frame; remember that the ham will smell wonderful while it cooks!

how-to-carve-ham-1

Photo by Zach DeSart

Choose a glaze for your ham, usually a combination of something savory or spicy, like mustard, cloves, garlic or ginger, and something sweet, like orange juice, pineapple, fresh or dried figs or even Coca-Cola. The glaze usually goes on in the last 60 to 30 minutes of cooking.  Check out our recent post, 5 Ways to Glaze a Holiday Ham, for more recipe ideas.

Finally, carve your ham. If you have a spiral sliced ham, that’s already been done for you. If you don’t, look to a step-by-step guide like the one Jeffrey Elliot put together at Huffington Post, or this one from Hunter Lewis at Saveur.

For a video, watch Ron Stapleton from Stapleton’s Quality Meats demonstrate how to carve a holiday ham. And avoid some common mistakes, like drying out the ham or burning the glaze, by reading this tip sheet from Bon Appétit.

We hope these tips and resources for cooking a Holiday Ham help you enjoy cooking yours.  Happy Holidays!

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

How to Carve a Thanksgiving Turkey: Good Tools and Confidence

Carving a turkey for the first time can be a truly imposing task. In the same way that little Cornish hens or poussins are like miniature versions of familiar roast chicken, a turkey looks like that chicken on steroids. All other considerations aside, most turkey is huge.

But the encouraging fact is, even though your Thanksgiving turkey is significantly bigger than a chicken, the process of taking it apart is largely the same.

Tools

To carve a turkey, you need a few basic tools:

  • A large cutting board, preferably one with drainage grooves or a “well” around the outside to catch drippings
  • A sharp knife — some like a long carving knife, others prefer a chef’s knife
  • A carving fork
  • A warm patter, to put the carved meat on
  • A warm pot of turkey stock nearby, to moisten the meat before it goes out (optional)

From Flickr.com

Tips

First, don’t carve your bird at the table. It’s messy. Present the bird to the dining room table if you must (although before dinner, doesn’t everyone hang around in the kitchen anyway?) and then return to the kitchen to carve.

Second, let the bird rest for around 30 minutes before carving. (Longer is usually fine; just stick the platter in a warm oven when you’re done carving.) Resting time is important because it allows all those good juices to re-infuse the meat. Carve too soon and you’ll have a dry bird (and also a very hot one, which makes it harder to carve).

Step-by-Step

These are just the basics, based on how we carve. Refer to the pros (see video below) for other methods, all of which work. For a photo step-by-step, check out this post on The Huffington Post.

1. Remove the drumsticks. My husband sometimes removes the thigh and leg pieces together, separating them after they’re off the bird. Holding the drumstick vertically, cut the meat off in bite-size pieces.

2. Remove the wings.

3. Separate the breast halves. Cut the breast meat horizontally, creating slices at whatever thickness you like.

4. With the large pieces you have, cut as much good meat off as you can. If you like, save the bones for stock and the drippings for gravy.

From The Huffington Post slide show.

Watch and Learn

Alton Brown at the Food Network presents How to Carve a Turkey

How to Carve a Turkey at Martha Stewart Living‘s “Everything Thanksgiving”

Cook’s Illustrated video: Carving a turkey

The Butcher Carves a Turkey” by Craig Duff, The New York Times

With the right tools and your new knowledge, carving your Thanksgiving turkey should be both straightforward and easy to manage.  All the best for a very happy Thanksgiving!
The gThankYou! Team

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

Looking for Thanksgiving Recipes? Start Here

The holidays can be a thoroughly overwhelming time — even when they technically haven’t started.

Getting a sense of your Thanksgiving Day feast menu in advance can ease the stress of the day, and ensure you’re not quick-thawing a 20-lb. turkey the day you plan to serve it.

A home cook might compile recipes in a Word document (as I have done for years, with a fair amount of success). Even simpler, some of the sites below will make up a menu for you.

One Epicurious app for Android allows you to choose the recipes you want to make, and then puts the ingredients from each one into a shopping list. So easy.

1. Epicurious is a great place to start for Thanksgiving recipes. I like the handy timeline; a list of budget-conscious, American wine recommendations; suggested tools; and tons of recipes from Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Sunset Living and more.

I love the suggestions from fellow cooks — you can click on helpful reviews and have them print along with the recipe, a great tool — and I love this Thanksgiving menu planner.

It asks six simple questions — like: How many people are you serving? Do you want something traditional, modern, exotic? Do you want the dishes to be healthy? — and then spits out a menu (I got “Ted Allen’s Modern Thanksgiving“) you can reject or accept.

gThankYou! Ginger Pumpkin Pie by Cooking Light

Cooking Light’s Ginger Pumpkin Pie
Photo by Charles Masters

2. If this is your first Thanksgiving at the stove, check out Cooking Light’s Thanksgiving for the Novice. Their suggested lineup is basic: creamy salsa dip, sausage and mushroom stuffing, honey-roasted sweet potatoes, classic pumpkin pie. But there are also dozens of fun, approachable and often health-conscious feast day recipes to be found here, including ideas for cocktails, “perfect” pies and what to do with leftovers.

3. A new site for me, and the one I’m using to plan my own meal this year, is Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs’ Food52. There are ideas for how to dress up your Thanksgiving table, an approachable how-to for the Russ Parsons dry-brined “Judy bird,” and contests among home cooks to find the best recipes for Thanksgiving staples like mashed potatoes.

Recipes that are currently catching my eye: cider-glazed sweet potatoes with bacon, pecans and blue cheese (below); beer-and-bacon glazed collard greens; crispy delicata squash rings with currant, fennel and apple relish.

If you like a recipe, you can click the button with the little turkey on it that says “Add to My Menu” and it pops the recipe into a Thanksgiving file. I love this.

Photo from SuperStarter on Food52.

4. A few other sites to try include Martha Stewart Living’s Everything Thanksgiving (it does literally look like EVERYTHING, from appetizers and side dishes to fall centerpieces and projects for the kids).

Thanksgiving Turkey Cake at Chow.com

I like the practical thrust and the nice visuals at the Food Network, which is a great place to find themed recipes for a Paula Deen-style Southern menu or a failsafe batch of ideas from science guru Alton Brown. If you want how-to videos, this is also the best place to start.

Finally, if you like moral support in your cooking adventures, start with the Thanksgiving recipes at Chow, the site connected to the active Chowhound forums. Search the Home Cooking board before you ask your question; chances are, it has been asked (and answered, in detail) before.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving Recipe sources?  Happy Cooking!

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

Five Ways to Add Flavor to Your Thankgiving Turkey

Turkey by itself — especially the breast meat — doesn’t have a ton of flavor and can run a little dry. For the best-tasting, juiciest turkey, most birds need a little help.

Here are five ways to add richness, spice and excitement to your Thanksgiving turkey.

Photo via Indulgy.com

1. Brine it. The white meat of turkey is not naturally  juicy. To add both moisture and flavor, soak the bird in brine the night before you plan to cook it. It works wonders.

There is a fair amount of internet buzz for Alton Brown’s five-star-rated Good Eats Roast Turkey, which as of this posting has 4,007 reviews on Food Network. To make his brine, you basically make a tea using kosher salt, brown sugar, vegetable stock, peppercorns, allspice and candied ginger. Cool it down and then soak the bird in the mixture for 8 to 16 hours.

The results? See the reviews: “A HUGE hit,” “soooooo easy,” “awesome turkey flavor, mild, subtle, and what Thanksgiving is all about!”

2. Inject it. You can buy pre-injected turkey, though some are wary of these — a whole frozen turkey from Butterball, for example, includes “modified food starch, sodium phosphates (and) natural flavorings.”

Williams-Sonoma Flavor Injector

You’ll know exactly what’s in the injection if you do it yourself. Granted, this requires some tools, but those who tried Brian Page‘s butter-injected turkey with thyme gave it “four forks” out of four on Epicurious.com.

“By putting the butter inside of the turkey it makes the turkey moist inside,” wrote one reviewer. “When the butter comes out into your water it makes it good for basting, because it helps brown the skin on the outside. I also use poultry seasoning, putting some on the inside and out.

3. Rub spices on the skin. Add flavor fast with a simple spice rub, which can range from basic to bold. One Cooking Light recipe packs tons of flavor, with cumin, coriander, oregano, sage, thyme, dry mustard and a little brown sugar.

Saveur has a recipe for a beautiful chile-rubbed Mexican turkey, involving toasted pasilla chiles, 30 cloves of garlic, orange juice, olive oil and honey.

Chile-rubbed roasted turkey. Photo by Landon Nordeman for Saveur.

4. Spread herb butter under the skin. No time to brine? This is a great last-minute technique that you can easily adapt for roast chicken, too.

Both Ina Garten and Martha Stewart offer step-by-step instructions for making a compound butter (with chopped herbs and lemon zest), then (in Martha’s case) loosening the skin of the bird and slathering the slightly softened butter underneath. Ina gets brown skin by brushing the melted butter mixture on top.

5. Stuff it. Take a lemon or an orange, a quartered Spanish onion or a full head of garlic, a bunch of rosemary or a few sprigs of thyme, and shove them into the cavity of the bird. (Apples are delicious, too.) This perfumes the meat lightly. Garlic left in its papery skin emerges melting and sweet, amazing spread on crusty bread.

Happy Cooking! Let us know what you do to make your Thanksgiving Turkey it’s flavorful best.

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Gift Certificates and Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are two of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand (Turkey or Turkey Or Ham), at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and our free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo. And, nearly all orders ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick KileyChief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Join the Conversation @gThankYou 
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

4th of July – Festive Red, White and Blue Menu Ideas!

It’s almost Independence Day – the celebration of summer and all things American! Something we are all grateful for.

gThankYou! Martha Stewart Flag Cupcake

Martha Stewart
“Flag Cupcake”

So put out your blanket on a grassy hill to reserve a spot for your local fireworks celebration and bring a lawn chair down to Main Street so you have a nice view of the traditional, small-town Fourth of July Parade. You don’t want to miss the marching bands, the 4-H float, representatives from the local VFW, and kids on bicycles decorated with red, white, and blue streamers.  Our forefathers may not have bought sparklers, fired up the barbecue grill, or headed to the beach in honor of our new country, but today there’s no better way to mark the patriotic day.

Like any great holiday, there are fabulous foods associated with the day. Grill up your favorite chicken, ribs, hamburgers or brats, add some corn on the cob, and celebrate with family and friends. Don’t forget to look for recipes that use locally grown produce – available in your neighborhood grocery store –  lots of berries, cherries, herbs, corn, tomatoes, peas, beans, and zucchini are in season right now.

For a menu that includes a little red, white, and blue, try some of these great desserts and side dishes!

Red, White and Blue Menu Ideas for a Festive 4th of July

gThankYou! Bon Apetit 3 Potato Salad

Red, White and Blue Potato Salad by Rick Browne
(Photo credit: Tina Rupp)

gThankYou! Watermelon Sorbet

gThankYou! Martha Stewart Firecracker Ice Pops

“Firecracker Ice Pops”
by Martha Stewart

  • And here’s a great finale to your picnic dinner, sparklers are optional!
gThankYou! Martha Stewart 4th of July Trifle

Red, White & Blue Berry Trifle
Perfect for 4th of July!
by Martha Stewart

Happy 4th of July!  Send your patriotic food photos and we will post them!

About gThankYou, LLC

Turkey Or Ham Gift Certificates by gThankYou! are one of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand whole Turkey or half or whole Ham, at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S.  

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo, and ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.
Follow the Company Blog –  “Celebrating Work”.
Watch our gThankYou! YouTube Video – “Learn More About Us”.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.

9 Great Tips for Roasting Turkey

How to Roast the Best Tasting Turkey for Thanksgiving

Okay, Thanksgiving Day is finally here! The shopping is done, the relatives are on their way, and the table is set. Time to focus on the dinner centerpiece – the turkey. In the past few years, home cooks have tried lots of variations on cooking the Thanksgiving Turkey – barbecuing, smoking, deep frying – but most of us still put it in the oven to bake.

What’s the secret to a well roasted turkey? What are the steps you need to follow for a flavorful, juicy main dish?

gThankYou! Roast Turkey Picture

Well, we’re glad you asked. . .

1.  De-icing dinner.
First, thaw your bird completely. Not mostly. Not part way. All the way. You can thaw it in the fridge for a few days – up to four, depending on the size of your turkey. What if you don’t have four days? Well, you can cover your (still wrapped) turkey with cold tap water in the sink, changing the water every half hour. It will take about 30 minutes per pound to thaw.  As a worst case scenario, you can also thaw your bird in the microwave (be sure it fits!). Check the owner’s manual for what setting you should use, and for how long.

2.  Rinse, remove, and season.
Once the turkey is thawed, rinse it thoroughly with cold water – inside and out. Make sure you remove the bag of giblets from the cavity, but don’t throw them away! In a small saucepan, boil the neck, heart, gizzard, etc. until they are fully cooked. Then strain and use the broth as the base for your gravy! (You can give the meat to your pet or chop them and add them gThankYou! Butter in the Turkey Phototo your gravy for giblet gravy).  Season the turkey with salt and pepper and rub soft butter in the cavity. Then loosen the skin on the breast and push some butter (and herbs if you like!) into the pocket.

3.  To truss or not to truss?
Trussing your turkey is not required, but it can make the turkey look better, cook more evenly, and carve more easily. Most commercial turkeys come with a metal loop that brings the drumsticks together, and that will accomplish most of these objectives. If you want to use kitchen string to be more fancy, check out Food Network.com’s Alton Brown’s tutorial here.

4.  What Temperature?
There are competing opinions on whether to roast at a high temperature for the first half hour to get a nice brown skin, and then lower it (no lower than 325°F) for the remainder of the cooking time, or keep the oven at a nice medium temperature for the duration. In our opinion, 350 – 400°F is probably the best temperature for cooking a whole bird.

5.  How long?
Depending on the size of your bird and whether it’s stuffed, it should take anywhere from 3-6 hours to roast.  (See chart below.)
gThankYou! Turkey with Thermometer
Always use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature has reached a minimum of 165 °F.  Many like their bird at 180 °F.

Approximate Roasting Times for Stuffed Turkey

Turkey Weight

Hours

6 to 8 pounds 3 to 3-1/2 hours
8 to 12 pounds 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5-1/2 to 6 hours
20 to 24 pounds 6 to 6-1/2 hours

Approximate Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey

Turkey Weight

Hours

6 to 8 pounds 2-1/2 to 3 hours
8 to 12 pounds 3 to 4 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4 to 5 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5 to 5-1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds 5-1/2 to 6 hours

6.  Butter the bird!
Baste the bird with butter periodically while cooking to ensure brown crispy skin. (Terrible for you, but fabulous to eat. It’s the holidays after all!) But be sure not to open the oven door too often, so you can maintain an even temperature.

7.  Get stuffed.
It may be tradition, but current thinking is it’s not a good idea. . . Baking stuffing in your turkey can lead to all sorts of holiday misery – namely salmonella – if you don’t cook it until you’ve reached an internal temperature of at least 165°F.  So be careful, be vigilant, and be safe. Or, just cook the stuffing in a separate roasting pan.

8.  Give it a rest.
Let your turkey rest for at least 20 minutes after you take it out of the oven. That will let it cool just enough so all of the juices will settle back into the meat, instead of running all over your cutting board when you carve it.

9.  Deglaze!
Don’t waste the juices and brown bits the bottom of the pan! Pour them all into your gravy separator (or a tall, skinny container). Let the fat rise to the top, skim it off, and use that broth as the base of your gravy. Brown bits stuck to the roasting pan? Pour a little white wine in the pan and stir over medium heat. They will dissolve and add tons of flavor to any sauce!

And finally, as you serve your delectable main course to those who have gathered with you to give thanks, remember this: Thanksgiving comes every year. If things didn’t come out perfectly this time, you will have another shot at it. And another, and another, and another in the years to come. In the meantime, good gravy can cover a multitude of sins. Relax, be thankful and enjoy your turkey with family and friends.

About gThankYou, LLC

gThankYou! Turkey Gift Certificates are one of America’s favorite employee gifts and can be redeemed for any Brand whole Turkey, at virtually any Grocery Store in the U.S. 

gThankYou, LLC provides company leaders with a variety of easy, meaningful and affordable ways to recognize and reward employees, holiday time or anytime.  gThankYou! Certificates of Gratitude and free Enclosure Cards are personalizable including incorporating your company logo, and ship same day.

gThankYou, LLC (www.gthankyou.com) is based in Madison, Wisconsin.  Contact:  Rick Kiley, Chief ThankYou! Officer, gThankYou, LLC at info@gthankyou.com or 888-484-1658.  Follow the company blog “Celebrating Work” at blog.gthankyou.com.

“G” logo and “Certificates of Gratitude” are trademarks and “gThankYou” is a registered trademark of gThankYou, LLC.