Saturday, November 24, 2012

Safety Tips for your Thanksgiving Leftovers

Food safety is important any time of year but with the holidays come expansive menus, leftovers and the potential for food poisoning or foodborne illnesses. As part of your meal preparation, we recommend keeping the following food handling tips in mind this holiday season.

        Follow the two-hour rule. Hot, perishable food that sits out longer than two hours is considered unsafe and in the “food danger zone” (between 40 and 140 F) when bacteria can quickly multiply.  Quickly refrigerate perishable foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs. Uncooked foods, such as cold salads or sandwiches, also should be eaten or refrigerated promptly.

When storing leftovers, don’t overfill the refrigerator, cold air needs to circulate around the food. Also, the faster leftovers can cool, the better. The best way to decrease the cooling time for leftover turkey is cut it into smaller pieces to decrease the surface area that needs to be cooled and then store it in shallow pans or containers.

 Leftover turkey can keep for three to four days in the refrigerator and should be kept in airtight, leak proof containers or wraps. After four days risk of food poisoning increases. If you don't think you'll be able to eat leftovers within four days, freeze them immediately. In the freezer, leftovers should be eaten within six months.

       When you're ready to eat leftovers, reheat them on the stove, in the oven or in the microwave until the internal temperature reaches 165 F (74 C).

Sending leftovers home with guests is nice and lessens the amount of space taken up in your refrigerator but the two-hour rule should still apply. If your guests have a long drive ahead of them, suggest they use a cooler with some ice. 

Be aware that foodborne illnesses are caused by harmful organisms, such as bacteria in contaminated food. Because bacteria typically don't change the taste, smell or look of food, you can't tell whether the food is dangerous to eat. In short, if you're in doubt about a food's safety, it's best to just throw it out.

A few of our favorite recipes for your leftovers
Turkey Panini
Turkey and Broccoli Turnovers
Hot Open Faced Turkey Sandwich

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tips for Cooking a Perfect Turkey

As the centerpiece of the traditional Thanksgiving meal, the Turkey is usually the most intimidating thing to prepare, however, it can be the easiest!  Scott from our Cooking School has come up with this handy guide of "Turkey Tips" to ensure you present your guests with a golden, moist turkey.

Brining a Turkey
Why Brine your Turkey?
Soaking a turkey in a brining solution will help ensure a moist, juicy cooked meat.  The salt-water brine solution increases the juiciness of the meat by breaking down the protein structure.  Water and seasonings will be infused and absorbed into the meat during the cooking process.  The moisture and flavor is maintained during the cooking which leaves you with a juicy, moist turkey.

How to Brine a Turkey
Tip:  Only brine a turkey that has not been injected with a salt solution.  This will create an over salted turkey.

  1. Remove giblets and place your turkey into a stockpot or bucket and make enough room on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator to ensure any spills will not contaminate foods below.
  2. Create your brine using the following ratio (creating enough to fully cover your turkey in your stockpot or bucket)
  3. Dissolve salt and sugar in two cups of hot water.  Stir in remaining gallon, plus 3 1/2 quarts of cold water.
  4. Cover your turkey in the solution and refrigerate for at least 10 hours, but no longer than 24 hours.
  5. When ready to cook, poor off your brine, rinse the turkey well with cool tap water and pat dry with paper towels.
Gravy Cooking Tip:  Remember, the turkey has already absorbed a significant amount of salt from the brining process, so be aware that the pan drippings you will use for gravy will have a high salt content.

Creating a Turkey that is Golden Brown
  • Brush the skin with melted butter or oil prior to cooking. This makes for a more golden and crispy skin.
  • Place the bird on a rack in a roasting pan and place into a preheated, 350 degree F oven.
    • An unstuffed, 8-12 pound turkey should cook for about 20 minutes per pound
    • An unstuffed, 13-16 pound turkey should cook for about 15 minutes per pound
  • Bake until the skin is light golden color and then cover the bird loosely with a foil tent. During the last 45 minutes of baking, remove the foil tent to brown the skin. Basting the turkey is not necessary, but helps promote even browning.
  • The turkey is done when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F at the thigh. To get an accurate reading, insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The thermometer should point towards the body and should not touch the bone.

Be sure to check out our Side Dish Tips as well as our Favorite Recipes for Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Helpful Tips for your Thanksgiving Meal

With Thanksgiving just one week from today, it's time to start prepping for all of your tasty creations.  Although the holiday is focused on spending time with family and friends, the food is also an important highlight of the day.  Everyone has their favorite dish at Thanksgiving, whether it is the mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce or assortment of pies.  Here are a few great tips on popular side dishes from our team here at Stonewall Kitchen that can help you prep for the big day!

Mashed Potatoes
  • Start potatoes with cold water, covering them by at least an inch and adding 1/2 tsp of kosher salt.
  • Drain your potatoes then dump them back into the hot pot to remove any moisture.
  • Infuse your warmed milk/cream and butter with whole garlic before adding it to your potatoes for an extra boost of flavor.
  • Use a ricer, food miller or hand masher to create the fluffiest mashed potatoes - remember, over whipping or mashing your potatoes will cause them to become "gluey", so mash lightly!

  • A fat separator allows you to make homemade gravy easily
  • Try a fat separator, such as this, which will help keep any unwanted bits from falling into your gravy to allow for a smoother sauce.
  • For a perfectly smooth gravy, strain your finished homemade gravy through a sieve.  This will get rid of all lumps and a very creamy, smooth gravy.


Whipped Cream
If you over-whip your whipped cream it will become too grainy.  Try adding a few Tablespoons of fresh cream and whip again.  This should bring your cream back to fluffy!  If you have already whipped your cream to the point of formed butterfat clumps, you unfortunately have gone to far and must start over.

Add a touch of flavor
Looking to add a touch of flavor to your standard family recipes?  Try these flavor enhancing tips from our Recipe Developer, Kim.

Still need recipe ideas?  Check out our Thanksgiving inspired Pinterest Board for some of our favorites.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stonewall Kitchen's Holiday Giveaway

It's hard to believe that the holidays are right around the corner!  We are starting to get ready for the season and we want you to be ready as well.  We will be giving away one $1,000 gift card for Stonewall Kitchen to one lucky winner on Friday, November 23rd so you can cross everyone off your list. Head to our website and enter today!