Crown City Cook | Worst Thanksgiving Ever!

Despite Christmas’ strangle hold on the fall through winter seasons, Thanksgiving remains a hallowed tradition here at MTR the Network. And while we applaud creativity in the culinary arts, we are also the first to point out there is a limit. I have done my best to sit quietly as random relatives choose to replicate things they’ve seen in magazines or found somewhere on the internet. It’s gotten better over the years but there are certain trends that have caught on nationwide that need to be addressed for what they are: a bowl full of nightmares. What follows is a list of side dishes that should no longer be tolerated under any circumstance at your Thanksgiving dinner. Happy Holidays!

 

Party Potatoes

Mixing a glob of sour cream into perfectly good home style mashed potatoes should be outlawed. I will never understand why people enjoy this weird version of a classic holiday side dish. There’s nothing appetizing about it! No matter how much butter you use, there is always that sour flavor front and center to remind you that life is nothing but a lie dressed up to look like something else. My family has served this style at every Thanksgiving since my birth, possibly even before that. I haven’t eaten mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving dinner since I was 12 years old.

 

Swedish Meatballs

What sane person serves these fucking things at Thanksgiving!? All that wonderful, homemade food sitting around the table and off to the side is a slow cooker full of processed, flavorless meat sitting in a random sauce. Hard pass, even at acceptable holiday meals.

 

Spiced Mushrooms

I don’t know many people who enjoy mushrooms to begin with but many of the ones I do know who like them agree, over spicing is a routine crime that goes unchecked daily. I’m not saying seasoning is a bad thing, I’m just saying if your side dish contains more oregano than mushrooms, throw it out and try again.

 

Steamed Brussels Sprouts

The best way to clear out that heartwarming food smell looming in your kitchen. Whenever people talk about the terrible smell Brussels sprouts produce, they’re talking about steamed Brussels sprouts. Not even bacon can make a bowl of farts seen appetizing.

 

Runny Creamed Corn

Creamed corn is great when it has the consistency of pudding. Unfortunately, many people think that means rice pudding. If your cream corn looks like something you hacked up the last time you had the flu, you used too much cream and served it way too soon. Cut back by half a cup and let your dish settle for at least 20-30 minutes before serving.

 

Baked Beans

When I think appetizing, can’t-resist-it Thanksgiving food, tiny lumps in a questionable brown sauce never comes to mind. Throw some bacon, BBQ sauce and sweet peppers in there and it’s a different story, otherwise keep your flavorless lumps away from my dinner table.

 

Anything from Whole Foods

You don’t need to spend much time looking around Whole Foods’ Thanksgiving menu to know it’s all trendy, mashed together nonsense. They may call their original menu classic, but everything has some weird twist to it. Pictured above is the “dry-brine spiced citrus turkey” you can get right now. Citrus… on a turkey. Even worse, their mashed potatoes boast parsnips in addition to a glob of sour cream. Pretentious, thy name is Whole Foods.

 

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Crown City Cooking | Seared Steak

The only steak recipe you’ll ever need!

Ingredients

  • Two NY Strip steaks
  • Butter
  • Salt & Pepper

 

Directions

  1. Heat a large pan on high, you want to get the pan searing hot before adding the steaks. A cast iron pan is ideal but for all of us budget chefs, a regular every day cooking pan will work.
  2. Add butter to the pan, let it melt down a bit but not completely.
  3. Place the steaks in the pan, adding salt and pepper to the exposed side. Let the steaks rest for eight to ten minutes before flipping if you enjoy a medium cut. From experience I can tell you cooking steaks for five or less minutes will leave you with a mostly raw chunk of beef. It’ll cook the outer layer a bit so that there is a dark, charred line running across the top but it’s a rareness only a power business person like Gordon Gecko would appreciate. For well steaks leave them in the pan for twelve to fifteen minutes on each side.
  4. Once you’ve reached your desired pinkness, remove the steaks and let rest for five minutes. Here’s a tip I learned from Alton Brown: place a smaller plate upside down on your serving plate and rest the steaks on that. That way the juices and blood run off and your dinner plate will be mostly dry when it comes time to eat.

 

Here’s a photo of my finished product. Since I like a medium cut steak, the sear ended up a nice brownish color. I unfortunately didn’t heed Alton Brown’s advice but that’s okay, the juices added a bit of flavor to the instant potatoes that accompanied these babies.

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe, post your results in the comment section!

 

  • CCC

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Crown City Cooking | Chicken in Mushroom Gravy

Another budget meal staple!

My father had an arsenal of chicken recipes that would impress any top tier chef. But that never mattered to my mother. Her all time favorite was chicken in mushroom gravy, which my dad happily made whenever she would request it. Generally, this recipe is for a large family or one guy who has way too much chicken on his hands. I have modified the recipe to make a small batch of this wonderful stuff.

 

Ingredients

  1. Four pieces of chicken with skin (dealer’s choice, i prefer thighs and drumsticks)
  2. Three small cans of creme of mushroom soup
  3. Chicken stock (optional)
  4. 1 package of button mushrooms
  5. 1 package of minute rice (optional, white rice was always my mom’s favorite side to eat with CMG. Something we still do to this day)

Instructions

  1. Add the three cans of creme of mushroom and half a cup of chicken stock to a pot. You can use a half cup of water if you prefer or if chicken stock isn’t readily available, the stock itself helps by adding extra flavor but you wont lose any of that overall if you decide to use water. Stir occasionally over high heat and bring to a boil.
  2. While the gravy heats up, take your raw chicken and give it a wash under cold water, pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
  3. Take your packet of mushrooms, wash and pat dry before slicing. I prefer slicing my mushrooms to create the illusion of more mushrooms but you can treat them however you like. Quarter them, half them, rip the stem out and only use the bulb… the choice is yours! Set aside.
  4. Once the gravy is boiling, add the chicken and mushrooms and give a slow stir, making sure the chicken is completely covered by the hot gravy.
  5. Set the stove to low heat and stick a cover on the pot. Check occasionally to make sure the gravy isn’t simmering over the lid. You also want to make sure to stir slowly when checking the pot, this will help keep the skin intact.
  6. Let simmer on the stove for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. The longer the better, this will ensure your chicken is fully cooked and super tender to the point it falls off the bone.
  7. Serve over white rice or whatever side you feel goes best with chicken in mushroom gravy. Enjoy!

Here’s a quick photo of my last batch. Though the chicken isn’t the prettiest bird on the block it was still incredibly savory and tender the whole way through. Make sure to share your photos with us if you should try this recipe at home!

Chicken in Mushroom Gravy w/ white rice

-CCC

 

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Crown City Cooking | Fish in a Pouch

This recipe is virtually idiot proof… just make sure you don’t touch the stove!

 

Ingredients:

  1. A chunk of fish (dealer’s choice. I prefer skinless Alaskan salmon)
  2. Vegetables (dealer’s choice)
  3. Olive oil
  4. Salt and Pepper
  5. Aluminum Foil

 

Directions:

  1. Take a large enough piece of aluminum foil and curl it together to make a pouch.
  2. Drizzle the olive oil in the foil to help keep the fish from sticking.
  3. Place the chunk of fish inside the foil. If there is skin on one side of your fish, place the chunk skin side down. Optionally, you could marinate your fish in a variety of sauces for an hour prior to cooking.
  4. Scatter the vegetables in the pouch followed by a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Close the pouch making sure there are no openings.
  6. Put the pouch in a frying pan and cook on medium heat for ten minutes.
  7. Carefully open and remove the food from the pouch, avoiding any plumes of steam.

 

Teriyaki Salmon w/ mushrooms

 

With the various combinations you could create using this recipe, I thought it would be fun to share with you what I ended up making. This is skinless Alaskan salmon that I marinated for several minutes in teriyaki sauce with sliced mushrooms. It held a little of the marinade’s flavor but not much since I only let it sit for a few minutes, fortunately the mushrooms soaked up what ran off the cooking fish. Flaky and delicious in 10 minutes! Get creative when trying this dish at home and post your results in the comments!

Enjoy!

-CCC

 

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Crown City Cooking | Roast and Potatoes

The perfect family dinner. The hardest part will be peeling the potatoes.

 

The set-up at the CCC Compound

 

Ingredients:

Chuck Roast

Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes (skinned and quartered)

Salt and Pepper

Directions:

  1. Season the chuck roast with salt and pepper. You could marinate the chuck roast in the fridge for an hour to 24 hours but results are still delicious if you are making this meal same day and have no time for marinades.

  2. Wash the potatoes under a cold tap, dry and peel.

  3. Slice the potatoes diagonally into thick disks. Slice two more times until you’re left with four smaller pieces.

  4. Pour a small amount of water into a baking pan, just enough to cover the surface of the pan. Line the pan with the quartered potatoes and finally set your roast in the center of the pan.

  5. Cover the meat with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350-375 degrees. Technically speaking, it’s 20 minutes per pound but if you buy your groceries like the everyday person, this will usually work out to cooking for an hour to 80 minutes.

  6. At the 30 minute mark, remove the foil and continue to cook for an additional 30 minutes. The roast should come out medium rare with a light pink color. If you enjoy a well-done roast, cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes at 375 degrees.

  7. There you have it Roast and Potatoes. Enjoy!

    Finished product

-Crown City Cook

 

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