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Friday, November 23, 2012

Roast a Perfect Turkey at 200*F. Overnight

Well, looks like I ran out of storage on blogger. I'll still post here, without photos, but I'm moving http://mygingerbreadmen.wordpress.com/  
Where my photo tutorials can be visible.

I started using Reynolds oven bags, for my turkeys, not long after they appeared, on the grocer's shelves. I was hooked immediately. Tender, juicy, and flavorful, the best roasted turkey, I ever tasted. There is no need for seasonings, or butter. Just stuff it, and pop it in a bag. If that wasn't enough, to sell me, I also wound up with a lot more, of turkey's rich broth, still in the bag, to make, The Best, noodles, and gravy.
Then, about 10 years ago, a friend told me, she bakes her turkeys at 200*F. overnight, and wakes in the morning, to a fully cooked turkey. I was a bit skeptical, at first, but I crossed my finger's, and gave it a try. Perfect!
Plus at that temperature, you don't have to worry about it burning, it could probably stay in the oven, for several more hours.
Now I have plenty of room, to bake the ham, breads, and sides, and have dinner ready before noon.
If you're like me, and cook for a humongous family. This is a life-saver! After I have been baking, all week, I'm ready to get this over with.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chewy Brownies

Chewy Brownies

These are so good! But the recipe makes a lot. I only make brownies when I have a crowd to feed. I'm guessing, you could halve this, But I haven't tried it.
I've tried using butter, instead of oil, but they don't turn out as well.

Ingredients:
1cup flour
3cups sugar
1cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1tsp. baking powder
1tsp. salt
4eggs
2tsp. vanilla
1cup vegetable oil (I use corn oil)

Preheat the oven to 350*F.
Thoroughly whisk together the dry ingredients. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla.
Pour the egg mixture, into the cocoa mixture. Combine, using a fork, until no longer dry. Don't overmix.
Pour into a greased 11x15x2 baking pan.
Bake until the center is set, about 40-minutes.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Peppermint Thumbprints

Peppermint Thumbprints



My first cookie experiment, of the Holidays. I was looking for a way to make a soft, cake-like peppermint cookie. The flavor is great, with a soft, almost marshmallow-like texture, but the shape is not really uniform. Maybe I'll try these again, near Christmas, and pipe the cookie dough, for a better shape.

Cookie ingredients:
1/2cup strong coffee-cooled
2tsp. molasses
1tsp. vanilla
1egg
1-3/4cups flour
1/4cup dark chocolate cocoa
1/2tsp. baking soda
1/4tsp. salt
1/4cup brown sugar
4Tbl. cold butter

Peppermint layer:
1cup confectioners sugar
1tsp. mint extract
2Tbl. light corn syrup

You'll also need:
1cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350*F.
Combine the ingredients, for the mint layer, stir or knead until smooth. Set aside.
For the cookies, whisk together the coffee, molasses, vanilla, and egg. Set aside.
Whisk together, the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter, working it in with your fingers, until there are no more large particles.
Stir the coffee mixture, into the flour mixture, until well combined.
Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Spoon dough, 1-teaspoon at a time, 2-inches apart.
Bake about 7-minutes, or until just set. Immediately, press the center of the cookie, with a spoon, or your finger, to make a depression, for the mint layer.
While still warm, roll 1/2-inch ball, of the mint mixture, and press it into the center of the cookie. Set aside to cool.
Melt the chocolate, in the microwave, until melted and smooth.
Dip the top of the cooled cookies into the chocolate, and set aside, to harden.
Makes 3 dozen.

Roll the mint mixture, into 1/2-inch balls, while the cookie is baking. While the cookie is still warm, press a depression, into the center, then set one of the mint balls, in the depression. Flatten the mint layer. Cool completely.

After they have cooled, dip the top of the cookie, in melted dark chocolate. Cool until the chocolate hardens.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Milan Cookies/ Lengua de Gato

Milan Cookies

I finally found a great recipe for Lengua de Gato, or 'Cat's Tongues' over at Panlasang Pinoy's site.
They worked perfectly, for Milan cookies. They were not as much of a pain, as I thought they would be, and they turned out even better than, Pepperidge Farms.
It's really important, for the ingredients to be well incorporated, after each addition. This requires the dough to be beaten, for longer periods.

1/2cup softened butter
1/2cup sugar
2egg whites
1/2tsp. vanilla
1/4tsp. salt
1cup flour

Filling:
1/4cup milk chocolate chips
1/2tsp. shortening
1/4cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 375*F.
Beat the butter, until fluffy.
Gradually add the sugar, and beat 2-minutes.
Add the egg whites and beat 3-minutes.
Beat in the salt and vanilla.
Gradually add the flour, and beat 3-minutes more.
Line baking sheets with parchment.
Using a decorating bag, fitted with a large round tip, pipe 2-1/2 to 3-inch lengths of the dough, for each cookie.
Bake 8 to10-minutes, or until they are set, and just beginning to brown.
Slide the parchment onto a surface, to cool completely.

Pulse the walnuts, in a spice grinder, or food processor, until they are finely chopped. Set aside.
Heat the chocolate and shortening, in a small bowl, in a microwave, until melted, and smooth.
Using the back of a teaspoon, spread a layer of chocolate on the bottom  of one cookie. Dip the chocolate side, into the chopped nuts, set aside.
Spread a layer of chocolate, onto another cookie, and top the first one with it. Press gently.
Repeat for the rest of the cookies. This made 2-1/2 dozen sandwiches. But that will vary, depending on the size you make them.

Process the walnuts, until they are very fine.
You need a large decorating tip, The largest I had, was a Wilton # 199 open star tip. They still came out smooth.
Bake until the edges, are just beginning to color. Immediately slide the parchment, onto a surface to cool.
Coat with chocolate and walnuts.




Sunday, November 11, 2012

Shortbread- Scottish, Irish and English Variations

Shortbread is my #1 favorite cookie. I think it's the simplicity of it, with it's crumbly texture, and delicately sweet, buttery flavor.
Shortbread has a long history, dating back to the 12th century. They are very simple to make, from just a few ingredients, But are baked at a lower temperature, over a longer period, to avoid browning. So they are a little more time consuming, but very worth it. I rarely make these, because I cannot leave them alone. I really can't decide which variety, I prefer. They are all wonderful.



Scottish Shortbread
To make true Scottish shortbread, it must be, one part sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour, and nothing else. But I like to add, just a little salt.
1/2cup sugar
1-1/2cups flour
1/8tsp. salt
1cup butter

Preheat the oven to 300*F
Whisk together, the dry ingredients. First, cut in the butter, then work it through with your fingers, until it's well incorporated. Gather the dough into a ball.
Line baking sheets with parchment.
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, place 2-3inches apart, on the cookie sheet. flatten slightly, and pierce the tops with a fork.
Bake 45-minutes, or until the are set, and just lightly browning. Slide the parchment onto a surface to cool.
Makes about 2-1/2 dozen.


Irish Shortbread

Irish shortbread, replaces some of the flour, with cornstarch and adds vanilla. It's slightly less grainy, than Scottish shortbread. I found this recipe at  David Lebovitz site. His recipe called for sea salt, but I used table salt, and halved the amount.

1-1/4cups flour
1/2cup cornstarch
1/8tsp.salt
1/2cup sugar
1tsp vanilla
1cup cold butter

Preheat the oven to 300*F.
Whisk together the dry ingredients. Whisk in the vanilla.
First, cut in the butter, then work it through with your fingers, until it's well incorporated. Gather the dough into a ball.
Line baking sheets with parchment.
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, place 2-3inches apart, on the cookie sheet. flatten slightly, and pierce the tops with a fork.
Bake 45-minutes, or until the are set, and just lightly browning. Slide the parchment onto a surface to cool.
Makes about 3-1/2dozen.


English Shortbread
English shortbread, increases the amount of flour, replaces the sugar, with confectioner's sugar, and adds a little baking powder. This creates a smoother, less grainy texture.

1cup softened butter
1/2cup confectioner's sugar
2cups flour
1/4tsp. baking powder
1/4tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 300*F.
Whisk together, flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Beat the butter, until creamy. Beat in the sugar. Add the flour mixture, and beat until well incorporated. Gather the dough into a ball.
Line baking sheets with parchment.
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls, place 2-3inches apart, on the cookie sheet. flatten slightly, and pierce the tops with a fork.
Bake 45-minutes, or until the are set, and just lightly browning. Slide the parchment onto a surface to cool.
Makes about 3-1/2dozen.



Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Works-Cookie

The Works-Cookie

This has become a favorite Holiday cookie.
It's an altered- Nestles Tollhouse cookie recipe.
It used to be, the chocolate chip cookies were the first to go, until I started making these.

Ingredients:
2-1/4cups flour
1tsp. baking soda
1/2tsp. salt
1cup softened butter
3Tbl. peanut butter
1-1/2cups brown sugar
2eggs
1-1/2tsp. vanilla
1cup raisins
1/2cup chopped nuts
1cup old fashioned oats
12oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Whisk together, the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a larger bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter and sugar. Beat until fluffy.
Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until well combined.
Add the flour mixture, a little at a time, and beat to combine.
Stir in the raisins, nuts, oats, and chocolate chips.
Drop by the tablespoon, 2-inches apart, on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake until they are set, and just beginning to brown.
Cool a few minutes, then remove them from the pan, and cool completely.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Turkish Delight Biscotti

Turkish Delight Biscotti

Turkish delight candy, is a bit too sweet for me, but I love its combination, of honey-almond-rose-vanilla... sheer poetry.
This biscotti captures it nicely, without being overly sweet.
The smell of these baking, is heavenly.

Ingredients:
1/2cup sliced almonds-toasted and chopped
1/2cup dried cherries-chopped
2cups flour
1/2cup sugar
1-1/2tsp. baking powder
1/8tsp. salt
2eggs
1/4cup honey
2Tbl. melted butter
1tsp. almond extract
1Tbl. rosewater
1/2tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350*F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a larger bowl, add the eggs, honey, melted butter, and flavorings. Beat, with an electric mixer, until well combined.
Stir in the cherries and almond. The dough will be very soft.
Spoon the dough, onto the lined baking sheet, into a 2-inch wide log, and shape it with wet hands, to make it uniform.
Bake until golden, about 30-minutes. Don't turn the oven off.
Cool a few minutes, then pick up the parchment, and move the loaf to a wire rack.Cool completely, about 20-30 minutes.
Using a serrated knife, cut the loaf into 1/2-inch slices.
Place them back on the cookie sheet-no parchment.
Bake until they are beginning to brown slightly, 10-minutes, the time will vary.
They brown from the bottom, so you'll need to, flip them over, and bake an additional 5-minutes, or are beginning to brown, on the bottom. Cool completely. Makes about 22 Biscotti.
Try these with a cup of  Rose-water Tea.

Shape the dough, into an elongated loaf. Shape it as narrow or wide as you like, the dough will spread out somewhat.
Bake until the loaf is lightly browned. Cool completely.
Cut into 1/2-inch slices, and bake until they are just beginning to color. They brown from the bottom, so when you flip them over...(next photo}
You'll see they are a nice golden brown, bake until the other side has browned. Remove them from the baking pan, and cool completely.



Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Shanghai Stir-Fry Sauce

Shanghai Stir-Fry Sauce

I make a lot of stir fry. Mostly because we love them, but they're also quick to throw together, and a great way to incorporate lots of vegetables, in our diet.
A while back, I tried a recipe for Shanghai braised pork, that had a wonderful braising sauce, but it took a while to prepare. So, I came up with a stir-fry sauce, that reflects the flavor. I think next time, I'll reduce it a bit more, to about 1/4-cup.
Love it! Make the sauce the day before, and you can put a stir-fry together, quickly. I think this would be great with beef too.

Ingredients:
peel of 1 orange- removed with a vegetable peeler
1/8tsp ground star anise or 1 pod
1/4tsp. cinnamon
1/8tsp. ground cumin
1 crushed bird chili
1/4cup rice wine
1Tbl. rice vinegar
1-1/2cups water with 1tsp chicken base dissolved in it
2Tbl. soy sauce
1/4cup brown sugar
2Tbl. molasses
2 chopped green onions
1tsp. minced garlic
1/4tsp pureed ginger
1/2tsp. salt
1/4tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients, in a saucepan. Simmer on lowest flame, until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4-cup.40-45 minutes. Cool completely, and strain.
Stir in 1Tbl. cornstarch, before adding it, to a stir-fry.




 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cheesy Tuna ala King on Toast

Cheesy Tuna ala King on Toast

Mom made, creamed tuna on toast, occasionally. It was a fairly popular dish, back in the 60's, but fell out of favor, I guess. It was pretty good, but needed a little work.
In my house, it evolved, an alfredo-like sauce, with vegetables, like 'chicken ala king', another popular dish, from the 60's. I love it on toast, but it's great on biscuits, or served with noodles too.


Ingredients:
1Tbl. oil
1 red bell pepper-diced
8oz. fresh mushrooms -chopped
2ribs celery-chopped
1 onion-diced
2tsp. minced garlic
1 can evaporated milk
4 cans of tuna-drained
1tsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup processed cheese (like velveeta) cubed
1/4cup grated Parmesan cheese
can of sweet peas- drained

Heat the oil, in a 3quart pan. Add the bell pepper, mushrooms, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are tender.
Add everything, except the peas to the pan, and bring to a boil, stirring.
Add the peas, and allow to cook until it thickens, somewhat.
Serve on toast points.


Shortcut Beef Bourguignon

Shortcut Beef Bourguignon

This is a stove-top version, of Julia Child's famous dish. It's a little faster, but still, fairly time consuming. It's worth it.
My son Aaron, loves this. He once said " This is so good, it makes you wonder, what else is out there" It's comments like these, that keeps me, trying classic recipe's.

For the Beef:
2lbs. sirloin-cubed
3Tbl. flour
4slices of bacon-cut into lardons
1 onion-sliced
2Tbl. oil
2cups robust red wine- like burgundy, pinot noir
2cups beef broth
1Tbl. tomato paste
1/2tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2tsp. salt
1/4tsp. pepper

For the vegetables:
1 potato per person-cubed
8 to 16oz. fresh mushrooms-quartered
1 onion-sliced 
1tsp. oil
1slice of bacon-chopped
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of thyme
4Tbl. of sauce from the cooked beef.

Coat the beef with the flour, set aside.
Fry the bacon,in a 4quart pot, until crisp.
Reserving  the drippings, remove the bacon, and set aside.
Heat the bacon drippings, caramelize the onion in it.
With a slotted spoon, add the onion, to the bowl of bacon, reserving the pan drippings.
Add 2Tbl. oil to the pan, and heat on a high flame until very hot.
Brown the beef, a little at a time, and add them to the bacon and onion.
Deglaze the pan with 1cup of the wine, scraping the bottom, as you simmer, a few minutes.
Add the remaining cup of wine, the broth, tomato paste, herbs, the reserved beef, onion, and bacon.
Cook on high, until the liquid reduces to a semi-thick sauce.

While the beef is cooking, boil the potatoes, until they are just beginning to soften. Drain and chill them, with cold water. (as if making potato salad) drain.
In a skillet, fry the bacon and onion, over a low flame, until the onion has browned.
Add the mushrooms, and cook until they sweat.
Add the potatoes, and all other vegetable ingredients, and cook, gently stirring, until heated through.




Toss the beef, in the flour, and set aside.
Fry the bacon, until crisp. Remove it with a slotted spoon, and set aside.

Caramelize the onions, in the bacon drippings. Remove with a slotted spoon, and add to the bacon.

Add 2Tbl of oil to the drippings, brown the beef, a little at a time, remove it from the pan, and add it to the bacon and onion.

You'll have a lot of browned flour, and drippings, in the bottom of the pan, but that's a good thing.

Add 1-cup of the wine, and cook on a high flame, for a few minutes, while scraping the bottom of the pan, to loosen. Add all other beef ingredients, and cook on high heat, until it reduces to a semi-thick sauce.








For the vegetables: boil the potatoes, until they are just beginning to soften. Drain, and run cold water over them, until cold. Drain and set aside.

In a skillet, add the bacon and onions, brown the onion, over a low flame. Add the mushrooms, and cook until they sweat.
Add the potatoes, and all other vegetable ingredients. Heat until cooked through.





Monday, November 5, 2012

Spicy Jambalaya with Andouille, Shrimp and Bacon

 Spicy Jambalaya


I did a little research on this dish, and found my version, is a hybrid between, Creole and Cajun Jambalaya. The use of a roux, and shrimp, is a Cajun influence... The use of tomatoes, is strictly Creole.
The name of the dish, comes from the French word jambalaia, a word used for pilaf of rice, which is, in turn, derived from, Spanish paella.
To make my husband (The chili-head) happy, I use jalapeno, in place of green bell pepper, and add a little hot sauce to the mix, further corrupting this dish. But the end result, is a dish, my family is absolutely crazy about.

Ingredients:
3 strips of bacon-chopped
2Tbl. flour
2Tbl. dry white wine - I use Pinot Grigio
2 ribs of celery- chopped
4 jalapenos- chopped
1 onion-diced
2tsp. minced garlic
29oz. can of petite diced tomatoes
2cups chicken broth
1Tbl. tomato paste
1Tbl. sriracha  or any hot sauce
1/2tsp. oregano
1/2tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf
1lb. Andouille sausage-sliced
1lb. raw peeled shrimp-whole or chopped
3-4cups cooked rice

Fry the bacon, in a 4-quart pot, until crisp.
Stir the flour into the bacon drippings, and cook until the roux, becomes golden brown.
De-glaze the pan with a little white wine. Cook about 1-minute, scraping the pan.
Add the celery, jalapeno, onion, and garlic, to the roux, and cook a few minutes, until the onion softens, a bit.
Add all other ingredients, except the rice, to the pot, and cook on high heat, until it reduces to a semi-thick sauce. About 30-minutes. I don't usually cook shrimp, this long, but it lends a great flavor, to the broth.
Turn the burner off, and add the rice. Serve. I think this is even better, the next day.

Cook the roux, to a deep golden brown, then saute the vegetables in it.
Add everything, except the rice, and cook until it becomes a semi-thick sauce. Add the rice and serve.




Saturday, November 3, 2012

Red wine- Beef Stroganoff with Fideo

Red wine- Beef Stroganoff with Fideo

I love the addition of red wine in this sauce, it really compliments the other ingredients.
I don't really care for packaged egg noodles, so I try a different pasta, every time I make this dish, trying to find the perfect one. Still looking.

Ingredients:
2lbs. sirloin-sliced very thin
2tbl. oil
1 onion- diced
2tsp. minced garlic
8oz. fresh mushrooms- thin sliced- then cut
1/2cup dry red wine-like merlot or pinot noir
1/4tsp. black pepper
1tsp. salt
2cups beef broth
2Tbl. prepared mustard
2cups sour cream
1Tbl. cornstarch
1-1/2lbs. cooked pasta

Heat the oil, over a high flame, in a 4-quart pot.Add the onion and garlic, saute 1-2minutes.
Add the beef, and cook until it's a little browned, about 5-minutes.
Remove the beef from the pot, set aside.
Add the mushrooms to the pot, and cook in the pan juices, until they sweat.
Add the wine, salt, and pepper, cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Add the beef, back to the pot, along with the beef broth and mustard. Stir to combine.
Cook over a high flame, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes.
This is when I start cooking the pasta.
Stir together the sour cream and cornstarch, and add it to the pot. Mix to combine.
Turn off the burner, and add the cooked pasta. Serve Hot.



It's easier to thin slice, if it's partially frozen.

Heat the oil, in a 4quart pot. Add the garlic and onion, saute 1-minute. Add the beef, and brown a few minutes.
Remove the beef, from the pan. Add the mushrooms, to the pan, and cook in the pan drippings, until they sweat.
Add the wine, salt, and pepper. Cook until most of the wine has evaporated.
Add the beef, back to the pot, along with the beef broth, and mustard.
Cook on a high flame, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Stir together, the sour cream and cornstarch.
Add it to the sauce. Stir to combine. turn off the heat, and add the cooked pasta. Serve hot.




Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pull-Apart Brioche


Eric, over at Happy valley chow, posted this beautiful photo, of a braided brioche, he made. I've made only one attempt, to make brioche, from one of Michel Roux's recipes, with disastrous results. (I'm always botching Chef Roux's recipes, lol) I decided to give Eric's recipe a try... one word... Euphoria! Thank you Eric!!!

This has such a delicate, buttery texture. I made this to go with Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, but skipped dinner and ate a few of these instead.
Ingredients:
1 packet of dry yeast
1/3cup very warm water
2-1/3cups cake flour
2cups all-purpose flour
1/3cup sugar
2-1/2tsp. fine sea salt
6 large eggs- room temperature
20Tbl. (2-1/2 sticks) real butter- cut into cubes and brought to room temperature

Preparation:
Dissolve the yeast, in the water. let stand 15-minutes.
Whisk together, the flours, salt and sugar, in a large bowl.
Using a mixer, fitted with dough hooks, add the eggs and yeast mixture to the flour, and and mix about 5 minutes, until well combined.
Add the butter (1/4 at a time) Beating 1-minute after each addition.
After the final addition, beat 10-minutes, until smooth.
Cover and let rise until double, about 3-hours.
Turn the dough out, onto a lightly floured surface, and knead out the air bubbles. (this dough is very soft, I cheated, and stirred it down)
Return the dough, to a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day:
Heavily butter two loaf pans.
On a floured surface, with floured hands, divide the dough, into 16-equal pieces, and shape them into balls.
Place eight pieces, in each loaf pan, and let rise 1-hour.
Preheat the oven to 350*F.
Beat an egg, and lightly brush the tops of the dough.
Bake about 40-minutes, or until browned.

Add the eggs, and yeast mixture, to the flour mixture. Beat 5-minutes.
Add the butter (1/4 at a time)Beating 1-minute, after each addition.
After all of the butter has been added. Beat an additional 10-minutes, until smooth.
Cover and let rise, 3-hours. Turn onto a floured surface, and knead out the air bubbles. Cover, and refrigerate overnight.
Shape into 16-equal pieces, and place into 2 heavily oiled loaf pans, let rise 1-hour.

Bake about 40-minutes. Remove them from the pan, and cool.