Sunday, November 30, 2008

Worcestershire Sauce

So last time we went to Baton Rouge, we visited Avery Island, the home of Tabasco Sauce! We got some special stuff at their gift shop and in the bag they gave us a Tabasco brand Worcestershire sauce. My hubby LOVED it. I thought it was pretty darn good myself. We tried to find it online, to no avail. We scoured the shops around Baton Rouge on this latest trip down, to no avail. So I've decided to make some of my own. Why not?

So I found this recipe for basic worcestershire sauce, and I'll "kick it up" with some tabasco.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another one for the cranberry column

My hubby asks for cranberry juice and voilla!
It's more about my internet searching ability than cooking, huh?

Thus, making cranberry juice from fresh cranberries...

Yeah, that didn't turn out so great...I'll keep looking for another recipe...

Thems Animal Crackers!

I was looking for a light appetizer idea for thanksgiving, and found this idea for a new type of animal cracker!
I'm actually going to use a rotary wheel and make squares or triangles, but the idea is the same...Can't Wait!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Hunt for Drying Spinach

I love how hunts often yeild so much more than expected. I was on the hunt for preparation instructions for drying spinach leaves. As in dehydrating. And that has lead me to Sharon Astyk's blog. She is the author of Depletion and Abundance which is quite worth checking out. It is purportedly about taking a more purposefull approach to preserving our bounty, planning rather than haphazardly preserving willy-nilly. Since I am taking this winter to plan my first real vegetable garden, I think it will be a good read for me.

On to drying spinach...The Baklava Queen has a great overview of dehydrating fruits and vegetables, very general directions, but I'm on my way...

Okay, so I also found directions for blanching spinach, specifically I wanted to make sure I didn't over cook it, so I wanted to know how long it should be in the boiling water. Beyond Wonderful is, well, beyond wonderful!

I also experimented with simply taking the soaking wet leaves and laying them out, one at a time, on the parchment-covered baking sheet. Alternatively, I took the last half of the spinach and squeezed it into a ball to get the excess water out, then tried to separate it in some manner for drying on another sheet.

By far and away, laying out each individual leaf was well worth the effort! It was a cinch to grind with my mortar and pestle, and you could still see the wonderful color and it didn't get all hard and nasty.

Not nasty is a good thing, don't you think?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Ultimate Sloppy Joes

Here's my first Tyler Florence recipe that made it to the blog!

Last night I made Ultimate Sloppy Joes. Mmmmm...

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced (I cut out the onion...big surprise. But I added two cloves of garlic instead.)
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey (Don't have the turkey on hand, so I used ground beef.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
12 parker house rolls

Set a heavy-based pot over medium-high heat and add a 3-count of olive oil. Add onions and saute for 2 to 3 minutes until translucent. Add ground turkey, season well with salt and pepper and brown well all over, breaking it up with a wooden spoon - about 7 to 10 minutes. Add ketchup, mustard, cayenne, brown sugar and tomato paste. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Finish with a splash of red wine vinegar and season it once more before serving on parker rolls.

I did fewer adjustments on this recipe than I think I ever have on anything else! It came out WONDERFULL and it's a good thing I made a double batch because there was barely enough left over for my lunch today! I was a bit curious about the red wine vinegar at the end, but it really worked!!
Oh, also - with the change of using beef instead of turkey, there was a lot of oil rendered that I should have drained, but I didn't do so until the end. Well, I waited to add the vinegar unil after it was drained, but that was it.
So if you use a meat more fatty than turkey, just remember to drain and you won't be as grossed out by the pools of oil toward the end!

Also, I was totally pleased and surprised that it took me only 40 minutes to make this, from defrosting the meat and assembling all the ingredients to plating and serving! (I'm a bit slow, it'll probably not take you as long!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tyler Florence. Ultimate. {Chef}

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Stephanie and her amazing Crockpot Blog. Well, I've been thinking lately that it could be fun to do the same kind of challenge next year. Not the same EXACT challenge, though I'd certainly love to use my crockpot every day! No. I was thinking...mabe grilling every day!
But then I was thinking, that's an awefull lot of food. And quite a commitment. And perhaps after that I'd never want to look at another grill again. And I don't like the idea of never grilling again.
So I'm thinking now that I'll do a SIMILAR challenge, with less of a commitment.

2009: 4 meals a week using Tyler Florence's recipes.
Whadya think about that?

I'm drooling already.
Over the food.
I'm a married woman, people!

I decided to pare this down a bit and do 1 recipe a week. That's okay. The leftovers will last awhile!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Roasted Goodness

I have a handfull of various produce left in my pantry and thought I'd roast it all up for freezing. Here's what I've got:
4 Pie Pumpkins
1 Acorn Squash
Tons of Apples
1/2 bag of carrots
2 garlic bulbs
1/2 onion

So I've got the whole roasting squash/gourds thing down pat by now, and I enjoy roasting garlic and onion from time to time, but what about carrots and apples? Well, ask and ye shall's just a google search away:

Roasted Carrots
Roasted Apples

later that same day...
I stand corrected, Roasted Apple Sauce sounds the BEST! I'm going for it! And Bonus: I found a new food blog! Closet Cooking is fun, down to earth, and pretty funny, if you ask me.

Okay. Yesterday I made the Roasted Apple Sauce. I made one change in the recipe because I didn't have apple cider on hand, and I roasted it "low and slow" instead of at 400 degrees.

I don't want to share.

It's addictive.

It makes way too little.

Next time I'm loading up every deep pan I have and can fit into my oven.


Here's the recipe, with my alterations in bold:

12 apples (peeled, cored and chopped) I used empire and cortland
3/4 cup apple cider Didn't have apple cider, so I looked through my fridge wondering what I could substitute for it...I used coke. Seriously. I used 1/2 cup coke and 1/4 cup water.
3 tablespoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
I also added 1/2 teaspoon ground clove.

1. Toss everything in a bowl.
This was kind of vague, so after mixing it all together, I laid the apple secions out on a baking sheet and drizzled the remaining juices over them. Caution: It made a bit of a mess in my oven, so next time I'll use a deeper pan, like a roaster or casserole dish. Whatever you long as it has taller sides than a cookie sheet!
2. Bake in a preheated 400F oven until the apples are very soft, about 30-50 minutes.
I baked for 30 mins at 400, then had to leave the house, so I turned off the oven for an hour, but kept them in it. Then when I got back, I jacked the heat back up to about 300 and left them in there for another hour or so.
3. Mash the apples.
I let them cool a bit before transferring to a bowl to mash. Next time, using a deeper pan, I'll probably keep them in the original pan for mashing, then transfer to the storage jar or bowl.

Out of the 12 apples, I got about a quart of apple sauce (aprox 4 cups). It's actually more like an apple butter. So amazing! I don't know if I'm tasting the coke because I know it's there or not, so the next step is to give it to my hubby for snacking. He's the apple butter king!

{shhhh! the coke is our secret!}

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Melt-in-your-Mouth Rolls

I am traveling 1600 miles for thanksgiving this year and have been told I'll be able to make rolls! I have made homemade rolls for years, but never in the bread machine, so I want to try out this recipe from Suzie of Friendship of the Fabulous Foodies before I go.

Fingers crossed...

Infused Vinegar

I'm on the hunt for cranberry infused vinegar and found this site, which provides general directions for making herb or fruit infused vinegars. I'm already on my way to the kitchen to try it!!!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sweet & Sour Carmelized Onions

And here it is...Sweet & Sour Carmelized Onions! This one's just for me, And I plan to enjoy it tonight to it's fullest!

Pecan topped Sweet Potatoes

I'm back! After a week of arguing with the computer, the modem, the router, the ISP, and finally walking away...and back...I've finally got my internet working again! And now I'm in search for a fantastic onion idea I saw last week but didn't take the time to create a link to....this is why I have blecipes!!!
So in my search for this elusive onion recipe, I ran across Stephanie's idea for sweet potatoes and I happen to have everything on hand!

So I decided conclusively that I don't like using nuts in anything baked. Every time I walked past the crockpot, I just didn't like the smell. As I thought more about it, I can't recal ever liking nuts in my brownies or pies. Excluding pecan pie, of course. But with that much sugar, what wouldn't taste good.
Anyway, if I make this again, I'll probably forgo the pretzels and the pecans, and possibly even cut down on the cranberries because as much as I like cranberries, I didn't enjoy the whole fruit in the same bite as the sweet potatoes. I'd still use them though because the infused flavor was wonderfull.
Just me.