Martha’s Greatest Hits

October 14, 2010

In celebration of the two year mark for this blog, I’ve gone back through every recipe of Martha’s I’ve cooked and put together a list of the best of the best (with links!). It was quite an eye opening experience. Apparently, I am a fan of dips! I also didn’t realize quite how many Martha recipes I’ve cooked. Over 600. That’s pretty amazing. So I guess you could say I’ve really become a de facto expert. Of those 600, there were some that were simply awful. The most memorable of those for me would be that awful chocolate pudding made with avocado and the no bake brownies. Truly disgusting. A lot of things fall into the ok, but not memorable category. Some were good, but not great. What I’ve tried to do here is list the things that I think were fantastic.

I expected that the list might be more diverse than it is. The most exotic and hardest to make thing on the list is the Croquembouche. The things that were most memorable for me were the Thanksgiving turkey, perfect roast chicken, spatchcocked chicken, stuffed cabbage, rolled omelet, Baked Alaska, and rice pudding. I’d forgotten about many of these recipes until I went back through the blog, but once I saw the posts, it all came back to me.

I was struck by the fact that most of these things are homey, traditional foods. There’s not a lot here that would make people gasp at a dinner party (until they tasted it and realized how good these recipes are). I don’t know if that means Martha is best when she sticks to the basics or if I’m boring and just like traditional foods (I don’t think that’s the case  though- I love to try new things). Some of the recipes are not true Martha (well, as true Martha as something can be when she employees tens of thousands of people to do everything for her), some are from Lucinda Scala Quinn and one is from Emeril, but they all appeared in Martha’s magazines or on her show, so I’ve included them.

Enjoy Martha’s greatest hits!

Soups

Cream of Broccoli Soup This is a go-to recipe for me that I’ve made over and over. It’s simple, tasty and my kids love it.

Corn and Shrimp Chowder Simple and delicious.

Roasted Fall Vegetable Soup This one is recent, but I liked it so much I’ll do it again.

Dips

Artichoke Dip with Fontina I love dip. And cheese. And artichoke.

Bean Dip I really love dip.

Caramelized Onion Dip with Fingerling Potatoes Dip plus potatoes is as good as it gets!

Seafood

Shrimp and Zucchini Tostadas I love the ease of this recipe and it’s very adaptable to whatever you have in the fridge.

Golden Crab and Papaya Salad The flavors in this were amazing and it was beautiful to serve.

Seafood Bake This one surprised me with how good it was and how much it was to make.

Mr. Jim’s Shrimp To die for! The best shrimp ever.

Poultry

Perfect Roast Chicken This is a recipe everyone needs!

Thanksgiving Turkey I’ll be using Martha’s recipe again this year, although it seems she is no longer selling turkeys.

Spatchcocked Chicken Thank you Lucinda for the amazing sauce that goes with this.

Chicken, Spinach Casserole This one is recent, but memorable. Simple and much more fab than it sounds.

Tortilla Pie with Chicken Delicious! Great flavors.

Other Entrees

Mrs. Kostyra’s Meatloaf Who knew meatloaf could be so much fun?

Emeril’s Meatloaf Apparently Emeril knew meatloaf could be fun because his is fantastic too! This is actually a turkey meatloaf.

Lamb Chops with Citrus Sauce This one is an elegant dish.

Marinated Steak Thank you Lucinda. Easy and delicious way to make inexpensive cuts of meat taste great.

Sides

Spanish Rice I need to make this again.

Green Bean Casserole Surprisingly great! But very rich!

Baked Onion Rings I forgot about this and will be making it again soon!

Tomato Hand Pies Another one I forgot about, but something to remember when I have some wonderful tomatoes to use.

Warm Potato Salad with Goat Cheese Incredible! Not a combo I expected to like, but I really did.

Potato Gratin A basic, but simply amazing.

Rolled Omelet So easy and so delicious! I was hooked on this one for weeks after I first made, making it in the toaster oven!

Irish Soda Bread I like my version a lot, but Martha’s is quite good too!

Stuffed Cabbage Something I never thought I would like!

Desserts

Double Chocolate Brownies Ah, brownies….

Croquembouche Impressive! Boy was I proud of this one.

Icebox Cake Surprisingly delish! And tres retro.

Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies Dude Martha’s fave!

Mrs. Kostyra’s Spice Cake Close to my wedding cake but not quite, but still excellent!

Baked Alaska A friend of Teen Martha’s still talks about how good this was.

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes I need to make these again – amazing.

Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies I’m going to make these for Christmas again.

Genoise Something I never thought I’d try and it was great.

Rice Pudding This is now a staple in my house and I make it often.

Now it’s your turn. What are your favorite Martha recipes that you go back to time and time again? Have you made any of the ones I’ve listed? Do these appeal to you?

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Save $15 on Martha’s Turkey

November 3, 2009

I couldn’t help myself – I had to order a Martha Stewart turkey for Thanksgiving. If you order one this week, you can save $15 by entering the code Martha15.

I’m excited about Martha’s turkey for several reasons. The turkeys are not certified organic, but they are antibiotic and hormone free, vegetarian fed and humanely raised. Every single one of those factors is of great importance to me. The turkeys come in two sizes – 12 lb ($69.99) or 18 lb ($89.99), minus the $15 discount. You can choose your delivery date, which is a nice feature.

The turkeys are from Plainville Farms and I have had their regular turkeys in the past with great success.  I can’t wait to try it!

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Turkey Baby One More Time

December 2, 2008

On the day after Thanksgiving, Martha made a Turkey Cobb Sandwich on her show. The recipe is also in the November Living on page 68 (although this did not jump out at me until I saw her make it on tv). I love a good Cobb salad (although I pick out the olives), so this sounded pretty good. I’m definitely tiring of turkey at this point, so this seemed like a good (and fast) way to disguise some for a weeknight meal.

First, I cooked the bacon. While that was cooking I smushed up avocado with bleu cheese and sliced tomato and turkey. I quickly heated up turkey and then cooked the egg over easy. While all that was happening, I toasted the bun. I put it all together and it was quite a sandwich! I was afraid it was going to slip and slide all over the place and fall apart, but it didn’t. I’ve got one trick to share that I think helped. When I put tomato slices on sandwiches, I pick out the gooey seed part then I set the slices on a paper towel for a few minutes. It really helps dry them off so they don’t slide all over.

Turkey Cobb Sandwich

Turkey Cobb Sandwich

This was a great sandwich (although I don’t think I want to know how much fat and calories is in it!!). I would definitely make this one again. I served it with fresh fruit and it was a nice light (well, it felt light, ok, even if it did have egg, bacon and avocado in it!) fast meal. A good thing!


Turkey Redux

November 30, 2008

We have a lot of leftovers from our turkey. The day after Thanksgiving, we usually have turkey sandwiches for lunch. For dinner, I reheat the entire Thanksgiving meal. To reheat the turkey, I put some gravy in a pan and heat that, then add in some slices of turkey for just a few minutes until it is hot. That way the turkey doesn’t overcook and stays moist.

By the Saturday after Thanksgiving I am starting to tire of turkey. So I really appreciated the section in the November Living with all the great leftover idea. My first try was turkey croquettes (page 70).

Croquette mixture

Croquette mixture

The recipe seemed pretty easy. You cook onion in a pan with oil then add thyme and sage. Next you add some chopped turkey and a little cream and cook until the cream is gone. You transfer it to a bowl and let it cool. Then add mashed potatoes, flour and egg. Mix it up and make little croquettes. Here’s where it got tricky. These croquettes were very, very mushy. Martha says to dip them in breadcrumbs, put them on a tray and freeze them for 15 min (a lot of Martha’s recipes

Ready to freeze

Ready to freeze

require a freezing step, I am finding). It was very hard to cover the mushy blobs in breadcrumbs and hard to transfer them to a tray. I muttered a bit at Martha under my breath. I think it might make sense to freeze the mixture for a few minutes first, then shape them into croquettes. They were really hard to work with.

After I froze the breaded croquettes, them it was time to fry. The key here is make sure your oil is very hot. The first batch I did broke apart a little and didn’t cook

Fry it up in a pan

Fry it up in a pan

very evenly, but the second batch was perfect.

You serve them with cranberry sauce. They were tasty with a nice flavor. What was weird was you couldn’t really tell you were eating potato at all. They definitely need the cranberry sauce, so don’t leave that out. I would definitely make these

Fried to perfection

Fried to perfection

again next year. They’re a nice alternative to other turkey leftover dishes I think. A good thing.


Turkey Talk

November 28, 2008

As I posted earlier, this year I made Martha’s dry brined turkey. In the past I’ve done a wet brine and been very happy with it. I took the plunge though and put my turkey in Martha’s hands.

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

The dry brine meant I coated the turkey with a mix of salt and bay leaves and left it in the fridge for 48 hours. Thanksgiving Day, Mr. Turkey came out and we first rinsed it well inside and out. I was a little paranoid about so much salt, so I really wanted to give it a good rinse. Martha says to pat the turkey dry and then rub it with half a stick of butter. I’ve never rubbed a turkey with butter, but if Martha says so I will obey. I also sprinkled some poultry seasoning and salt and pepper on it.

I stuffed the big cavity with regular stuffing. I admit I did not do a Martha stuffing since my kids would mutiny. Here’s how I make stuffing. All year long I keep a bag in the freezer and throw stale bread and the ends of loaves into. Come Thanksgiving, I have a nice variety of different breads and plenty to make stuffing with. I cook up onions and celery and add that with poultry seasoning, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, sage, salt and pepper to the stuffing. Then I get it wet with broth and water. Pretty easy.

The small cavity was stuffed with a new family tradition – cornbread stuffing. We tried this last year and it was a hit and everyone wanted it again. I make cornbread and treat it like I do the regular bread stuffing.

Once the turkey was stuffed, Martha says to tuck the wings underneath it. It took a while to figure out how to do this. What she really means it to take the tips of the wings – that third, skinny part – and bend it backwards and then stick it under the front of the turkey (the neck end). Next, I tied the legs together as directed by Martha. Into the oven it went. Martha says to baste it every half hour with a butter and white wine mixture. I just used butter (we’re not big on wine).

Martha says to start the oven at 425 then turn it down to 350 after half an hour. I did as directed.

Here’s where things got a little kooky. My turkey was 19 lbs and every chart I consulted said it should take 4 1/2 to 5 hours stuffed to cook. Ha! This bird was done in 3 1/2 hours! I was not prepared at all! I turned the oven down to warm and raced around peeling potatoes and cooking veggies.

Right out of the oven

Right out of the oven

I let it rest outside the oven for about half an hour before Mr. MarthaAndMe carved. What a beautiful bird this recipe produced! It was a gorgeous bronze color, just like the one of the cover of the November issue of Living. I’ve never seen a turkey so brown and perfect.

This was hands down the most delicious turkey I have ever made. It tasted simply incredible. Moist, flavorful, silky – to die for. I did use a different kind of turkey this year – organic, free range when in the past I’ve only used organic, so that may be part of it. But I believe the dry brine definitely made this turkey moist and tasty. Slathering it with

Ready to carve

Ready to carve

butter probably helped too.

What else did we have? Mashed potatoes, gravy (pan drippings mixed with turkey broth that I mix Wondra into), and roasted root vegetables (carrot, parsnip and rutabaga with olive oil and balsamic vinegar). Pumpkin pie for dessert (that’ll be tomorrow’s post, so tune in to find out how Martha’s pie went).

We had a great Thanksgiving. We watched the parade and the dog show. After dinner we played some games and then watched the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving show. It was a terrific, relaxing day. We have lots of leftovers – Oh! I can’t wait to have that turkey sandwich at lunch! I’m also planning to try out some of Martha’s leftover ideas from November Living.

I will definitely make this dry brined turkey again next year. It is much easier to make than the wet brine and the results were simply incredible!


Cooking School #5: Turkey Brining

November 26, 2008

For the past few years, I have done a wet brine for my Thanksgiving turkey. My brine usually includes salt (obv, as my teen would say), cider, sugar, lemon juice, lemon slices, orange slices, and some Williams Sonoma Turkey Brine mix Mr. MarthaAndMe bought me for Christmas one year.  I’ve experimented with adding brown sugar or molasses. I’ve had great success with brining. It creates a moist and flavorful turkey. It’s well worth the effort. Martha said on her show Tuesday that this is the year of the brined turkey. She said in past years people were all excited about deep frying their turkeys, but this year everyone is brining. Look at me, riding the trend!

In the past, I bought a Plainville Farms organic turkey from a butcher shop. This year, however, I bought an organic, free range turkey from my grocery store. It was $64 for a 19 pound turkey! Yowza!

In the November issue of Living, Martha has a recipe for a Dry-Brined Turkey, which she and Sarah Carey demo’ed on the 5th Cooking School lesson on her show (which I missed, but was able to catch most of online). I had never heard of a dry brine before this, so this is a new one for me. The scientific explanation for it that somehow the salt draws all the juices of the turkey to the surface which makes it juicier. I’m not chemist, but I’ll give it a shot. Martha says you must dry brine your turkey on Tuesday if you want it on Thursday (it needs to sit for 48 hours), so that was the plan.

Mr. MarthaAndMe and the cavity

Mr. MarthaAndMe and the cavity

First step is to remove the giblets. Eww, gross. I hate those! Mr. MarthaAndMe was glad to step in and hold the turkey’s intimate parts for me. I love how Martha wears gloves to work with turkeys. I definitely could use those. One small glitch – this turkey had an actual feather still attached. Eeek! That did not make me happy! Mr. MarthaAndMe bravely plucked it out.

Next, you rinse the turkey off, inside and out. I understand the importance of this, but boy do I hate doing it. All I can do is imagine nasty turkey salmonella germs all

Patting Mr. Turkey Dry

Patting Mr. Turkey Dry

over my sink. Blech. (I know I do seem to have many issues when it comes to turkeys, don’t I?) There was some serious cleaning when this project was done I can tell you.

The next step is to pat the turkey dry. Ok, got that Martha.

Then you rub the turkey, inside and out, with a mix of salt and bay leaves. I really expected there to be more in the mixture than that, but I’m doing what Martha says. This was harder than it sounds. Since I patted Mr. Turkey dry, the salt and bay leaf stuff didn’t want to stick to him at all. I kept rubbing it on and it kept just rolling off.

Then you put the turkey-lurkey in a bag and get the air out and refrigerate until

Dry Brine

Dry Brine

Thanksgiving day. Martha says to use an oven bag. I cheated and used a giant size Ziploc. I got all the air out and tucked the zippy part underneath.

I’m a little nervous about this! I’m used to my wet brining approach, so I’m worried this won’t be as good. All I can do is trust in Martha. As always, I do enjoy trying something new, so I’m definitely game. I’ll report back after turkey day as to the results! I’m sure there are others of you out there trying this method too, so I’m interested to hear your results also.

Turkey massage

Turkey massage

Turkey in a bag

Turkey in a bag


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