Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 + A Simple Pasta Dish to use up Leftover Turkey [Turkey Pesto Linguine]

With both kitchen doors closed, I turned on the heater and let the warm air wake me up in the gloomy kitchen on Thanksgiving Day. I didn't mind waking up early to make my Boston Cream Pie. I started with the pastry cream, followed by the sponge cakes. While the cakes were baking, I moved a table next to the window in the living room to get what light I could from our cloudy SF morning to take photos of the pumpkin truffles I made last night. Mid session, a high pitched beep-beep distracted me. My timer. I ran from the living room to the kitchen to check on the cakes. Perfect: lightly browned and a flat surface. After getting the cakes on the cooling rack, I packed up six shiny round truffles, grabbed my purse, and ran out the door.

Thirty minutes later, I arrived at my boyfriend's work place and shoved the truffles into his hand. Rambled about how it's pumpkin and to ask his coworkers to taste test for me. He tried asking me some questions, but I cut him off and said I need to get going and finish my cake and mashed potatoes for dinner.

After I arrived home, I immediately made ganache and assembled the Boston Cream Pie. Peeling potatoes was my next task. I managed to get the potatoes in boiling water and set up my next photo shoot: a mini Boston cream pie. Done. Time to return to the kitchen and finish mincing shallots, and squeezing and zesting a lemon. Another beep went off and it's time to drain the potatoes. Done. Time to mash and add warm milk and butter. Fold in shallots and lemon juice and zest. Glancing over at the clock, I realized it was 4:30 PM and I didn't eat anything all day except for a cup of milk in the morning

Strangely enough, I didn't feel hungry. I felt relaxed and happy, because I created dishes that I was proud of. I love hectic days centered around preparing food for people that I love. Later that night, my family and I brought pumpkin truffles, a Boston cream pie, candied yams, and lemon shallot mashed potatoes to my Auntie's house. She had roasted turkey, a side of nuo mi fan, and crab salad waiting for us.

A confession: My favorite part about Thanksgiving Day isn't the actual dinner, but the next day when my mom makes jook (rice porridge) with the turkey carcass. Oh god, orgasm in mouth. Another way to use up leftover turkey is to make a simple and easy turkey pesto pasta dish.

Turkey Pesto Linguine

Note: You can easily replace ground turkey with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. Simply shred 2 handfuls of turkey, add the seasonings, and heat it up in the skillet. Set aside and continue with Step #2.

Serves 1

2 handfuls of ground turkey
1/2 tsp dried minced onion
1/4 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp fish sauce

1 serving of linguine/spaghetti, cooked
4 to 5 handfuls of baby spinach, washed
3 to 4 TBSP pesto

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, place ground turkey in the skillet and flatten with a spatula. Wait 2 - 3 minutes until it's brown and crispy. Flip the turkey meat over onto the other side and wait another 3 to 4 minutes. When it is cooked thoroughly, break into smaller pieces with a spatula and transfer it to a bowl. 
  2. In the same skillet over low heat, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of pesto to warm up. 
  3. When it's sizzling and you can smell the pesto, add the spinach and pasta. Add the cooked turkey when the spinach is semi-cooked. Toss the ingredients together and serve. Garnish with some grated Parmesan cheese.

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