Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving, 2010

This Thanksgiving the dinner was a bit smaller….just the hubby, the daughter, and her boyfriend….and the kitty.

Nice and quiet.

The dinner menu is given below with links in parentheses if you want to see the recipe.

Roasted Turkey (Recipe here)

Dressing (Recipe here) and Giblet Gravy
Loaded Garlic Smashed Potatoes (Recipe here)

Macaroni and Cheese (Recipe here)

Broccoli Casserole (Recipe here)

Green Beans
Francis Coppola Chardonnay (See website here)


Crescent Rolls
...and for dessert

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (Recipe here)

We were all kinda sleepy afterwards including the cat.

But there was time for football, of course....

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Roast Turkey

…this recipe is courtesy of Alton Brown and also featured in Food Network Magazine


1 (14-16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine….

1 cup kosher salt
½ cup light brown sugar
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
1 ½ teaspoons allspice berries
1 ½ teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics……

1 red apple, sliced
½ onion, sliced
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil


2-3 days before roasting begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you would like to eat….Combine the brine, water and ice in a 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8-16 hours turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and one cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for five minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey’s cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil

Roast the turkey on the lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into the thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Set the thermometer alarm to 161 degrees. A 14-16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 ½ hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.

Cornbread Dressing

1 large cake of cornbread, crumbled

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 bunch celery, chopped

6 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

1 teaspoon rubbed sage

2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth

2 cups turkey stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine and crumble cornbread, onion, garlic, celery and eggs. Gently stir. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and sage.

***At this point we added some diced Poblano peppers to the recipe…..along with some diced Cornish Game Hen we had boiled.

Add the chicken and turkey broth 1 cup at a time until the cornbread becomes moist but not wet.

Place stuffing into a dutch oven or loosely pack into a turkey. Bake 1 hour or until stuffing reaches a temperature of 175 degrees.

Serves 7

Broccoli Casserole

I have lost the exact copy of this recipe so this written totally from memory.

Fill a 2-quart pan nearly full with water and a sprinkle or two of salt. Bring the water to a boil. Using a full crown of broccoli chop it up along with one medium sized onion. Add the broccoli and onion to the boiling water and cook till tender. Drain.

In a medium sized pan melt 3-4 Tablespoons butter and add 2-3 Tablespoons all purpose flour. Stir and allow the flour and butter to form a roux.

Add in 1 cup milk and stir constantly with wire whisk. Add a small brick of cream cheese. Stir mixture until cream cheese melts. Mix well. Combine cream cheese mixture with broccoli and onion and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Mix till the shredded cheese melts.

Sprinkle the bottom of a casserole dish with ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese. Pour broccoli mixture over the cheese.

Place the casserole in a 350 degree oven until the mixture begins to bubble around the edges.

Loaded Garlic Smashed Potatoes

2 medium garlic bulbs

1 Tablespoon olive oil

6 slices bacon or real bacon bits

1 bunch green onions, sliced

1 bag frozen mashed potatos or 4 pounds red potatos

1 (16 oz.) container sour cream

1 ½ cups (6 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1/3 cup butter/margarine, softened

¼ cup milk

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Garnish with chopped fresh chives

Cut off pointed ends of garlic bulbs and place cut side up on aluminum foil. Drizzle with oil.

Fold and seal foil. Bake garlic at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool.

Squeeze pulp from garlic. Set aside.

Prepare potatos for mashing.

Combine green onions, and bacon bits with a bit of olive oil until onions are tender.

Combine bacon, onions, garlic pulp, sour cream and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese with potatoes till well blended.

Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13x9 baking pan and top with the remaining ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or till cheese melts.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground clove

1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat 2 12-cup muffin pans with cooking spray.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a separate, medium size mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin puree with the buttermilk and vanilla extract and mix well. In another medium size mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, and clove and mix well. In thirds, alternately add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the creamed butter, blending gently after each addition.

Using an ice cream scoop or a ¼ cup measure, divide the batter evenly among the 24 cupcake wells and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of each cupcake comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool the cakes on a wire rack in the pans for 15 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and continue to cool on the wire racks until completely cool.

Frost the cupcakes with the Cream Cheese Frosting (follow the link above for the recipe) and serve.

***Next time I may make this a one layer cake instead of would suit my family better.

This recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse via Good Morning America

Cream Cheese Frosting

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 ½ pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

½ cup toasted finely chopped pecans, for garnish, optional

Combine the cream cheese and butter and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla and mix on low speed until combined. Beat on high speed until smooth and fluffy. (If frosting is too thick, thin with a bit of milk to obtain desired consistency.)

Frost cupcakes and then sprinkle with pecans, if desired.

I used this recipe to frost a few Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes.

This recipe is courtesy of Emeril Lagasse via Good Morning America

Aunt Karen's Macaroni and Cheese

I love technology.

I added a comment on my sister’s Facebook status regarding her Mac n Cheese recipe letting her know I needed it. She then sent me what I needed in a text message.

Here’s what she sent:

Mix together 12 oz. cooked macaroni with 2 small cans evaporated milk, 2 sticks butter melted and ½ cup milk. Pour into greased casserole and top with slices of Kraft Cheddar Cheese and sprinkle with paprika.

Bake in a 400 degree oven until cheese melts. My sister advises not to overcook because the dish thickens once you take it out of the oven. After using her recipe I would have to agree.

The photo is before the dish was placed in the oven.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chicago Style Pizza

Yes, I have to admit……I’m guilty of not just calling the local Dominos to deliver a pizza, but actually shipping my pizza in from Chicago.

The pizza from Lou Malantis is worth it.

Their website states:

Lou's is the home of the BEST Chicago-style deep dish pizza in the world! If you love a buttery, flakey crust, sweet and tangy tomatoes, gooey mozzarella cheese, perfectly seasoned sausage, and other fresh ingredients- you’ve come to the right place. We pride ourselves on making each handmade pizza just the way you like it.

Head to the website here and you too can have one shipped to you!

Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Salty and Umami.....Umami?

Think about it….your tongue signals the taste of things to your brain as sweet, sour, bitter or salty, but what about umami?

It’s the meaty sensation in aged or fermented products such as cheese or wine and the word is Japanese in origin.

Umami foods include Parmesan, mushrooms, red wine veal stock and meat and other protein-dense foods.

More than likely out tongues detect the amino acids glutamic acid or the glutamates and transfers them into savory flavor.

Champagne by the Country

Every country has its own way to say the word champagne……



Sekt …..Germany

Sparkling shiraz….Austrailia

Pour me another……My House

Wine Terminology: By the Bottle

Wine bottles larger than the .75-liter standard are mostly named for biblical kings and legends.

Magnum – equivalent to 2 bottles

Marie-Jeanne – equivalent to 3 bottles

Double Magnum or Jeroboam – evivalent to 4 bottles

Jeroboam or Rehoboam – equivalent to 6 bottles

Methuselah – 8 bottles

Salmanazar – 12 bottles

Balthazar – 16 bottles

Nebuchadnezzar – 20 bottles

Mechior or Solomon – 24 bottles

Sovereign – 34 bottles

Primat – 36 bottles
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