Friday, November 26, 2021

A Different Pumpkin Desert for the Holiday

It's true, Pumpkin Pie is number one for the Thanksgiving holiday, but sometimes it's fun to go beyond that, and find our what else you can do with pumpkin! Chef Billy with Restaurant Associates stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to share his idea for Pumpkin Pana Cotta. He says it's very easy to make and will really elevate the idea of dessert for your holiday table. He says you can use canned pumpkin to make it, and you'll find the instructions fairly simple. It's kind of like a gelatin, but a lot tastier. Give it a try! 

  1. In a heavy saucepan, pour in the milk.
  2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the top of the milk.
  3. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes to soften the gelatin, whisk.
  4. Whisk over medium heat just until the gelatin dissolves but the milk does not boil about 5 minutes. Add the cream, pumpkin, honey, sugar, pumpkin pie seasoning, and salt.
  5. Stir until the sugar dissolves 7 minutes and it comes to a soft boil. Watch carefully as it will boil over.
  6. Remove from the heat.
  7. Pour into 6 glasses so that they are ½ full.
  8. Cool slightly. Refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Don't Stuff Your Oven!

Ovens simply aren't made to cook so many dishes at once. And while Chef Billy with Restaurant Associates told Tonia's Kitchen everything will still cook if you place multiple numbers of dishes in the oven at once, things won't roast, they'll steam. Billy told Tonia he realizes his advice isn't possible for everyone. If you must stuff your oven, put the temperature up another 30 degrees, That way, everything may be able to cook more evenly. 


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

A Special Thanksgiving Side


For our annual run-up to Thanksgiving Chef Billy with Restaurant Associates (you might remember him as the Executive Chef from Cooking Light Magazine) told Tonia's Kitchen about a delectable delight for your Thanksgiving table.  It's called Delicata squash, and it differs from butternut in several ways. The first, perhaps most notable, is that the skin is edible, and Chef Billy told Tonia he recommends it.  That squash's skin is full of nutrients and tastes fantastic!  To prepare it, you only have cut the ends, pull out the seeds and cut the squash into rings  Billy says he takes metal tongs and sticks them in the center of the squash. The seeds fall right out!  When you roast the squash, just use oil and let the natural flavor come out.  The rings provide a visual feast for your Thanksgiving table, the squash itself is a feast for your tastebuds.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Let's Talk Turkey

Okay, so you've bought the bird and brought it home, now what? Never fear, Tonia's Kitchen is here! Tonia joined Chef Billy with Restaurant Associates to talk turkey this Thanksgiving, and how to prepare it. Bill told Tonia that once the turkey reaches 165-degrees, remove it from the oven at once. Then don't put it on the hot stove to cool, Billy says you'll overcook the bird. Instead, flip the bird over and place in a cool spot. Flipping it over allows the juices run through it, for a very tasty turkey.


Monday, November 22, 2021

Time To Make The Stuffing

And it is time to talk about how you're going to do the stuffing. And this year we asked one of the foremost experts in stuffing how to do it. The expert, of course, is Chef Billy from Restaurant Associates. He stopped by Tonia's Kitchen to talk about how to do stuffing the right way. Billy says this year (and every year!), he's doing a Chestnut Stuffing complete with fresh ingredients. Billy told Tonia he says a simple Italian bread like Semolina, stale and crunchy of course, to create the bulk of the side dish, along with roasted chestnuts, fresh vegetables, turkey stock and fresh herbs. Chef Billy recommends you let the stuffing sit, in an effort to soak in the stock and don't put your oven above 350 so the stuffing will remain most as it bakes.

6 cups torn bite-size pieces of day-old-Semolina-style bread

2 onions, chopped
4 ribs of celery, chopped
3 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves or 1 tablespoon dried, crumbled
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves or 2 teaspoons dried, crumbled
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried, crumbled
1 tablespoon minced fresh savory leaves or 1 teaspoon dried, crumbled
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 pound fresh chestnuts, shelled and peeled, chopped coarse, or 3/4 pound vaccuum-packed whole chestnuts, chopped coarse (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Step 1

With a sharp knife cut an X on the round side of each chestnut. Spread the chestnuts in one layer in a jelly-roll pan, add 1/4 cup water, and bake the chestnuts in a preheated 450°F. oven for 10 minutes, or until the shells open. Remove the chestnuts, a handful at a time, and shell and peel them while they are still hot.

Step 2

Reheat the oven to 325°F. In a shallow baking pan arrange the bread pieces in one layer, bake them in the oven, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are golden, and transfer them to a large bowl. In a large skillet cook the onions, the celery, the sage, the thyme, the rosemary, and the savory in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the vegetables are softened, add the chestnuts, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the vegetable mixture to the bread pieces, tossing the mixture well, stir in the parsley and salt and pepper to taste, and let the stuffing cool completely. The stuffing may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. (To prevent bacterial growth do not stuff turkey cavities in advance.) Makes enough to stuff a 12- to 14-pound turkey with extra to bake on the side.