Monday, December 27, 2010


Reasons why you should make marshmallows:

1. People will think you're cool.
2. They are plush and pillowy and WORLDS better than storebought.
3. They are relatively easy.
4. People will think you're cool.

Here's a basic marshmallow recipe with several variations. I'll be honest: this recipe requires you to have six hands and do approximately fifteen thousand things at once, but if you're a good multitasker (or have friends in the kitchen with you), you shouldn't have any problems.

Basic Marshmallows

2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 cup water, divided
4 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2 egg whites
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (clear imitation for really snow-white marshmallows)
Confectioner's sugar

Lightly grease an 8x8 square pan, then coat with confectioner's sugar. Set aside.

Combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup water in a large saucepan. Stir over high heat until sugar is dissolved; allow to cook to 250-255 degrees without stirring.

Meanwhile, combine the gelatin and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan; allow to sit for 10 minutes, then melt gelatin over low heat until liquefied. Keep in a warm place until ready to use.

Mean-the-heck-while (see? fifteen thousand things at once. or three, or whatever), use a stand mixer to beat egg whites and salt until they're firm but creamy.

When sugar mixture has reached 250-255 degrees, remove from heat. Quickly stir in gelatin mixture (gelatin will bubble up - be sure to use a large saucepan!).

With stand mixer on high speed, stream gelatin mixture slowly into egg whites. Whip on high speed until mixture starts to pull away from sides of the bowl, about 5-8 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then spread quickly in prepared pan and allow to stand for at least 1 hour. Cut into desired shapes and roll in confectioner's sugar.

FOR PEPPERMINT MARSHMALLOWS: Decrease vanilla to 1/2 tablespoon, and add 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract and a dab of green gel color, if desired.

FOR ROSE MARSHMALLOWS: Add a scant 1/4 tsp. rose water and a dab of pink gel color, if desired.

FOR CHOCOLATE FUDGE MARSHMALLOWS: Bring 4 tbsp. water to a boil, then stir in 4 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa. After whipping vanilla into marshmallows, fold cocoa mixture loosely into marshmallows without fully combining. Spread in prepared pan (fudge marshmallows may take a bit longer to set). Roll fudge marshmallows in confectioner's sugar with a bit of cocoa powder added, if desired.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Woofie cookies.

We had steak for supper last night. It was tough, it was cooked on a panini press (sigh), and it was premarinated (ie., too salty and processed-tasting). We all just kind of sat and looked at it, and there was quite a bit left over.

That is the ONLY reason I ended up making dog cookies with steak in them. And if you want your mother's skittish little white dog to follow you around obsessively for the next twenty-four hours, you should make them, too. (Note: you'll need a food processor. If you don't have one, you can sub 4 oz. of baby food meat for the steak. Just check the ingredients to be sure there's no onion or garlic.)

3-4 ounces cooked steak, cut in smallish pieces
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1 egg, divided
1 1/2 cups barley flour
1/3 cup beef broth (approximately)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Pulse the steak in the food processor a few times, then process until it starts to come away from the sides of the bowl in a paste (about 3-5 minutes). Add the peanut butter and egg white; process until smooth.

Add the flour all at once; pulse, then process until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add the broth, one tablespoon at a time, until it forms a smooth, fairly soft dough. Roll out between wax or parchment paper sheets; cut into desired shapes and sizes.

At this point, you can make paint to prettify them if you like - combine the egg yolk with a bit of gel food coloring and about 1 tsp. of water, then paint onto cookies. Plain cookies can be baked directly on an ungreased baking sheet; painted cookies should be painted and baked on parchment.

Bake for about 2 hours, or until completely dry and crunchy. As long as they dried out completely in the oven, they should keep in an airtight container for about a month.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I am a nice girl. I don't yarf and tell. I won't post a link to where I got this recipe. The woman's blog was very lovely and well-thought-out and full of delicious-sounding recipes.

This one, though? SUCK.

Citrus Pate de Fruits. Simple.

2/3 cup fruit juice, such as fresh tangerine or pomegranate (I used a mixture of orange, grapefruit, and tangerine)
6 tablespoons smooth apple sauce
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 3-ounce envelope liquid pectin
2 teaspoons lemon juice

1. Combine juice, apple sauce, and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Boil, stirring constantly, until mixture hits 238 degrees. Okay. I know numbers.
2. Stir in pectin; cook and stir for one minute. Gotcha.
3. Stir in lemon juice and immediately pour into lightly-greased molds or loaf pan. Sprinkle surface with remaining sugar. Allow to sit for 1 1/2 hours, then unmold (and slice, if necessary). I'm with you.
4. Roll in granulated sugar. Whee! (Oh, wh - roll the candy? Oh. Well.)
5. Enjoy?

Nope. All I tasted was apple. I even grated a tiny bit of tangerine zest in there, hoping to make it not taste like hot sugar applesauce sorta tangy liquid. No dice.

But the texture was what got me. I saw several recipes for pate de fruits - some using apples as the pectin, some using liquid pectin, some using gelatin. Most of them said the liquid pectin method produced the best texture - soft, only slightly gummy, intensely fruity.

Again, no dice - I could've played jacks with these things.

Boo. Hiss. Yarf. Sigh. Maybe it was the roll-around-in-sugar part that turned it to ick.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut Butter Blossoms: 4 doz

2 cups shortening
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
2 cups sugar
3 cups PButter: crunchy old fashioned: 24 oz
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
4 tsp vanilla
6 cups flour
4 tsp soda
2 tsp salt

Cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs, milk and vanilla, beat. Add peanut butter, beat. Combine all dry ingredients and add in small batches.

Roll in sugar and either mush with fork before cooking or top with chocolate kisses after baking.

Bake at 350* for 8-10 minutes or until edges start to turn golden brown

Candied citrus peels

Pounds and pounds and pounds AND POUNDS of candied citrus peel! It's delicious! It's gorgeous! It's a big fat pain in the butt! But somehow, it's FUN!

4-6 pieces of citrus fruit with unblemished skins. Go for medium/large pieces of fruit if you can get them. Scrub the skins thoroughly with a little soap. Slice off the top and bottom, enough to expose the fruit inside. Then cut the peels from the fruit, trying to avoid as much pith as possible. Cut the peel into strips. You want about 2-3 cups of strips. Use more fruit, if you have to.

Blanch (you need: a big pot and lots of water):
Bring a pot of water to boiling. Drop in the strips; boil for 10 minutes, then drain. Refill the pot and repeat the process at least three more times. After the third time, taste one strip. If it's bitter, you need to blanch again. Keep blanching and draining until there's no (or very little) bitterness. (Time saver: keep a kettle of boiling water on a back burner. When you drain the peels, put them back in the pot, pour boiling water over, and voila - you don't have to waste time reheating another pot of water.)

Candy (you need: 3 cups EACH water and sugar):
When your peel is no longer bitter, drain it well. Combine and stir water and sugar over high heat until sugar is dissolved, then add strips. Bring to a full boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30-60 minutes, or until peels are translucent and candied-looking. Drain candy very well, then spread on waxed paper to dry overnight.

Sugar (the next day):
Place about 1 cup sugar in a plastic ziploc bag. Drop in half of your candy. Close the bag, leaving lots of air in the bag, and shake the CRAP out of it because your candies will want to stick together. Then remove from the bag and allow to dry on racks for at least one day and up to two days.

Note: I made orange, lemon, grapefruit and tangerine peels (gotta love Florida - cheap citrus). Interestingly, the toughest, most bitter peels were the orange peels. They required SEVEN blanchings to get rid of the bitterness. The grapefruit and tangerine, however, only required three. Go figure.

Bringin' home a baby bumblebee.

The cookie-making gene skipping a generation.

Also, a note of caution: if you feed too much of this to miniature citizens...

... they turn into this...

... which then turn into this. Which sleeps with its eyes creepily half-open and a blanket corner shoved up one nostril.

Side note: due to a substantial difference of opinion as to what elements constitute a "dinner" and who gets to decide the nature of those elements, Miz Thang never actually got to help bake these cookies. The dough languished in the freezer until Thang was unconscious, then it was discarded.

I'm telling you.. Aunt Lisa don't do cookies.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Food Processor French Bread

Please ask me to make you some of this bread, because it is unbelieveably easy, and it will change the world.

I tweaked the sugar and salt a little, but I kept all the liquid proportions the same, which resulted in a very soft, sticky dough - almost a stringy, viscous batter. I left it to rise and then consulted the recipe again, which told me the dough should've gathered into a ball while processing. At this point, I thought, "Great, I ruined it. It'll probably spread all over the pan. Baaaaaah." So after the first rise, I scooped the dough into greased muffin tins.

But it wasn't necessary. Even though it was a very soft dough, it puffed beautifully and would have made perfect loaves. I just didn't trust it. I have trust issues. Judge not.

Even though I deviated, I was still so excited that I actually made this bread and I can't wait to deviate further by adding herbs, cheese, or whatevers. I can't tell you how perfect it is - super crisp, almost flaky outside, super tender inside. It's perfect. This is perfect French bread.


Cookie on Cookie Violence

Another unsolved cookie-cide in Macon.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mandarin Orange Yogurt Cake

I almost hate to interrupt the gob-fest... :-)

I got stuff out of storage today, including my non-guilty-splurge Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Petits Fours Pan (said with nose in the air), which I actually purchased forever ago with a gift card from Elizabeth. I've only used it two or three times, and it was kind of problematic, but with boredom comes renewed motivation to master things. I guess.

Anyway. This is yummy.

Mandarin Orange Yogurt Cake
(adapted from (I halved the recipe to fill 20 wells in the pan; if you double what I've written, it'll fill a standard loaf, according to smitten kitchen)

3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
6 oz. lowfat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 eggs (yeah, I had to beat an egg and dump half.)
1 tsp. mandarin orange zest
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup mandarin orange juice

1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tbsp. mandarin orange juice
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together the wet ingredients (except the orange juice!), then gently whisk in the dry ingredients. Pour into shortening-ed and floured pan(s). Bake at 350; 20 minutes for the petits fours, and 50ish minutes for the loaf.

Let cake rest in pan for 10 minutes, then pour juice over cake. Let sit another 10 minutes, then unmold. (For petits fours: let rest for a minute or two, then unmold. Pour a scant half teaspoon juice onto each cake; let cool.)
Make the glaze and drizzle over cake(s).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lemon Blackberry Gob (Whoopie Pie)

This is a variation of the orange gob, but I like it even more! I think it's my favorite one so far. The blackberry jelly tastes delicious on the orange gob too. I probably wouldn't fill with the jelly too many days before you plan on giving it away or it might get soggy. Assuming they last that long!

Lemon Blackberry Gobs

2/3 cup shortening (crisco)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 tsp grated lemon rind
2 ¼ cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 cup lemonade concentrate mixture (1/4 cup water plus ¼ cup frozen concentrate)
1/2 cup nuts: optional

Cream the shortening and sugar. Add eggs and lemon rind, mix. combine flour salt and soda in separate bowl and mix together. Alternate adding about ⅓ of the flour mixture with ⅓ of the lemonade mixture, beating each time.

Scoop about 1 tbsp of dough onto cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 10 minutes or until edges start to turn golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Blackberry jelly: (or use store bought)

2 cups blackberries
2-3 tbsp sugar (don’t add too much, this should be a tart filling)
¼ cup corn starch
½ cup water

Dissolve the corn starch in the water and add to thicken. Boil all of the ingredients until the blackberries fall apart and the mixture thickens. Taste and add sugar if it’s too tart or lemon juice if it’s too sweet. Because it will be with the frosting you want it to be pretty tart. You can pulse in a small food processor to get a more even texture (after it’s done cooking). This is approximate, I did not measure.

Lemon Frosting:

* 2 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1/4 cup butter, softened
* 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
* 1-2 tablespoons milk

To make frosting: In large bowl, beat confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 teaspoon lemon zest until smooth. Beat in milk, and increase speed and continue to beat until light and fluffy.

To assemble: spread frosting on one cookie, jelly on the other, and put them together.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Springerle Cookies
Posted by Picasa

Whoopie! Mint Irish Car Gobs

That's right, it's an unholy alliance of mint, chocolate gob cookies (whoopie pies) and Irish car bomb cupcakes. I used Yuengling black & tan and Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder.

2 cups sugar
½ cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp peppermint extract
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
4 ½ cups flour (545g)
2 tsp soda
½ cup cocoa (41g)
1 cup dark beer heated to just boiling

Cream the shortening and sugar. Mix in wet ingredients. Mix in dry ingredients.After you have mixed all the ingredients and the batter looks like cookie batter, add 1 cup beer. It will look like cake batter. Drop dough onto cookie sheets, bake at 375 for 12 minutes

Baileys Frosting
3 to 4 cups confections sugar 345-460g
1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 to 4 tablespoons Baileys

Fill the gob sandwiches with the Baileys frosting and enjoy.

Orange Gob (Whoopie Pie)

This is my mom's orange cookie recipe and a new frosting recipe. The frosting was a bit dense as it was so I ended up adding more milk and OJ to get it creamy.

Orange Gobs

2/3 cup shortening (crisco)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 tbsp grated orange rind
2 ¼ cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 cup OJ mixture (1/4 cup frozen concentrate, 1/4 cup water)
1 cup nuts: optional

Butter Cream Frosting (this is a double recipe, probably should reduce by 1/2)
• 1 stick butter
• 4 cups confectioners' sugar
• 4 to 5 tablespoons orange juice (equal parts frozen concentrate and water)
• 1 tbsp finely grated orange peel
(I ended up adding 1/4 cup OJ mixture and 1/4 cup milk)

Cream butter; add sugar gradually, alternating with enough orange juice to make frosting the right consistency for spreading. Stir in orange peel and salt.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hard Candy

I love that it looks like ice/glass.

Hard Candy
1 cup water
3 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups corn syrup
2 envelopes unsweetened drink mix, like Koolaid or something comparable (this is optional; you can use whatever flavors/colors you like, but this is the simplest option. In the picture above, I only used a tiny drop of blue gel food coloring, since it's just for decoration)

Spray a jelly roll pan or baking pan with cooking spray; set aside. (I used a 10x14, and I wouldn't go any smaller than that.)

Combine the water, sugar, and corn syrup in a medium pot. Heat over high heat, stirring constantly until all the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a full boil over high heat and boil without stirring until temperature reaches between 305 and 310 degrees. Remove from heat and wait for the candy to stop bubbling, then add flavoring/color. Pour into prepared pan and allow to sit until cooled, anywhere from 1 hour to 4 hours.

You can either 1) break it into pieces after it's fully cooled, or 2) wait until the candy has set a bit, and score it with a knife so it breaks apart easily; or 3) pour the candy into greased/nonstick molds. I broke it apart after it was cooled since I wanted a jagged ice effect, and I'd recommend putting the sheet of candy into some sort of plastic bag before breaking it, because otherwise little pieces fly everywhere. The texture is similar to Jolly Ranchers, but maybe a little less sticky; you'll need to wrap each piece individually, or they'll stick. (Some people coat the candy pieces with powdered sugar, which also keeps them from sticking, but I prefer to see the candy in its totally clear, glassy form.)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chicken and Rice Soup

Chicken and Rice Soup
(note: mine was a little fattier than I normally like. To avoid this, either 1) use boxed chicken stock, or 2) make your stock, chill it overnight, then skim off the solidified fat before using for soup. I ran out of time to do the latter.)
So, okay, soup:
1 Sam's Club rotisserie chicken, stripped of all the meat (save the bones and skin for stock!!!)
3 tbsp. olive oil
2 carrots, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
all of the green leafy goodness from the center of a bunch of celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup flour
5 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked white rice
1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup, optional
Heat the olive oil in a large pot, then add the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic. Sweat for about 15 minutes. Stir in the flour, and cook for another minute.
Stir in the stock and water; bring mixture to a boil. Add rice, reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until rice is tender.
Remove from heat. Stir in chopped chicken and, if using, cream of chicken soup. Heat through and serve.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gobs (aka whoopie pie, moon pie)

Gobs (aka whoopie pie, moon pie), originally uploaded by queenofthemoodswingset2.

This is mom's Gobs recipe. I am working on a substitute for the frosting, because of the raw eggs. This is also delicious with 1 tsp of Bailey's instead of vanilla.

Gobs (pennsylvania dutch recipe)
yield 5 doz.

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp van
2 eggs
1 cup sour milk
4 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp soda
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup boiling water

Cream the crisco and sugar. Mix in wet ingredients. Mix in dry ingredients.

After you have mixed all the ingredients and the batter looks like cookie batter,
add 1 cup boiling water. It will look like cake batter. Drop dough onto cookie sheets.

bake at 375 for 12 minutes

4 tbsp water
9 tbsp sugar (1/2 cup plus tbsp)
boil it cool it

blend 1 1/3 cup Crisco
1 box powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Beat all the ingredients together until icing consistency.

this makes a lot of icing, you can multiply the cookies by 1 1/2 to match the icing.

easy chicken pot pie

I like a higher proportion of filling to crust so I only do a top crust, obviously you can add a bottom crust if you want.

Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

3-4 large chicken breasts chopped into bite sized pieces
3 tbsp. butter
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 lb. frozen peas and carrots

1 pie crust (I just buy them)

Heat/melt the butter/oil over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and chicken, cook until chicken is cooked through. whisk flour and milk together to avoid lumps and add. Add chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, thyme, and basil. Cook and stir constantly for about 6-8 minutes, or until mixture is thickened.

Stir in the vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Dump into glass pie pan; top with a pie crust. Brush it with an egg wash (1 beaten egg and 1 tbsp. water).

Bake at 425 degrees for 45 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Invisible Au Gratin Potatoes

Christmas has officially vomited all over the house, and some of it has gotten on the animals, too.

I'm about to post a recipe, and you may notice the lack of accompanying photo. That is because 1) one of us forgot to take the foil off to let it brown nicely, so it was ugly and unappetizing-looking; and 2) because we almost ate it all before I had a chance to decide I wasn't taking a photo.
So make this. Just, for the love of Mike, remember to take the foil off.

Cheesy Au Gratin Potatoes

Cheese sauce:
3 tbsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups half and half
A few good handfuls of cheese (maybe 2 1/2 cups? as much as you want. I doubt you could use too much.)
Salt, pepper, and hot sauce to taste

4-6 russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
1 medium onion, sliced thinly (use less if it's a super-funky one)
Salt and pepper

To make the cheese sauce: Melt the butter and whisk in the flour; cook for a minute. Add milk and half and half; whisk and stir over high heat until thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in cheese. Season with salt, pepper, and hot sauce; set aside.

Spray a 1-quart baking dish with nonstick spray. Lay half of the potato slices in the bottom, and top with half of the onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then repeat with remaining potato and onion. Top with cheese sauce.
Cover tightly with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. REMOVE FOIL, everyone, and bake for another 30 minutes.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pork Chop... Stuff.

Not the most glam photo, but dang, this was good. It all started because I didn't have enough cream of mushroom soup. So you could probably just use 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup, some milk, and seasoning if you wanted. But I was bored.

All of these measurements are approximate.

6 center-cut pork chops
No-Salt Seasoning (from the previous post, about 1 1/2 tablespoons total, divided)
Olive oil and butter
about 2 tbsp. flour
about 2 cups milk
1/4 cup sherry
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 box Stovetop stuffing, unprepared
6 slices provolone cheese

Sprinkle the seasoning over the chops and rub it in, then brown them over high heat for about 1 minute per side (just long enough to get brown bits on the bottom of the pan - don't cook them through). Remove to a large baking dish.

Add butter to skillet, if necessary, to make about 2 tbsp. fat. Stir in flour and seasoning and cook for 1 minute. Stir in milk and sherry and cook, whisking, until thick. Whisk in cream of mushroom soup; stir in enough milk or water that the sauce isn't super-thick - you want the consistency of heavy cream - then remove about 1 1/2 cups of the sauce.

Stir dry stuffing mix into remaining sauce. Mound on top of each chop, top with a slice of cheese, then top with extra sauce. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No-Salt Seasoning (with salt)

Adapted from It's seriously good, even without salt, but I added salt to it. Definitely a keeper.

5 tablespoons onion powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon dry mustard
3 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
scant teaspoon ground celery seed
generous 1/2 teaspoon table or popcorn salt (more if using kosher salt)

Combine everything and store in a tightly-sealed jar. Rub on chicken, pork, or beef before cooking, or use as a table seasoning.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Roast Brined Turkey with Garlic Herb Butter

My favorite Thanksgiving leftovers in the world can be found on Robinswood Court in Lakeland, FL. Which makes me chuckle, since The Chef at said address has a totally different cooking style than I do. I'm herb-crazy; she is not. But her turkey is always awesome, and her stuffing is my favorite stuffing in the entire universe.

Turkey, though, is just one of those things: my own is my favorite, because I make it how I like it. Individual tastes always win turkey wars, I think. So this is how I make it.

Turkey Brine and Garlic Herb Butter
1 13-pound turkey, thawed
1 large, clean bucket (I used a clean trash can)
1 gallon apple juice
1 1/2 cups kosher salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 large sprig rosemary
4-5 thick sprigs thyme
1 gallon ice water
1/2 gallon's worth of ice cubes

Garlic Herb Butter
1 stick butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and pepper

To brine turkey: Pour some of the apple juice into a medium pot - maybe 4 or 5 cups. Add the salt, sugar, rosemary, and thyme. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes, until salt and sugar are dissolved and herbs are fragrant. Remove from heat and add water and ice cubes; let stand, stirring occasionally, until mixture is cool (add more ice if necessary). Submerge the turkey breast-side down, filling cavity with brine. Let brine for at least 8 hours (overnight).

The next morning, remove turkey from brine and discard brine. Rinse turkey all over, including cavity. Pat the outside dry with paper towels. Let the turkey dry, uncovered, in the fridge for a few hours to let the skin dry, otherwise the skin won't be as crisp. (I let it sit in the fridge for a day, uncovered).

When ready to roast, preheat oven to 350. Separate the turkey skin from the meat, then stuff butter under skin. Coat the outside of the turkey with remaining butter. Roast for 2 1/2 hours, or until internal thigh temperature reaches 160 degrees (it'll coast to a higher temp outside the oven).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin

Everyone needs one of these. Even though Thanksgiving and Halloween, the traditional punkin-using holidays, are now over, you should still make this. I don't care if you make it in a Christmas ornament: just make it.

Roasted Pumpkin with Cheese Fondue, adapted from

1 sugar or pie pumpkin (mine was 4.5 pounds)
4 ounces gruyere (I used smoked)
4 ounces emmentaler swiss
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chardonnay
1 1/2 tsp. honey
A few pinches or grates of nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1 smallish baguette, sliced
Vegetable or canola oil

Cut the top off of the pumpkin and scrape out the innards. This is a pain in the butt.

Toss the cheeses with the thyme in a bowl. In a large measuring cup, or a bowl with a spout, combine the cream, milk, wine, honey, nutmeg, and salt.

Lay a few baguette slices in a single layer inside the pumpkin. Top with some of the cheese mixture, then pour on some of the cream mixture. Repeat this until all of your ingredients are used up.

Pop the top back on the pumpkin, place the pumpkin in an oven-safe dish of some kind, and coat the outside liberally with oil.

Roast at 375 degrees for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the pumpkin is tender all over. Let it stand for about 15 minutes before messing around with it.

Serve it with toast rounds, raw veggies, crackers, or whatever. We thought it was particularly good with Rosemary and Olive Oil Triscuits. Just make sure to get a wad of pumpkin with each bite.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Afternoon Delight

Red velvet cuppies...

... and a little boy who was very happy to see his mama this weekend.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie, originally uploaded by queenofthemoodswingset2.

I do not like the pecan pies that only have whole pecans because you get bites with no pecan, so I add a 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.

Pecan Pie

1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 heaping cup pecan halves
1/2 cup pecans chopped
1 pie shell, unbaked, 9-inch

Combine corn syrup, brown sugar, salt, butter, and vanilla. Add slightly beaten eggs and blend well; stir in pecans. Pour into the unbaked pie shell. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 45 minutes, or until set. Cool pecan pie and serve with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

French Onion Soup

French Onion Soup

2 white or yellow onions, sliced thin
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp white wine approx.
½ tsp sugar
1 tbsp flour
4 cups beef broth (or 4 cups water with 1 bullion cube)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 cup mozz cheese
½ cup parmesan
½ cup asiago cheese
Stale sourdough bread, cubed

Cook the onions with the butter on medium low heat for 10-20 minutes (should caramelize and turn a golden color). Add the white wine, sugar, and cook a few more minutes.

Whisk the flour in with the broth so it doesn't clump and pour the broth mixture in, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 10-15 minutes (more if you feel like it, but I was hungry).

Pour the soup into small oven safe dishes and put the bread on top of the soup, cover with the cheeses and either bake at 400* until the cheese browns, or broil it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Captive Fraggle

Saturday, November 13, 2010

finger foodsies

Crappy photo of fun finger foodies.. I was tryin' on my fancy pants...

1. Spanish tortilla bite with sundried tomato/red pepper/manchego pesto

3. Bourbon bacon apple tarts with bourbon whipped cream (adapted from

Spanish Tortilla Bites

3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 can new potatoes, drained, sliced, and blotted dry with paper towels (otherwise the oil splatters and ouchie)
2 slices deli sandwich ham, finely chopped (unless they're really small/thin; then you might want to double up)
5 eggs
2 tbsp. water
3/4 tsp. salt
fresh black pepper
1/4 cup jarred roasted red pepper, chopped finely
1 cup cheddar cheese

Heat oil in a skillet, then add pepper, onion, and potatoes. Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until veggies caramelize, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and spread evenly in a greased small pan (I used an 8x10). Sprinkle with ham.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, water, salt and pepper. Stir in cheese and pepper. Pour evenly over onion mixture, redistributing cheese if necessary. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, until edges are set and middle is soft, and a knife inserted in edges comes out dry, but a knife inserted in center comes out wet. Allow to cool to room temperature, then chill for at least 3 hours or overnight before cutting into however many rounds/squares/wedges you want.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Double Chocolate Layer Cake

This week has been brought to you by the letter "F," as in "I need to find a FREAKIN chocolate cake recipe that I'm happy with, dangit."

This is a great one. Baked it about two hours ago and just tasted it about ten minutes ago.

This might just be a personal preference thing, but I like to let chocolate baked goods rest overnight before really evaluating their flavor - they're always a little flat to me when fresh out of the oven. So even though I found the flavor of this to be almost a tiny bit flat, I'll reserve judgment until tomorrow; I'm sure it'll develop overnight. The texture is just plain dreamy - dense, heavy, still fluffy, and so moist. I love that the cake is almost black in color.

A gripe: As you can probably see from the second picture, the middle sank a bit. The recipe says to bake at 300 degrees for an hour or a little more. Mine actually took closer to 1:25 to bake. It may have been the oven, though. Either way: still yum. I think. Awaiting a verdict....*

Double Chocolate Layer Cake

(I halved the recipe for testing purposes.. worked great. Half of this recipe makes a LOT of cake.. probably would've worked out to around 18 cupcakes.)

3 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups hot coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (tempted to use a high-end, but too broke to justify it; used Hershey's Special Dark - RECOMMEND RECOMMEND!!)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease and lay parchment in the bottoms of two 9-inch round pans. (This is a sticky cake; definitely use the parchment.)

Stir the chocolate into the coffee until melted; set aside.

Sift dry ingredients together; set aside.

Beat the eggs until thick and lemon-colored, around 5 minutes. Combine oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and coffee/chocolate mixture; beat slowly into egg mixture. Add dry ingredients all at once and mix until barely not lumpy. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 1 hour - 1 hour 10 minutes.

Cool completely in pan.

(I didn't make the ganache frosting included with the recipe. Unless you're a major chocolate lover, I suspect the richness of the cake and ganache together would be way too much; it kind of makes me gaggy to think about it. But then, I am not a major chocolate lover.)

*Verdict: WIN. Keeper.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

127 Irish Car Bombs

My piping hand is tired!
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Veggie Beef Soup and Sweet Skillet Cornbread

I don't care what anyone says: Sweet cornbread is food. Savory cornbread is ew.

The soup really isn't this thick; this was cold leftovers in a bowl for the sake of photography. Viva el arte.

Veggie Beef Soup (adapted from, well, me)

1 lb. stew beef, cut in 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
2 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup red wine
4 cups beef broth
1 cup water
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes seasoned with oregano, garlic, and basil, undrained
1 16 oz. bag frozen mixed vegetables
Salt and pepper

Dredge beef in flour, salt, and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. In three batches, brown the meat in the olive oil (just long enough to brown the outside; they don't have to be cooked through). Remove meat to a bowl; set aside.

Add additional olive oil to pot, if necessary. Sweat onion and celery in pot for about 5 minutes, stirring to get brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Stir in 2 tbsp. of the seasoned flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in wine, beef broth, water, tomatoes, beef, and vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cornbread (little bits of about 5 different recipes)
1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
3 tbsp. dark brown sugar (light works, too)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 tbsp. lemon juice/vinegar with enough milk to make 1 cup)
4 tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9-inch or 10-inch cast iron skillet.

Whisk together all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and buttermilk; barely stir into the dry ingredients. Add melted butter and stir gently just until combined. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.