Autumn is Here

Autumn begins in Clarendon

Originally uploaded by tbridge.

Walking to lunch today, there was something in the air that’s been oddly lacking in Fall so far. Maybe it was the smell of dry leaves and fresh mulch, or maybe it was golden leaves and the rustling in the breeze, I’m not all that sure.

I’ve been enjoying the return of soup to the lunch menu of my favorite haunts, back from its summer hiatus. The colder evenings are just begging for chilis and chowders and soups, and this weekend we took the time to make the first batch of pasta e fagiole, and this week will bring the first batch of clam chowder (new england, not manhattan), and have me thinking about brining a turkey before too much longer.

I’m sure we’ll be seeing stew weather before too much longer, even if the forecast still holds nothing but warmth for the week.

What are you missing from your menu so far this Fall?

5 Comments so far

  1. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on October 15th, 2007 @ 9:11 pm

    It’s almost time to start making pumpkin soup again!

    Brining a turkey? Do you pickle turkey or something? Seriously – share your method. I don’t eat turkey and thus am curious what this could mean.

  2. Don (unregistered) on October 16th, 2007 @ 9:12 am

    Brining a turkey is the process of soaking it overnight in well-salted water. You can google up precise explanations of the chemistry at work, but the end result is a notably moister turkey.

  3. Tiff (unregistered) on October 16th, 2007 @ 12:47 pm

    Yeah, basically we soak a turkey in a whole lot of broth, water, salt, and spices overnight before roasting it. It imparts a subtle flavor to the meat, it moistens it quite a bit, and since white meat can dry out while you’re trying to get the dark meat fully cooked, it goes a long way toward making your cooking method a little more forgiving. I will never again roast a turkey without brining it first.

  4. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on October 16th, 2007 @ 3:04 pm

    Carl, here’s my brine recipe:

    1 cup kosher salt
    1/2 cup light brown sugar
    1 gallon vegetable stock
    2 tablespoons varied color peppercorns
    1/2 tablespoon allspice berries
    1 tablespoon candied ginger
    4 bay leaves
    1 big handful of whole star anise (check the asian foods store, or Penzey’s.)

    Combine all brine ingredients, except ice water, in a stockpot, and bring to a boil for about 5-10 min. Stir to dissolve solids, then remove from heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

    Early on the day of cooking, (or late the night before) combine the brine and ice water in a clean 5-gallon bucket. Place thawed turkey breast side down in brine, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area (like a basement) for 6 hours. Turn turkey over once, half way through brining.

    This recipe has its roots with Alton Brown’s brine recipe, but with a few added ingredients I think make for a tasty turkey.

  5. Don (unregistered) on October 17th, 2007 @ 9:45 am

    While you can certainly work some magic by putting other flavors in the brining solution, it’s not necessary to get a big payoff. You improve taste and moisture if you simply do an unadorned salt-water soak.

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