Coping: The 5th Annual “Turkey Leftovers” Column

By request from last Thanksgiving – only this time in advance so you can have everything on hand this year…

Back in 2013. we share the best turkey leftovers recipe  we’ve ever found.  Our Ode to 13 Coins’ SST Sandwich column from 2013.  I don’t remember if Gale, the daytime bartender at the ‘Coin’s place across from the Seattle Times had retired yet,  (He did in 2015, or so – g)  or not…might have.  Great guy and always poured me a “editor-sized drink” back in the day…

Then (from 2014) a “gift that keeps on giving” from a reader named John.

First, my own contribution to “the turkey leftovers science:”  I baked the bird in a bag (breast-up) as usual. But upon removing, I turned it breast down while the turkey rested (while I made gravy, etc..more wine, too, while Ure at it…).

Fall-part moist – even Elaine said it was  one the best all-time best-ever turkeys she’s ever had..  Better than baked breast-down…Just 10-15 min, breast down while resting  in its juices before carving…amazing! (I adjusted steam holes accordingly to the end of the bag preserve juices!)  10-points for food science!

(From 2013)

Ode to 13 Coins:  The SST Sandwich

The one best way to use up whatever is left in the way of turkey, based on a “sandwich” which used to be served by 13 Coins, a 24-hour restaurant in Seattle, catawampus from the Seattle Times building, which serves as a kind of mecca for the broadcasters, writers, and theatrical types who made Seattle a happin’ place in the 1970’s and 80’s.  Still is, come to think of it. (Now down on Pioneer Square)

‘Coins is still one of the top 5 late night food joints in the country and with good reason:  If you sit at the counter, you can watch the flaming cooking of your meal on the big gas stoves (and gas-fired broiler ) of the sort most people can only dream of having at home.

It was here that the SST Sandwich was developed – at about the same time Boeing was building a mock-up of what might have been an American supersonic transport to complete with the Concorde. I always wondered if the selection of turkey as its main ingredient was so much a matter of taste or an aeronautical or economic assessment…

By far, the SST is the best use of turkey I’ve ever seen – and to my palate it is almost as good as fresh roasted turkey with all the fixin’s.  Maybe better, too, since if you can find precooked turkey in a deli, there’s little kitchen mess. Anyone can make good food in an unlimited kitchen with clean up staff.  When it’s me and/or Elaine and KitchenAid, it’s a different equation.

The inventor of the SST used a Béchamel sauce (white sauce) but for those of us who scored above average in the laziness department, I find a can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup (regular, not fat-free – what’s the point, right?) works almost as well as a lazy-man’s substitute.

Also, in the original SST, if memory serves, the toast points had the crust cut off, but again, this seemed like additional work that could be dispensed=with.  I mention this to make sure you get the flavor of the original dish.

Buttering the toast points?  That’s up to you and your cardiologist.  The sandwich was on dry toast points.  I made up for the lack of fat with their thumb-sized fries. OMG, TDF!

Oh…and fresh Parmesan from the Pike Place Market is nice, too.  But over the years I’ve used everything from Kraft “sprinkle cheese” to hand shaved Parmesan and various mixes and I couldn’t tell much difference.

The Recipe (as I remember it)

You begin with a hot skillet.

Into this, you pour about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and fire (or  the electric-hell equivalent) until just smoking a bit.

Then you add one cup (roughly) of freshly sliced mushrooms. Shake, toss, and worry it a bit.

Sauté and throw on a flammable liquid.  Tequila?  Brandy?  Whatever’s handy.

Flame a bit for show, too if you care and are cooking over gas, but not so much as to set the room afire.

If you’ve got a range hood, like 13 Coins, a splash of whatever burns good (from the bar) with the oil, adds nicely to the flavor, too.  I suppose brandy would be the best choice, as I could never get white wine can flame, at least on an electric range.  Maybe with ox-acetylene…hmmm….

When the flames die down, (the alcohol burns off  if you use high heat on a range, too) you toss in a cup, or so, of turkey which has been sliced into 3/4-inch cubes.  This is all tossed around so the flavors get acquainted with one-another.  Flame again if using gas.  Mostly ‘cuz it’s fun.  Showy and entertaining.

Next comes the Béchamel sauce, or – if doing this at home – that can (11 oz) of regular (condensed) Campbell’s cream of mushroom. NOT FAT FREE!

Reduce heat a simmer while you get:

* Toast points to cover a shallow baking/serving dish, 3-slices for me, thanks.

* Two or three…OK…FOUR  (long and lean) strips of crispy bacon, and

*  1/3 cup (or so) of  fresh-grated Parmesan (or you could use an Italian three-cheese mix with little difference) and you fire up your broiler.

With the toast points on the bottom of the shallow baking/serving dish, you pour the hot turkey/mushroom sauce (which should be reasonably thick and not runny or you’ve used too much liquid somewhere) over the toast points.

If you’re using two pieces of bacon, they are placed in an “X” or, if three pieces, as parallels with a 1/2-inch inch between them.  Four pieces?  Ure on Ure own…

Sprinkle that short-ton of grated cheese all over it and then pop it under the broiler long enough for the cheese to melt and just brown to a nice crust-color in places.

Serve with 13-Coins fries and a glass of whatever suites you>  To me, this is one of those dishes that does exceptionally well with a white zin, or iced tea.  Here lately, I seem to be doing cranberry juice more, which works just dandy, too and is better for the liver and the FAA.

A word bout the fries (and why a 13-Coins visit is always on our Seattle agenda although we haven’t had time the past couple of visits):  the Fries are to die for.

They use good potatoes, which is a given; they are not those wimpy little pre=fab things like the “arches” use.  You know – the mashed potatoes from a pastry nozzle.

Instead, a proper grown-up whole potato is whacked into coarse slices about the size of your thumb (bigger if you’re dainty, I hold my thumb up when Elaine is slicing, but stay out of range).  About 3/4’s of an inch to a full inch.

Cold rinse a couple of times then pat dry.  Water and deep fryers…well, figure it out.  The ‘taters get deep-fried in the usual way (which takes longer because of their large size).  You want them golden brown.

The real fun is they  are served at Coins: 13 of them, stacked-up in Lincoln Logs-fashion and then sprinkled with sea salt.

It’s a sacrilege to do so, but I will ask for ketchup and the staff doesn’t (usually) seem offended by this epicurean gaffe

No, I don’t get any spiffs or deals for my semi-annual review of the SST.  In fact, I don’t know if it’s even on the menu anymore.  It wasn’t there last time I went.  But the kitchen was able to make one but I don’t know if they still can.  (Reports welcome on this point.)  Ask for the SST off the ‘secret menu.’

Weather at this time of the year in the Northwest is usually crappy:  Gray, cold, and rainy more often than not.  Which may have something to do with why Seattle has some really great places to eat.

Other cities do, as well, but even San Francisco (last time we were there) seems to have gone “touristy” and “institutional/commercial” even at Ghirardelli and the wharf, last time through.  I keep thinking about going back to see if anything’s at good as the food at Bertolucci’s in South San Francisco.  Color me skeptical.  Bertolucci’s was fab.

The main thing about great restaurants is they were usually started (or perfected) by great restaurateurs.  Families who somehow got the balance between hospitality, beverage, taste, performance, and consistency.  For me, the Ward family’s (13 Coins and el Gaucho back in the day), (Victor) Rossellini’s, and Ivar Haglund’s seafood joint -Ivar’s – were the family names in Seattle.  Lemonsakis and Gasparetti, were top-flight too…there were lots of good hangouts. Ruby Chow’s before she got into politics.

Every city has such places.…it takes a little looking around to scout them out. Most people don’t focus on the search…too much hurry, too little time, yada, yada.  But like investing in in a great partner, or stocks, finding a great restaurateur’s prize is the GI tract equivalent of finding Apple or Microsoft stock before the IPO..

Along the way, be sure and ask questions and steal cooking ideas you can bring home, too.  Like this one.  You never know when you’ll have some leftovers that can be turned into real treats.

Or have to write a column about turkey leftovers that not plain stupid.

Award-winning chef daughter says it’s called a “Hot Brown” and is popular ‘back east.’ (Remember, even Spokane is ‘back east’ from Seattle.)

Sure enough, you can find a damn-fine Hot Brown at (where else?) the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky.  Hell of a lot shorter-drive for us than Seattle.  874 miles vs. 1,900.  But fewer Indian Casinos – which we enjoy, too.  Choices, huh?

The Hot Brown looks almost like the SST, but with fewer aircraft fasteners and a cheese-change.  I still think White Zin will fuel either nicely.  Maybe with a Kentucky local beverage as the warm-up.

A Thanksgiving (2014) Gift from Reader John K

Want some money?  Free?  The real deal here.  I didn’t have time yesterday to ask his permission to use his name, but a reader of ours, John, the wealth manager up in Nashville who sent me a dandy email that could be worth your time to read:

Hello George,

To assist you in helping others and so you and your family may also find new wealth, enter your last name and or company name in the following Search engine to see unclaimed property. I conduct searches in support of Estate settlements, but you do not have to be dead to have unclaimed property. I have helped others find property of deceased relatives and forgotten security deposits from college. If you can provide proof of your name connected to the address (if it shows one), wa la, you’re in the money/property.

If the person is deceased, letters Testamentary, would also be required. Be aware the states often misspell names, so be on the lookout for property under similar spellings. If you can see the address, that usually helps verify the connection. If a person is deceased or you can’t remember all your past addresses, run a free credit report which shows all prior addresses (living and deceased people).

The first site seems more effective and the second site is quicker, but less accurate.

Best of luck!

Happy thanksgiving!


I ran it on all our relatives, which I do every so often.

Write when you run out of leftovers,

3 thoughts on “Coping: The 5th Annual “Turkey Leftovers” Column”

  1. Elaine has enough camera practice , she could record you being the chef that you are and you could open up a YouTube channel and monetize it (wow).
    And it wouldn’t require any extra time on your part but Elaine would have to spend time editing and watching you and posting but since you’re cooking anyway go ahead and monetize it

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