My Very First Roasted Turkey!

Yes, believe it or not, but I have successfully avoided making a turkey for the last 30+ years (my whole adult life).

Honestly, I have always wanted to make a turkey, but have never had the opportunity.  I usually visit family for the holidays; and am relegated to su chef status.  Therefore, I do a lot of prep, veggies and dessert dishes, but never the main “protein” portion of the meal(s).

That said, I picked up a frozen turkey a while back, and it has been happily sitting in my sub-zero freezer just waiting for me to get up the courage to make it.

TODAY WAS THE DAY!  Never mind that I have to figure out what to do with all that turkey meat; but I really wanted to give this poultry a try.  I must say, it certainly looked wonderful when I pulled it out of the oven.

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I also used a very old (and in perfect condition, since I don’t recall the last time I used it) roasting pan, black, speckled, with large lid/top.  Everything I have read about making a turkey on the web says you should use a short sided roasting pan, don’t cover it (except maybe with some foil), put it on a fancy dancy roasting rack, blah, blah, blah.

Well, I am here to tell you – DON’T THROW OUT YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S ROASTING PAN!  This turkey turned out great!  Look at that beautiful golden color!

I didn’t have a roasting rack, so I just wadded up some foil into about 8 different balls and strategically placed them in the bottom of the pan – so there!  No fuss, no muss – they get thrown out and I don’t have to try to clean them either – HA!  🙂

As for the turkey – I took my lead from a friend who said she makes some of the best turkeys.  Stuffed some celery, 1/2 onion cut into quarters (brown skin left on), a handful or so of baby carrots I had in the freezer, and a clove of garlic.  I didn’t have any fresh rosemary, so I took about a teaspoon of dried stuff and stuck that in the cavity as well.  I took a stick of butter, cut into about 4 pieces (using my hands), flattened with my hands and put them under the skin, on top of the breast meat.  Then I took some olive oil and drizzled it on the outside of the bird, then smeared it all over.   Put about 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of the pan (why?  I don’t really know, it just sounded like a good idea), put the roaster top on, and popped the bird in my oven set at 350*.

I also read that you should baste the bird every 1/2 hour.  Well… I forgot that part – OPS!

While the bird was roasting, I took the neck and innards and made some turkey stock with it; throwing it in a pot of water with onion, carrots, celery, a bit of rosemary, sage and thyme, along with a little salt and pepper.  A little taste test revealed a very nice stock to use for gravies, etc.  The neck meat and innards will be a wonderful treat for my dogs.

Fourish hours later – checked the temperature of the bird – 200* breast, 200* thigh, and the bird was done!

I let the bird sit, in the pan, covered for 1/2 hour after taking it out of the oven.   I was rather worried that the breast meat would be woefully dry, since I forgot to baste… Well,  it was not only moist, it fell apart when I was cutting it, it was so tender!  The legs and wings came off the bird easy as can be with the meat slipping of the bones as well.

I would have to gage this little roasting “experiment” a resounding SUCCESS!

Now to figure out what to do with all that turkey meat!  Any suggestions?

Turkey pot pie,
Turkey Salad… I am open to suggestions.  🙂

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Infamous “Nieman Marcus Cookies”

Have you ever heard or read about the “urban legend” story regarding the $250 cookie recipe from Neiman Marcus?

According to Neiman Marcus (via my web search), they deny ever charging anyone for their cookie recipe(s); but this urban legend and cookie recipe persists in turning up on the internet, and, well, on my blog today too.  Why you ask?  Well, mostly because I have made these Urban Legend Neiman Marcus cookies, and they really are great!  Every time I make them I get compliments on how good they are, along with requests for the recipe, and an inquiry as to what is my “secret” ingredient that makes them so yummy (it’s the ground oatmeal).

If this recipe can be found all over the web, why am I reprinting it here? Well, because I recently made these cookies for my Church’s upcoming annual Founders Day Fundraiser/Celebration.

Now, to make matters even more confusing, Neiman Marcus has made “public” a chocolate cookie recipe that they claim is “the original” cookie recipe, in an attempt to put the legend to rest (you can find it on the internet by simply googling Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe) – I find only one problem with this – The Neiman Marcus recipe they have shared was only created about 12 years ago – the “urban legend” recipe has been around for at least a couple generations, and was originally passed around via regular USPS mail, not the internet.  PLUS – Neiman Marcus has been making their chocolate chip cookies for more than 12 years…

So, which is really true?  Well, the only way we will ever know is if someone with a very old “first edition” Neiman Marcus cookbook that has the original real recipe in it comes forward.   I have looked over the “Real Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe” and have to tell you, it doesn’t sound nearly as delish as this one.

Any hoo – regardless of the origination of this recipe – I have to admit – these are THE BEST chocolate chip cookies I have ever made.  🙂

This recipe is a basically combination of an oatmeal cookie (sans the spices, and the oatmeal is ground into a fine powder), a chunky chocolate cookie, and a chocolate chip cookie, with nuts.

I have made this with and without the nuts in the past, both are equally delicious.

Below is the original recipe, but instead of a Hershey chocolate bar, I use dark chocolate (60-65% cocoa) instead.

It is easily halved as well – which I do when I often make them.  In fact, you could make the dough, sans the nuts, divide it in half, and then add half the amount of nuts to one half of the dough, so you get “two kinds of cookies” out of one. 🙂

Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe

(Recipe may be halved):
2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp. soda
2 cups sugar
5 cups blended oatmeal**
24 oz. chocolate chips
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. Hershey Bar (grated) or chopped, actually, I put the chocolate bar in a plastic freezer bag and pound it with the smooth side of my meat mallot until I get the general size of chunks that I want
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)

** Measure oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder. Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey Bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.

This is also a great recipe to make ahead, and freeze the cookie dough in pre-formed balls on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  When they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag.  When you are in the mood for the cookies, take out 6 – 12 cookie balls and bake them.  No need to defrost, just bake them for a couple minutes longer than indicated above – but keep a close eye on the cookies, so you don’t over bake them (unless you like crunchy cookies).  🙂