Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pumpkin Pie

Don't ask me why I made these little gems but a creative moment ascended upon me and for a split second I had no idea how these little gems were going to pop out of these small tart pans.
But persistence ruled and out they popped. The pumpkin part is just your ordinary Libby's canned pie stuff. I did create a bit of decor with the leftover bits of pastry dough.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Adventurous sauce

First, the back story. I love cranberry juice, cranberry bread, and cosmopolitans, but I've never, much to lil bird's amazement, eaten cranberry sauce.

Our Thanksgiving celebration will be at someone else's house so when given the task of bringing the cranberry sauce I said yes, I'll give it a try. I do fancy myself a cook.

Now, fast forward to last night, just a few days from the celebration. I researched many recipes and found Ming Tsai's to be the most interesting. It starts with a saute of red onion and orange zest and ginger; not traditional but I'm adventurous. Then add the cranberries with two tablespoons of brown sugar, orange juice, and some salt and pepper. Salt and pepper? This is getting odd.

Taste. For me it had way to much of an onion flavor so I'm gonna fix it up. Yeah, right.

To this I added some more sugar and ground chipotle and some more ginger. I'm going to get some flavor out of this if it kills me. Getting better but still not certain. Oops, lost the cranberry tartness, how about some dried cranberries, yeah. Taste?

So like a coward, I went back to the market and made the recipe on the back of the package.

What will I do with the other? Surprisingly when it cooled it had enough flavor for me to keep so there will be two sauces this Thanksgiving. If I were to attempt that recipe again I'd caramelize the onions first add more sugar but I'd leave in the chipotle. It does add a brief hint of heat which in my opinion says California.

Hope everyone enjoys their holiday.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Ham and beans with kale

Nothing smells better than a pot of something cooking on the stove all day. A ham bone, some beans, seasonings--heaven in a little red bowl. Don't forget something green.

Can't post anymore, gotta dig in.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Not your ordinary Quiche

This is probably, in my humble opinion, one of the very best quiche recipe I have ever made. I have tried others and I keep coming back to this one.

Even sister moon can't remember where this recipe came from. But it is one of my all time favorite go to recipes to fix for company, pot lucks or just a lunch or brunch at home.

Green Chile Quiche

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
6 eggs beaten
3/4 cup low fat milk

3/4 cup half & half
1 4 oz can of chopped green chiles
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 1/2 cups shredded swiss cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
unbake 10" pie crust

Slice cream cheese and place on the bottom of the crust. Beat eggs, add , chiles and mustard. Fold in the shredded cheese and pour over cream cheese in the crust. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 1 hour 15 minutes or until done in center.
Check after one hour. If your edges of pie crust get too brown protect them with foil.

This quiche I added a taste of smoky paprika and a pinch of red pepper flakes and left out the dry mustard. I forgot that I add a spoon ful of salsa on the side. Also different times of the year you would be able to use a fresh chile when available. Right now in my area green chiles are not the best.
If you like quiche, try this you will not be sorry. And if you do try it let me know how you adjusted it to fit your taste. I would like to make it a little lower in calories but I am not a chemist.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Some serious bbq competition winners

Congratulations are in order for one of our foodie friends, Sylvie at Soul Fusion Kitchen. Trot on over to see how they faired at the BBQ event this past weekend. Those bbq beauty shots are some hardcore food porn . This might make me think twice about posting anything bbq for a long time. Great job, Sylvie!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

A little something to cheer up our Red state friends

When I was a child I'd heard the legend of the Red Velvet Cake. A woman is served this delicious red cake in a fancy hotel restaurant and asks the waiter for the recipe only to find $100 was added to her bill. Her attorney advises to pay, I don't know, maybe he was eating lunch with her, any way, she pays and then to get even sends a chain letter to friends with the recipe. That is the long reason why I decided to make the cake.

Cook's Country has a red velvet cake recipe so I decided why not give it a try. First, this is not a difficult one to follow but as some know, I'm not a baker of cakes. I can throw together a pie in my sleep but cakes, I do have to follow the directions.

First odd thing, it calls for a one ounce bottle of red food coloring, next some buttermilk, now that's not too odd but it seems like I get stuck with the remainder of the quart and hate to waste. Cook's had an answer for my thriftiness, freeze the left over buttermilk in cup increments. Cool.

You mix the food coloring with two tablespoons of cocoa, I use Dutch process. When you add it to the cake batter you can see just how lacking your mixer is. There is a little divot at the bottom that needs a little hand mixing.

Mine did not raise as much as I thought it should. Maybe more mixing though I was diligent with the directions. I used 7-inch square pans to their 8-inch round so I'm thinking they should have been higher. Because I just can't leave well enough alone I sliced each layer in two. I thought it would look more dramatic. Who couldn't use more drama in their life.

As for the flavor I think it is suppose to have just a hint of chocolate, which it does. Some friends were afraid of the red food coloring turning their teeth ghoulish but that didn't happen. The frosting is delish, not too sweet nor cream cheesy, nice blend of flavors.

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 oz red food coloring
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
Whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and eggs in large measuring cup. Whisk flour, baking soada, and salt in medium bowl.Cream butter; beat in sugar gradually.
Add flour mixure alternately with egg mixture, beating well after each addition.
Make paste of cocoa and food coloring; add to creamed mixture.
Stir until thoroughly mixed. Bake in 2 9-inch pans for 25 minutes at 350°.

2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
4 cups confectioners' sugar
16 oz. cream cheese, softened and cut into 8 pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt.

Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, one piece at a time, and beat until incorporated. Beat in vanilla and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Frost the cooled cakes, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Another roast chicken

I noticed that whole roasters are on sale at my local market. I pick up a couple the other day. Found a recipe at America's Test Kitchen. I happened to see the actual cooking on PBS and it just stuck in my mind. For one thing I had never brined anything. I didn't even know if I had anything large enough to brine a chicken. I did have a rubbermaid container that would work woo hoo!!!

Crisp-Skin High-Roast Butterflied Chicken with Potatoes

If you prefer not to brine, use a kosher chicken - it is salted and has a taste and texture similar to a brined bird. For extracrisp skin, after applying the flavored butter let the chicken dry uncovered in the refrigerator 8 to 24 hours. Russet potatoes have the best potato flavor, but Yukon Golds have beautiful color and better retain their shape after cooking. Either works well in this recipe. A food processor makes quick and easy work of slicing the potatoes.Serves 4

1 cup kosher salt (or 1/2 cup table salt), for brine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 whole chicken , 3 1/2 to 4 lbs, preferably free-range or other high-quality chicken such as Bell and Evans, giblets removed and reserved for another use, fat around cavity removed and discarded
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (4 to 5 medium), or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickVegetable cooking spray (nonstick)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon table salt (for potatoes)
Ground black pepper
1. Dissolve salt and sugar in 2 quarts cold water in large container. Immerse chicken and refrigerate until fully seasoned, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Line bottom of broiler pan with foil and spray with nonstick vegetable cooking spray. Remove chicken from brine and rinse thoroughly under cold running water.

1. Butterfly chicken, flatten breastbone, apply flavored butter (if using), and position chicken on broiler pan rack; thoroughly pat dry with paper towels.
2. Toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper to taste in medium bowl. Spread potatoes in even layer in foil-lined broiler pan bottom. Place broiler pan rack with chicken on top. Rub chicken with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and sprinkle with pepper.
3. Roast chicken until spotty brown, about 20 minutes. Rotate pan and continue to roast until skin has crisped and turned a deep brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees in thickest part of breast, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to cutting board. With potholders, remove broiler pan rack; soak up excess grease from potatoes with several sheets paper towels. Remove foil liner with potatoes from broiler pan bottom and invert foil and potatoes onto cookie sheet or second cutting board. Carefully peel back foil, using a metal spatula to help scrape potatoes off foil as needed. With additional paper towels, pat off remaining grease. Cut chicken into serving pieces and serve with potatoes.

Lesson learned: This chicken was very tender, moist and quite tasty. I will definnitely do this again because the brining makes it so good.
BUT the potatoes were another story. Because of the compound butter used on the chicken and also calls for oil on the potatoes, the potatoes get rather greasy, quite bit more than described in the above recipe. I supplied the link to the recipe but their site and photos can be a bit wonky so don't be surprised if the photos don't show up.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Good bye good buys

This Friday is our last Farmer's Market until March.
Good bye sweet corn. So long tree ripe fruit. Adios artisan cheeses.

Yes, I know, I could travel into Santa Monica on Wednesdays but this place is less than five minutes away and I've gotten used to my Friday afternoon trip.

I'll be wearing black all day.