Justin & Meredith Winokur's Kitchen Cooking Notebook

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Hot Dish

Saturday, January 04, 2020, 09:38 PM

Meredith actually made this last December to have ready to go when we got back from Houston. She followed the same recipe except she didn't let the sauce thicken as much. And she did the beef first and then did the sauce since it thickens more as it cools.

She froze it without tater tots and did them before cooking today. She cooked it for about an extra 10 mintes (70 total) at 350° and then about 20-30 minutes extra at 400° (~ 1 hour) since it was still pretty frozen.

It was delicious! Nice and comforting! And even Caroline liked it!

The only real note is that Meredith said she would do it in two smaller pans next time since this made so much!

Sous Vide Chicken and Mustard Brussel Sprouts

Thursday, January 02, 2020, 08:40 PM

I quickly sous vide chicken at 150°F and then finished on a pan. I shoud have had the pan hotter and with more oil to better brown. I used garlic and onion powder along with salt.

I also threw together mustard brussel sprouts as we've done many times. I just sauteed them, deglazed with some wine, and added a lot of mustard. Quick and easy!

Biscotti in Houston

Sunday, December 29, 2019, 08:49 PM

I made (and demonstrated) making biscotti for Meredith's mom. We couldn't find cherries anywhere so we again had to make the cherries ourselves using the King Arthur Flour Recipe.

In making the dough, we didn't have a scale so I used the volume measurements but I used 4.5 cups of flour. The weights and volumes on the recipe do not agree so I went heavy. I actually probably could have used more still.

The big issues we had were related to baking. I didn't realize the problem this would cause at the time and some of it is conjecture, but we overcooked the initial bake and then super-burned only the lower tray of the toast step. See, the oven is slightly smaller than a typical oven but standard 1/4 sheet trays fit in if you slide them into where the oven racks hold on the edges.

I think what this did was eliminate air-flow in the oven and, even worse, completely separated it into two (for the initial bake) and three (for the toast with two trays) sections. Making it worse is most ovens have the temperature probe at the top and the heat at the bottom. So the heating element stayed on for a long time to get some the top of the oven warm.

For the initial bake, I think it was okay though the bottoms were a bit browner and it expanded more. But for the toast step, it super burned the bottom tray!

The top ones tasted fine (though could have cooked a bit more) and the bottom ones were a mess!

Candies Cherries Slightly overcooked initial bake Super overcooked final

Turkey for Christmas

Wednesday, December 25, 2019, 06:32 PM

Dry Brined Rubbed with butter and herbs I did a surprisingly decent job carving it

I made a turkey for Christmas using the same basic method as I did for Thanksgiving 2018. The big difference is that I used a 12 lbs turkey rather than one twice its size. I spatchcocked it and dry-brined it for two days (with the plastic wrap as suggested)

I baked it as it 450°F but I think it needed longer than expected. I also went to 155°F in the breast instead of 150°F out of a combination of an abundance of caution and forgetting the target temp.

It came out pretty good. The breast was maybe a tad dry but really not too bad. And the dark meat was delicious. The skin was also super crisp.

I rubbed it with melted butter and fresh "poultry herbs" (I think parsely, sage, rosemary, and thyme) before baking it. The herbs burned on the skin. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to use herbs like that. I am not sure1.

Also, no picture but I made roasted canned potatoes with just olive oil and garlic salt.

  1. Next time, I will follow this recipe and do the herbs underneath 


Saturday, December 21, 2019, 04:50 PM

I made three types of biscotti (yes, it was a bit crazy). I made:

For the traditional, I could only ever find green cherries. Not sure why but we couldn't get the red ones anywhere! So they were less Christmas than we would have liked.

On the lemon ones, I did double the zest but I added it with some sugar after mashing it with a mortar and pestle. I also (accidentally) quadrupled the lemon juice and had to add more flour to get the consistency right.

Finally, for the Coffee Toffee, I followed the suggestions on the recipe but also added walnuts

Notes on process

I did a few minor things differently than the recipe. First, I basically went up 25°F on al temps since I was waiting so long for them to cook. And I gave them much more time to cool before cutting. I think that really made my life easier as they stuck together better and were much easier to work with!

In order to do all of the batches, I baked in the top oven and toasted in the bottom. I still ended up backlogged since it didn't take long to whip up a new batch and the overall cook time for these is pretty long!

Soy Chorizo Ragu

Thursday, December 19, 2019, 08:36 PM

I made out Soy Chorizo Ragu except I added a little but of balsamic vinegar in place of the brown sugar (I had the vinegar idea before I even remembered that there was brown sugar in it). One thing worth noting: I made it as the recipe states at the moment but the original has some wine in it. I don’t recall (at least not at the moment) where that went. Maybe next time we will try adding it back in.

Also used dried oregano. Not as good as fresh but I still liked it!

Taco Stew

Monday, December 16, 2019, 08:43 PM

I made Taco Stew. I actually made it on Saturday but then cooled and refridgerated it until today for dinner. I roughly doubled the recipe since we had a lot of meat and, since there was so much meat, I also browned it seperatly. We apparently didn't have any taco seasoning so Meredith made a (double) batch of the one in Turkey Taco Skillets (which worked out just fine!). I also added celery since we had it. It didn't really add or change any flavor since the soup had simmered so much.


Sunday, December 15, 2019, 09:39 PM

I used the recipe from The International Cookie Cookbook as I've used many times before. They tasted fine but are really not very examples. They are all too thin, unevenly cooked, and spread too much and joined (you can see the odd shapes). I should have done each tray alone rather than all three at a time. I thought putting the air-bake trays on top and bottom would help but they still came out super uneven. I also thought that using convection would mean I didn't have to rotate them. Wrong on that one too!

While I am sure some (all?) of those are my fault, I think it is time for me to try a different recipe!

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