Morning Minute: November 22, 2018

A Word of Seasonal Advice From Your Local Fire Fighters:
We are fortunate in this town to have some of the best dispatchers out there. These dedicated men and women are equipped to handle just about any emergency they are faced with. One particular emergency however, is a little bit beyond even their expertise. That is TURKEY emergencies!

If you need help, tips, or advice on making your Thanksgiving turkey the best it can be, the professionals at Butterball's Turkey Talk-line are there to help! Please don’t call 911!!

You can call them at 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372) or you can text your questions to 1-844-877-3456. They are available until 10PM today and 6PM tomorrow (Central Standard Time).

If you are frying your bird, be sure it’s thawed first. Make sure the fryer is at least 20 feet from the house. Don’t put too much oil in the pot. TURN OFF the burner before putting the turkey into and taking it out of the pot!!

Regardless of how you are cooking, make sure you have a fire extinguisher nearby, working smoke detectors and a plan of escape.

We hope to not run into you on a professional basis this holiday season but rest assured, if you need us, we are here 24/7.

Happy Thanksgiving.”

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News From The Beacon: Apparently there are people out there who don’t like mushrooms. I (Renee) love them. Norah, however, doesn’t. So it became news to me yesterday that there is a need for a mushroom-less green bean casserole recipe. We’re here to fulfill that need.



  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  •  1.5 pounds fresh green beans, rinsed and ends trimmed

  •  2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 large potatoes, minced to 1/4”-1/2” pieces

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste

  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup chicken broth

  • 1 cup half-and-half

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

  • 6 oz french fried onions


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9x13 casserole dish, set aside.

  2. Blanch the beans: In a large pot, bring about a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil. Add the green beans and boil for 8 minutes. Drain in a colander and immediately plunge the beans into a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.

  3. Canned Green Beans: If using canned green beans instead, drain green beans completely and set aside.

  4. Melt butter in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and onions and cook until the onions have softened, about another 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.

  5. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and stir to combine. Then add the half and half and simmer until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, approximately 6 to 8 minutes.

  6. Remove from the heat and stir in all of the green beans. Transfer green bean mixture to prepared casserole dish. Top with the bread crumbs and then layer the french fried onions on top.

  7. Place casserole in the oven and bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes. If your onions start to brown too quickly, cover the casserole with foil. Serve immediately!

Note: Hate onions too? Or have kids who do? Replace the fresh onions with a tablespoon of onion powder. All of the flavor, none of the gross slimy onions!

Adapted from The Novice Chefs original recipe with mushrooms

P.S. Yesterday we announced the Hyperlocal Holiday Pop Up. To beat the rain the organizers have opted to move the even to Friday, November 23 from noon til 3 PM. It will be held in the courtyard of the Loyalist. Stop by, get the best sandwich you’ve ever tasted, try a Good Cup of coffee, and do a bit of holiday shopping.

From our families to yours this Thanksgiving, we hope your bellies are full and the laughter is plentiful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Fried Turkeys the J Bones Way

Photo courtesy of Jerome Brooks

Photo courtesy of Jerome Brooks

Jerome Brooks has been married for 29 years. For the first 10 years of marriage, his wife would do all the cooking; he would “grill.”

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

But, in 1999, when he left his job and started working for himself, his days sometimes ended early. He’d soon be responsible for taking care of his two daughters after they got out of school, and also cooking supper for the family (wife, Alicia, is a lawyer). “When she got home,” he said, “the food was ready.”

In the beginning, he’d do “basic stuff” – stuff like spaghetti, fried chicken, beef, cube steaks and Gumbo – basic family food that he’d grown up with in Louisiana.  “I had a pretty good sense of taste,” said Jerome.

After a while, he bought a Kitchen Aid mixer. His wife told him straight-out that she wasn’t going to use it herself.  His answer? “I guess I’ve got to learn how to cook a cake!” And voila – out came his special pound cake with five flavors.

All along, he continued cooking his very special turkeys – both deep fried and smoked - a tradition that began during the holidays with family and friends and extended to his work. Also, his church (Mt. Moriah) came calling.

Photo courtesy Jerome Brooks

Photo courtesy Jerome Brooks

“My turkey (cooking) started when deep-frying turkeys (became popular),” said Jerome. He soon learned that aluminum didn’t crisp his turkeys the way that stainless steel pots did. He also purchased a (regular) two-bird electric smoker.  “What made me fall for the frying – I love the crispy taste,” he said. “I love it for the taste and it’s crispy. When you do it in aluminum, sometimes it’s not as crisp.”

In truth, after tasting this new type of cooked turkey, he never went back. “When I first tried a fried turkey, I didn’t want another baked turkey,” he said. Apparently, neither did his friends, family, fellow parishioners, and co-workers. So began the experimenting.

“I started off with one flavor and found another one that was better,” he said. He found the magic taste with “certain seasonings, liquid, apple and hickory wood.”  He says his turkeys are like a Cajun turkey – “with Cajun seasoning, so it’s got a nice little spice to it.”

While he cooked turkeys up to 10 hours, he found the timing was too long; he settled on five hours of cook time. Instead of basting his liquids and seasonings on the outside of the bird, he decided to inject the mixture.  “All of those juices are trapped inside. People are amazed at how good they are,” said Jerome. “Each year, I’m always learning something.”

He originally used peanut oil but found Canola oil as an alternative for those people with peanut allergies.

As time went on, demand for his cooked turkeys continued to soar. So much so that he’d need to start cooking Thanksgiving turkeys a few days in advance, especially if his family was traveling for the holidays. “A couple of years in a row, I did 15, 16 turkeys,” he said, noting that he wanted to give them their cooked turkeys closer to the holiday. “I wanted people to have fresh turkey on Thanksgiving.” Last year, he cooked eight a few days before Thanksgiving and ended up staying up way past midnight.

Then, as things started snowballing, his wife put her foot down. “My wife said ‘wait a minute.” When this went into (our) dinnertime, she said, ‘you’re gonna have to say no.’ More people want me to do them than I have time to do. That’s how I was running into my dinnertime,” he said.

Jerome attributes his popular turkeys to much trial and error and a great cooking technique: the key, he says, is how you drop the bird into the fryer – SLOWLY – so that the oil cannot bubble up and cause a fire.

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

Photo by Cyma Shapiro

But, then, four years ago, he ate lamb at a friend’s house and didn’t like the strong meat-taste. He said, “I’m gonna come up with a recipe that I like!” and his special lamb dish was born. “It’s not just turkey (now) - my thing is now lamb,” he said, noting that he cooked his signature dish for a Valentine’s Day party this year and also cooks it regularly for his pastor.

In the future, he plans to get a “J Bones” food truck and cook his signature lamb and turkey, in addition to ribs and chicken. “There’s a lot of other stuff I’d like to do,” he said. “But, I’ll start off slowly.”