Monday, February 24, 2014

Smoked Turkey London Broil - Turkey Pastrami

        My Bradley Hard at Work

Note:  This recipe was also published at the Bradley Smoker North American Website

As another one of the Bloggers for Bradley, I am very excited to be joining some really talented cooks and food writers in exploring all of the wonderful things that can be done with Bradley smokers.  It is very motivating to be part of helping people to get the most out of these wonderful smokers.

I am not going to sugar coat it:  I am a novice smoker!  Oh, I have used my big Weber Kettle from time to time with a tray of wood chips, and quite a long time ago, I purchased a very inadequate, poorly constructed smoker which got very limited use.  So my experiences with my Bradley will be like many readers: a new direction and an adventure!

We have access to good, drug free, pasture raised poultry in Philadelphia through many local producers and farmers markets.  Quite some time ago, one of those producers introduced me to Turkey London Broil.  The cut is really one whole side of the bird, from breast to thigh.  It's very versatile, responds wonderfully in marinades, and is usually large enough to feed a crowd!  

I came across a recipe for "turkey pastrami" in one of my grilling cook books,  so I purchased the turkey and set out on the maiden voyage of my new Bradley.

As you will, I hope, see, the final product was awesome!  For this recipe, it's really all about the marinade and the smoker!  Both did an extraordinary job.

Smoked Turkey Pastrami


1 Three to Four pound Turkey London Broil
4 teaspoons cracked Peppercorns
2 tablespoons Coriander
4 teaspoons Brown Sugar
6 Garlic Cloves, minced
8 teaspoons of sea salt
4 teaspoons of sweet paprika
3 teaspoons of mustard seeds
2 teaspoons of ground ginger

   Turkey London Broil after 24 hours in the refrigerator 

Mix and pound all of the spices together - I used a large, stone mortar and pestle
Rub the spice mixture all over both sides of the turkey london broil
Place the turkey in a glass casserole or large plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight

The next day, remover the turkey from the refrigerator and let it stand for 2 hours
Rub the smoker rack with oil - I used canola
Preheat the smoker to 210 degrees F
Place the turkey on the oiled rack and smoke it for three hours for a 3 pound turkey london broil
       ~ until an instant thermometer reads 140 degrees F

Let the turkey rest for about 20 minutes
For an authentic, "pastrami" appearance, slice very thinly in long pieces.

 The Turkey London Broil right out of the Bradley
       The Sliced Turkey Pastrami

Serving Suggestion:  This makes a delicious sandwich on rye bread, with a bit of butter and some good mustard, and perhaps some cole slaw.  You will think, "Pastrami". 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Coffee. Some Thoughts & a Recipe. There is a Lot to Learn!

If you are a coffee drinker, and we take it very seriously in our house, do you feel that you know all that you should about the growing, raising, importing, and finances associated with the tiny bean?

I have recently started watching Todd Carmichael's "Dangerous Grounds" on the Travel Channel.  Todd owns La Colombe Torrefaction coffee here in Philadelphia. The products are great and are available in some of our finest restaurants.  Todd is also widely appreciated as a man who loves adventure (witness his trek across Antartica), and is deeply involved in social and ecological issues around the world.

At first I thought of the show as merely a vanity production - and it is to some extent - but, what I didn't count on was getting an education about the inequities and the violence in the worldwide harvesting, buying and producing of coffee. I knew that there was a great deal of unfairness and that native growers were taken advantage of regularly.  But I am learning that it is much worse than I thought.

In our home, we spend a lot on our coffee.  We always select Fair Trade and buy whole bean so that we can grind it as we use it and we store it - I think - appropriately (not in the refrigerator).  For years we've been buying our beans from the same local importer and recently we have tried some of the young start up coffee roasting businesses that have sprung up here in Philly and in Brooklyn, as well.  All good coffee.  Some better than others.  And, of course, we pay for that goodness.  I generally pay between 15 and 20 dollars a pound for whole bean, free market/free trade coffee.  

Now - for those of you who are gasping at price points, remember that the canned stuff in the supermarket is, in many cases, practically stolen from the folks in the rain forest areas and other coffee growing environments.  That's why you pay half of what I am paying!  Yours is probably treated with all sorts of nasty stuff,too, and probably has additives to increase weight, etc.  You know, the usual disgusting practices which we should come to expect and are so common to big "food" production.

Which brings me back to Todd Carmichael and the TV show.  If you are a coffee lover, I do suggest that you watch the show. You will learn a few things.  In specific, a recent show entitled "Rome", if you can access it on On Demand, presents a picture of the horrible fear and nasty consquences befalling small independent coffee growers in Rondandia, Brazil.  "Big Ag", as it is referred to in the show, literally steals the coffee fields and threatens indigent people with such punishments as branding and death (armed guards are everywhere) if they attempt to come near what was once their own land.  In other practices, the land is not stolen, but the coffee farmers are paid practically nothing for their product.  This goes on in so many places in the world where coffee is grown.  Certainly in Haiti, Bolivia and Borneo to name a few coffee producing countries.

Remember, this is where the mega corporations who manufacture most supermarket products get their coffee beans - and barely pay for them.   This is where the coffee beans in your Maxwell House, Chock Full 'o Nuts, and a host of other brand names come from - direct to those cans on the supermarket shelves.  This is hardly an abstract issue.  This is real exploitation, intimidation, and at times, serious violence being practiced - openly - by powerful corporations.  For a beverage that we Americans guzzle by the gallon!

Please consider learning more about the world's coffee production.  And always, always looks for "Fair Trade" coffee beans.  

And remember the most important rule:  Always Know Where Your Food Comes From!

Recipe:  Buttered Coffee


Two cups of good, hot black coffee (Fair Trade Coffee, you don't want additives)

One heaping tablespoon of really good unsalted butter (Farmers' Market butter, from grass fed cows or make your own with great cream or Kerrygold butter works very well too). 

Optional:  Coconut Oil or Agave Syrup


Warm up a glass container with some hot water before you pour your coffee into it

Dump the water, pour the coffee into the container and put the tablespoon of butter on the top of the hot coffee

Let it melt a bit (if you are adding a sweetener, do it now)

Then submerge a milk frother into the coffee - or a small hand whisk - and really whip it.  You can also use a blender.  
A thick foam will form on the top of the coffee

Optional:  a tablespoon of coconut oil or agave syrup for added decadence

Very delicious and it will give you all kinds of good energy for the morning!  Give it a try!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Surviving a Serious Winter

    Exercise and Rationalize!

Yes, Readers it has been awhile!  The recovery period for Better Half - leaving me as a single urban homesteader, professional commitments and deadlines and the incredible demanding winter (the worst we have experienced in Philly in years) have eaten up the days in ways I never could have imagined.  Those of you out there who have been caregivers for a family member know exactly what I mean.  And the good news is that my Better Half is actually getting more functional with each passing day.  But she can't shovel snow, walk all three dogs at once, do much in the kitchen or drive.  But, we are very lucky.  With the help of good neighbors and friends, we're doing more than OK.

It's funny.  When I started this post, the weather - while cold - was pretty stable.  Now we are a few hours away from the beginning of a Nor'eastern with possibly a foot of snow and ice.  We knew it was coming so I did the "provision run" yesterday for the usual items that give us many options with our Larder and Freezer.  

Some of the things I've been craving and making over the weeks/months of this rough weather period:

Homemade Bread.  There's nothing like it.  And it is easy! The heat, aroma and flavor will lift your spirits and fill your stomach.

Spaghetti, Meatballs, Sausage, and good Red Gravy.  Followed by:  Baked spaghetti - with the left over pasta and sauce. A great way to put those left overs to use in a wonderful, satisfying way.

Soups - we had lots of asparagus from last season in our freezer.  Cream of asparagus soups at this time of year will lift your soul!  Onion soup is also a great idea.  While not creamy it provides a richness, with a bit of cheese melted on top, that will really hit the spot. If you canned tomatoes, or if you have good canned tomatoes, now is your chance to top anything from Campbells with a creamy rich tomato soup.

Shrimp and Grits - You don't need a whole lot of shrimp - just some good sized ones - to add to some creamy, cheesy grits.  Make them a bit spicy too.  Good reheated as well.

Brisket - a few days in a marinade in the 'fridge, a "low and slow" cooking process (adds warmth AND aroma to the house), and the addition of mashed potatoes and maybe a bitter green and you have a real comfort food dinner and fantastic sandwiches, with horseradish cream, for another meal.

Macaroni and Cheese - well, of course, the tried and true Cheddar kind, but also try just grating the pieces of cheese you find in your cheese drawer as well. You'd be surprised the impact of a llittle piece of blue cheese to your mac 'n cheese.  And if you dare, there's always the option of frying squares of what's left over!

Roasted Root Vegetables - spreading long cuts of carrots, butternut squash, and other veg onto cookie sheets topped with evoo, cumin, salt and pepper and maybe some dried pepper flakes (or whatever combination you want) and roasting at high heat, quickly, are delicious and can also be mashed later or processed together and made into a dip.  Really. Try it.

Chops - lamb especially but really gnawing on any bones is a good thing right now.  It is a natural craving and you can feel free to give right into it!

Pork - actually pork anything! - Chops, a loin, big fat sausages, whatever.  This is what you need to take the cold edge off of things!

Stews, chili, chicken pot pies - any and all "one pot" meals provide many options. 

Pancakes for dinner - you know you want it!  And with the addition of breakfast sausage and great maple syrup you will find yourself eating and grinning.  I promise.

Lastly, don't forget Sweets!  Chocolate is very important when the days are short and dark and the temperatures are low.  Of course, chocolate is very important when the days are long and bright and temperatures are high!  But seriously, in this bitter cold, you don't have to rationalize!  I also like to take some of the berries we froze last season to make tarts.  Scones are wonderful to have in the house - and not at all as hard to make as people think.  And, of course, since I make butter at home, Buttermilk Pie and Biscuits are in the house a lot.

My point of sharing these various ideas with you is to reinforce how much better you will feel through these short days, snow storms and bitter cold when you have good food bubbling or baking, lovely aromas wafting through the house and some seriously comforting dishes to eat. Forget guilt!  Choose delicious!  

Stay warm!