Monday, November 21, 2011

Nigella Lawson's Cheddar Mashed Potatoes With Bacon and Apples 11.21.11

Well, I feel silly.

I took the time to take photos of everything... except these.  Unless you count the "in process" shot above as I lazily allow the kitchenaid to do all of the work.

BUT, these are outstanding!  Bacon!!!  Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!

And to top that off, the apples are actually cooked in the bacon fat!!!

One of those OMG recipes!

You can find the recipe on the Chew website (Click HERE).  It's not terribly difficult, just a pretty standard tater recipe, except...

You fry up a bunch of bacon....
While that is frying, core and peel 2 granny smith apples, diced
When the bacon is done, set it aside and dump the apples in the bacon!  When they are soft (and have absorbed all that delicious bacon grease, add some onions until they are soft as well.

Add to your cooked potatoes, add some grated cheddar, add milk, salt pepper and mash as you like (long time for smooth, or shorter time for the preferred lumpy!

Serve with Turkey, Dressing, Green bean Casserole and fresh made Rosemary Bread!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Carla Hall's Chocolate Pecan Pie 11.18.11

OK, if you saw the episode (well, actually, if you read the title of this post), right away you noticed that either I have giant chocolate chips and giant pecans OR I made chocolate pecan tarts instead of a pie.

Because... well, portion control.  I LOVE a pecan pie.  Never had it with this much chocolate mixed in, but I was sure I was going to love it.  But it is awfully fattening.  Making them this size, I was able to control the size and as long as I have the will power to only eat one, well...moderation.  Since each little tart is about 3 good size bites, I even didn't feel too guilty when i had a little bit of pumpkin pie along side.

And besides, they photograph so nicely...

And, besides the size, I made an additional change that you probably saw in the first photo in the above series... Bourbon in place of vanilla.  First, the alcohol does cook out, leaving a deep rich earthy taste behind. Besides pure vanilla extract is actually mostly alcohol anyway.  In a pecan pie, I just like Maker's mark in place of vanilla.  Just one more layer of flavor.

Alright, first up is a pie crust recipe.  I am constantly on the look out for a new pie crust recipe.  I have tried several, but never could quite get one as good as my Mother-in-Law's.  So, I phoned her and tried hers for the first time.

Lard.    Shhh it's the secret ingredient that only grandmother's know.

So, My Mother-inLaw's Pie Crust recipe first...

Makes 2 pie crust, or one to freeze for later and one to cut into 6 tart size...

3 cups Flour
1 cup Lard
1 tsp Salt

Mix until crumbly.  Then mix together ...

1/4 cup Water 
1 Egg
1 tsp Vinegar

Combine, Divide and roll out, generously flour as you roll out.

OK, as I said, I was making tarts... tartlettes if you will.  SO I rolled one of the crusts out pretty thin.  I then took a large fluted edged round cookie cutter and made six circles.  I sprayed a muffin tin generously and placed the circles in the bottom of the tins.  This made a cup shape about 3/4 inch tall.

OK, in the recipe (that you can see on The Chew's website by clicking HERE), Carla made a pie.  I cut the recipe in half, had more than enough to make 6 tarts.  I also glazed the bottom with egg whites.

So, here's what I did.  The measurements are @1/2 what Carla used (But you should check her recipe if you are making pies)...

1/2 cup Corn Syrup (I only had white on hand, she advises dark)
1 TBS Butter softened to room temperature
1 tsp Corn Starch
1tsp Bourbon
1/2 cups Pecans, chopped
1/4 cup Whole Pecans for decoration
pinch of Salt
1/4 cup Sugar
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp White Vinegar
1/4 cup Dark Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375

  • Cream Butter and Sugar
  • Add Beaten Eggs 
  • Add Cornstarch, Salt, Bourbon, Vinegar and Corn Syrup, and now you have the pie filling
  • sprinkle a single layer of chocolate chips
  • sprinkle the pecan pieces
  • add the pie filling
  • Bake on center rack for 30 minutes
  • Add the garnish whole pecans
  • Return to the oven until center of filling reaches 200 degrees

And the verdict is that these were PERFECT!  An adult pie, let the kids have the pumpkin and cakes and sweets.  Rich, earthy,nutty taste.  Just a hint of the Bourbon and a very unique taste with the chocolate added!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Clinton Kelly Lemon Sage Turkey 11.17.11

Welcome to a photo essay... turkey 101 if you will...

Today was "Talkin' Turkey" Day.  LOTS of great tips.  Pretty much, this is Clinton Kelly's contribution.  Nothing complicated, and sweet, tender JUICY and amazing!

Start with the bird.  I made a smaller bird.  this was actually the second Thanksgiving dinner I made (long story).  This night, it was just my wife, myself and some really good friends who also felt a bit left out.  All of us had the actual T-day meal somewhere else... WE WANTED MORE!

So, a 10 plus pound bird for less than $8... Why don't we make turkey more often???

Time to dress the bird...

Remove the oddities... Some weird plastic handle???, plus the neck is in the cavity, while the heart, lizzard and gizzard are in a bag in the neck.

And REMOVE that silly little pop up thing.  The bird is done when it reaches 160 degrees.  Every degree above and it starts to fry out.  The pop up thingy is set at 170 degrees.

Just pull it out.

And here it is in the garbage... It's junk.  Buy an instant read remote thermometer so you can monitor the temperature.

OK, time to season the bird.  I used some of what Clinton advised (Click HERE for his recipe).  But I used a lot of my own.  I made a Cajun spiced butter (2 sticks of butter, softened to room temperature Plus I added 3 TBS of my own Cajun Mix I call, "Big Easy in a Jar".  You can of course sub for a store bought mix if you prefer.

OK, Clinton just slathered his seasoned butter over the skin.  I prefer to loosen the skin between the meat and the skin and then insert some of the butter inside the skin.

Shove in as deep as you can, being careful not to puncture the skin.

I do about half and half, half outside the skin and half inside.

And now, time to add the lemon.  I also added some garlic in the lemon to add some more aromatics to the dish.  Just puncture the lemon a few times, cut the garlic in half and push the garlic pieces into the slits.  As the lemons cook, they release their steam and the garlic aromas penetrate!

Put the whole lemons into the cavity.  NO STUFFING.  Stuffing makes the birds cook unevenly and you lose the aromatics.

I have an electric turkey roaster that works great.  frees up my oven for the side dishes and desserts.  Set it at 325 degrees.

My bird was done in about an hour 45 minutes (but remember it was small).  I had a remote thermometer in the bird.  i pulled him out at 160 degrees.  I did check in several spots, and indeed... 160!

Let the bird rest for an hour.  This is VERY IMPORTANT.  This time allows the juices to reabsorb into the meat.  When I slice this guy, none of that running juice.

So now, let's talk about carving.  Do the carving at the cutting board, NOT at the table.

First bend the legs down and separate at the thigh.

You can probably just give a twist and they pull off.  You may need to cut at the joint, but pull that dark meat off whole.


And now, pull off the breast meat whole.

Be sure to save the bones... TURKEY STOCK!!!

Slice the breast meat against the grain, big slices.

And I have a large platter that I had 4 servings of Potatoes, 4 servings of Chorizo Sausage Dressing and some of the white meat, some of the dark.  And you can spy my version of the classic Green bean casserole on the side... Sorry about the lighting, but I was out of sunlight!

Happy Eating indeed!

Here's my Big Easy in a Jar recipe...

BTW, I make my own Cajun mix I call, "Big easy in a Jar".  You will be seeing this ALOT.  It's a fast way to add that special heat to any dish.  I make about 2 cups worth a month and bit by bot, it is gone!  Tastes great on eggs to chicken and anything in between!

1 part Garlic Flakes
1 part Onion Flakes
1 part Dried Thyme Leaves
1 part Dried Oregano
1 part Black Pepper
1 part White Pepper
1 part Lemon Pepper
1/2 (one half) part Cayenne Pepper
1/2 part Ground Bay Leaves
4 parts Sweet Paprika

This is a great little spice to have around. Add brown sugar (1/2 the amount of spice mix) to make a BBQ rub. And add a little to a soup to zing it up or even to a gravy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Michael Symon's Pumpkin Chocolate Bread Pudding with Whiskey Sauce 11.16.11

I LOVES me a bread pudding!

And I LOVES me a whiskey sauce!

On the show, Michael made a Caramel Sauce that looked delicious.  BUT...

For Thanksgiving, I made a Caramel Apple Cheesecake and a traditional Pumpkin Pie to serve for dessert.

Since the cheesecake had a caramel taste, and the pumpkin pie was "kid friendly", I opted for a more adult Whiskey Sauce.

And it was delicious!

The sauce recipe is very easy...

1 stick of Butter (softened to room Temp)
1 1/2 cup Confectioner's Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
1/2 Cup Bourbon (I like Maker's Mark)

In a small sauce pan over low heat, combine sugar and butter until the butter has melted and the sugar is absorbed.  Remove from the heat, add the egg yolks one at a time, whisking the entire time.  It is important that the yolks do not cook.  Finally, add the whiskey to taste!

As to the brad pudding...

What a great combination, pumpkin savory, with the seasonings of the season, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add the chocolate for sweetness and pecans for nutty roasted aroma and texture.

Simply DELICIOUS and oh so easy to make.

From the recipe posted on the Chew Website (Click HERE), I made a few minor changes

Pre heat the oven to 325 degrees

1 3/4 cup Half and Half
3 large Eggs
1/2 tsp ground Ginger
6 cups Day old Bread cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1 cup pureed Pumpkin (can use can)
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 cup Toasted Pecan Pieces
1 stick melted butter
Whole pecans to garnish

In a Kitchenade mixer or large bowl, combine 1/2 and 1/2, Pumpkin, Sugar, Eggs, and seasonings
Add the Bread Cubes, mix gently (do not mix the cubes so much they reduce to crumbs).
Add the Pecan pieces, melted butter and Chocolate Chips and mix again (carefully)

Transfer to a prepared baking dish, bake for 45 minutes, until the custard is set.
 About 15 minutes before it is done, add a few whole pecans to the top for a pretty presentation!

Best served warm and best served with the whiskey sauce!!!

Simply delicious... A bit savory, a bit sweet and a bit whiskey; a real crowd pleaser!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Carla Hall's Roasted Garlic Spread 11.15.11

So simple, yet I need a nudge whenever I decide to make this.

Four ingredients...

Whole heads of Garlic
Olive Oil
Fresh Thyme
a pinch of Salt

Can not be easier... Slice the tops off the Garlic
Add the herbs
Drizzle with the oil and a sprinkle of Salt

Wrap in tin foil and roast at 375-425 for 30 minutes to an hour.
When done, squeeze the heads and remove the delicious roasted garlic and spread like butter!

Now, on The Chew website printed version of the recipe (Click HERE), Carla says to roast at 425 for 30 minutes.

I was multitasking...

I was baking bread at 375.  So I just slower roasted mine for about 45 minutes.

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