Tag Archives: turkey

Deep Fried Turkey Tips

Are you considering deep-frying your Thanksgiving turkey this year? While a deep-fried turkey can certainly be juicy and delicious, this cooking process can present fire and safety concerns. However, following a few safety tips and precautions can help avoid a Thanksgiving Day disaster:

  • Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking…Water and oil do not mix!
  • Keep the deep-fryer off decks, out of garages, a safe distance from trees, and away from buildings.
  • Turkeys smaller than 12 pounds are recommended for deep-frying.
  • Place fryer on a level surface and do not move it once in use.
  • Once finished, cover and let the oil cool overnight before disposing.

Regardless of how you plan to prepare your Thanksgiving meal, be sure to keep safety in mind. Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and a home fire disaster would definitely take away from a happy Thanksgiving celebration!

Reprinted with gratitude from Bryant Hartke Construction.  I don’t know how I find ’em.

Sleep and Food Part 3: Protein (or, The Turkey Coma)

Herb and Lemon Stuffed Rotisserie ChickenLean proteins are high in tryptophan, which increases serotonin levels and promotes good sleep. It’s the reason why we all end up in a turkey coma after Thanksgiving dinner. You don’t want to eat too much protein, or anything high in fat or deep-fried, but a dab of peanut butter on a banana, an egg on whole-grain toast, a little low-fat cheese on crackers, or a rice cake with lean turkey or fish can be satisfying and sleep-promoting snacks before bedtime.  Have you ever eaten protein before bedtime to help you sleep?  Did it work?  Let us know at http://lulasforlunch.com/blog !

Let’s Define Brine

Do you occasionally run across a recipe telling you to use brined chicken or turkey?  Sometimes the cookbook just assumes you know what you’re doing…but I find that if I understand the “why” – then I can apply the “how” to many different situations.  So, what is brining?  Definition:  The insertion of salty water into protein by osmosis and diffusion.  Less boring:  Brining is salted water that completely covers a piece of meat and over time enters the meat molecules,  Nature likes to “make things even” (what goes up must come down, right?) – and osmosis tries to even out the water molecules outside of the meat  (alot) with the water molecules inside the meat (not so many).   There is very little sodium and chloride (salt) inside a protein cell, so the same thing happens with the dissolved salt in the water – nature pushes it through to make things balanced inside and outside of the protein.  Science doesn’t even completely understand why, but the result is protein cells that are able to hold on to more water, making them softer and slightly swollen, more tender, and more seasoned.  A general rule of thumb is one cup of kosher salt to one gallon of water.

If you’re not sure how much water to use, put your protein in a ziplock bag, and fill the bag till the protein is completely covered.  Then dump the water accumulated in the bag into a (really large) measuring cup, and add the salt according to how much water there is.  I like to add sugar as well – it balances the salt – about 1/4 whatever the amount of salt I added.  Swish it all around till its dissolved, add your meat, and throw it in the fridge for a day (or two, or three) – all depending on how big your protein is.  A couple of chicken breasts only need a few hours; a 10# turkey will take 2-3 days.  Obviously, your more tender proteins like a good steak don’t need this process.  We’re talking about drier cuts here – chicken breast, whole chickens, turkeys, pork loins etc (the stuff that doesn’t have much fat).  If you have any questions while on your brining odyssey, you can always email me a http://www.lulasforlunch.com  Here’s to lovin low-cal lean cuts!  – Lula

Thawing Turkey

It’s crunch time!  Have a frozen turkey and not enough time?  Any bulk protein (turkey, whole chicken, roasts etc) is thawed more quickly and efficiently in water.  Sink not big enough?  Use the bathtub!  It takes a few hours, but that’s a whole lot quicker than 3 days in the refrigerator!  Don’t care about the science?  Stop here and just do what I say.  Want to know why?  Read on…

Thawing on the counter is dangerous because of the temperature “danger zone” from the outside in as the turkey begins to thaw.  Thawing on a low oven or in the microwave causes the meat to cook unevenly.  Thawing on un-coated aluminum is great (the best!)  for flat stuff like frozen steaks or boneless chicken breasts because of how heat transfers to cold stuff on flat surfaces.

Everything is made up of molecules &/or electrons, and they ARE heat.  Heat is NOT temperature.   Temperature is just our definition in numbers of how fast the molecules within a substance are moving.  Heat is simply the energy of moving molecules.  The more movement of the molecules, and the more closely the molecules are structured within a substance, the more heat. WATER has a much more dense molecular structure than air,  and is able to transfer heat to the frozen mass more quickly than air.

I am thankful for my readers!  Happy Turkey Day! – Lula