Alton Brown’s Good Eats Roast Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe – Made Paleo!

It was a nice, relaxing weekend.  We had family over on Saturday (along with a Chinese take-out cheat meal) which was a lot of fun. I got the chance to hold and feed my beautiful, infant nephew Alex and to color pictures with my sweet and gorgeous niece, Dottie. Besides spending time with the young ones, it is always good times with their parents Laura and Tony. Sunday, by comparison was very chill. I think I slept through the majority of the day in a way that only MS or narcolepsy can allow you to. We ate chili for supper that night.

This week, I’m going to focus giving you guys recipes that you can use for Thanksgiving.

Adam and I bought ourselves an extra turkey just for eating throughout the week.  Thursday, we’re having supper with the family, and it’s definitely going to be a cheat day! But the rest of the week, we simply can’t call it quits on our diet – especially when even Men’s Health is suggesting that it’s the IT diet to be on.

Men’s Health Recommends the Paleo Diet for Fitness

I was amused this morning when I got an email that said “Should You Go Paleo?” because, obviously, I already have. But it seems that the folks over at Men’s Health Magazine have gotten wind that this diet of ours is actually good for body building!  In their article, “Should You Go Paleo?” they highlight the evolution and all the reasons why the diet is so good for us!

So, staying true to the diet most of the time is important to me and Adam.  That’s why we’re making subtle changes to Alton Brown‘s recipe for Thanksgiving Turkey.

Alton Brown’s Good Eats Roast Turkey Recipe – Made Paleo!

The Turkey Is Done

The Turkey Is Done (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2  cup maple syrup
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped ginger root
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:

  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Olive oil

Directions

Click here to see how it’s done.

2 to 3 days before roasting:

  1. Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.
  2. Combine the vegetable stock, salt, maple syrup, peppercorns, allspice berries, and ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you’d like to eat:

  1. Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
  2. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
  3. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
  4. Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
  5. Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with olive oil.
  6. Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes.
  7. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  8. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting.
  9. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.
  10. Serve and Enjoy!  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

Day 5: Spaghetti Squash & Chicken

Spaghetti Squash cooked

Spaghetti Squash cooked (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tonight’s dinner couldn’t be more simple.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole spaghetti squash
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 jar paleo-friendly marinara sauce
    (We’re using Culinary Circle’s Three Mushroom!)
  • 1 lb. chicken, cooked and chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Split the squash in half and scrape out the seeds.
  3. Season the spaghetti squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Place the flesh side of the squash down and roast it for 40 minutes until fully cooked.
  5. Remove from the oven and let it rest until it’s cool enough to handle.
  6. Meanwhile, heat the sauce in a large saute pan with the chopped chicken.
  7. When the squash is cool enough to handle, using a spoon or fork, scrape the strands of spaghetti from the inside of the skin of the squash.
  8. Optional – Toss the spaghetti squash in the a separate pan to cook off a little moisture.
  9. Next, move the spaghetti in with the hot marinara for just long enough to become a homogenized dish and not overcook.
  10. Serve and Enjoy!

To Everything Turn, Turn, Turn.

Kung Fu Panda

Kung Fu Panda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finding Old Treasure

Well, for some reason, somebody thought it would be a good idea to read one of my better blog posts today.

It was the one about the lessons taught by Master Oogway in Kung Fu Panda (the original) and how they related to me one Rosh Hashanah when I was preparing to take the California Bar Exam.

They were powerful lessons: the importance of knowing that you cannot make a peach tree bear other fruit (no matter how badly you wanted to), and that it would not bear fruit before its time.

Treasuring Today

My, how life has changed since then…  Nowadays, I prepare meals for myself and my husband rather than preparing for tests.  I am not an attorney. I do not plan to take the Illinois Bar Exam or have any designs on trying to be a lawyer.

I wrote then about how music was coming back into my life “whether I wanted it to or not.”  And that’s just a funny idea – music having a spirit of its own or a will to infiltrate your existence. Music has always been a spiritual salve for me, showing up when I need it most to express the ineffable when I could not otherwise find a way to express that which my soul was aching or screaming to say — and it remains such to this day.

I have simplified my life as much as possible to decrease stress and to improve my health. I still have seizures nearly daily. My MS still causes pain and fatigue, but I keep going – trying to live the best life that I possibly can.  I meditate daily. I exercise. I focus on living life healthfully.  I take responsibility for the things I choose to do — like blogging instead of cleaning or eating lunch.  And I wonder how and why someone came along to read one of my more spiritual pieces of writing like that.

Mining For Gold

I will tell you: I don’t understand blogging, though I’ve been doing it a very long time.  I don’t understand what brings eyeballs to pages, or how to separate the wheat from the chaff.  I don’t know what makes someone a good blogger versus a bad one, other than that good bloggers keep writing, and that they open their hearts to their audience.  But I know that it matters that I put my real self into it, and that I’m genuine.  I think that matters a lot in life too.

Today’s Chopra Center meditation centering thought is, “I place my intention into the vast ocean of all possibilities and allow the universe to work through me.”

It is always my intention to bring more love and understanding into the world, and so I hope that I do that through this blog.

Don’t worry: there’s still a recipe coming today.

Namaste.

Day 4: Salad and Pot Roast

Review of Health-Bent’s Double Bacon Caesar (or Honey Mustard) Salad

Warm, sweet, slightly spicy-bacon-y dressing. What other reason do you need to eat lettuce? I mean sure, the salad had bacon and chicken and carrots, and I even threw in some pecans for good measure — but the honey mustard dressing! Oh my gosh. Worth the whole salad.

4 forks. 5 stars. Whatever rating system you have: tops. Seriously. I might make up excuses to make this salad again.

Just an Ordinary Day

Not much to talk about when it comes to the daily life today. The kitties are doing well. We’ve got their medicine, and for the next 2 weeks, they’ll be dewormed and antibioticed to good health! Hopefully, they’ll also put on some weight.

Fortunately, our dog, Brisco, is doing well. We brought in a fecal sample and he is free of intestinal hojimawhutzits. (And yes, that is the technical term).

In case anyone was concerned, so are Adam and I. 😉  I have been feeling really fatigued, though, recently, so today I cooked something easy.

What’s for supper? Rosemary Pot Roast!

Tonight, I’m bastardizing a recipe off of AllRecipes, and I’m cooking it in the crockpot instead of the oven.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    (Howbout all the grease from a pound of bacon?)
  • 3 1/2 pounds beef chuck pot roast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cup diced onion
    (Or a bag of frozen “stew vegetables” – that counts, right?)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary

Preparation

What I did: Put it all in a Crock Pot on High for 6 hours

What AllRecipes.com says to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C).
  2. Pour vegetable oil into a large oven-safe pot over medium-high heat. Season the chuck roast with salt and black pepper. Brown the meat on both sides in the hot oil, and transfer to a plate.
  3. Stir carrots, celery, and onion into the pot, and cook and stir until vegetables start to release their juices, about 3 minutes; loosen any brown flavor bits on the bottom of the pot. Add butter, and cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Then sprinkle in rosemary, stir the vegetables, and return the roast to the pot. Cover the pot with a lid.
  4. Roast in the preheated oven until the chuck roast is tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Season vegetables with additional salt and black pepper, if desired.

Day 3: Kitties and Salad

Review of The Clothes Make The Girl’s Merguez Meatballs

These were so delicious! A little spicy, definitely savory, and they are, without a doubt, going to be part of our regular “go-to” eats. The only thing that Adam and I found was that after baking in the oven, some of the fat drained out, so they were a bit dry and asking for a dipping sauce. I found that greek yogurt did the trick for me.

Adam, however, is not a fan of greek yogurt, so he has decided that next time we make it, instead of cooking the meatballs in the oven, he’s going to steam them in a pan to see if he can keep all the delicious juicy flavor sealed in the meatballs.

Did I mention that they were good? Because great googly-moogly, did we devour those bites! And, btw – we had a whopping 5 (of something like 30) left over, and I’m having them *right now* for breakfast. They’re even decent cold. (What? I had to try them that way for science.) 😉

Cutie cats!!!

Today, life for me is primarily about my foster kittens, Gandalf and Thorin. They’re 8 weeks old, and are adorable bundles of love and fur, and are, unfortunately, about half as big as they should be. They were born premature, and even though we freefeed them with dry food and supplement with wet food, they’re only about 12 oz.

Tonight, we have to take them to the veteranarian because they’ve got coccida and an upper respiratory infection, the poor babies. I want to make sure to give them baths and lots of cuddle time before we head to Romeoville to visit the vet. They’re probably going to be getting their first round of shots tonight too.

Today’s recipe: Double Bacon Ceasar Salad by Health Bent

This is what I’m having for lunch today (minus the parmesan cheese and Ceasar dressing because I do not like Caesar dressing.) Instead, I’m using their bacon fat honey mustard dressing.

Ingredients

For the Salad
2 heads of romaine lettuce
Parmesan cheese
1 lb chicken
1/2 – 3/4 lb bacon

For the Caesar Dressing
1/2 c bacon fat, liquid but cooled
1 egg yolk
½ lemon, juiced
1 garlic clove, finely grated
handful finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 t worcestershire sauce
¼ t anchovy paste or ½ anchovy (NOT ½ a can/tin)
s & p

We’ve also made a bacon fat honey mustard. It’s just as delicious.

For the Honey Mustard Dressing
1/3 c bacon drippings
2 T Dijon mustard
1 T honey
s&p

Preparation

For the Salad

  • It doesn’t really matter how much of any of this stuff you put into a bowl, so you don’t need to follow the amounts or anything, I’m just letting you know what we did.
  • What I do care about is the bacon. We want to get out around 1/2 cup of fat for the dressing and still have some left over to cook the chicken in.
  • So mainly concern yourself with: browning the bacon and then sauteing the chicken.
  • Add all that stuff into the salad, along with whatever else you’d like. (I’m adding carrots and cucumber!)
  • The dressing is the important part. Onward…

For the Dressing
This is a no stressing dressing! Combine all the ingredients into a jar with a screw top lid. Shake until everything looks creamy. Taste and make sure it doesn’t need any adjustments. Done.

A note about this dressing: Because bacon fat is mostly saturated, it will solidify at room temp and in the fridge. It’s best to drizzle the dressing only on the portion of salad you’re eating…not on the whole thing, unless you plan to eat it all in one sitting. Store the dressing in the fridge and reheat it in the microwave for a few seconds to get it nice and fluid again.

Day 2: So Far, So Good!

Review of Elena’s Pantry’s Paleo Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

So last night we had Paleo Shepherd’s Pie as created by Elena’s Pantry. It was good! But there were a couple of changes that Adam and I would have made to the recipe.

First of all, in the ingredients list, it says “cauliflower, steamed” — we would have put steaming the cauliflower as the first of the instructions of things to do, since you need to, you know, do that. We ended up steaming the cauliflower towards the end which slowed up our actual eating time. (boo!)

Secondly, (and this is totally a matter of personal taste) my zesty palate craved more seasoning.  McCormick’s Shepherd’s Pie recipe calls for corriander and cumin in their recipe. Kraftfoods’s calls for garlic. Alton Brown uses Worchestershire and thyme.  When I sprinkled a little garlic powder on my serving of pie, it went a long way towards tastiness. Adam didn’t think it needed anything but a little salt. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your tastebuds!

The Tao of Rae is Complete!

Today, I completed Chapter 81 of Lao Tzu‘s famous ancient text, the Tao De Ching.  So the “Tao of Rae” is complete!  Chapters 1-81 are available on this blog for you to read. And for me to read!  It seems like almost a non-event, but I’ve been working on this translation on and off since May of 2011.  It’s November of 2012 now.  So this is a project that’s taken a year and a half, which is a big deal for me.  I’m just proud of myself for not quitting.  I may not have been able to do it every day, but I never stopped.  That persistence is something that the Tao talks a lot about… being like water. You don’t have to press. You just have to keep going. 🙂

Today’s Recipe: Merguez Meatballs

Tonight for dinner, we’re trying a recipe by The Clothes Make The Girl!



Ingredients

 

    • Merguez Spice Blend:
      • 2 tablespoons paprika
      • 1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds
      • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
      • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
      • 1 tablespoon salt
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

  • Meatball Ingredients:
    • 2 lbs. ground lamb, beef, or a combination (We’re using 96/4 ground beef.)
    • 3 cloves fresh garlic
    • 4 tablespoons Merguez Spice Blend
    • 1/2 cup fresh parsley or cilantro leaves
    • 1 tablespoon aleppo or cayenne pepper (optional)
    • 2 eggs (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  3. In a small bowl, mix all the Merguez Spice Blend ingredients with a fork.
  4. Using the food processor, place one pound of beef in the processor with the remaining meatball ingredients. Process on high until it forms a smooth paté and all the ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Dump out into a large bowl and add the other pound of beef, mixing by hand.
    (Run your hands under cold water to keep the mixture from sticking to you.)
  6. Place the bowl in the fridge for 15 minutes to allow the meat to chill; that will make meatball rolling so much easier.
  7. Moisten your hands and a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon with cold water and shake to remove excess.
  8. Measure a level tablespoon of beef and roll into a ball between your palms. Line up the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, about 1/2 inch apart.
  9. Slide the meatballs into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.
  10. Serve and Enjoy!  (We’re serving these with baked yams!)

Chapter 81: Conspicuous Substance

True words are not pleasant,
thus beautiful words should be distrusted.

Good folks don’t debate;
debaters are bad!
(Hey, what about attorneys, Lao Tzu?
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!)

Those who are aware don’t gamble;
those who gamble aren’t wise.

Saints don’t accumulate (stuff),
they believe that the more they help others
the more they help themselves.

Because he gives to others,
he will have much.

Heaven’s Way benefits without needing to do harm.
Saint’s Way acts without needing to struggle.

Day 1: Back in the Saddle Again

Back In The Paleo Saddle Again, Back Where A Friend Is A Friend

Well, Adam and I have decided to go back on the Paleo Diet again, because it is healthy, good for us, and it helps us lose weight.  Not to mention, it requires us to cook at home, which ultimately saves us money, means we eat yummier food, and tend to appreciate and pay attention to what we’re eating more.  Oh yeah, and there’s that whole “me-hurting-less” thing.  Altogether, it’s a good choice for us.

I’ve spent a lot of time today adding recipes to my Pinterest board, The Paleo Compendium.  There are 4-fork recipes up there from epicurious.com and 5 star recipes from allrecipes.com, just waiting for us to cook and chow down on them.

Of course, as we go through, Adam and I are going to end up having our own variations on recipes, and we’ll post them here, as we tend to do.

One A Day. Whaddaya Say?

I’m going to try to give you a different, delicious paleo-friendly recipe from either myself or some other website everyday.  Because Adam and I are going to be eating this way, it shouldn’t be too terribly difficult, especially considering how many recipes I already have ready to go on the Compendium.

Tonight, we’re going to be trying Paleo Shepherd’s Pie as featured on Elena’s Pantry. The recipe looks great, so hopefully it will taste great!

Paleo Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 pound turkey or pork bacon, cut into 2 inch slices
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1 pound organic grass fed ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 large heads cauliflower, trimmed, chopped and steamed until very soft
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preparation

  1. Heat olive oil in a very large frying pan
  2. Saute onion for 15 minutes until soft
  3. Add bacon pieces to pan and sauté until cooked, about 10 minutes
  4. Add carrots and celery to pan and sauté in bacon fat for 10 minutes until soft
  5. Add ground beef to pan and sauté until brown, just a few minutes
  6. Season with salt, pepper and smoked paprika
  7. Add chicken broth and cook down broth until 60% evaporated
  8. Place cauliflower in food processor and puree with olive oil until smooth
  9. Pour ground beef mixture into a 9×13 inch glass baking dish
  10. Pour mashed cauliflower over beef mixture
  11. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes
  12. Serve

Serves 8

Chapter 80: To Be Independent

In a small country, there are few people.

To enable the country to run, there is one tenth
of the eldest gentlemen who are kept as a tool
without needing to be used;
to enable the people to endure the heavy burden of death
without needing to go far to change ones residence.

Although there is boat carriage,
it does not matter if you ride it,
although there is first in order, soldiers,
it does not matter the arrangement.

Enable the people to recover binding rope as well as to use it.

Sweet is their food;
Beautiful are their clothes;
Peaceful are their homes;
Vulgar is their laughter.

Neighboring countries gaze towards one another;
chicken and dog make noise and sniff at one another;
the citizenry arrive at old age and even death,
and have nothing to do with each other’s dealings.

Chapter 79: Contractual Responsibilities

To bring harmony to an old, great complaint,
necessarily there will be some remainder of the old complaint.
By recompensing the complaint with De (virtue and goodness).
may it be possible to bring peace and to serve the greater good?

To be like the saints, execute your portion of a contract
without the expectation of duty of performance by the other side.
Virtuous company keeps their contractual obligations.
Those who lack virtue do not.

Heaven’s Way lacks intimate relations;
it is always on the side of the good man.