Food/Cooking


The Bilancio Purple Turkey 1

A lot of people on Facebook have asked what a purple turkey is. It’s a turkey that marinades in wine for 5 to 7 days before cooking. So when it comes out of the marinade, it’s purple.

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So you all can enjoy a great tasting turkey here is the recipe for the marinade for a 12-pound turkey and instructions:

3 cups dry red wine
2 ½ cups chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic minced
5 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 bay leaf

For a good dry red wine to use I recommend a good jug wine. I use Carlo Rossi Paisano wine, but lately, I have also used Charles Shaw Chardonnay from Trader Joe’s.

If your turkey is larger than 12 pounds add more wine and garlic and bay leaves and if your turkey is defrosted it won‘t have to marinate the full 7 days, but I usually just put it in frozen and let it defrost in the bowl as it marinades.

Put the turkey breast down into a clean unscented garbage bag and then put bag and turkey in a big bowl. Pour all the ingredients into the bag and tie bag as tight and close to the bird less air in the bag the better. Every 24 hours turn the turkey so it marinades evenly. When you are ready to cook the turkey remove it from the marinade and bag, then drain out the turkey and pat it dry inside and out, then put in a roaster pan and let it sit and warm up about 30 min before roasting it.

Remember to remove the pack of giblets and turkey neck before cooking. Since I put the turkey in the marinade frozen I let them all marinate as well and then use them for the gravy with the drippings from the turkey giving it a great taste.

Throw out the marinade and bag since it’s had raw poultry in it and is contaminated now and shouldn’t be used for anything else.

Cook the turkey till it has an internal temperature of 163 degrees. I usually pull it out when it’s between 158 to 160 since it will keep cooking while it rests and will get to the internal temp of 163, this way it won’t overcook and get a little dry. When the turkey is taken out of the oven, it will be a dark golden brown and the meat will be moist and tasty. Let the turkey rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving.


I am here and I am doing ok 1

I have been busy looking for a job and also made the decision to move back to the Corning, NY area to be closer to my parents and Marty and to get out of NJ for a while. Since I have been back I have spent a lot of time sitting in the Soulful Cup on Market Street looking for the elusive new job as well as meeting and talking to new people and making new friends of these people.

I have gotten that elusive job with Corning Inc. in the Incident Management Department for the IT Department. I start the day after the 4th of July…so that would be the 5th I am excited but nervous like I am about starting any new job. This job is going to be a lot like doing the Big Red Button calls we did at Peak Hosting, but with bigger issues on a higher level. I am sure I will rock it and have fun with a new team and a new company. The one downside of this job is the 24/7 on call stuff, since it gets hard to get a good life/work balance with the threat of the phone going off, but like Peak I will work it out.

I have also been doing a lot more cooking in the past few weeks since Marty doesn’t cook much and we don’t have a ton of money to go out and get take out, but we do go out once a week just to have a night out together. I have been cooking a lot of veggies and making salads that is a little different for me, since the last audience I cooked for was anti vegetable. I have also been working the grill like crazy cooking up steaks and burgers and of course pork chops. I am going to be firing up the smoker soon (yes I brought the smoker and all the charcoal grills with me to Corning) to make a purple turkey and of course some ribs and I am sure some other great food on it and the other grills.

My dad’s sisters Clora and Bea and his brother Fran came to visit for a few days this with my mom and dad to help out in the flower beds and a few other specialty things since mom is getting her butt kicked by the chemo, so I hung out with them and of coursed cooked up some great food with and for them. I made a blistered green bean dish with an olive oil, garlic and lime sauce (I didn’t follow the recipe, but used it as a map sketched on a cocktail napkin) that was out of this world and I kicked out a great southern unsweetened cornbread (sugar has no place in corn bread) that was one of the best I have made in a long time and of course Marty was very excited and filled by all this great food that I made and of course the food my dad and mom made and meeting my uncle Fran for the first time. They of course hit it off and I was glad she was able to meet him outside of the La Vigna picnic setting so they had some time to talk without Fran getting distracted by all the rest of the family.

I am hoping to be writing a little more than I have been. It’s tough sometimes for me to come up with ideas and when I do to get them on the paper. My mom made an observation that it’s getting harder for people to write, since most people have their heads down looking at their phones or electronic devices. They aren’t taking in what’s going on around them and building experiences to write about. I actually agree with her and I have been observing how people are in the world around me and have realized that I am guilty of having my head stuck “in” my phone and not paying attention to those things going on around me. So my goal the rest of the summer is to pay attention and take in what is going on around me and try to get more down on the “paper” and stop worrying about what’s going on online when I am out and about.

 


Trenton Farmers’ Market – a great place to go fresh & local

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Farmer’s Market (credit: William Bilancio)

Trenton Farmers Market

Website

Address: 960 Spruce St, Trenton, NJ 08648, USA
Phone: (609) 695-2998

Hours:

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

The Trenton Farmers Market is located on the Trenton – Lawrence Township border at 960 Spruce Street. There has been a Trenton Farmers Market in existence since the early 1900’s when farmers came to Trenton to sell their goods in the area of what is now Route 29. In 1939 those industrious farmers started The Trenton Market Growers Co-op Associations, Inc. and purchased the land on Spruce Street in Lawrence Township. The existing location opened in June 1948 with outside stalls and when the roof was added it became a year round market and started selling bread, meat, and of course, Jersey farm fresh produce.

 

The Market today has over 38 vendors selling everything from vegetables, bread, meat and specialty goods. Depending on the time of year (and the growing season) there will be a different variety of fresh vegetables and fruit. It also sports a food court with delicious deli and bakery food which is also open year round.

I have been going to the Trenton Farmers Market for most of my life. It’s been my go-to market for seafood, bread, and produce. On a Saturday morning I always try to get up and head over to the market.  I wander the crowded busy aisles and look at all the fresh in-season produce and the best price for the things I need, depending on the recipes I have worked out for the coming week. What was intended as a quick run to the Market always turns into an hour long trip. I tend to get into conversations with the vendors and Market regulars.

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Burgers on the Grill…mmmmmmm

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The smell of grilling meat permeates the air during the summer (which will be here soon) throughout many of the neighborhoods of Central Jersey and one of those things being grilled are hamburgers. This smell of meat being kissed by hot flames makes an aroma that will make your mouth water and make you think back to the best hamburger you ever had right off the grill.

So what meat to use?

Picking the type of meat is the most important thing in making a good burger. When I am reading articles about making burgers they always recommend grinding your own beef so you know you are getting good quality and fresh ground meat. I never seem to have the time to do that, so I go to the local supermarket where I know they grind the beef daily.

From A Hamburgers Today’s Burger Lab’s Top Ten Tips for Making Better Burgers

Grind your own beef, and not only do you control everything from the meat blend, to the grind size, to the fat content, but even better, you get to tell people that you grind your own beef.

Instant street cred

There are three cuts of meat that ground beef comes from: chuck, round and sirloin. Chuck is my favorite because it’s a little fattier than the others, but will produce a burger with a great flavor. Ground beef from the round or sirloin tends to be leaner, which is a good thing if you’re counting calories but a bad thing if you want the juiciest, most delectable burger possible. My favorite is 85 percent lean ground chuck.

Making the burger patties

Now that you have the beef, you need to make the burger patties. Get your hands into the meat and pull out a small mound, about 6oz. If you have a food scale weigh the meat. Now gently work the meat into thin patties. If you really pack the meat into patties you will get burgers that have a texture with the consistency of meat loaf. The thinner you make the patties the more evenly the burgers will cook and less they will shrink. After you have the patties made, dust them with some salt, pepper and a little garlic powder.

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I like to cook BBQ and I need a team name!

I like to take it low and slow. I love to cook BBQ.  I am looking to fire up the smoker and start the BBQ cooking again and I need to come up with a name for my BBQ “team”, because I would like to compete in the future at BBQ competitions after I get the cobwebs off my smoking skills and every team has a cool name.

The name should be something cool, have the phrase “BBQ” in it and must be something that will stick in peoples minds. So if you can think of something cool leave it in the comments bellow.

In other William BBQ news:

I am also going to be taking a BBQ judging class in July, so I can start judging local competitions.  I have always felt that all BBQ competitors should take the judging classes so you know what the judges are looking for and how the judging process works.


Wow What A Thanksgiving Weekend we had this year

It all started on Wednesday night at my Aunt Bea’s house with my Aunt Bea and Clora, my parents and Avery while we waited for Fran and Family to arrive from Michigan.  The food of the night was going to be Blue Fish that I got from my co worker Tim Szwedo caught on one of his fishing trips.  My dad had marinated the fish for a bit and then grilled them on the grill.  Fran and family arrived right at 6:30 in time to sit down and eat.  We sat around for a bit and talked and laughed.  Avery and I headed out around 8:30 to hit Acme and then to crash out a bit for a bit.

Thanksgiving started for me at around 8:30 in the morning while I got the smoker ready for the big bird cook.  I actually used The Minion Method for the Charcoal burn.  Using this method kept the temp at a constant of 250 degrees for the whole 5 hour cook.  The turkey had been marinating in a red wine marinade sine Monday.  It came out of the marinade a nice dark purple color.  After the smoker had leveled out to a steady temp the Turkey was put on the grate at 9:00am.  I then moved back inside to start work on the Rye Bread Stuffing.  This turned out to be a great stuffing.  After getting that in the oven, it was time to start on another new recipe for Smoked Sausage Jambalaya another recipe that was a hit for dinner.  While working on all of these new recipes I had a pot of Cranberry BBQ Sauce cooking up, which was talked about a lot last year and was requested to be made again.  Other then making gravy and un canning the canned jelled cranberry sauce onto a plate I was really done cooking by 1:30.  My cousin Tim and family showed up around 1:45 and then it was a constant flow of family arriving till about 2:15.  I took the turkey off the smoker at about 2:15 and let it rest till about 2:45 and handed it over to my dad to carve while I got the rest of the food on to the table.   We finally sat down by 3:00 and the food was passed till about 4:30 as well as the great conversation.  The turkey was perfect and moist and had a great smoke ring around it.  The last person left around 8:00 and I was finally able to sit down and relax and to start thinking about Christmas dinner.

Friday was a day of working at some side jobs and going into work for a bit……but dinner was a treat, we did another pizza off at my Aunt Bea’s house, but with a twist…we did white pies only.  We got pies from Top Road Tavern & Pizza, Fedelos Family Pizzeria, Abruzzi Pizza & Cafe, Kings Pizzarama, Palermo’s III(Ewing), Limoncello’s Pizza.  The winner for the second year in a row for the Bilancio Pizza Off was Palermo’s, it now holds the title in both the Tomato Pie division and now the White Pie Division.  It was a fun night just hanging out talking to everyone. Dean brought some beer he had just bottled that day.  It had a great taste but it will be better after it sits for a few weeks in the bottles.  It was an early night because I ate so much pizza that it just made me tired.

Saturday morning started with me heading to my Aunt Bea’s to hang out with my Uncle Fran for a bit, so since I go there early enough I got a home cooked breakfast which was nice.  We all headed our separate ways for a bit to meet back at the house for dinner.  Which consisted of leftovers brought over from my house from Thanksgiving as well ham from Bath Packing.  Dinner was great and of course the conversation was good to.

It was great seeing my uncle Fran and family since it’s rare that we see them much since they are up in Michigan..tried to talk them into coming back for Christmas but since the snow will be flying by then I doubt we will see them till the La Vigna Picnic in July.

Well time to go and see about Christmas dinner now….

To see all the photos from the weekend head over to here.


The great food experience I found in what looked like a hole in the wall.

On Tuesday I headed down to Baltimore for LISA ‘09.  The first night I was there I caught up with a bunch of friends I hadn’t seen in person for over 3 years as well as a few others that I now consider friends.  We ended up at a little Italian place, the prices were a little steep but the food was good. This article isn’t about the Italian place I will write about that one soon though.  Because the price was so high the first night in town made Wednesday nights meal had to be under $50.00 and wow did we find the best hole in the wall burger place.  I have found that these little whole in the walls always seem the right choice..so as they say you can never tell a book by it’s cover.   

We found Elevation Burger at Harbor East, 1006 Aliceanna Street, Baltimore, MD.  They are a chain but there food was out of this world.  What caught my attention right off was that they clamed that the fries were cooked in 100% Olive Oil.  I had just had a discussion that afternoon with Jesse Trucks about how he couldn’t eat at the other burger place because they cook there fries in Peanut Oil, so I knew I was coming back again before I left with Jesse. They also claim that there ingredients are fresh, sustainable, and local when practical,  Nothing on there menu contains trans-fat, and that each restaurant grinds its beef on premises to ensure freshness and quality. 

The menu was small but it was hit.  They featured 3 meat burgers and 3 veggie burgers and one called the “Half The Guilt Burger” 1 beef patty and 1 veggie patty.  They also had a salad and a grilled cheese sandwich on the menu.  The burger that caught my attention was “The Elevation Burger”, double meet, and double cheese (real cheddar).  all there meet is 100% USDA-CERTIFIED organic, grass-fed, free-range beef.   You get to pick the toppings you want so I picked lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and raw onions. I also got a side of fries with my burger. 

My name was called and I was handed a 9×3 cake pan with my fries in what I call the little fries boat and the burger wrapped in wax paper and in a little wax bag.  I took the burger out of it’s little bag and took that first bite and knew we had made the right decision for dinner.  The meat was juicy and flavorful and the toppings were crisp and fresh and added to the flavor of the burger. 

The fries were typical shoe string fries and they were crispy and light and flavorful.  I had never had fries that were cooked in olive oil and I have had tons of fries in my life.  When cooking fries in olive oil it gives the fries a golden brown color, and the taste is unbelievable, I will be changing the way I make fries from now on…they were out of this world. 

So Elevation Burger was the right choice for a low cost, taste satisfying, good time meal for a group of conference goers on a budget.  For the burger, fries and a Stewarts Root beer + tax the total cost came out to $12.00 for lunch. 

Now if they would just open a location here in Lawrence Township.


It’s a Major Award. I won it!

So the WhiteTrashBBQ blog was running a contest called the MUG® Root Beer Father’s Day Brew-B-Q kit give away. All you had to do was write a story about Dad and his grill and why you or your dad deserve the kit. So I sent in a two part story of the times my dad destroyed the meat and vegetables he was grilling. So I won 🙂 I got the fathers day Brew-B-Q kit, the kit included a Mug® themed cooler, apron and all the ingredients to make the MUG® Root Beer Southern Specialty Brew-B-Q Sauce as well as the recipe it self. So here is the story I sent in. Sorry dad had to throw you under the bus for this one. 🙂

The making of my Dad’s Montauk burger

One summer my parents and I went with 6 other couples to spend a week in Montauk. Well on the night that watching the kids fell to my parents my dad had decided to make burgers for all of us. So he went out and bought an hibachi grill and the makings for the burgers. He also stopped and got a bottle of jug wine some Carlo Rossi paisano to be exact . After getting back to the house he got the fire started and a glass of wine in his hand. Then he started getting the burgers made and had another glass or 2 of wine. When the fire was ready he headed out with the burgers and put them on the grill and proceeded to have a few more glasses of wine. So when he finally came with the burgers and served them up one side was as hard as a Charcoal Briquet and the other side was raw…thus we now make sure when dad is going to make burgers for us he isn’t going to make Montauk burgers.

Last year he was working the grill at his nephews wedding and wandered away to talk to family….while he was away the vegetables he was grilling ignited in to a nice blaze of glory. Luckily I was near by and put out the fire….I ended up doing the rest of the grill cooking that night.

Now don’t get me wrong when my dad is focused on the grilling at hand he does a great job it’s when he has had a few to many glasses of wine or there is a distraction such as his brother or other family members that he doesn’t see all the time that things go wrong.


Happy Thanksgiving

Here in the United States, it’s Thanksgiving today so no work for William….but I am working in the kitchen cooking t-day dinner for my whole family except for my uncle who is in Michigan with his family…stupid snow.

So the day started at 5am with a quick download of a Gov’t Mule show to listen to while I got the smoker fire up and the turkey on. I got the bird in the smoker by 6:44 and it’s a cooking. 🙂

I have gotten the turkey giblets in the pot with some onions and celery and carrots and bay leafs so the stock simmering an making the house smell great. I have started the Cranberry BBQ Sauce I am using as a dipping sauces. I will be doing starting the stuffing in a few hours as well as the gravy when the turkey is done.

I want to say that I am thankful for my family and friends, even if I don’t get to see my friends all that much.

So have a great Thanksgiving with your family and friends….

UPDATE: Turkey came off at 9:44am it took 3 hours to cook on the UDS


What has happened to the family dinner of my youth

What happened to the big family dinners that I remember from my childhood? Maybe I have watched the Godfather movies too many times or too many Sopranos episodes where the families would get together for dinner on Saturday or Sunday and I am projecting that onto our family, but I seem to remember getting together a lot at 90 Eggerts Crossing for meals when I was a kid.

I don’t mean holiday meals those we still do, just at different locations in Mercer County. I’m talking about the Sunday morning breakfasts and the meals in the yard during the summer with Rose and Louis, Fran and Angelica, Clora and Dean, Henry and Tim, Bea and Ray, John and Bea and Terry and Willie and me and sometimes other family members and friends. Those are the meals I am talking about, and the birthday celebrations with a huge carrot cake and funny hats.

It seems when Rose and Lou died, things began to change. Family gatherings were fewer and something seemed to be missing when we did get together. It’s understandable that things change. A few of us moved away and we all have families and lives of our own. Sure, today we visit once in a while or meet at wakes or weddings and on holidays. It just seems we are always in a hurry to get through dinner and get back to our lives.

In the old days the adults used to sit around the table and talk back and forth while the kids would go outside or into the other room to play. Now when we get together we are in a hurry to eat and get going. We meet at diners and restaurants too much these days where we are always having to go, so we can’t sit and talk and the food is not as good as if we cooked it ourselves. With the amount of money we spend for our meals we could have better and more food if we were to cook it ourselves.
I get a glimmer of these family dinners I am discussing at La Vigna meetings, when Fran and Corine’s families and Aunt Bea and Aunt Lorriane descend on the beaches of the Jersey Coast or on the days leading up to and after the picnic in the yard at 90 Eggerts Crossing. These glimmers always just make the loss of these dinners felt much more in my mind.

It was these family dinners that gave me the sense of what the family is and taught me to respect and cherish the family as a whole as a child. I feel that my child and my cousins’ children have been cheated out of a wonderful piece of heritage and learning of family.