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Ask A Baltimore Expert: Compiling The Perfect Holiday Menu

December 4, 2013 6:00 AM

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(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Chef de Cuisine Matthew Kane, 30, of the B&O Restaurant grew up in Baltimore, MD. While he holds an Education-Bachelor’s of Science-International Relations/Finance degree, he is a “self taught,” cook. When he was 15 years old he bussed tables for the Executive Chef of Clydes before being offered a job on the cold line. While in college college, he was on the opening team of Eggspectations, which was a new concept in Maryland at the time. He also served as Sous Chef at the Savage River Lodge in Finzel, Md. After a four-year hiatus from cooking he was offered a spot on the opening team for the Hilton Baltimore, and quickly worked his way up to kitchen manager. When the opportunity to work for Chef E. Michael Reidt at B&O presented itself, he jumped on it. After joining the team, he worked his way up the ranks to his current position, Chef de Cuisine. When he is not in the kitchen, he is with my wife Erin, and his two children, Addison and Jackson.

B&O American Brasserie
2 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, Md. 21201
(443) 692-6172
www.bandorestaurant.com

Without question, the winter holidays are filled with hectic activity, and sometimes are complicated by stress. For the cook of the family dinner, the task is somewhat akin to an air traffic controller, attempting to make all of the various dishes come in for a landing at about the same time so everything is fresh, hot and ready to serve. Here are some tips from Chef de Cuisine Matthew Kane

Related: Best Food Destinations In Baltimore Locals Love

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Three tips for putting together a holiday menu:

1. DON’T OVERDO IT- Everyone wants to put a meal together that is impressive. It is important to remember that a well-crafted menu is not necessarily the biggest one, but one that has a smaller selection of better crafted foods. Also remember that you should be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor and not want to take a nap.

2. STAY IN YOUR COMFORT ZONE- The good thing about easy access to recipes is that it has really allowed people to expand their culinary horizons. The bad thing is that the options for many dishes are almost endless. Once you have your basic menu, feel free to expand upon it. Just don’t try to do something you aren’t sure you can execute. Most people would rather have a really good turkey than a really bad attempt at ‘deconstructed’ game hen.

3. KEEP YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE IN MIND- Ask any chef and they can list off a myriad of ingredients they would love to be able to put on their menu. Ask them if they have or would in reality, and for many the answer is no. When serving the public, it is important to remember that for every ‘foodie,’ there is a regular Joe who likes food they easily recognize. The same applies to family and friends. Look through your menu, and to the best of your ability, try to eliminate ‘tough sells.’ You may be the host, but you are catering to the tastes of others, many of which may not be similar to your own. So as much as you may want to do oyster dressing or goat cheese mashed potatoes, make sure everyone can enjoy them as much as you will.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe

The secret to any good roasted poultry? Time….

Ingredients:

  • 1 13-15 pound turkey, thawed
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp whole allspice
  • 1 tbsp juniper berries
  • 1/2 tbsp whole clove
  • 1/2 tbsp star anise
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 each bay leaf, crushed
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 gallon of water for brine
  • 1 gallon of water, heavily iced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and rough chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, cleaned and rough chopped
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped

Directions:

  1. In a stockpot, combine all dry ingredients in one gallon of water and bring to a boil.
  2. In a 5-gallon bucket, place 1 gallon of heavily iced water and pour the hot brine mixture over it.
  3. Place the thawed turkey in the brine, breast down, and weigh it down to make sure it stays covered.
  4. Store in refrigerator or another cold place overnight.
  5. On day of cooking, preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  6. Remove turkey from brine and rinse with cold water.
  7. Line the bottom of your roasting pan with the carrots, onions and celery and dress with oil.
  8. Place turkey, breast up, on top of your vegetables.
  9. If desired, fill cavity with stuffing of your choosing.
  10. Tuck wings under turkey and truss legs if butchers twine is available.
  11. Rub the skin liberally with unsalted butter.
  12. Roast in the oven uncovered until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, approximately 3 to 3.5 hours.
  13. Remove and let rest, loosely covered, for 10 minutes before carving.
  14. Strain juice and drippings from roasting pan and use to make gravy.

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Jeffrey B. Roth has won numerous state and national news and feature-writing awards during his career. A well-known crime writer, investigative reporter and a feature writer, Roth writes for a number of magazines and newspapers. Listed in the Locus Index of SciFi and Fantasy authors, Roth is the author of a number of published short stories and poetry. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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