turkey-detailSometimes it all comes together just a little too neatly.  You’re trying to eat healthier, focusing primarily on foods as they exist in nature.  You’ve just smoked a turkey and you wish there were something more you could do with the bones.  And you KNOW that kale is really good for you, but you just can’t seem to find a recipe that makes it, well, edible.

Enter Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food.  Time and again, this cookbook/kitchen lifestyle guide has provided us with inspiration as we’ve tried to figure out ways to eat better without sacrificing flavor or having to seek out hard-to-find ingredients.  When it comes to that most unwieldy of Thanksgiving leftovers, the turkey carcass, Waters comes through in a big way.

turkey-stock“Big deal,” you may say, “My family has been making turkey soup (or skeleton juice, as it’s known in Elizabeth’s family) for decades!  We don’t need Alice Waters to tell us that.”

I don’t care if your family’s recipe for turkey soup came from Squanto himself at the first Thanksgiving, you’ll want to check out Waters’ recipe.  The addition of hearty kale and sauteed mushrooms elevates this from leftover disposal system to a cravable meal in and of itself.  And in our case, the brining and smoking that we put the turkey through resulted in an even more complex and flavorful broth.

The recipe and what we learned from our second attempt to smoke a turkey after the jump. (more…)

side-by-side2We’re headed into the home stretch, turkey-wise.  If you took one of my suggestions over at DC Foodies and ordered a fresh turkey, you’re probably getting ready to pick it up today or tomorrow.  If you bought your bird frozen, it should be thawing in your refrigerator by now.  If you’re planning to brine your turkey (and I can’t think of any good reason why you wouldn’t), you should be dunking it in the brine no later than tomorrow morning to give it at least 24 hours to soak in that juice-preserving salty goodness.

So we figured we’d report back on our highly scientific survey regarding smoked vs. roasted turkey.  As you may recall, we here at Capital Spice tested the two methods side-by-side using two halves of the same brined turkey for our Fakesgiving festivities earlier this month.  Now, with more than 50 votes cast, our analysts at Thanksgiving Headquarters are calling this race early.

Here in DC, lopsided electoral victories are hardly newsworthy.  Even so, we were surprised at smoked turkey’s level of support in our poll.  The results as they stand right now have smoked turkey holding onto 70 percent of those polled (37 votes).  Roasted turkey conservatives hold 11 percent of the vote (6 votes), and undecided (or hungry) voters who opted for “Both” make up 19 percent of the electorate with 10 votes.

smoked-turkey2Maybe it was the beautiful lacquered look of the smoked half, with its crispy skin and delicate smoke ring…

Maybe it was the subtle interplay between the richness of the smoke and the light, salty bite of the brine…

Most likely, it was the fact that the vast majority of you who found your way to our comparison did so while searching for some combination of “Big Green Egg,” “turkey” and “smoked” or “smoking.”

Whatever the reason, the people have spoken – and they say it’s time for a change.  So join us this November in welcoming a new direction for America’s holiday with a brined and smoked turkey.

If you do decide to try your hand at smoking your turkey this Thanksgiving, please drop by and let us know how it turns out.  And if you’re in the DC area and want to enjoy a smoked turkey but lack the Big Green Egg or a similar device for smoking it yourself, let Rocklands do the work for you.  Metrocurean has the details on what they’re offering, and it looks great!

We’ve already headed out to spend (Smoked) Turkey Day with family, so you may not hear from us again until the weekend (damn food comas).  Whatever your plans, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving – and check back soon for plenty of food and restaurant news just in time for the holidays.

It is a glorious Saturday and we’re spending as much time outside as possible. Hopefully without an intervention from the DC fire deparment like last weekend… Here are some foodie news and stories to warm up your morning:yes-we-carve3

In case you haven’t heard, Taylor Gourmet is now open for business on H St. NE.

Dunkin Donuts is twittering.

Still celebrating Obama’s victory? Join the party this weekend. Before you go, check out the President-Elect Obama’s favorite snack foods.

Get buff with Pepsi’s new muscle milk

If you’re planning to check out some VA country fall foliage this weekend, swing by Three Fox Vineyard on Saturday night. They are staying open an extra hour and making s’mores to celebrate the close of their harvest season. You can even toast your marshmallow on one of the spears from the vines.

Rocklands will be selling smoked turkeys for Thanksgiving this year. Personally, we prefer to do the smoking ourselves.

Cupcake challenges, Virgina vineyards for sale, and Darth Vader toast after the jump!

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Thanksgiving is about tradition, and here at Capital Spice we’re thankful that our families have such strong and unique traditions surrounding the holiday.  With our families’ traditions as a model, we decided to try our hands at a variation on a Thanksgiving dinner this weekend, calling it “Fakesgiving” and inviting some of our friends over to share the holiday-inspired meal.

There’s lots to tell about the meal, but we thought the turkey warranted a post all its own.  Our original plan was to buy a 16-pound turkey from the Organic Butcher of McLean, brine it for a day and then smoke it on the Big Green Egg, but the first bird they brought in for us weighed in at more than 24 pounds! 

We were overwhelmed by the prospect of that much turkey, and we knew there was no way we could fit a bird of that magnitude inside the Egg.  Thankfully, the butchers said it would be no problem to order up another fresh bird for us the next day.

As it turns out, the next turkey they received was almost 23 pounds – still a gigantic bird relative to what we were looking for.  But time was no longer on our side, so we decided to take the bird in its entirety and then break it down at home.  This would allow us to cook it more quickly, and it also permitted us to conduct a taste test (always fun) by cooking the same turkey two different ways.

Smoking on the Big Green Egg (and a visit from the DC Fire Department), roasting in the oven, and a side-by-side comparison after the jump. (more…)