Saturday, January 9, 2010

Today's Special: Temperature Guides & Ethnic Dishes

Sunday: So, I'd originally planned to have steaks today but Seth's cousin Greg invited us over for dinner so I didn't have to make anything! Greg made a big turkey dinner that was awesome. Seriously Greg... some of the best stuffing I've ever had (and it was Stove Top! Who knew?). So instead of posting a recipe for today I'm gonna give you some cooking tips.

Here's a trick to know whether your baked potatoes are perfectly cooked: Continually monitor the internal temperature of the potatoes by sticking a probe thermometer into the center of one of your spuds (or you can check them periodically with a cooking thermometer). The potatoes are done when they reach 210°F. (You may want to check each potato, especially if they aren't uniform in size or you have a crazy oven like I do). Bonus Tip: The internal temperature of perfectly baked bread is 200-205°F.

If you don't already have an oven-probe thermometer GET ONE. It's one of my most frequently used tools in the kitchen. Plus they're pretty cheap... this is the one I have and it works just fine. Also, don't use it in your grill unless it's at a low temp (ie slow cooking a roast). This probe only goes up to 392°F. I learned that the hard way when I broke my first one.

Most thermometers will already have a temperature guide on them. I don't ever use these. The temperatures printed on them are too high... especially for meat. They're the USDA temperature guides which means somebody is trying to cover their butts so they make them higher than they should be so they don't get sued. If you like dry food, go ahead and follow their guides. If not, use these (I wrote them on the back of my thermometer).

Poultry: 165°F
    Medium: 150°F
    Well: 160°F
    Rare: 125°F
    Medium Rare: 130-135°F
    Medium: 135-140°F
    Medium Well: 140-150°F
    Well: 155+°F
Ground Beef, Lamb, & Pork: 160°F

Also keep in mind that internal temperatures will continue to increase by approximately 5°F when removed from heat. But it's best to let meat rest a few minutes before cutting anyway so all the juices don't fly out.
Monday: Penne with Artichoke Sauce-New Recipe. I was really disappointed with this one. It tasted pretty much how it looks.... bland. Seth liked it more than I did, but I think it's because he had more artichoke chunks in his. I'm not sure if it made a huge difference or not, but I used marinated artichoke hearts from a jar instead of fresh ones. There was no picture of this recipe on the website. I should have taken that as a clue.

Tuesday: Caldo Tlalpeno with Quesadillas- New Recipe. This turned out really good. We gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday: Baked Cod with Chorizo & White Beans- New Recipe. I thought this recipe sounded a little odd but gave it a shot because it had good reviews. I couldn't find chorizo at the store I went to so I just got turkey kielbasa as suggested in the recipe.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well all the flavors blended. We both liked this a lot and ended up eating all of it.

Thursday: Spinach & Roasted Red Pepper Pizza-New Recipe. I'd bought a ready-made whole wheat pizza crust with no real plan for it this week. I got home on Thursday night and had to leave again in an hour so I needed something fast and easy. I found this recipe, made it and ate all within the allotted time. I used mozzarella cheese instead of the asiago because it's all I had. Probably would've been better with the asiago, but it still wasn't bad. I wasn't too crazy about the pizza crust I bought... maybe I'll make my own next time. The way this tasted when I ate it I'd give it about a B-. But it has potential (would be good with some chicken or sausage on it too I think).

Friday: Chicken Piccata with Pasta & Mushrooms-New Recipe. This was good, but I thought it would be better with all the raving reviews it had. Not bad, but not good enough for regular rotation.

Saturday (Breakfast): Denny's-Style French Toast- This is one of my favorite breakfast recipes. I've used Texas Toast style bread and sliced French bread with very good results. Today we also finally got around to eating some venison sausage one of Seth's cousins gave us at a family reunion this summer (yeah, I know it's been a while... I was a little scared to try it). Anyway, the sausage was awesome! Glad we have 2 packages of it.

Also, I just wanted to thank Seth again for this awesome new camera he gave me for Christmas. It has a FOOD setting on it which is amazing. My pictures have turned out much better this week and my frustration levels have decreased dramatically. Having the right tools for the job sure makes things easier.


heidi said...

K--I thought your food pix were good before, but these are great! I just ate, but those gleaming linguine noodles make me want more food right now!

Seth's gift-giving skills are obviously awesome. (As you deserve! :D)

Rachel said...

I giggled a little every time you used the word "probe."

Also, these posts always make me want to live with you guys. Or have the time and/or energy to make such fabulous meals. Seriously, every week's menus sounds like something from a schmancy restaurant.

And the photos are really good. Who knew a camera could make such a difference?

melanie said...

what a fun blog you have! this will be fun to be able to stay in touch better!