Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cranberry Coffee Cake

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup raw sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup chopped almonds
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp orange extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in mixing bowl. Add cranberries and almonds. Stir to coat the berries. Add eggs, butter, and extracts. Fold until barely combined.

Spread mixture evenly in greased 9" pie pan or 8"x8" pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes- until golden brown on edges and cranberries are bubbling.

Cool before serving.

Freezes well.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Thanksgiving Dinner- Wheat & Corn Bread Stuffing

 1- 1 1/2 lb. loaf whole wheat bread, cut into 1" cubes
1- 1 lb. loaf corn bread, cut into 1" cubes
1 large onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped small
3 tbsp. butter
salt, pepper to taste
1 tbsp sage
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 cup chardonnay
7-10 cups stock

Cut bread the day before and leave out on the counter overnight to dry out.

The day of-
Add onion, celery, and butter to pan.  Season with salt & pepper. Saute until onion is translucent. Add herbs and wine. Reduce liquid by half.

Add bread and onion mixture to a large bowl. Add 6 cups stock. Fold mixture together.

Add mixture to 13x9 baking dish, pressing it in with the back of a spoon.

Let rest for 15 minutes. Check moisture level by feeling a bread cube. If it falls apart, it moist enough. If it's still a little hard in the middle, pour 1 cup stock over mixture in pan & check again after a few minutes. Repeat until mixture is very moist.

Bake in 350 degree oven for 1hour-1 hour 15 minutes.

Thanksgiving Dinner- Green Beans in Mushroom Cream

A homemade & unprocessed version of green bean casserole. Much richer and simpler in flavor.

1 quart half & half
1 quart whole milk

12 oz. white button mushrooms, chopped fine
8 oz. baby portabella mushrooms, chopped fine
2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour

3 lbs frozen cut green beans (thawed) or 3 lbs fresh beans, cut into 1inch pieces and blanched
Salt & pepper to taste

1 large can fried onions (from the can- not worth the trouble of making these when they are just as effective when purchased from the grocery store)
1 small onion very finely chopped

Reduce half & half in milk by half in a large sauce pan.

In a pan with the olive oil, saute mushrooms until golden brown and reduced in volume.

Add mushrooms and beans to a large mixing bowl. Add salt & pepper to taste.

In the same pan used for mushrooms, add butter and flour to make a roux. Whisk to combine. Then whisk in half of the milk mixture. Thicken by bringing to a boil.

Add all of the milk mixtures into the mixing bowl. Fold ingredients together.

Place in a 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle with chopped onions and half of the fried onions. Use a spatula to "sink" the onions into the mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Then add the rest of the fried onions on top and bake until they are golden brown.

When milk mixture has reduced, pour half

Thanksgiving Dinner- Orange Cranberry Sauce

Nice as an accompaniment to your dinner or as a spread on scones or toast.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

1 bag fresh cranberries
1 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp orange zest (optional)

Place in sauce pan on medium heat. Stir occasionally, scraping sides each time. Lower/raise heat if necessary to keep a constant low boil.

Cooks down in about an hour, to a very thick consistency.

Serve warm or cold.

*I use my bread machine on "jam" setting to make this.*

Thanksgiving Dinner- Turkey Brine & Roasting

Brining takes place the day before you'll be preparing the turkey.

Brines a 10-15lb turkey.

1 gallon water
1 medium onion, roughly chopped, peel still in tact
1 end of a celery bunch (the part you'd throw out), rinsed
4 cloves garlic sliced in 1/2, peel still on
1 tbsp whole peppercorns
1 tbsp whole coriander
4 dried bay leaves
1 cup sea salt
1/2 cup raw sugar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

(Thaw your turkey prior to brining.)

In the morning before you are going to brine-
Add everything to a large stock pot. Bring to a boil on medium/high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Once boiling, turn the heat off, remove from the burner and let it come to room temperature in the pot. 

The evening before you're going to cook the turkey, prep a small cooler. 
I use this one by cleaning the inside well. Add the cooled brine, 1 gallon or water, and 12 cups ice cubes. 

Unwrap your thawed turkey, remove giblets and neck (save those to MAKE STOCK!), & rinse.

Place turkey, breast end first, into brine. Weigh it down with a plastic container filled with water, heavy lid, etc. Put the lid on the cooler and leave it alone overnight. (Minimum brining time is 8 hours-Max amount is 24 hours)

Before you're going to bake the turkey, remove the turkey from the cooler, rinse it well, and place it onto the the pan/rack you'll be baking on. Then, dry the turkey by patting it with paper towels. Discard the brine. 

Bake at your preference. 

I use this method to bake turkeys- Rub dried turkey with a little oil. Fill cavity with one roughly chopped onion, one quartered apple, 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, and 6 smashed cloves garlic. Tie up the legs together with string. Tuck the wings back behind the body (like it's laying with it's arms behiind it's head). Roast turkey in lowest part of the oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Then, place a triangle of buttered foil over the breast (white meat)- leaving the dark meat exposed. Put a probe thermometer into the breast and return the turkey to the oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. When thermometer has reached 130 degrees, remove the tent and check for even browning. If it's not browned nicely over the breasts, leave the tent off. If it's evenly browned, stick it back on until it's finished. Roast until the white meat has reached 161 degrees (about 15 minutes a lb.) Rest, covered with foil or a large metal mixing bowl for 15-30 minutes before carving.

Thanksgiving Dinner- Fried Sweet Potatoes

Simple dish with lots of flavor. Inspired by the dinner being prepared here (at the Firestone Farm House in Greenfield Village).
makes 8-10 servings

6 sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons butter

The day before, bake sweet potatoes in 400 degree oven for about an hour.  No need to prep them n any way. Just wash and set them on the top shelf of the cold oven. Turn temp to 400 degrees and check for doneness in one hour with a sharp knife. If the nice slides through, it's done! Still a little hard? Give it a little more time.

Cool and put in refrigerator overnight.

Day of, slice into 1/4-1/2" slices. (remove the skin if you want to)Sprinkle with a pinch or two of salt.

Place 3 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium/high heat. Add potatoes when butter has melted. Let the potatoes brown & caramelize before flipping- a good 5 minutes. Flip potatoes and turn the heat down a bit to medium-medium/low. Once the other side is browned, turn off heat, place lid on potatoes until ready to serve. They will stay nice and warm for quite a while.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup

This recipes almost fills up my 8 qt stock pot. The egg noodles are sturdy and hold up to freezing. Just thaw & reheat. Better than the canned stuff!

1 large softball size onion, chopped
1/2 bunch of celery, chopped- including the greens at the top!
1 lb. carrots, sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp (or more) parsley
1 tsp garlic (fresh or powder)
1/2 gallon of chicken stock
3 boneless chicken breasts (about 8oz.-1lb.)
Water to fill pot
Salt & Pepper to taste

Saute onions, celery, & carrots in butter over medium until they have some caramel color and the onions start to turn translucent- about 5-8 minutes.
Add parsley & garlic.

Add stock and chicken breasts. Bring to a boil. Poach chicken breasts about 20 minutes. Remove chicken from pot to a cutting board or plate. Let cool until you can handle it, then use two forks to shred chicken into bite size pieces.

Add chicken back to the stock pot. Fill the pot the rest of the way with water (or more stock if you think it needs the extra flavor).

Simmer on low while you prepare noodles.

2 cups flour
4 eggs
1 tsp salt

Using your bread machine (can be done in a big mixing bowl by hand, too), add flour, eggs, & salt to the bowl with paddle attached. Set machine to "dough" setting. Run for 10 minutes. You may need to add a little more flour or a 1/2 tsp of water at a time until the dough is a smooth, slightly sticky ball. 10 minutes total ensures that the dough is mixed and kneaded the proper amount of time. After time is up, stop machine, and rest dough for 10 more minutes.

Using pasta machine, roll sheets of dough out to thickest setting. Take each sheet, roll it up, and slice 1/2" spirals. Unroll the spirals into long noodles.

Heat soup to a boil. Add pasta to the soup, breaking noodles into smaller lengths if desired. Pasta will be finished cooking in 5 minutes.  Serve immediately or portion for freezing once slightly cooled.