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Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hello, crispy skin.

We’re in K-k-k-kansas, celebrating the holiday at my brother, Jay’s new home. I’m dressed in every bit of warm clothing that I own and have decided that the down comforter doesn’t look so bad at all as a cape.

The kids loved the cool weather and the massive backyard.

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Nice for running around and playing…but THERE’S NOWHERE TO HIDE!

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Gotcha!

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This is my bachelor brother. He’s handsome, a doctor and available. He even cooks too.

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Jay’s making spaghetti squash. How can you not love a man who cooks spaghetti squash!???

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Every year, it’s tradition that my husband deep fries a turkey for Thanksgiving at our home and since we’re in Kansas this year, I asked Jay if he’d like a deep fried turkey for dinner which would guarantee a perfect turkey or we could experiment with smoking a turkey in a grill.

Jay has just moved from his posh Los Angeles condo and as a bachelor who’s lived in small, urban space for the past 10 years, his only appliance for outdoor cooking was a mini grill with a propane tank the size of a small fire extinguisher. It would cook a quail nicely. But not a turkey.

So, I told Jay to buy simple turkey deep fryer.

But my brother is not a simple gadget man. His refrigerator TALKS. His coffee machine has so many knobs and buttons that it looks like an airplane cockpit instrument panel.

He bought one of those infrared no-oil turkey fryer contraptions. I was highly suspicious of the thing — especially with an appliance named “The Big Easy” and had really wished Jay would have just gotten the big vat of oil because the whole entire goal of cooking a turkey is CRISPY SKIN. I could care less about the meat. I WANT MY CRISPY SKIN.

All morning and afternoon I was so nervous and distracted about this turkey cooker and the fact that I might not get the crispy skin that I accidentally cut my finger pretty deep. But no worries. My brother is a first-class doctor, double major and past cardiology fellow. Surely he would be able to fix this problem with his fancy at-home medical kit.

Dr. Jay. YOUR FIRST-AID KIT SUCKS DONKEY ASS.

first aid kit

Seriously. This was all he had at home.

Scott said I might need stitches, but since we had more pressing matters to tend to…like cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for 14 guests, I opted to bandage the hell outta the finger and saran-wrap it.

Dr. Jay assured me that dinner guests would include a medical clinic administrator, family doctor,  a surgeon and an oncologist.

Onward with dinner making.

So, it’s 4pm, the turkey has been in the suspicious contraption for 45 minutes. It looks exactly the same as when it came out of the refrigerator.

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Check again at 70 minutes….

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Now I’m getting a bit freaked out.

Check at 100 minutes (with 40 minutes left to go):

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SHITSHITSHIT!!!!

Sun is setting…getting dark…guests will be arriving soon…

Well at least the wingtips are cooked through. 2 wingtips divided by 14 hungry people = no chance that me and my lame finger would stand a chance fighting for a bite.

I hide back in the kitchen. Too scared to look again.

40 minutes later…times up. I see my husband go outside to get the turkey. I’m fretting. Start calculating how long it would take if I just hijack the turkey and stick in the oven. Realized that eating a oven-roasted turkey at 11pm would be a no-go.

Door opens back again…and Scott presents….THE TURKEY!!!! (sidenote: for Christmas, I need to get my brother a MANLY oven mitt. No man should ever have to wear this, especially when frying infrared’ing a turkey. Oh yes, and I’m also getting him a real first aid kit.)

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Cooked through perfectly. Infrared thingy….I’m so sorry I ever doubted you.

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Hello, CRISPY SKIN!!!!!

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Dinner was a success – and only after our meal, after the plates were cleared – did I present to my personal Thanksgiving medical team of 4 doctors and a medical clinic administrator….my lame finger.

They all hovered around, examined, consulted, debated….stiches? amputation? radiation? finger transplant?

and after 40 minutes, they all came to a consensus that I should continue to use a band-aid and ointment.

It should heal fine.

My brother’s lame first-aid kit was really all that was needed.

And then I was presented with a bill for $827.00 (JUST KIDDING!!!!)

***

Martha Stewart Holiday Gift Guide

has just launched! The fine people at MS asked me to contribute my favorite gift ideas along with Etsy, Design Mom, Modern Cat, Black Eiffel, Desire to Inspire and Momologie.

Come see our picks!

martha-stewart-gift-guide

***

The Day After Good Eats

If you’ve kept the turkey bones — make Turkey Congee (Chinese Rice Porridge)!

turkey-congee



57 Responses to “Hello, crispy skin.”

  1. Gina — 11/27/09 @ 9:52 am

    Love your story, you always give me a good laugh. Would love to try a fried turkey. Maybe next year!

  2. LOVE the story… but even more, the crispy skin… my family always jokes that crispy turkey skin is the bacon of the poultry world!

  3. So glad your finger is alright. And I understand about the crispy skin. I can’t say I’ve ever had a fried turkey, but every time we roast a chicken, that is undoubtedly my favorite part.

  4. wow, spaghetti squash, I love the idea! Your crispy skin turkey doesn’t look bad either ;-)

  5. Seana Nightingale — 11/27/09 @ 11:21 am

    I’m in love with your brother already, LOL.Too bad I’m too old for him :(. But I’ve considered (back-of-mind curiosity) the deep fryer for turkey! And as far as I’m concerned the whole “big vat of oil” is what kept me from bringing it to the forefront of my consciousness! An infrared fryer? Sounds right up my alley; how did I not know about these, LOL?
    Good thing your bro has you to show him what a real first aid kit is all about, haha….I’m a nurse and I could do heart surgery with my first aid kit, LOL.
    Oh….now take him out to buy a REAL BBQ!
    I’d give anything to spend the holidays with my brother; Thanksgiving was the last one we celebrated together, 17 yrs ago!

  6. LMAO!!! I love this post! You have a great family. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  7. GCS — 11/27/09 @ 11:29 am

    When I saw your post on twitter, I thought I was going to see a photo of an anxious Turkey.

  8. Your brother is quite a catch, I’m sure that you’ll get some matchmaking suggestions from readers in Kansas and beyond. I hope your finger heals soon!

  9. Rose — 11/27/09 @ 12:44 pm

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now and never left a comment. I just love the style of writing you’ve choosen for your blog. It reaches right out to me! Hope your finger heals up soon =)

  10. Barbara — 11/27/09 @ 1:29 pm

    Sorry about your finger- but your story made me laugh.
    Looks like you had a delicous meal and lots of fun!

  11. You know, I’ve never deep fried a turkey before? I think it might be time to invest in one of those cool appliances!!! Cute story, sorry about the slicing of your fingers… that happened to me once while cutting a baguette… not fun!

  12. Alice — 11/27/09 @ 2:33 pm

    How exciting to meet you in person!!!!! Kansas is so lucky. Our family heated up leftovers from dinner and ate them for breakfast. Delicious!!! 5 thumbs up to the Fancy Cheesy Puffy Poofs

  13. Amy — 11/27/09 @ 4:11 pm

    It’s nice to know a ‘turkey deep fryer’ do exist. Always enjoy surfing your site. I’m a single living in Calgary, Canada. Would be nice to have a sister like you that cares muchly about her brother. Wish your brother all the best. ~Amy

  14. kat — 11/27/09 @ 7:08 pm

    hope your finger is feeling better. sounds like you had a great thanksgiving!

  15. tigerfish — 11/27/09 @ 8:15 pm

    I thought the turkey was not going to be cooked….:O ….moments of truth at the very last…

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  16. cakebrain — 11/27/09 @ 9:02 pm

    turkey “jook” is one of my favourite reasons for making turkey! yum!

  17. Cynthia — 11/27/09 @ 9:25 pm

    Sounds like a great time was had my all at Jay’s. Man, that is a serious backyard!

    As soon as you talk about Thanksgiving I remembered your congee soup which I made the first time you posted it so imagine my smile when I scrolled down and saw it :)

  18. chef gui — 11/27/09 @ 11:12 pm

    What I like about your brother, Jaden, is that he seems to be a soccer fan. Isn’t he wearing a Man U tshirt?

  19. Carolyn Jung — 11/28/09 @ 12:26 am

    What a glorious looking bird! I’ve always been deathly afraid of trying to deep fry a turkey. Something about all that oil, and seeing pics of people’s turkeys going up in flames. But one day, one day, one day, I hope to gather the courage to do it. ;)

  20. Anna — 11/28/09 @ 12:30 am

    So is it any healthier to use the infra red than oil? And can it still be called deep fried if there isn’t a vat of fat? So many questions to ponder. :)

  21. Dani — 11/28/09 @ 2:15 am

    Beautiful turkey! So glad your finger will be okay. Had to laugh this morning when I read your tweet about your brother’s refrigerator having an alarm! Too funny. BTW, I think we were twins in a former life. Almost every item I liked on the Martha Stewart gift list was selected by you. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

  22. candice — 11/28/09 @ 2:30 am

    Whoa, what an interesting/cool/freaky contraption! :O We’ve always baked our turkeys, but I really want to eat some crispy turkey skin now. I’ve been deprived my whole life of this???

  23. Melodie — 11/28/09 @ 5:33 am

    OK, I get it … the dropping (not so) subtle hints — bachelor, doctor, refrigerators that talk(I’ve always wanted one of those) …eh, Kansas is a bit ‘four corners’ but I can adapt —

    Oh ahright… I’ll go on a date with your brother, stop asking will ya…geez, it’s embarrassing … and Manchester? really? Did you make him wear that?

    Shameful.

  24. As always, witty posts with fantastic photos. Jaden, I saw a copy of your cookbook at my local library, here in Singapore! I borrowed it, of course ;) It rocks! Love it!

    Ju

  25. eat me outta here! — 11/28/09 @ 2:41 pm

    You had me at Crispy Skin. Shoot, a first-class doctor, double major and past cardiology fellow, and a medical clinic administrator, family doctor, a surgeon and an oncologist, I need to come to your family dinners! Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving! I’m ready to detox from all the food for the next week or two!

  26. Chris — 11/28/09 @ 6:25 pm

    Hilarious and fun post, J. You had us cracking up over the “Dr J’s first aid kit sucks!”

    There’s a contest going on to win one of those infrared cookers at the BBQ Grail’s blog and I was also suspicious about what it could actually do. How did the meat turn out inside? It looks great on the outside.

  27. Uuuh, I think I would have shit when there was 40 minutes to go and the turkey still looked like an anemic albino alien baby. I’m shocked that it turned out the way it did! Holy crap! I need to check out those infrared thingamajiggers.

  28. the domestic mama — 11/29/09 @ 6:52 am

    Aw, I felt like I was there~ I just love your stories! I feel like I know you personally! Hope that finger heals quick- I had a cut finger last month and it inhibited every aspect of my existence! IT SUCKED!

  29. melanie — 11/29/09 @ 10:45 am

    LMAO! I would’ve doubted that contraption too. You are a better woman than me because I definitely would have done a turkey intervention. I must admit the end results are amazing. And it frees up the oven! Might have to consider looking into that.

    http://www.thecoupongoddess.blogpsot.com

  30. Marie — 11/29/09 @ 3:56 pm

    It’s not Thanksgiving without mishaps or stress that the food won’t be ready on time! Sounds like it was great family time and with free medical care. :) And that backyard really is so big!

  31. Kristen — 11/29/09 @ 5:06 pm

    I had no idea you had relatives in Kansas! If you ever stop by Kansas City – look me up :)
    We had our first fried turkey for Thanksgiving…we really enjoyed it!
    Hope your tour is going well.

  32. the teacher cooks — 11/29/09 @ 7:06 pm

    Loved your story. I want to know more about the turkey contraption. Turkey looked great!!!

  33. Wow ! That contraption really worked!

  34. Diana — 11/30/09 @ 2:17 am

    My Thanksgiving tradition is to dance around the turkey burning my fingers as I pick off the crispy skin, trying not to get stabbed or sliced as my dad is trying to carve the bird. Love the crispy skin!!!

  35. Jenny Tan — 11/30/09 @ 2:18 am

    Oh, you just cracked my up! What a great post, and what a great way to “promote” your brother’s availability! :P LOL. I was getting nervous about the turkey as I’m reading it! Glad that after all the time wrap w/ the band aid and the 40 minute discussion by the pros…your finger is fine! :) Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

  36. Sriram — 11/30/09 @ 10:17 am

    Funny story indeed Jaden. I am interested in how the spaghetti squash turn out and importantly how does one make it?

  37. Anne — 11/30/09 @ 10:22 am

    Loved your story! Hey, we lived in Kansas, TWICE! 4 1/2 years in Wichita and 18 months in Lawrence. Loved Lawrence.

    Is your brother at KU Med? My daughter’s Neurosurgeon is there (not anymore we have switched to where we live now)

    Added your cookbook to my Amazon wish list too. :)

  38. I ate my first fried turkey last Wednesday — cooked the old fashioned way in a vat of oil. It was stupendous! I’m so glad the turkey came out okay!

    Last time I sliced open my finger while making dinner, I could not get it to stop bleeding. I’m not good with blood and ended up having to sit on the floor and take several deep breathes to keep from fainting!

  39. Lynn — 11/30/09 @ 12:28 pm

    So glad you got your crispy skin! Infrareding a turkey sounds deeply suspicious, but it looks delicious. I’m sorry about your finger – ouch! Good thing you had a crack medical team to take care of you. And your brother – with this exposure, not single for long!

  40. Cheryl Arkison — 11/30/09 @ 4:19 pm

    Haha! By brother is a doctor and the first aid kit in his house is the same thing. So sad. Gald your turkey worked out.

  41. Dawn in CA — 11/30/09 @ 6:38 pm

    1. I’m very happy you got your crispy skin. I would have FREAKED if I didn’t have crispy skin on T-Day. 2. I’m very happy your finger is okay. Or, will be. ;) 3. I’m very sorry that since your brother opted for the fancy infrared turkey cooker thingy, you didn’t get to experience the supreme joy of the bubbling hot oil. That part was ALMOST as much fun for me as the actual eating, when we deep-fried a turkey at a friend’s house last year.

  42. Piegirl — 12/1/09 @ 2:17 am

    Thanks for the entertaining write-up on your crispy-skin turkey day! :))

  43. Argus Fudge-jus — 12/1/09 @ 5:28 am

    Was hoping to learn how to make duck or chicken skin crispy. Heh heh, this was the first time I’ve heard about an infra-red oven! Good job, Mrs H. Reminded me how I cut my thumb while getting the dog out of the car at the vet’s (there were other doggies in the carpark n she’s sociable to a fault) – left drops of blood on her folder. The vet thought it came from her, tried to brush it off. It stuck like SupaGlue. :-P

  44. Adriene Rathbun — 12/1/09 @ 10:22 am

    Hope your finger is healing well.
    We too, had a fried turkey. I live in Wichita and wanted to come to your signing at Watermark SO badly, but alas we were in Denver for Thanksgiving. Huge bummer on my part. Read your blog frequently and was looking forward to the opportunity to meet you. :(

  45. Carrie Oliver — 12/1/09 @ 1:34 pm

    I love deep fried turkey! It’s fun to dress up like firemen w/ masks, gloves, flameproof clothing. Will I burn the house down? Such suspense.

  46. Winnie — 12/2/09 @ 1:16 pm

    I read this story last week while I was away and forgot to comment…just wanted to tell you that I loved reading every word, and I really laughed. Hard. Hope your finger is ok, though!

  47. Jaye @ Food Porn — 12/2/09 @ 4:39 pm

    Heh, my name is Jaye (I’m a girl), I cook, I’m single, and I like gadgets like talking refrigerators and infrared turkey friers. However, I don’t live in Kansas. Is he willing to move?

  48. Fuji Mama — 12/2/09 @ 9:09 pm

    Oh great. Now I’m convinced that I need an infrared thingy. That turkey is GORGEOUS!

  49. Ken Chan — 12/3/09 @ 2:02 am

    More details please. Was the turkey brined? Did anyone have to baste the turkey throughout the cooking process to keep it moist? Looking for something different to do next year.

  50. Judy Cheang — 12/4/09 @ 1:53 pm

    Ha ha ha! Donkey ass! That made nearly made me spit coffee all over my computer! Totally understand the love for crispy skin, it makes my eyes roll back in their sockets.

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