This week is Thanksgiving and I have been thinking for some time about how to use the leftovers. One of my favorite savory breakfasts is chicken and waffles, so I thought why not turkey and waffles? I had previously used turkey stuffing as a base for my Thanksgiving Benedict so why not use it to make the waffle. I have seen it done before, but I wanted to do it with a breaded fried turkey thigh. First I would brine and debone the thigh then bread it and fry it just like fried chicken. All that remains it to decide whether I want to use maple syrup or turkey gravy.
turkey thighs or breast
2 cups flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2 cups panko bread crumbs
oil for deep frying
leftover stuffing (2 cups per person)
1 tbsp. salt, 2 tsp. sugar dissolved in 1 quart water
1. Brine the turkey in the salt, sugar mixture for at least 2 hours or overnight
2. Dry the turkey and dust in the flour. Dip in beaten eggs then roll in the panko bread crumbs. Fry in 325 degree oil until lightly golden brown. Transfer to a 300 degree oven and finish cooking until the turkey reaches 165 degrees internal temperature.
3. While the turkey cooks spoon the leftover stuffing into a hot waffle iron and cook until nicely browned. Serve the turkey on top of the waffle and serve with gravy or if you wish syrup. The waffles can be done before and heated up in the toaster before serving.
My favorite sandwich is the Monte Cristo, a roasted ham and turkey with Swiss and processed cheese fried in a milk egg batter. As you may of noticed I have an obsession with eggs Benedict, so why not bring the two together? Let us start with a base of French toast, top it with roasted ham, turkey, Swiss and processed cheese. Then add a perfectly poached egg and cover with a drizzle of strawberry jam thinned into a sauce. Maybe you can add bacon if you want to. I think this creation successfully brings two of my favorites together into one great tasting dish.
2 slices day old bread (traditional is challah bread but any firm white bread will do)
1 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup half and half
4 slices honey ham
4 slices roasted turkey
2 slices Swiss cheese
2 slices American cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. sugar
powdered sugar for dusting
1. Mix 1 egg, vanilla, sugar and the half and half in a shallow dish to form a custard. Soak both sides of the bread in the custard.
2. Heat a skillet on medium high heat and add the butter. When the butter starts to foam add the bread and cook both sides to golden brown. Keep warm.
3. Poach the remaining 2 eggs and keep warm. In a small sauce pan heat the jam and thin to a sauce-like consistency.
4. Build the Benedict starting with the French toast. Stack a slice of Swiss cheese, ham, turkey then a slice of American cheese. Add a poached egg then drizzle with the strawberry sauce and finish by dusting with some powdered sugar. Serve immediately.
A while back I was researching new techniques for breakfast potatoes and I came across a recipe in Food52's genius recipes. Although the recipe is no longer there is a video with Josh Ozersky showing the procedure here. Now that we can create the crispiest hash browns let us use that to create a breakfast sandwich that defines crispy. Ever since McDonalds introduced the egg McMuffin, everyone has created there own version, some with different breads, different meats, different cheeses, but let us do our own version this time focusing on texture. We can use the hash browns as our secret crispy element but let us not stop there, but examine other ways we can make our sandwich fantastic. First, the buttered English muffin needs to grilled in a cast iron pan to achive both taste and the perfect texture. I have experimented with different brands and even made my own to get something I'm happy with and for this application have decided to go with a extra crispy version from a local bakery. Part of being a great chef is to source out the right product. Although I love sausage based sandwiches, I think crisp bacon would be the best choice here with an additional thin slice of crispy procuitto for extra taste. The perfect egg would be just set with the yolk the consistency of jello and of course, a great slice of cheese.
Option: You can substitute potato chips for the potato
Every now and then I'll come up with an idea that I think is totally original only to find someone has beat me to the punch. Nonetheless here is how I developed the initial idea, changing the method of preparing classic French toast. I have to confess to a serious addiction. Cooking shows! This idea came from watching three of Bobby Flays shows; "Brunch at Bobby’s" showcased Bobby cooking French toast in a waffle iron; in a "Throw-down" episode he sandwiched two pieces of French toast to make stuffed French toast and I remembered another episode making Chicken and Waffles. Suddenly everything came together! But why stop there; the ideas for filling are endless. Make it your own!
8 slices thin sliced firm bread
1 Cup Milk
1 Tbsp. Vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch fresh grated nutmeg
1 tsp sugar
Here are some fillings I have thought of or you can come up with your owwn -
Filling 1: "New York Cheese Cake" flavored cream cheese (I found some white chocolate), sliced fresh strawberries
Filling 2: "Chicken in Waffle" breaded chicken tenders sliced thinly on the bias
Filling 3: "The Elvis" peanut butter and sliced banana
Prep your filling(s) and reserve. If you want to try the chicken, make sure it is fully cooked before it goes into the waffle. Heat up your waffle iron. Beat the eggs in a flat wide dish then add milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk to combine.
Brush or spray waffle iron with oil. Dip first four pieces of bread and place on the waffle iron then add filling to the center of each waffle. Do not over stuff! Dip remaining pieces of bread in the egg mixture and position on top of filling. Close the waffle iron and cook until nicely browned. Hint - The steam will start to subside. Serve immediately. Serves two to four depending on appetite.
Daylight is getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler and football rules the airwaves so it must closer to Thanksgiving day. One great thing about being a Canadian in the United States is that I get to celebrate two separate Thanksgivings, November 28, 2013 in the US and October 14, 2013 in Canada. Talk about leftover turkey! All kidding aside, how do you take inspiration and make a special breakfast that does Thanksgiving proud. Each year I look forward to my favorite dish; stuffing made with celery and onions, bread and spices plus something extra like sausage or diced turkey. My inspiration is to recreate that same great taste in a savory muffin, my "Stuffin' Muffin." I wanted the muffin to be moist and savory with a hint of sweetness. I encourage you to use this as a starting point and make it your own and then envision your own savory muffins.
Note: I searched for the name "stuffin' muffins" and found others had made something similar (even Rachael Ray has one!) usually using bread crumbs or pre-packaged stuffing mixes. I think that using seasoned bread crumbs would be a great idea if used as a crisp topping. I believe my version is unique, adding turkey gravy to add additional moisture (and for taste); creating an unique dish. I believe you could substitute chicken or turkey broth to save some calories.
3 tbsp. butter
1 medium to large onion
2 or 3 stalks celery
Optional: 1 or 2 large precooked turkey or pork sausage patty
2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 cup turkey gravy plus extra for serving
1 tsp. thyme leaves
1 tsp. ground sage
Salt and pepper for seasoning
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3-5 tbsp. sugar
1 Large Egg
½ cup milk
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Finely dice the onion, celery and if you choose to use, the sausage. Heat a skillet on medium heat and add butter. Sauté the onion, celery and sausage seasoned with salt and pepper until the onion and celery are soft. Add the poultry seasoning, thyme and sage and sauté for two minutes more, then add the gravy and stir to combine. Taste and correct the seasoning, take off the heat and allow to cool until warm.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in to a large bowl. Beat the egg, sugar and the milk in another bowl and gently mix into the dry ingredients. As making any other muffin I want not to over work the mixture. Mix in the onion and celery mixture.
Grease some muffin tins and spoon the mixture into the muffin tins ¾ full. Bake in a 400° F oven until done (about 20 minutes) or until the tops are brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serve hot with extra gravy. Makes 6 large or 12 small muffins.
One of the first dishes I learned to make was French toast. Over the years I have gradually changed the recipe, adding spices, sugar and vanilla to the mix; but with the use of the technique of Translation opens a multitude of new possibilities. Since I am concentrating on form; how can I change the form of French toast? I found some mini spring-form pans at my local kitchen shop and this idea naturally developed. If you do not have these mini pans you may use any small cake pan or even large muffin tins may be used. You may even go a step further and make your own form using a can that has its top and bottom removed (just remember to remove any sharp edges). Let your imagination run wild experimenting with different types of bread or perhaps even using leftover donuts or cinnamon rolls cut into pieces. You can further customize your creation by adding fresh or dried fruits, chopped nuts or even bits of chocolate.
4 Slices of Bread (preferably day old)
4 Large Eggs
1 Cup Half and Half
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
pinch Ground Cloves
1 Tbsp. Vanilla
Maple Syrup or your favorite toppings such as fresh strawberries
Optional: Dried fruit such as raisins and or chopped toasted nuts
2 Mini Spring Form Pans
Round Cutter slightly smaller than Spring Form
Baking Sheet pan with parchment paper or Silicone baking sheet
Cut a circle slightly smaller then the spring form pan out of two of the slices of Bread and dice the rest into ¾ inch cubes. You can optionally cut four circles and use one for the top and one for the bottom but I prefer just two so the dish is a bit more rustic looking.
Beat eggs in a bowl with half and half, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla.
Preheat a skillet to medium heat add a small amount of butter. Dip the round cut pieces of bread in the egg mixture and brown on one side.
Place the rounds browned side down into the spring form pans. Pour the egg mixture over the bread cubes and fill the spring forms with the moistened bread cubes (if you have cut extra circles for the top, finish with the tops browned side up. Optionally you can also add toasted nuts, chocolate pieces or dried fruit such as raisins to the moistened bread cubes).
Bake in a 325 degree oven until done (about 30 minutes).
Variation - Use a small circle cutter (I use my cannoli form) to create a well in the center which can be filled with fruit, nuts, and preserves and into which warm syrup could be added.
To assemble unmold each and serve with your favorite toppings, or my favorite, a good quality warm maple syrup. Serves two or cut each in half for four smaller servings.
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How does a good chef think? What is the creative process a
chef uses to come up with new and exciting dishes? What do I need to know to enable that creative process? These are the questions I want to explore in this series of articles. As a chef and an avid cookbook collector I am drawn towards
ideas and techniques of cooking rather than just a collection of recipes. I believe to grow as a chef, I need to continually learn and hone new techniques along with perfecting each technique I use every day. Whenever I go to a restaurant, whether fine dining, neighborhood pub, avant garde, or even fast food, I continually ask myself how can I do this better, what works and more important, what doesn’t? Feel free to send me comments, ask questions. Together, we can explore and make creative cuisine.
Spending almost thirty years in the computing field, I was able to travel experiencing a wide variety of tremendous cuisine. First I became a foodie, and when the opportunity arose, I was able to attend culinary school following my passion. I work as a part-time private chef and volunteer time at the community café in North Bend Oregon providing affordable meals in a restaurant setting to my community.