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Popcorn Balls

There is something about the cool weather that accompanies Fall that takes me back to my childhood.  We always enjoyed homemade Popcorn Balls.  Fall was always the perfect time to make this treat.  I hope you will indulge with me as I make a trip down Memory Lane.  Who knows, maybe this will start a new tradition for your family.

Old Fashioned Popcorn Balls

  • 9 cups plain popped popcorn
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

  • Coat a large heatproof bowl with butter, vegetable oil, or cooking spray and place popcorn in the bowl.
  • Place sugar, corn syrup, water, vinegar, and salt in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Place over high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Bring to a boil and cook until mixture registers 260°F on a candy/fat thermometer, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla until melted and smooth.
  • Immediately drizzle sugar mixture over popcorn and stir continuously with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom of the bowl, until popcorn is thoroughly coated and cool enough to handle, about 3 minutes.
  • Using buttered or oiled hands, tightly press mixture (it may still be a bit warm) into 3-inch rounds. Place on waxed or parchment paper to cool completely, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Enjoy this with the youngsters in your life–even if they are just young at heart!  Until next time…From our Butcher Block to your Table!

 

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Thanksgiving is here

We celebrate Thanksgiving one day a year; However, we should remember to be thankful everyday. We have much to be thankful about. IMG_8114rThanks to all of you for the support you give us week after week and year after year. We wouldn’t be here without you and we are very grateful.

I can’t write a Thanksgiving blog without bringing up turkey. Even if you have baked a turkey for years it never hurts to have a refresher course. Make sure the turkey is thawed and ready to bake. I rinse out the neck cavity (make sure you remove any gizzards, neck, liver etc. that might be packaged in the cavity), and rinse out the chest cavity.

I stuff my turkey. Many people no longer do this. I never place stuffing in the bird until I am ready to bake it. I usually make my stuffing the night before and refrigerate it. I am placing cold stuffing in a cold bird. This has always worked for me; however, if you are concerned bake your stuffing in a separate casserole dish.  Also, another good tip is to use a disposable foil pan (available at your local meat market). This will save you a lot of clean up. After you have cooked the Thanksgiving dinner you will be ready for some shortcuts.

Stuffing

1 1/2 cups chopped celery (with leaves)stuffing
3/4 cup chopped onion
4 Tablespoons of butter
8 oz. of chicken or turkey broth
9 cups soft bread cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon rubbed sage or 1 teaspoon Poultry Seasoning (available at your local butcher shop )

In a large roasting pan over medium heat melt the butter. Add the celery and onion and cook until tender. Add chicken or turkey broth. Remove from heat. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. At this point you can place the stuffing in a greased casserole, cover and bake in a 375 degree oven about 30 minutes. I make my stuffing up the night before so I place cold stuffing in the cold turkey.

If you are stuffing the turkey, allow 3/4 cup stuffing for each pound of turkey. You can double this recipe if you need additional stuffing. Stuff the neck cavity and the chest cavity with the stuffing rub the turkey-with-stuffingoutside of the turkey with butter. Turn the turkey upside down (breast side is down) in the disposable foil pan. Cover with foil and place in an oven heated to 325 degrees. When the turkey is done, the internal temperature should be 185 degrees. (Remember to add the weight of the stuffing with the weight of the bird for the total weight)

Timetable as per Betty Crocker Cookbook
8 to 12 pounds 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 hours

If you desire to have that “perfect” turkey look you can flip the turkey with 1 hour left to bake, and remove the foil so the breast will get browned. We usually carve the turkey before we serve so it really doesn’t matter because no one sees the turkey unless they are on the cooking detail. When the turkey is done, remove the turkey from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving. Immediately remove the stuffing from the cavities, place in a serving bowl and cover with foil to keep warm. You can also remove the turkey drippings from the pan.

Turkey Gravy

Put turkey drippings in a skillet or roasting pan and heat. Add 2 Tablespoons of flour or cornstarch to 1/2 cup of milk and whisk together. Carefully add the mixture to the turkey drippings and whisk. If gravy is too thick you can add additional turkey broth or chicken broth. If mixture is too thin, carefully add additional flour/cornstarch and milk mixture. Keep whisking as you heat the gravy. The gravy will thicken slightly as it cooks.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good night. Until next time…From our Butcher Block to your Table.

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Semi-Boneless Leg of Lamb

Easter is this Sunday and many families will celebrate this Holiday with lamb. If some of you are trying this for the Mauri-1first time I wanted to give you some tips that have been passed on to me by customers that have been making lamb for many years.

Roasted Semi-Boneless Leg of Lamb

6 to 8 pound Semi-Boneless Leg of Lamb (available at your local meat market)Leg of lamb
1/2 cup lemon juice, plus 2 Tablespoons
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dried oregano
8 garlic cloves crushed
1 Tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Put the Leg of Lamb in a roasting pan. Combine, Lemon Juice (1/2 cup), olive oil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper. Apply the marinade to the leg of lamb and allow to set 3 hours or overnight. Note: some of the cooks I talked to make slits in the leg of lamb and put cloves of garlic in the lamb before they roast it.

Allow the lamb to be at room temperature 20 minutes before you roast it. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put the Leg of lamb in the center of the oven and cook at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees and cook 20 to 25 minutes per pound. USDA advises the temperature of the cooked lamb should be 145 degrees at the thickest part of the lamb away from the bone. When the lamb is done remove it from the oven. Pour the reserved 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice over the leg of lamb and cover with a foil tent and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

Have a wonderful Easter. Until next time…From our Butcher Block to your Table.

 

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Thanksgiving Turkey and stuffing

We are definitely on the countdown to Thanksgiving and the other holiday in DecemberMauri-1 which shall not be mentioned yet. The weather has felt like spring so it is fair to say that Thanksgiving has come upon us suddenly this year. No need to fret. There is really little preparation that can be made until the week of Thanksgiving so you are still right on schedule.   Take a deep breath and get prepared for the traditional feast. I use Betty Crocker as my guide and she has not let me down yet.  Here are my tips for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner that anyone can prepare.

Turkey (12 to 24 pounds) Make sure neck, giblets, etc. are removed from the neck cavity
2 Tablespoons of Salt
3 Tablespoons of Butter

Rinse cavities of turkey, lightly salt and then rub butter into the cavities. I put my turkey in a disposable aluminum pan so clean up is easy. The turkey is now ready for the stuffing.

Stuffing

1 1/2 cups chopped celery (with leaves)Turkey
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup of butter
8 ounces of chicken broth (or chicken stock)
9 cups of soft bread cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning (1/2 teaspoon sage, 1/2 teaspoon thyme)
1/4 teaspoon of pepper

Cook and stir onion and celery in butter and chicken broth until celery is tender, remove from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Stuff the cavities of the turkey with the stuffing mixture and place breast side down in the pan you are using to roast the turkey. This is a tip I got from Jane Snow. Your turkey will be very juicy. The oven should be set at 325 degrees. Place the stuffed turkey in the oven.

Approximate cooking times are as follows:

8 to 12 pounds 3 to 3 1/2 hours
12 to 16 pounds 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 hours
16 to 20 pounds 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours
20 to 24 pounds 6 1/2 to 7 hours

Internal Temperature should be 185 degrees and the leg should easily pull apart when the turkey is done.

Remember to include the weight of the stuffing with the weight of the turkey when you are looking at the cooking time. The stuffing recipe can easily be doubled for a larger turkey.

When the turkey is thoroughly cooked, immediately remove the stuffing from the turkey and store separately. Let the turkey set for about 15 minutes before carving.

Enjoy and have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.

Until next time…From our Butcher Block to your Table.

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