Blog Archives - HCTC

The Perfect Bird: Learn the Secrets to Roasting Turkey

Dotty Griffith | Author
Dotty Griffith’s “The Texas Holiday Cookbook,” published in 1997, remains her most popular book

Whether a seasoned cook or a first-timer, if you’re in charge of cooking the bird this holiday season, there are tricks to roasting a turkey that you should know. If you get it wrong, you’ll never forget the sight of the turkey leftovers on every plate.

“Roasting turkey too long will make it dry,” warns food expert Dotty Griffith. “Rely on a meat thermometer inserted into the thigh to make sure it’s done. And don’t be tempted to cook it another hour ‘just in case.’”

Griffith is known to foodies throughout Texas and beyond. She was the food editor at the Dallas Morning News for 16 years before becoming a restaurant critic for 10 more. Today, she’s retired from the newspaper business and has settled into teaching journalism as an adjunct professor at the University of North Texas. She’s also been busy writing cookbooks, 12 to date. Her most recent, “The Ultimate Tortilla Press,” came out earlier this year. But it’s Griffith’s 1997 offering, “The Texas Holiday Cookbook,” that remains her most popular. It sold out in two months to fans who wanted her to take on cooking for the holidays.

She was still a food editor at that time and says it was before Butterball started its Turkey Talk-Line. “So I and other food editors around the country were the hotlines,” she says. “And I’ll never forget the guy who called me and wanted to know if his turkey would cook twice as fast if he doubled the oven temperature. He also wanted to know how to set the oven to 700 F.”

Here are some tips Griffith offers to ensure your bird comes out as pretty as a picture — tender and golden brown. Brining makes everything better and is so much simpler now. Brining bags make it easy to brine without a separate container and refrigerator or cooler.

Don’t baste until the last hour or so of cooking. Basting mostly helps glaze the bird.

Anne Braly

Stuffing a turkey is another time waster. Bake cornbread or other bread dressing separately in a shallow baking dish. Bake during the last 30 or 45 minutes of roasting.

If you forget to remove the bag of giblets before roasting, don’t panic when you start slicing and find it. Remove the bag and carry on as if nothing happened.

Make very thick gravy up to two days in advance using a butter and flour roux and turkey or chicken stock. On turkey day, heat it up during the last 30 minutes or so of roasting. Use drippings from the turkey to thin and add more flavor to the gravy. This eliminates last-minute gravy panic.

The biggest mistake you can make when roasting the turkey, Griffith stresses, is baking it too long, rendering dry meat. Rely on a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh. And when you wiggle the leg, it should move easily in the joint. If it pulls right out into your hand, you’ve overcooked the turkey.

Rosted Turkey with rosemary and lemonCitrus Roasted Turkey

  • 1 (12- to 16-pound) turkey
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 apples, optional
  • 1 orange, optional
  • 1 lemon, optional
  • 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, optional

Heat oven to 325 F. Rinse and dry turkey. Remove neck and giblet pack from the small cavity in front as well as the large body cavity. Save and use for stock if desired. Season inside turkey cavity with salt and pepper. Use salt sparingly if using a prebasted turkey.

Rub exterior of turkey skin generously with vegetable oil and place in a large roasting pan with shallow sides.

If desired, cut apples and orange into quarters, cut lemon in half and place fruit in turkey cavity along with jalapeno peppers that have been pierced in several places with a fork.

Roast turkey 15-20 minutes per pound. For the most accurate gauge of doneness, use an instant-read thermometer. Temperature should read 165 F when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh. Juices should run clear when thigh is pierced at the thickest part, and the leg joint should move easily.

Cooking of the turkey should be completed about an hour before dinner is served. Loosely tent with foil to keep warm and carve just before serving.

Super Greens With Brown Butter

Use greens that are torn and ready to eat. This is a great side dish to make ahead and reheat for serving during the holidays.

  • 2 bags super greens such as collards, turnip, kale, mustard or a combination (enough for 8 servings)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted

Dump 1 bag of greens into a large pot with lid. Add 1/4 cup water. Place pot over medium heat and bring water to a boil. Toss in half the raisins. Cover with lid. Turn off heat and let steam for 7 minutes or until greens are wilted and no longer crunchy. Drain in colander. Repeat with remaining greens and raisins. Place drained greens in a 9-by- 13-inch baking dish. Make sure raisins are evenly distributed.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and cook until it turns a medium dark brown, 3 to 5 minutes. It should smell nutty. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Pour brown butter over greens, stirring to evenly coat. Sprinkle pine nuts over the greens. Keep warm, or refrigerate and reheat at 300 F to serve. Makes 8 servings.

Herbed Lemon Butter for Roasted Turkey

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon each finely chopped fresh sage, rosemary and thyme
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind

Place butter into a small bowl. Using a spatula, blend in herbs and lemon rind. With gloved hands, gently loosen the skin of the thawed turkey breast, being careful not to tear the skin, and rub a generous coating of the herbed lemon butter onto the turkey breast under the skin. Lightly rub turkey all over with additional butter.

If making butter blend in advance, cover tightly and refrigerate until ready to use. Let soften to room temperature before seasoning turkey for roasting. Makes 1/2 cup.

Retail sales consultant connects with customers

Anthony Robbins arrived at HCTC nearly four years ago with a sales background and a penchant for fixing most anything.

Now, he’s combining those two things as a retail sales consultant with HCTC, putting local customers together with the services that are best for them. “It’s about helping people find solutions for what they need,” Robbins says.

Those needs are constantly evolving, he says. HCTC is evolving, too, with high-speed fiber internet, security systems, home and business telephone, computer repair, and IT solutions as part of its service and product lineup.

“I usually inquire about what the customer is using our services for, and that gives me an idea of what products are going to be best for them,” Robbins says. “I’ve learned that most people are starting to use the internet more and more for different reasons. People are doing a lot more streaming online and need internet connectivity that requires higher bandwidths.”

Most internet customers want faster speeds, a need Robbins, an avid video gamer, understands. Though he plays a variety of PC-based games, he knows online speeds are essential to online-based gaming. “Online gaming doesn’t take that much bandwidth, surprisingly,” Robbins says. “It’s about speed and depends on the ‘ping’ that communicates back and forth between players. A faster ping means an online game runs smoother.”

While he enjoys video games, Robbins, 28, says some of his other interests, such as woodworking, are more artisan in nature. “I’ve got my workshop, and I’ve got my tools,” he says. “I’ve got every- thing I need to get started, I just need to get in there and organize it. I tend to take on too many projects at one time, and I get more started than I get completed.”
He says he wants to start some small woodworking projects at first and see if they sell locally at swap meets and other outlets. “My parents were homeowners, so I learned how to work on things growing up,” Robbins says.

Robbins, a 2010 graduate of Tivy High School in Kerrville, came to HCTC from a “do-it-all” position at an office supply chain. While there, he also met his wife, Joy, whom he married in 2017. The two were co-workers. “We met in February 2015, and we became friends working there. Both of us were leaving at about the same time, and that’s about the time our relationship took off,” he says.

He says he is part of a great team at home and at HCTC, where the retail sales department works cohesively with other departments and employees throughout the cooperative.

“We’ve got a great team of people over here,” Robbins says. “Everyone is really knowledgeable and always helpful when there’s something someone needs to know how to do. And it’s not just the retail sales department. It’s across the whole company. If you have a question, you can usually find someone who can get the answer.”

Director nominations to open soon

The 2019 nominations for HCTC directors will open July 30, with nominations posted by Aug. 23. Petitions for nominations are due on or before Sept. 6. Qualifications and nominations for directors can be found in the bylaws under section numbers 4.3 and 4.4. Bylaws are available online at or in the back of the May 2019 phone book.

Director Nominations

District 1A — Ingram
District 5 — Fredonia, Katemcy, Pontotoc and Streeter District 6B — Comfort and Sisterdale

HCTC salutes rural volunteer fire departments

HCTC recognizes that for many rural communities, the local volunteer fire departments provide the first line of defense. Volunteer firefighters are local people willing to drop their own work to help a neighbor or a family member the second their radio goes off. They even put in hours of volunteer training so they can provide the best assistance possible to their community.

In the state of Texas, volunteer fire departments make up about 76 percent of the fire department services. These local fire departments are significantly dependent on monies received from local fundraisers and donations. Faced with required training and expensive equipment, medical supplies, vehicle fuel and repairs, and even insurance, HCTC recognizes the financial challenges our rural volunteer fire departments are faced with each year.

Simply put, HCTC knows that members of our local rural volunteer departments represent the line between life and death in our rural communities, ready to serve 24/7 for the safety of our family, friends and neighbors. HCTC is honored to annually support 25 community volunteer fire departments within our service territory.

HCTC salutes our first responders and local volunteer fire departments. Thank you for your dedication and relentless service to our communities!


Thank you for an opportunity to serve

Greetings, cooperative family! It has been one of the great pleasures of my career to serve as your chief operations officer. As I look ahead to my new role as your CEO, I am excited about the opportunities awaiting our cooperative. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to express my sincere gratitude to our recently retired CEO, Alan Link.

On behalf of the employees of HCTC, I would like to express our appreciation of Alan’s countless contributions. During his tenure, and thanks to the support of your board of directors, the cooperative embarked on a strategy of aggressive investments to deploy fiber optics throughout our regulated network, greatly increasing the availability of high-speed broadband services to even our most remote members.

Likewise, investments were made in our deregulated territories, such as our expansion into new areas of Kerrville, Fredericksburg and Stonewall. Also, our complete fiber overlay of the city of Sonora has been warmly received. Many other fiber deployment projects are underway throughout our territory and will continue through the remainder of 2019.

Now Looking Ahead

HCTC’s mission is “to be the premier provider of modern telecommunications and broad- band services throughout our region.” We will continue our aggressive network expansion, bringing fiber optic services to many more cooperative members and extending the reach of our fiber backbone to improve broadband speeds available to members served with traditional copper lines. As always, we will continue to evaluate, test and implement new network technologies that improve the lives of our cooperative members and further enable our business customers to remain competitive in a global economy.

I also believe that what truly differentiates HCTC as a premier service provider is our dedication to our member-owners. I opened this column by referring to you as family. At HCTC, we not only recognize and appreciate that you, our customer, are an owner of this cooperative, but also think of you as part of our cooperative family. In the coming months, you will see a new commitment to a customer service experience that exceeds your expectations. Improved processes will address our overall efficiency in processing service requests while other improvements will simplify your ability to interact with HCTC online. We will focus on your satisfaction with our service delivery — from providing managed Wi-Fi services to reducing the time necessary to upgrade existing services. And we will always do our best to resolve any service issues you may have, the first time.

I am excited about the tremendous opportunities we have at HCTC. Not only is our service territory in one of the most desirable locations of Texas, but this area has also experienced strong growth in recent years with no anticipated slowdown. HCTC is well positioned to meet the ever-increasing demand for broadband. But, we will not just wait for opportunity and growth to knock on our door. We will continue to seek expansion of our deregulated territory in an effort to provide broadband services to areas historically unserved or underserved with broadband.

I am honored to serve you in this new capacity and look forward to working with our employees and board to find new and innovative ways to improve our services and service delivery while providing you customer service that is second to none!

R. Craig Cook


Reward Offer: Scam Alert

Computer with Scam Alert on screen

HCTC is aware that some members may have recently received notification of a reward offer appearing to come from HCTC. Please note that this advertisement is not from HCTC.

Such notifications may be emailed directly to you or may “pop up” when you are web browsing. Please remember that HCTC will not solicit or request information using internet pop-ups or website advertisements.

Additionally, HCTC will not use pop-ups or website ads to inform its members that they have been selected to win a prize or ask them to participate in a drawing for a prize. Please be aware of notices falsely claiming to originate from HCTC. If you have any questions or concerns about such advertising scams, please contact us at 800-292-5457. Ask to speak to a member of our information technology department.