Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Turkey Redeux

~ Old Becomes New ~
Let's just say straight up because there's bound to be hushed whispers after this post: I do not have a turkey fettish. It's just that it's the season and all. Turkeys in the yard, turkeys in the oven, and now... a little creatively named recipe: Turkey Redeux!

The Urban Dictionary defines redeux as another way to say remix, which sidetracks me back to those hoppin' multi-song disco/rap blends of my dance club days. It's this kind of thinking that makes me want to add the word "redeux" to numerous things from the 80s and 90s. Surely, anything with a "re-do" suddenly becomes freshy-fresh and new. Right? Let's try it out for kicks.

Duran Duran Redeux. Legwarmers Redeux. CHiPs Redeux. Banana Clip Redeux. See how old becomes new again? Aren't you intrigued? Don't these updated terms make you want to don a Madonna Redeux? Oh, wait. She's British now, right? Like, totally.

Hoo Boy! So silly.

Anyway, basically what we have here are some mighty fine sandwiches that will shine new strobe light on turkey -- leftover or deli. They are the result of modifications to a glorious find on one of my favorite sites, epicurious.com, when I was planning a party last year. I was looking for something different and uncomplicated. It seemed simple enough, except for the aioli.

Aioli! The name sounds more like an interjection than a food, like it should be shouted with gusto in the manner that all expletives are shouted with gusto. For example, I stubbed my toe: AIOLI! Thinking of the pronunciation (ay-OH-lee) also makes me think that's what Fonzie would have said if Happy Days had a character named Ollie. Can't you just imagine him? White t-shirt, black leather jacket, thumbs up... "Ayyyyyy.... Ollie."

Don't be fooled by the mysterious word, though. Aioli is basically fancy-pants garlic mayo. It has never, ever been my desire to make my own mayonnaise, highfalutin or otherwise. Really. Who does have this desire besides Mrs. Hellman? Idle minds want to know.

At last, what I will call Kimmers' Turkey Redeux. This recipe is not only good for any time of year, but it gives leftover holiday turkey an alternate destination besides being haphazardly slapped between two slices of white bread with a little cran jelly or Miracle Whip.

Kimmers' Turkey Redeux
4 yellow onions
2 teaspoons butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2-3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon stone ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 pounds turkey breast, preferably sliced really thin
16 slices bacon
1 avocado
16 slices ciabatta

First caramelize the onions. Start by slicing the onions into strips. Do this by cutting each onion in half. Place each half face down and slice at angles in a semi-circle. I really liked geometry class, so cutting onions at increasing angles like this always makes me visualize a protractor. I like to start at one end and work my way until I'm about a 1/3 up the half.
Then I spin the half around, cut slices and all, and start from the other end.
By doing it this way, my last few cuts are more or less straight down at the cutting board. I am very, very afraid of my knives, and this is one technique I use to keep digits safe.
When you are finished, you'll have a nice pile like this.
Heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat in a nice large, heavy saute pan until the oil shimmers. Add the onions and stir to coat them all. Let them cook for about 10 minutes and sprinkle them with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in the brown sugar, then add the red wine and balsamic vinegar. It will be soupy.
Let this cook for about an hour or so, stirring frequently. When the onions begin to stick, let them brown slightly. Don't let them burn. Scrape the pan and stir every few minutes at this point until the onions are a very dark shade of brown and all the liquid is pretty much gone, deglazing with a little more balsamic if necessary.

For my first go-round with these sandwiches, I caramelized the onions a day ahead and refrigerated them overnight. This made them rock-hard, but nothing a few seconds in the microwave can't cure. In no time flat, they were soft enough to put on sandwiches.

If you are not making the caramelized onions a day ahead, mix up your imposter aioli while the onions are cooking down. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, garlic, mustard, salt, black pepper, and ground red pepper. Whisk all this goodness together and set aside.
Cook the bacon until it's crispier than flimsy, but softer than brittle. A fine line, I know. The onions should be looking a lot less soupy.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees while the sandwiches are assembled on two baking sheets. Place eight ciabatta slices on each sheet. I crammed them all onto one sheet here, but it works out better if you use two. Place 1/4 pound of turkey on every other slice (we'll call these the bottoms). Hopefully, your turkey is sliced thinner than mine is here; it just tastes better when it's thin and elegantly piled. Onto the turkey, layer the now completely caramelized onions.
Place two slices of bacon on the ciabatta tops.
Ever get the feeling someone is staring at you? My hopeful observer, AndyBobby.
Put the baking sheets in the oven until the ciabatta begin to toast. This will take about 5-7 minutes, so keep an eye (meaning a timer) on them. While the sandwiches are toasting, halve the avocado, remove the pits, and gently peel each half. Slice each half into eighths. Here's where mad math skillz kick in again, as I keep halving until I have 16 slices of even widths.
Remove the toasted sandwiches from oven without fretting that the turkey isn't warm all the way through; it's okay. Move the bacon to the bottom side, on top the onions. Slather our new-fangled mayo onto the now-naked tops. Add two avocado slices to each sandwich. Marry the tops to the bottoms in whole-wheat matrimony.
These sandwiches make a fantastic lunch. For parties, slice each one in half and arrange on a platter. Either way, it's gnarly.

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Quinoa Salad

~ Shot from a Cannon ~

HotDog and I were invited to a holiday party, which was held this past weekend. It was a bring-a-dish-to-share affair, full of new friends we had yet to meet. I was in a dilemma to find a fascinating dish that would travel well, was not bound by "serve hot" instruction, and looked festive. I was off to the races digging through my Someday-I-Will-Try-This pile of recipe printouts and clippings.

The recipe below is what we took to the party, and I am still tickled by the bombardment of requests I received for it. I mean to tell ya, this recipe was in demand. One new friend in particular beseeched me to get it to her in time to make for another party she was attending this coming weekend. Henceforth, this recipe will not have photos of the step-by-step instructions until I can make it again. As if out of a cannon, it shot right from Experimental to Keeper.

A few added bonuses: It's healthy. It's vegetarian. It's gluten-free. It's a dish for all seasons.

Quinoa (KEEN-wah) Salad
1 - 12 oz. box of quinoa
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth if you prefer)
2 - 15 oz. cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
2 - 14 oz. bags of Hanover frozen white shoe peg corn, thawed
1 1/2 cups green onion, sliced thin
1 1/2 cups red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice (juice from about 1 1/2 lemons)
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon sea salt
3/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro -or- 1/4 cup dried cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1-2 Tablespoons canola oil

Heat about 1-2 Tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add quinoa and chili powder, stirring to evenly coat the grain with oil and chili powder. Toast quinoa by stirring until the grain begins to turn a nice golden brown and gives off a nice toasty-smelling fragrance (about 5-7 minutes). Add broth. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes so all the broth is absorbed by the quinoa. Spread on a cookie sheet to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, and sea salt. Add cilantro and oregano. Stir in the black beans, corn, green onions, red pepper, and quinoa. Refrigerate for 30 minutes (or as long as overnight). Stir before serving cold.

Serves approximately 16 -- great for potlucks, parties, and leftovers. This recipe can easily be halved for small gatherings, too.


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