A Pair Of Gourmands

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Thanksgiving, let’s smoke some turkey!

He says:

First of all, before starting, I want to give my many thanks to the turkey for eating so much good grain and grass. I am about to smoke you for 6 hours and hopefully you will taste good, but either way, it’s not like I can kill you if you don’t!

Turkey is one of those meals for me that brings not so good memories. Unfortunately, my Mom never really learned to cook it properly, so I never liked turkey. A few years back my wife begged me to cook a turkey for Christmas, so I answered what any good husband should “yes dear”. I decided to de-bone, stuff and smoke the damn thing. A Wild Rice and Porcini Stuffed Smoked Turkey, it turned out very nicely, and ever since that December in Vancouver, I have opened up to the idea that it is possible to eat turkey once in a while. A few things to remember: "Always cook it Low and Slow" and "if you are looking, you are not cooking, so close the lid" and " Cooked at internal temperature of 180F is the difference between sick all night and not".

This weekend, I will try some other smoked turkey recipes, and maybe I will let you know how it went before Christmas!

Although my mom had issues with turkey cooking, she made a wicked lasagna. “hi momJJ”

She says:

I love the concept of Thanksgiving, as it embodies all that having a meal with loved ones is all about. Being thankful is an important thing. I have to admit, though, that the turkey was never the part of the meal for which I was most thankful.

I am one of those people who loves all the trimmings. Even leftover turkey, that coveted snack for those days after the feast, is only good in my book if you have cranberry sauce to go with it. With that in mind, my preparations are all about accessorizing the turkey to the best of my ability.

I know there is a retro philosophy that says cranberry jelly out of the can is the way to go, but this time I would like to give a couple of different ideas. Everyone has the traditional “must-have” dishes on the table, but here are some new twists for you to try.

I really think that fresh cranberries with some orange peel and cloves can make a difference. Add orange juice instead of water when you cook the cranberries and you get a nice tangy sauce. You can even add some orange peel and almonds to your stuffing so that the flavour continues throughout the meal.

If you are feeling adventurous, go Southwestern. Use cornbread and wild rice for stuffing with southwestern herbs and spices (cumin and sage are good). Add some chipotle peppers to jazz it up a bit, and bind it all together with a bit of whisked egg. Make a black bean salad instead of Waldorf salad as a side dish. (Add corn and red peppers for colour and use a basic vinaigrette to dress it.) Carry the flavours through with Native Cranberry Sauce: add a few blackberries or raspberries to the cranberries, along with a handful of dried apricots. Stir in the juice of a lime and a good dose of maple syrup and season it with black pepper. Your meal will have a decidedly different flavour than the old-fashioned turkey, but who knows? Maybe you will start a new tradition.

Whatever you have, and whomever you enjoy it with, may your Thanksgiving table be a joyous one. We are blessed to live in such a beautiful place, and we have much we can be thankful for.

Chef Martin’s Tip 32: Bechamel Sauce

Once a cook enters culinary school, the first thing that they learn is to use their knives. Once a cook has mastered his or her blades, then they will learn to make their first sauce.

Bechamel is a milk-based sauce that can be used with chicken, pork, fish, and it is also great with pasta. Since it can be used so many different ways, it makes a great base for a new cook to start from.

You should try to make it and see how simple it is, and yet with amazing results.

Cook some chopped onions and you have to use a fair bit of butter. Once they are cooked, add 1/4 cup of flour and stir until combined. While stirring, slowly add 2 cups of warm milk. Seasoned with a touch of cloves, nutmeg, one bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, but make sure you watch it so it does not burn at the bottom.

A béchamel with Swiss cheese is called a Mornay sauce. You can also choose your favorite cheese and I won’t tell anyone.

The next time you make a baked macaroni dish, top it up with a small amount of Mornay sauce and you will be pleased with the results.

Voila, you have made béchamel!

“No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.”
(Julia Child, 1912-2004)

The Chef in Stead - Website For Previous Chef Tips For comments or questions, you can reach Martin at 250-712-4440 or Email.

These are the stores where I shop, go visit them and tell them I sent you...

Hooked on Seafood, 1951 Harvey Ave, Kelowna 860-2541
Discover Wines, 2080 C Springfield Rd, Kelowna 868-3990
Matterhorn Bakery, 103 - 3640 Gosset Rd, Westbank 768-3302
L&D Meat, 103 - 2365 Gordon St, Kelowna 717-1997
Quality Greens, 3717 A Old Okanagan, Westbank 707-1420
Valoroso Italian Market, 1467 Sutherland Rd, Kelowna 860-3631
Kitchen Niche, Orchard Park mall, Kelowna 860-3637

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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