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Product review: Perky Jerky


Does the idea of caffeinated beef jerky scare you? Or does it literally get your blood pumping? Well, one taste of Perky Jerky, a new beef jerky coated with caffeine, and it should do the latter without doing the former anymore. Seriously, this stuff not only gives you a bit of a jolt via Guarana (1 oz. of jerky has about as much caffeine as a can of Red Bull), but it tastes delicious. The second ingredient after beef is soy sauce, so as you can imagine you get a really nice flavor similar to that of teriyaki. And really, do you know anyone that doesn’t like the taste of soy sauce or teriyaki? So let’s review…Perky jerky tastes good, gives you a lift, and also gives you some protein to fill you up so you won’t feast on chips or cheese puffs when you’re hungry. Sounds like Grub For Guys heaven, doesn’t it? And no, it’s not too good to be true. Go try it for yourself!

Note: the press materials say that Perky Jerky may not be available yet where you buy jerky, so visit www.perkyjerky.com for more info and be sure to ask your local convenience store to carry it.

Spam haikus

I am not sure what the original source is for these (and if anyone knows, I will link and give proper credit), but I have saved these Spam haikus in my inbox from a forward a friend sent me like 10 years ago. They are hilarious, and of course, timeless. Enjoy!

1. Blue can of steel
What promise do you hold?
Salt flesh so ripe

2. Can of metal, slick
Soft center, so cool, moistening
I yearn for your salt

3. Twist, pull the sharp lid
Jerks and cuts me deeply but
Spam, aah, my poultice

4. Silent, former pig
One communal awareness
Myriad pink bricks

5. Clad in metal, proud
No mere salt-curing for you
You are not bacon

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Leftover turkey: what to do now

I posted this last year on Grub For Guys, and plan on using some of these recipes myself this weekend. Enjoy!

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, or the entire weekend following the big Turkey Day, and you’ve got a fridge full of leftovers—especially all of that tasty turkey meat. There are only so many sandwiches you can make, and soup can be boring. So why not try a few of these alternatives that are quick, easy and pretty filling. All recipes serve two hungry people but with a little bit of math you can increase the output.

Turkey Breakfast Hash
The day after Thanksgiving, you may not want to indulge in anything with turkey, but this dish doesn’t exactly resemble the turkey and fixings you had the day before. It’s breakfast food and it’s mighty tasty. Of course, you don’t have to make it for breakfast….

Ingredients
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped cooked turkey
½ cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped green pepper
1 can diced potatoes, drained
½ tsp. Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste
Cooking spray
2 eggs
Ketchup (optional)

Directions
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it’s barely rippling. Add turkey, onion, green pepper and potatoes. Cook, stirring every minute or two, for about ten minutes or until onion is translucent and potatoes begin to brown. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and stir/cook one minute more. In a separate nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat, add eggs and cook until whites are just set, about 2-3 minutes. Put hash on two plates, and top each with a cooked egg. Serve with ketchup on the side, if desired

Turkey Muffuletta
If you’ve ever had this classic New Orleans sandwich, your mouth is probably watering right now. It’s really the olive salad that makes it, as well as the crusty roll it’s served on. Okay, my mouth is watering now….here is the recipe for the turkey version of the Muffuletta:

Ingredients
2 large rolls or 2 large sections of Ciabatta loaf
1 cup sliced or chopped cooked turkey meat
4 slices provolone cheese
Lettuce
½ cup New Orleans style olive salad (if you can’t find this, you can probably find a recipe online, but it’s much easier to buy it in a jar).

Directions
Preheat sandwich press or a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Hollow out the roll or bread slightly, and layer with turkey, cheese, lettuce and olive salad (any order is fine). Top with other half of roll or bread, and cook in sandwich press or in skillet topped with a foil-wrapped brick for about five minutes, or until cheese has melted and bread is crispy.

Turkey Antipasto Chopped Salad
Salad isn’t always dude food, is it? But this one is, and you can even serve it on lettuce and make it look like you’re eating healthy. Either way, we think you’ll dig this version of an Italian classic.

Ingredients
1 cup chopped cooked turkey meat
½ cup chopped roasted red peppers
1/2 cup chopped green olives
1/2 cup chopped dill pickles
1/3 cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped provolone cheese
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
Salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Combine turkey, roasted peppers, olives, pickles, celery and cheese in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk oil, vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. Pour over dry ingredients, and toss to combine. Let flavors blend in the fridge for an hour or so before serving.

Cheesy Broccoli Rice with Turkey
Those Uncle Ben’s (or other brands, we won’t discriminate) are always good to have on hand, but if you can add turkey and some other magical ingredients, you can put together a kickass post-holiday meal.

Ingredients
1 box broccoli rice au gratin
1 Tbsp. butter
1 cup chopped cooked turkey meat
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
Black pepper to taste
½ cup cubed Velveeta cheese

Directions
Cook rice according to package directions on stovetop, including using the butter, which we have included here. Cooking times vary, but I used the 5-minute variety. When the mixture begins to boil, add the turkey, cream of mushroom soup and black pepper. Let simmer until rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Then add the Velveeta and stir until it melts. Serve immediately.

Day After Thanksgiving Pizza
Okay, so this isn’t pizza so much as it’s turkey and fixings served on a pizza crust. But it’s really good, trust us.

Ingredients
2 small pizza shells (such as Mama Mary’s)
½ cup leftover mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup cooked chopped turkey meat
½ cup canned sweet peas, drained
1 12 oz. jar turkey or chicken style gravy
Black pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees. Bake pizza crusts until golden, 5-7 minutes. Warm potatoes in microwave for 1 minute or until cooked through. Spread each crust with ¼ cup mashed potatoes and set aside. Meanwhile, heat gravy in a medium saucepan over medium heat and add turkey, peas and black pepper. Heat until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Pour half of mixture over each pizza crust and serve.

Hey guys, never cooked a turkey before?

I posted this on Bullz-Eye’s Grub For Guys section two years ago, and it’s a must-read for any of you guys that are thinking about cooking a turkey Thursday for the first time. Best of luck with that if it’s the case, and I hope you all have an awesome and safe Thanksgiving. We’ll be back on Friday with tips for what to do with turkey leftovers.

If you guys have never made a turkey, it may seem like a very daunting task. But trust me, it’s really pretty easy, even for a novice cook. Let me be your guide this Thanksgiving and I hope you’ll give this a shot, whether you’ve cooked a big bird before or not.

Basic Roast Turkey with Stuffing
1 12- to 15-pound fresh turkey (bigger if you’re having more than 10 people)
1 bag stuffing mix (I like the white and wheat combo)
1 onion and a few celery stalks
Chicken broth (amount may vary) and butter or margarine
Vegetable oil or olive oil
Cooking spray or melted butter
Spices such as thyme, paprika, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper

A word about turkeys:
I’m calling for fresh turkey in this recipe — it saves time and trouble in the long run — because you don’t have to defrost it. Fresh birds can be found in the refrigerated meat section of the grocery store or butcher shop. If you buy a frozen turkey, allow three days to defrost in your refrigerator (yes, really, move it from the freezer to the ‘fridge on Monday of Thanksgiving week).

DIRECTIONS
First, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Cook stuffing according to package directions in a large saucepan using butter or margarine and chicken broth. Sauté chopped onion and celery in oil in a separate skillet over medium heat for about five minutes, and then mix into the cooked stuffing. Set aside.
Open the turkey over a sink (trust me, you don’t want juice all over your kitchen floor). Remove the neck and gizzards from the cavity and set aside for gravy (or throw them out like I do; my feeling is, frankly, blech!). Rinse turkey inside and out and pat dry. Place in a large roasting pan, breast side up, and coat top with cooking spray or margarine. Sprinkle liberally with spices. Stuff with stuffing at both ends (from the breast side and the butt end), as much as you can fit in there, leaving a little room for expansion. To keep the stuffing from escaping the bird, close the openings using turkey “pins” (at this time of the year, they can be found in the grocery store near the turkeys or the roasting pans).

You should start early in the day, depending on when you plan to serve dinner. Roast for about 15 minutes per pound; this translates into three hours for a 12-pound turkey to almost four hours for a 15-pound bird. Put in the oven for the first 30 minutes uncovered to brown the turkey, and then cover with the lid of the roasting pan or use foil. After about an hour, the juices will start accumulating in the pan. It’s important to then start basting the turkey with the juices every 15 minutes or so to avoid drying out. The turkey is done when a meat thermometer placed in the center cavity (in the stuffing) registers 165 degrees; if the thermometer is placed in the thigh meat, the temperature should be 185 degrees.

Let rest about 10 minutes on a serving platter before slicing. While waiting, remove all the stuffing from the cavity of the bird (it’s a perfect medium for bacteria to grow in).

Gravy
Pan drippings from the roasted turkey
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup water
2 to 3 Tbsp. cornstarch

DIRECTIONS
Pour juice from roasting pan into a medium saucepan and add about a cup of chicken broth. (If you want, at this point add the neck and gizzard.) Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer (cook the neck and gizzard until the gizzard is fork-tender). Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl and add slowly to the gravy to thicken. Take off heat immediately.

Mashed Potatoes4 to 5 pounds potatoes, rinsed, and peeled (use red, white or Yukon Gold)
Milk (skim or low-fat is fine)
Butter or margarine
Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS
(Cooking mashed potatoes is done by “feel” – you’ll just know when it’s right. Remember, it’s best to add in small amounts at a time – you can’t “undo” a recipe.)

Cut potatoes into even-sized chunks and place in a large pot, covering with water by about two to three inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain most of the water out, but leave a small amount. Remove from heat and add a little milk (start with ½ cup or so) and a few tablespoons butter or margarine. Mash with a potato masher or large fork until blended, and it is the consistency of your mom’s mashed potatoes (okay, that’s a stretch!), adding in milk or butter a little at a time. Add salt and pepper to taste, and smother at the dinner table with the gravy you made.

Just don’t do this:One of the Bullz-Eye editors routinely discards the “innards” when he cooks up the turkey, but one year decided to be “funny” and saved the heart. He snuck up on his wife carrying it in his hand, and used a finger to move it a little, while saying thump-thump, thump-thump. He never made that mistake again.

Top Chef All Stars premieres December 1

All you foodies into the hit show on Bravo, “Top Chef,” will get a strong dose of competition beginning on December 1 as “Top Chef All-Stars” kicks off with finalists from previous seasons. As always, Padma Lakshmi will host, along with judges Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, and new judge Anthony Bourdain.

I had the chance to talk to Colicchio and Bourdain briefly during a conference call for the new season last week, and here is a full transcript on Premium Holllywood.

But below is my question and how the two responded to it. I feel like I probably should have had a more in-depth or thoughtful question, but, well, I was curious!

Mike Farley: Hey guys how are you doing?
Tom Colicchio: Hey Mike, good how you doing?
Mike Farley: Good. So when I first took a look at this press release the first thing that came to my mind was wow, there is going to be a lot of big egos this season. I’m curious…
Tom Colicchio: You talking about the two of us?
Mike Farley: …no the contestants.
Tom Colicchio: Oh, okay.
Mike Farley: But I’m curious if there were any fights or bickering that might have may, you know, been stepped up this season as compared to seasons in the past.
Tom Colicchio: I guess you’re going to have to just watch that.
Mike Farley: Okay.
Tom Colicchio: Just watch it happen, as they say – the tag line goes, watch what happens. We can’t comment on…
Anthony Bourdain: I think if you look at the players, you know, it is fair to extrapolate or anticipate that they’re, you know, it would not be unusual or unnatural for some of these personalities to clash.
But we don’t really – there is not a lot of duking it out in front of Judges Table. Though there was some of that.
Mike Farley: Right. Okay, well thanks guys.
Tom Colicchio: Sure.

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