Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gourmet Turkey Salad Sandwich with Apple, Walnut and Ginger

This is not your Mom's turkey salad sandwich (so-to-speak).  No offense to my mom's cooking intended!  It's just a turn of phrase. This turkey salad sandwich has a unique cast of characters - far from average - and the flavors create an explosion in your mouth.  I said something similar about the "Not-Your-Ordinary Fruit Salad" post, I know. I can't help it. It's true. With this sandwich you experience the silky turkey and mayo flavors, mixed with a bright crispy bite of green apple, followed by the unexpected flavors of ginger and cilantro, plus the crunch of walnut pieces. Just try it! You'll see.



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Gourmet Turkey Salad Sandwich with Apple, Walnut and Ginger
4 slices of quality sandwich bread
(the remaining ingredients are enough to make two sandwiches unless your bread slices are huge)
3 oz of leftover roaster turkey, torn
1/2 stalk of celery, diced
1/4 of green apple, diced
1/4 cup of red onion, diced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, microplaned
2 walnuts, crushed
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro
lettuce leaves (I used butter lettuce)

1. Gather all your ingredients in one place.



2. Dice everything that need dicing apples, celery, and red onion. Crack and crush the walnuts. Tear the turkey into chunks.



3.  Add the ingredients into a small bowl with the mayonnaise.



4. Using a microplane add ginger to the bowl and mix.  At this point I felt like I was missing some fresh herbs, and the only thing I had on hand was cilantro.  Why not? I added it, and it turned out to be a good instinct.




5. Spread evenly over 1 slice of lightly toasted (my preference) bread.


6. Top with lettuce leaves and another slice of lightly toasted bread.  You can serve with the remaining apple slices.




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Leftover Panini with Turkey Gravy

Even though I loved the Spinach, Turkey and Cheese Panini with Mayonnaise that I posted a few days ago - my husband doesn't want to eat it.  Yes, this is a shocker. I know. He loves my cooking as long as it doesn't contain any condiments besides ketchup or barbecue sauce. That means no mayonnaise, mustard, or cranberry sauce - all of which appear in my last panini. My challenge, unbeknownst to my husband, was to create a panini without condiments.  I found a great combination that we both love, but I still added cranberry sauce to my half!



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Thanksgiving Leftover Panini with Turkey Gravy
2 slices of quality sandwich bread
3 oz of leftover classic turkey stuffing
3 oz of roaster turkey, torn
1 kale leaf
soft butter
leftover homemade turkey gravy, reheated
leftover cranberry sauce (I added it to my half)

1. Spread leftover stuffing on one side of a piece of bread.



2. Place the torn turkey on top of the stuffing.



3. Add the kale leaf.



4. Butter the outside of both sides of the sandwich.



5. Place sandwich in a panini press, George Foreman grill, grill pan, or frying pan.  I used my George Foreman grill and my sandwich was ready in four minutes.



6. Cut the sandwich diagonally and serve with a small ramekin of reheated homemade turkey gravy.



Option 1: after grilling add leftover cranberry sauce on the kale side of the sandwich.




Option 2: serve with Spinach Salad with Turkey and Pomegranate Seeds.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Spinach Salad with Turkey and Pomegranate Seeds

I don't know about you but after a couple of days of leftover turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, casseroles, and gravy - I want a salad. I crave salad. I need a salad.  I created this colorful and refreshing concoction from items in my refrigerator.  This salad scratched the itch so-to-speak.




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Spinach Salad with Turkey and Pomegranate Seeds
3 oz of baby spinach leaves
3 oz leftover turkey, torn
fresh seeds from 1/4 of a pomegranate
2 - 3 tablespoons of your favorite ranch dressing (still working on a homemade version)
red onions to taste
fresh cracked pepper to taste (optional)

1. Gather all the ingredients into one place.



2. In a medium sized bowl toss spinach leaves with ranch dressing.



3. Add torn turkey and red onions.



4. Squeeze 1/4 of a pomegranate into a bowl or dish.



5. Add seeds, cracked pepper if desired, and dig in.  I think some people wonder if they should eat the pomegranate seed or not.  I found a post on this very subject at about.com.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Turkey, Spinach and Cheese Panini with Mayonnaise

The best part about paninis is that they can be made with just about anything you have on hand.  This is a great time of year for these warm grilled sandwiches. Just think of all those Thanksgiving leftovers in the refrigerator right now! It doesn't take long to start dreaming about all the possible combinations.  I made this one the other day and it turned out to be a keeper.





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Turkey, Spinach and Cheese Panini with Mayonnaise
2 slices of good quality sandwich bread
1 handful of baby spinach leaves
3 oz of leftover turkey, torn
1 to 2 oz of cheese (Swiss, Colby, muenster, or whatever you have on hand - I used mild cheddar)
2 Tablespoons of mayonnaise, divided
1 Tablespoon of cranberry sauce
1 teaspoon of yellow mustard or dijon (I'm a huge fan of simple yellow mustard)
soft butter

1. Gather all your ingredients in one place.



2. Mix 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon of yellow mustard.



3. Spread the mayonnaise and mustard mixture on one side of a piece of bread.



4. Pile the torn turkey on top of the mayonnaise and mustard mixture.



5. Place the spinach leaves on top of the turkey.



6. Cover the spinach with the cheese slices.



7. Mix the remaining mayonnaise with the cranberry sauce.



8. Spread the mayonnaise and cranberry mixture on one side of the other piece of bread.



9. Butter the outside of both sides of the sandwich.



10. Place sandwich in a panini press, George Foreman grill, grill pan, or frying pan.  I used my George Foreman grill and my sandwich was ready in four minutes.



11. Cut the sandwich diagonally and serve.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Homemade Turkey Gravy

As promised in my Thanksgiving 2012 post, I was able to record my recipe for homemade turkey gravy.  This is one of those recipes that I've been making for several years, but I'm normally a tad too busy cooking other things on Thanksgiving day to take the pictures I need for a blog post. This year I had so much help from my husband that my kitchen was cleaner when we were done cooking than when we started. I have an awesome sous husband.



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Homemade Turkey Gravy
1 Turkey neck
onion and celery scraps (left over from chopping the ingredients for the classic turkey stuffing)
2 quarts of any combination of turkey stock, low sodium chicken broth, potato water (left over from mashed potatoes)
2 Tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 scant teaspoon of poultry seasoning
1 cup potato water
9 slightly heaping tablespoons of cornstarch or arrowroot
defatted turkey pan juices

1. Add the turkey neck, onion, celery, and 2 quarts of liquid in a 3 quart pot.  This year I had enough turkey stock on hand to make it with 100% turkey stock.  Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, and simmer uncovered for a few hours until the turkey is done.



2. Just before you take the main course turkey out of the roasting pan to rest remove the neck, onion and celery from the simmering stock and strain the liquid through cheese cloth into another pot.



3. Once the main course turkey is resting strain the turkey pan juices through the cheese cloth to mix with the turkey broth.  Skim as much of the fat off the top as you can with a spoon and heat the liquid to a soft boil.  Even with all the evaporation of that happens in step one you should still have about 2 quarts of liquid.  If not, you can add enough potato water to make 2 quarts.  I always keep a couple of quarts of potato water on hand to add to the gravy, turkey pan juices, or the stuffing.



4.  Mix one slightly heaping tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot in 1 cup of potato water for every cup of liquid you have.  Stir until completely incorporated.



5. Add salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning to the hot gravy stock.  I used about 2 tablespoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of pepper, and 1 scant teaspoon of poultry seasoning.




5. Add the thickener to the soft boiling gravy stock, stir until completely mixed, and lower the heat after the gravy starts to thicken.  Adjust seasonings and thickener as needed.



This year I sent our happy dinner guests home with leftover stuffing, mashed potatoes, and a pint jar full of gravy.


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