Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Appetizers: Edamame Dip

It's been a crazy time for blogging. If I am not baking, I'm making something so it has been difficult to get blog time in. When I am sewing things etc we have a very simple meal, generally not very photogenic.

It's funny how I relate cookies to Christmas and appetizers to New Year's. On New Years Eve we generally have appetizers for dinner. It's fun, how often do you get to do something like that? Well, I guess you can if you go out to bars and such.

This is one of my favorite dips! I have made it a couple different ways. This is the one I like best. It's a recipe from Alton Brown. Below is a pic of the edamame after I cooked it in water.


Edamame Dip
based on this recipe from Alton Brown

16 ounces shelled, cooked, and cooled edamame, about 3 cups
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 cup tightly packed parsley leaves
3 large garlic clove, sliced
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon brown miso
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red chili paste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

Place the garlic in the processor. I find that it gets to be a finer mince if it is alone. Add the edamame, onion, parsley, garlic, lime juice, miso, salt, chili paste and pepper into the bowl of a food processor and process for for about a minute. Scrape side of bowl. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Once all of the oil has been added, stop, scrape down the bowl and then process another 5 to 10 seconds. Taste and adjust seasoning, as desired. Serve with chips or crackers. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

FRENCH YULE LOG- Daring Bakers

I know, you were expecting the classic French Yule Log, with the rolled cake in a tree form. Well I learned something this month. The French use that one but they also use this one as well. It is a frozen mousse type confection/pastry. They call it an entrement. From what I understand it is more popular than the former. The French really do make wonderful desserts. Everything really.

I have to say, that this month's Daring Bakers challenge was the most challenging thus far. The French Yule Log has so many elements. It was quite involved. It's not that it was terribly difficult but it was very time consuming. In my opinion it really wasn't worth the end product. Not that I think anyone's would be bad. In fact, I bet Tartelette's was amazing! And I am quite sure most of the DBer's would have amazing cakes as they are such talented people. There were some factors stacked against me for this challenge.

First up, I have never had a log like this so I had no experience to go by.

Second, the timing, meaning the most hectic month for me, was difficult to put aside time for such a lengthy process.

The elements were fabulous in and of themselves, but I just wasn't wowed by the end result (probably my doing).

One of the things that I personally would change would be to break up the feuillete insert so that you could cut through it easily without damaging the mousse. My cake just went SMUSH went I tried to cut it.


Also, the "icing" that you pour over it turned to a skin like texture. So my guests and I kind of peeled it off and put it aside. That I will definitely take responsibility for. Probably too much gelatin or something like that.

Now, maybe this sounds terrible, but I would make a few of these elements again but I would layer them in a wine glass or something and serve it that way instead.

This month's challenge is brought to us by the adventurous Hilda from Saffron and Blueberry and Marion from Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux.
They have chosen a French Yule Log by Flore from Florilege Gourmand

No disrespect to our hostesses, this one just did not work for me. However, I did learn about chantilly cream, which was truly amazing. I also learned about Lace Crepes, which was a good experience as well. I made my own for the challenge instead of using rice cereal or corn flakes.

And one thing that is always nice to have around is praline paste, I made this as well, and am happy to have so me of it on hand because I always seem to find a use for it. It is so flavorful. I used some of my almond meal instead of chopping up almonds. It needed to be used. It worked well.


I will list the elements I liked and would do again for other applications. If you want the full recipe please go to our hosts sites Saffron and Blueberry and/or Il en Faut Peu Pour Etre Heureux:

Element #1 Dacquoise Biscuit (Almond Cake)

Preparation time: 10 mn + 15 mn for baking

Equipment: 2 mixing bowls, hand or stand mixer with whisk attachment, spatula, baking pan such as a 10”x15” jelly-roll pan, parchment paper

Ingredients:
2.8 oz (3/4cup + 1Tbsp / 80g) almond meal
1.75 oz (1/2 cup / 50g) confectioner’s sugar
2Tbsp (15g) all-purpose flour
3.5oz (100g / ~100ml) about 3 medium egg whites
1.75 oz (4 Tbsp / 50g) granulated sugar

1. Finely mix the almond meal and the confectioner's sugar. (If you have a mixer, you can use it by pulsing the ingredients together for no longer than 30 seconds).
2. Sift the flour into the mix.
3. Beat the eggs whites, gradually adding the granulated sugar until stiff.
4. Pour the almond meal mixture into the egg whites and blend delicately with a spatula.
5. Grease a piece of parchment paper and line your baking pan with it.
6. Spread the batter on a piece of parchment paper to an area slightly larger than your desired shape (circle, long strip etc...) and to a height of 1/3 inches (8mm).
7. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for approximately 15 minutes (depends on your oven), until golden.
8. Let cool and cut to the desired shape.

Add 3 tablespoons of sifted unsweetened cocoa powder into the almond meal/caster sugar mix in Step #1 of the Almond Dacquoise

I did the chocolate.

Milk Chocolate Whipped Cream (Chantilly):
(Can be made the day before and kept in the fridge overnight)
2/3 cup (160g) heavy cream 35% fat
7.8 oz (220g) milk chocolate
2 1/3 tsp (15g) glucose or thick corn syrup
1 1/3 cup (320g) heavy cream 35% fat

1. Chop the chocolate coarsely.
2. Heat the 160g of cream to boiling and pour over the chocolate and glucose syrup.
3. Wait 30 seconds then stir the mix until smooth. Add the remaining cream.
4. Refrigerate to cool, then whip up.

I added a few drops of mint to this.

Element #4 Praline Feuillete (Crisp) Insert

Preparation time: 10 mn (+ optional 15mn if you make lace crepes)

Equipment: Small saucepan, baking sheet (if you make lace crepes).
Double boiler (or one small saucepan in another), wax paper, rolling pin (or I use an empty bottle of olive oil).

Note: Feuillete means layered (as in with leaves) so a Praline Feuillete is a Praline version of a delicate crisp. There are non-praline variations below. The crunch in this crisp comes from an ingredient which is called gavottes in French. Gavottes are lace-thin crepes. To our knowledge they are not available outside of France, so you have the option of making your own using the recipe below or you can simply substitute rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K for them. Special note: If you use one of the substitutes for the gavottes, you should halve the quantity stated, as in use 1oz of any of these cereals instead of 2.1oz.
If you want to make your own praline, please refer back to the Daring Baker Challenge Recipe from July 2008.

To make 2.1oz / 60g of gavottes (lace crepes - recipe by Ferich Mounia):
1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk
2/3 Tbsp (8g) unsalted butter
1/3 cup – 2tsp (35g) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp / 0.5 oz (15g) beaten egg
1 tsp (3.5g) granulated sugar
½ tsp vegetable oil
1. Heat the milk and butter together until butter is completely melted. Remove from the heat.
2. Sift flour into milk-butter mixture while beating, add egg and granulated sugar. Make sure there are no lumps.
3. Grease a baking sheet and spread batter thinly over it.
4. Bake at 430°F (220°C) for a few minutes until the crepe is golden and crispy. Let cool.

Ingredients for the Praline Feuillete:
3.5 oz (100g) milk chocolate
1 2/3 Tbsp (25g) butter
2 Tbsp (1 oz / 30g) praline
2.1oz (60g) lace crepes(gavottes) or rice krispies or corn flakes or Special K

1. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
2. Add the praline and the coarsely crushed lace crepes. Mix quickly to thoroughly coat with the chocolate.
3. Spread between two sheets of wax paper to a size slightly larger than your desired shape. Refrigerate until hard.

Friday, December 26, 2008

PIEROGIE

They are so very easy! I just want to share the recipe with you. There are so many ways to make pierogi.

So since I went Polish for Christmas, I think I need to do the Italian style dinner for New Year's. A bunch of seafood; calamari, shrimp, ocopus. We'll see how I do with that!

I hope you all had a great Holiday!

PIEROGI
Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness

6 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons butter
1 egg. lightly beaten
2 cups water plus

Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Add in butter adn egg to a well in the middle.
Pour two cups warm water into well. Start mixing the dough with your hands. Mix in water just enough to pull the dough together. You should have a smooth ball of dough. If it's kind of scraggly you need to add more water. If it's sticky you need to add a bit more flour (a tablespoon at a time).

Let rest for thirty minutes, covered with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with oil.

After the thrity minutes, grab about a cup of dough in your hands and roll or squeeze into a tube. Lay it on the counter and cut into 1/8 of a cup size pieces. They should be about 2/3 the size of a golf ball.

Roll into a circular piece of dough about a 1/4 inch thick. Stuff with about a tablespoon of filling.

For the filling we use mashed potatoes mixed with a sharp cheddar cheese. But a lot of people like potato with cottage cheese. Many put fruit fillings in their pierogies as well. Be creative. Just about anything tastes good in a dumpling.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Last year we lost our Aunt to cancer right after Christmas. We spent our time with her on Christmas in her hospital room. Me and my husband and two children joined her kids in her hospital room last Christmas morning. They brought breakfast, each bringing a dish to pass. All of us gathered together to be by her side and celebrate the day with her. The nurses were amazed at the way the family gathered together around her side. It didn't surprise me one bit. We are a tight family. Sure, we have our differences but we love each other and are there for each other in times of need.

We left not too long after breakfast, as we had a four hour drive home and small children who were anxious to get home. My parents were there at the hospital later that day. It was my Mom's baby sister. Carol was her name. My Mom said the room was packed when she came and people were gathered in the hall all around her room. The nurses kept remarking they had never seen anything quite like it before. I have. I seen it when my Grandfather was dying of cancer in a bed at his home. We gathered around him, tending to him in his last days. I was about 12 at that time. I learned a lot about my family and death during that time. How powerful a family can be!

My Aunt will be sorely missed. She was one of those people that made people laugh and brought joy to everyone's life. When I close my eyes and see her she is always laughing or smiling. As my Mom says, she was full of "piss and vinegar". My husband thinks that's not such a nice thing to say. It is, it means that she was full fo the Dickens or had a little mischief in her. Not in a bad way but rather a good and funny way. When my Aunt's (and my Mom) were together they would laugh and carry on like as though they were drunk. They had not a drop of liquor in them. They thought it was funny that they could have such a good time and never really needed anything to boost their spirits. They did that for each other!

It will be a sad Christmas this year and Christmas will be forever changed. We move on though. The people who have passed stay in our hearts and celebrate these times with us through our love for them. I know a place will be set at our dinner tables this year for the people who have passed.

Forever in my heart a place is set for you Aunt Carol.

Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays to all. Be joyful. Feel peace.

Monday, December 22, 2008

COOKIE and A CRAFT #6

Baked and dressed up with ganache. Pretty, tasty little cookies.

I have a friend who has talked about these amazing cookies that her sister makes. I asked for the recipe some years ago but never got it. My friend "M" leads a very chaotic life. No big deal. So many other cookies to make. Anyway, this year her sister lost her recipe. Being the foodie I am, my heart went out to her. It's terrible to have a favorite recipe then lose it. You go crazy looking for it. The cookies are called "Tu Tu's". Years ago I had done a search for them on the internet but came up with nothing. This year I decided to do a search to try again and to help my friends sister. I found these. Now, I don't know if these are the cookies that "M"'s sister makes but they are called Tu Tu's and they are awesome. I made them today. Yum.

Chocolate Tu Tu's
based on this recipe


2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter
¾ cup white sugar
½ c packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
3 eggs, beaten
½ c cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ c espresso
4 c flour
1c ground walnuts

1. Cream butter and sugars.
2. Mix in the eggs and the vanilla and the coffee.
3. Combine 1 cup of the flour with the b. powder, b. soda, salt, cinnamon, and cocoa. Stir into the batter.
4. Add the rest of the flour slowly, stirring after each addition, until you have a dough that can be rolled. Soft but not too soft. I used four level cups of flour.
5. Make walnut-sized rounds with your hands and place on cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Do not overbake or they will dry out too much!
After they are cooled pour ganache over top.

In a bowl place 1 cup of semi sweet morsels and one cup of bittersweet chocolate, chopped. In a sauce pan heat about a cup of half and half and two tablespoons of butter. Bring to a boil. Pour over chocolate and stir until smooth. Once the chocolate is melted, spoon onto cookies. Let set for quite a while before stacking.

Chef's hats for future foodies. Just finished them last night so I was a wee bit late posting them, but they are here now!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

POPPY SEED ROLL


There are many cherished Polish Christmas traditions in our family. We celebrate on Christmas Eve with a traditional feast, no meat of course, as is the Christian tradition. The traditional fare is; pierogies, mushrooms, herring, mashed potatoes, boiled prunes, haddock, sauer kraut, sauer kraut peirogie (most people don't know about this one). (If I said all this before just ignore me, I like to say it over and over again.)

Before the meal we break bread, from the Church, Mass wafers. We greet each other and break a piece off the wafer, kiss and wish each other a Merry Christmas.

Everyone anxiously sits down to eat the amazing feast made with lots of love. After dinner Santa comes and gives the kids presents. We play game, talk, tell jokes and eat way too much.

This poppy seed roll is one of our traditional treats. We call it Slovak Kolacky. The dough is such a pleasure to work with, soft and pliable, doesn't stick and rolls out easily. You can use a walnut filling or a poppy seed filling or I guess any filling you want.

I tried to make the poppy seed filling this time and it was not so great. It melted when baked and ran all over. Ugh! Usually my Aunt's and Mom use Solo Poppy Seed filling. The favorite roll is the walnut one. I will give you the recipe for that one. I didn't make it. Honestly there is just too much to do, so I skipped it.

I am offering up this rolled bread to Sugar High Friday. Always so much fun to participate in this event. This month it is hosted by Manuela of Baking History. The event was created by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess. This is the 50th edition! Wow, can you believe it.

SLOVAK KOLACKY
Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness Original

This is the one we have been using in our family for quite some time now. Where the original came from I am unsure.
1 pint milk
2/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (2 packets)
2 T warm water (110F)
6 cups flour

Scaled milk with shortening. Turn off heat and add sugar and salt. Let cool to lukewarm (about 110F).

Proof the yeast in in the 2 tablespoons of warm water.

In a large bowl place six cups of flour. Pour milk mixture into flour and add eggs and yeast. Mix until fully incorporated. Remove from bowl once a dough ball has formed. Lightly flour you work surface. Knead the dough for about five minutes.

Let rise until doubled in size, about one hour and a half. Fold over a couple times onto itself and let rise again.

Once the dough has doubled in size for the second time, remove from bowl and divide into four to pieces. Roll out the dough to a 15 x 9 inch sheet. Spread filling over the dough and move to one inch of the sides, leaving the end a little more space, about two inches. Roll the dough and pinch to seal on the ends and at the seam.

Place on a greased sheet and cover with sprayed or buttered plastic wrap. Let rise again for about an hour or so.

Bake in a preheated 350 F oven for about thirty minutes. It will turn golden.

Walnut filling:

1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
2 cup ground walnuts

Mix all in a bowl.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Maine Potato Candy

I saw this recipe in Taste of Home years ago. I have been wanting to make it for a while. I like Mounds and thought this would be similar. It is similar, but the chocolate coating has to be perfected. I wasn't totally jazzed about it. It's good but it is very sweet and very rich. I think I would rather have a piece of that fudge!

If this sounds like it might tickle your Christmas fancy or you know of a great way to bathe it in chocolate, give it a try and let me know. I think the title should be changed to Coconut candy though, since coconut plays a staring role in it. The potato has a very small part in this.

MAINE POTATO CANDY
from Taste of Home

4 cups confectioners sugar
4 cups shredded coconut
3/4 cup cold, plain, mashed potatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
chocolate for coating the candy

In a bowl mix together all ingredients; coconut, confectioers sugar, mashed potatoes, vanilla and salt. Thoroughly combine. Press into 9 inch square pan that ahs been lined with foil. Chill overnight. Cut into small pieces, about the size of a mini chocolate bar and place on a cookie sheet to freeze.

Prepare chocolate and remove the little bars from the freezer. Dip in chocolate to cover, place on sheets of waxed papers to set. Chill again.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Red Beans and Rice and the Unibrow


My husband HATES commercials. I tolerate them. Some I do like. When I was at the gym yesterday I looked up and saw my favorite one. It is for Planters nuts. The girl has red hair and a unibrow. She is dressed nicely and she thinks she is ALL that! As she walks through the streets, men are falling all around her. Of course they are staring because of this huge unibrow (or maybe not)and she thinks it is her charisma, beauty and charm... and of course the cashews (I wanted to say nuts here but that just wouldn't be right!) that she rubs at all her pulse points. Of course, it's one of those things you have to see. Okay, go watch it here... a picture is a 1000 words. Oh and what really makes me laugh even harder is when she picks her panties out of her butt at the end. OMG, it's funny!

Okay, now wasn't that funny? Okay, I am a little "punch drunk" right now. Not enough sleep last night. Down right giddy and out of control.

*Update: Hey, guess who stopped by my blog, Christa Woomer, the Unibrow lady! Check out her site, she is ONE talented lady!

Anyway, this little throw together meal IS all that! It may not be as beautiful as a unibrow but it sure is tastey. It's a little cajun. Mainly it's about all I can manage these days when I seem to be doing too many other things!

RED BEANS, CHICKEN and RICE
Lori's Lipsmacking Original

1 can cooked kidney beans or pintos (I used two cups of some leftovers that I had soaked)
1 cup chicken cut up (yup, you guessed, leftover chicken souvlaki)
2 cups cooked rice (this was a leftover as well)
1 1/2 cups water
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon cajun seasonings (I have one made up from Emerill's spice recipe)
s and p to taste
2 green onions chopped for garnish

Saute peppers and onions in about a tablespoon of olive oil until lightly golden. Add garlic, cook one minute more. Add water, cajun spice and beans. Let simmer until beans are super tender. If you have canned beans use less water and then simmer about 20 minutes or so. Add in rice and chicken at the end.
Sprinkle green onions over mixture and voila dinner is served.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

DON'T BEGRUDGE the FUDGE


Eat fudge, give fudge. It's so good. Especially this fudge. I found the recipe at Food Blogga. It is really the best fudge I have ever had, mainly because it is about half the sweetness of regular fudge. I like that. I highly recommend this recipe. I will be making another batch tonite! Yup, that's how good it is!



Cranberry Pistachio Fudge

1 cup pistachios (I used salted)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 oz (1/2 stick) butter

Combine butter, chocolate, and sweetened condensed milk. Heat until chocolate is melted. Stir continuously. When chocolate is melted remove from heat and add cracker crumbs, vanilla, pistachios, and cranberries. Pour into a 9 inch buttered square pan. Smooth out top and refrigerate overnight.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

CHICKEN SOUVLAKI and TABOULLEH

I love Middle Eastern food, Greek food and the like. I made some taboulleh this past weekend and some chicken souvlaki. The pitas that I made are from Farmgirl Fare.

It's a quick post today because I am trying to get last minute stuff done. Run, run, run.

Taboulleh
Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness

3/4 cup fine bulgur wheat
2 tomatoes, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 cups flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of one lemon

Place bulgur in a bowl. Pour boiling water over it, about a cup, cover and let sit. Meanwhile combine remainder of ingredients. Combine bulgur with the rest of the salad.


Chicken Souvlaki
Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness

6 chicken thighs
olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of oregano
2 teaspoons dill
juice of one lemon
s and p

Lay the chicken out on a cookie sheet that is covered with aluminum foil. Squeeze lemon over chicken aiming to cover all of them. Spray the thighs with olive oil. Sprinkle with s and p, oregano, and dill. Let stand at room temp for 30 minutes. (If you are afraid of salmonella stick in the fridge). Roast in the oven at 375 until juic runs clear, about 45 minutes or so. Turn chicken midway.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Crystalized Ginger

Over the Thanksgiving holiday my sister-in-law came to visit. "M" told me that she eats crystalized ginger. I thought this was quite interesting and revelational. I have some but I use it for baking and that's about it. Well she tells me she eats it after a meal to cure her sweet tooth so that she doesnt eat a bunch of sweets. She bought a can of it at Marshalls while she was here. I tried it, of course I have some at home but I had to try hers. AND aruuuuuuuuuuuuga (thats me making my siren sound, yah know, like a fire engine). Ehem. It's hot, ginger hot. And I love it! It needs to be a part of my repertoire for fiending away sweets. Of course that would be after the Holidays. No person in their right mind would start a diet during the Holidays. Would they? Well I'm not.

So I decided then and there that I could not afford these cans of ginger but I was going to make them instead. I'm like that, it's a condition. It's called, "I-am-not-paying-those-big-prices-for-stuff-I-can-make-at-home", condition. Although not serious, people do classify me as crazy. I don't put my "M" down because her circumstances are different. She's single to begin with and there seems to be more disposable income around when you do not have kids around. Yah know?

Not too long after that revelational encounter with ginger I see Dave Lebovitz making crystalized ginger and hey- I am not the only one with the aforementioned condition! I will try his recipe next. In the mean time I did try this one. Although not completely satisfied with the results, they are edible and gingery and good nonetheless. There are a few variables to take into consideration. How old was the ginger I used? And did I leave it in hot water too long because my big bro from Tennessee called and ginger couldnt stop me from talking to him!


CRYSTALIZED GINGER
adapted from About

1 pound ginger, I chinked it instead of slicing it)
roughly 2 cups of sugar
water

Peel and cut ginger into small pieces or slices. Place in sauce pan and fill with water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and drain. Weigh the ginger and place an equal amount of sugar back in the pan with the ginger. Add about 3 tablespoons of water. Go lightly here. Turn on the flame and cook until the mixture begins to dry out and crystals begin to form. It will look like the picture below.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Cookie and a Craft #5

I don't know if you have ever had those "Windmill" cookies that you usually see in the bulk section of a store. My parents use to buy them often. The cookies were okay if there wasn't any chocolate around. Well, I found a recipe for them and decided to give it a try. A very worthy endeavor. They are easy to make, store well until you are ready to bake and they taste amazing dunked in coffee!

It turns out that the official name for the cookie is Wainachsrollen. Who knew? I sure didn't. Thank you to AllRecipes, which is good source of recipes!

WAINACHSROLLEN
adapted from Allrecipes

1 cup butter, melted
1 cup lard, melted ( I know, but how often do you make these?)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
5 cups flour (the recipe says 4 1/2 but I found I needed 5)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 of a pound of almonds, chopped

Melt butter and lard. Pour into sugars and eggs. Stir until completely mixed. Stir in flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Roll the dough into 6 logs and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 F and slice logs into 1/4 inch slices. Bake for about ten minutes.

* Bench Notes:

I found that three logs were too long and they grew to be a big cookie. For a smaller cookie I would go with 6 logs, about 2 inches or little less in diameter.



And my latest craft for my budding, baby foodies. Aprons. I have to prime them. I sure hope they love it as much as I do. I am crafting the same color schemed aprons, for my Mom and I as well.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Candied Orange Peels Are Little Slices of Ecstasy



I have been wanting to make these pretty little things for so long. I think the first time I saw them was at Use Real Butter. I had some reservations, thinking they would be too bitter or something. I have to tell you, put away any notions you may have about what these things would taste like. make them and prepared to be totally wowed by these! When you bite into it, it's kind of like one of those jellied candy orange slices except WAYYYYYYYYYYYYY better. Can you tell I am in love. They are so worth any trouble you think they may be. It's all worth it.

Going between these two recipes is how I made mine. I did make an accident and put in more water than necessary with the sugar. However, I am now left with some amazing syrup that I will use with some vodka. Maybe some orange syrup. vodka with a spritz of cranberry juice or pomegranate juice, the possibilities are endless.



Candied Orange Peels recipe from Use Real Butter

Candied Orange Peels from Food Network

Here's what I did.

Candied Orange Peels

6 navel oranges
3 cups sugar
sugar for dredging

Slice ends off of the oranges. Slice as much of this peel as possible. (These little pieces would be great for putting in Pannetone or Stollen). Cut the orange peel and pith into 1/4 inch slices. Place in pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil and drain the water. Fill with water bring to a boil again. Drain. Fill with water again and bring to a boil and drain one more time. Place enough water in the pan, just to cover the oranges and pour in 3 cups of sugar. Stir and bring to a boil. Wait until the pith goes from white to translucent. This take about 30 minutes or so. I spooned the peels out into a bowl filled with sugar and some straight onto the cooling rack for dipping in chocolate. (later).

Friday, December 12, 2008

CHECK OUT THESE BUNS

These are not buns of steel, they are buns of cheese. Awesome buns of cheese. Such a tastey treat. Very delicious and worth every moment of time put into them!

We had some last night with our turkey broth (from the freezer). Quite the comfort meal. Warm broth with vegetables, cheesy warm bread. Oh my. Do you sense a love affair with bread.

CHEESY GRUYERE BUNS

Adapted from King Arthur
(I changed a few things but otherwise its the exact recipe.)

Starter

1 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

1/2 cup cool water

Dough

all of the starter

1 cup + 2 tablespoons to 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water*

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence

3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

Filling

2 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese

To make the starter: Mix the 1 1/4 cups flour, salt, yeast, and 1/2 cup water in a medium-sized bowl. Mix till well combined; the starter will be very dry. Cover and let rest overnight at room temperature; it'll become bubbly.

To make the dough: Combine the risen starter with the water, salt, flour, and yeast. Knead—by hand, mixer, or bread machine set on the dough cycle—to make a smooth dough.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, till it's nearly doubled in bulk.

Gently deflate the dough, and pat and stretch it into a 3/4"-thick rectangle, about 9" x 12". Spritz with water, and sprinkle with the grated cheese.

Starting with a long side, roll it into a log, pinching the seam to seal. Place the log, seam-side down, on a lightly floured or lightly oiled surface.

Cover it and let it rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, till it's puffy. though not doubled in bulk. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Gently cut the log into four crosswise slices, for mini-breads; or simply cut the dough in half, for two normal-sized loaves. Place them on one (for two loaves) or two (for four mini-loaves) lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, cut side up. Spread them open a bit, if necessary, to more fully expose the cheese. Spritz with warm water, and immediately place them in the preheated oven.

Bake for 20 minutes (for the mini-loaves), or 35 minutes (for the full-sized loaves), or until the cheese is melted and the loaves are a very deep golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and cool on a rack.



Thursday, December 11, 2008

Chocolate Almond Mini Cakes


Have you ever heard a baker or a chef or Martha (sorry Martha, I do love you) say on television that baking is an EXACT science? Well, I have, many times. I agree with this statement partially. There are certain things you do have to do in a certain way to achieve the end result that you want. Having said that, there is lots of room for variables. As you stumble around with recipes and gain experience you realize that you can in fact substitute and tweak around quite a bit. I think statements like that should be made clearer. Because a beginner can kind of get scared off a bit when they hear statements like that. What do you all think? After a while you can even develop some recipes of your own.

Just a note: I so wouldn't try tweaking French Macarons though. I made them and followed the recipe EXACTLY and when I make them again I will not falter from that. Yes, and I imagine things like souffles and such.

This is one of those moments when a mistake turned into a good thing. I was making a recipe the other day when I realized I made a mistake. I set the beginning of the recipe aside (the mistake one and continued on with the recipe). I figured I could make that mistake part into a new recipe. Well hopefully. I did and it turned out really good. I am very satisfied with the results.

CHOCOLATE ALMOND MINI CAKES
Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness Original

3/4 cup almonds, ground
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
milk

In a large bowl, cream butter and then add sugar. Add eggs and salt. Add the dry ingredients and finally the milk. Bake in mini muffin tins for about 12 minutes or so at 350°F.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

DOUGH DAY



Today was one of those days when I felt like multi tasking and asked myself why a few times. I decided to make multiple pizza doughs, cracker dough, bread dough and sugar cookie dough. Meanwhile, I have sewing projects calling me to finish them. I am quite sure I am not alone here. It's that time of year when things go into super busy mode. Having said that, I must say that I really enjoy it. I love being creative in the kitchen and with my sewing machine. And I so love to give those things to the people around me. It gives me great joy to hand them something homemade with love. I know a little corny, but it's a time of the year when corny is acceptable.

These lovely crackers are inspired by this couple's blog, White On Rice. They have a knack for creating beautiful things. They seem like beautiful people as well. The recipe is pretty much the same. Only I added more water and less oil to try and cut down on the fat. I also added some onion powder because I think poppy seeds, crackers and onon kind of go hand in hand. I would really like to have these beautiful crackers with onion dip!

POPPY SEED CRACKERS
adapted from this recipe

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup white flour

1/4 teaspoons poppy seeds

1 cup grated Peccorino Romano cheese

3/4 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 cup ice water (or more as needed)

In bowl, combine dry ingredients thoroughly. In a large measuring cup combine oil and soy sauce. Mix together. Add water as necessary until dough forms a cohesive ball. Wrap dough ball in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.

Roll dough out with a rolling pin until fairly thin. I use washed cereal bags that have been opened up. Place dough in between to cereal bag sheets of plastic or use plastic wrap. As thin as possible without ripping it. Cut out shapes or just use a knife to form squares. Preheat oven to 350° F and bake for about 15 minutes.



I also wanted to share one of my Dad's favorite toys to make. He loves when kids come around because it gives him an excuse to be the kid that he is!

It moves around like it is walking. You use wax, rubbed on the parts to help them to move. Basically a stick, a rubber band and a wooden spool.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

PAPER CHEF: December

Paper Chef is a fun challenge that Ilva over at Lucullian Delights continues. Each month you are given a list of ingredients. Then from the list you have total freedom to create a dish using those ingredients. Such fun!

Anyway, my first thought was empanadas. I had a Spanish theme idea in my head. So I paired capers and saffron with the rice and shrimp from the ingredient list. For the sauce, I used the oranges and brandy from the ingredient list and added pomegranate juice. The sauce was amazing. We all agreed that it would be heavenly on ice cream as well. The results were good.

Afterwards I had enough filling leftover to stuff into these spring rolls. I don't usually fry food but wanted to do it with these. These were very delicious. I was very pleased with the results. So pleased in fact that I would make it again!



SHRIMP and RICE EMPANADAS
Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness Original

For the filling:

1 1/2 cups sushi rice
1 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
pinch of saffron
1 egg white
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 gloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups mini shrimps

Stir saffron into water in a heavy saucepan. Add rice and cook until boiling. Reduce flame tolow and cover. Cook rice until the water is absorbed. Try not to open the top too often.

When done, add remainder of ingredients. Let cool.

for the Pomegranate Orange Sauce:

2 oz brandy
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
the zest of two oranges
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 cup water

In a sauce pan combine all the ingredients except for the cornstarch and water. Heat the mixture until boiling. In a little cup combine cornstarch and water. Mix untilt here are no lumps. Pour the mixture into the sauce. Simmer for one minute more.
For the empanadas:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1stick), cold and cut into 12 pieces
1 lightly beaten egg
4-5 tbs ice water

In a food processor or with a pastry blender, combine flour, salt and butter. If using a processor put in flour and salt. Drop in butter while processor is running. Add egg. Add ice water, one tablespoon at a time until dough forms.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A CRAFT and A COOKIE #4


You know those peanut butter blossom cookies? The ones with a kiss in the middle. Well, I plan to make them as my brother will be here for Christmas (HOORAY). They are one of his favorites. But I wanted to make chocolate ones as well, with mint kisses in the middle. It was a good idea because they came out REALLY good. It was a bad idea because they have little mouths that keep calling me to come on over and eat them. Did you know cookies can be really loud? Dang. That chocolate dough will stay right in the freezer until the very last minute. Thank goodness I only made twelve.

MINT KISS COOKIES

16 ounces/ 1 pound bittersweet morsels
1 cup/ 2 stickes unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
12 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 large eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
mint kisses, unwrapped

Melt bittersweet morsels, unsweetened chocolate and butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Stir often and heat just until it is melted. Remove from heat. Pour into a large bowl. Stir in sugar. Let stand for about 30 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time to chocolate mixture. Stirring until fully incorporated before adding the next egg. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Pour that into the chocolate mixture. Finally, add the chocolate semisweet morsels.

Refrigerate for at least an hour. Scoop out with a cookie scoop. Drop ball onto greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 325 F oven for about ten minutes. Remove from heat, immediately press kiss into cookie. If you dont mind them melted, you can return to the oven for one minute more. Otherwise leave them in the cookie and let it rest on cookie sheet for one minute and then transfer to a wire rack. You can also put te kisses in the freezer so they will not melt as fast.

I used 14 gauge wire and wound it around a handle to one of my kitchen tools. I then pulled it so that the spiral stretched out a little. My kids strung beads on them and then we decorated with ribbon. A cute craft for kids.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

TURKEY TIPS, post Thanksgiving

A typical lunch following Thanksgiving.

I am so happy to report to you that today is the last of my turkey left overs, whew. I am grateful though to have leftovers since there are so many people that don't even have food. So no complaints here but just happy to report that I can move onto some new flavors. Before I do I want to share with you my favorite Thanksgiving money saving tip!

The week after Thanksgiving, usually that Monday, I head on out to Sam's. Although you can find deals other places. I buy two turkeys. I know you are thinking, turkey overload. But, hey, this is the time when they are really marking them down so they can get rid of any left over turkeys.

I bring them home and defrost them thoroughly. I cut them up. Save the turkey legs for a dinner and freeze it. I then take as much meat of as possible and grind it up. This year I got about 4 1/2 pounds of ground turkey meat from one 20 pound bird. Then I put the carcass, the neck, and any other bones, along with the skin and roast it all in the oven until golden. I empty all that into a big pot along with celery, carrots, onions, bay leaf, and peppercorns. I boil that for about 2 1/2 hours or so. Strain it and put it in my garage over night (pretty cold out there). You can also put it in your fridge. In the morning, I scrape off the fat and voila, tastey turkey broth, sodium free. Then, when you make soup, you can add the amount of desired salt.

Now, usually after I strain the carcass, there are some meat bits still on there. I then scrape off these and make turkey salad. Yes, I use nearly every morsel I can. It's my way of respecting the life of the bird. I know that may sound a little kooky to some of you but I figure, if this poor bird gave up his life for me and my family, I will use every last molecule I can to show my appreciation.

So there you have it. No recipe today, just and idea for you next year.

Friday, December 5, 2008

CRANBERRY CRAZY

Each year my love affair with cranberries grows even stronger. This year I bout one 16 oz bag and a three pound bag of them. OMG. Am I hoarder? Ah, yeah, that would be me. But you know, I made the typical cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, cooked with orange juice and grated zest. I added red wine and should have left it at that cause it was real good. Unfortunately, I added about a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and in my opinion it kind of stole the show. At least from the cranberries.

I also made Martha's cranberry chutney. My sister in law and I both felt there was something missing in that. I think I will add grated ginger to it the next time I make it. That probably would do it.

The real star, the one pictured above was cranberry salsa. Folks, it was outstanding. I am not sure if it would be outstanding in everyone's book. It sure made a disappearing act here on Thanksgiving day.

CRANBERRY SALSA
Lori's Lipsmacing Goodness Original

1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup of water
16 oz. bag of cranberries
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of sugar
6 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup of cilantro
chilis or jalapeno to taste

In a sauce pan combine water, salt, sugar, cranberries and onion. Cook until cranberries have popped. If water runs out at a little at a time. You should end up with a fairly thick sauce. If you find it still is too tart, add a little sugar at a time to get the desired taste. Remove from heat and add chopped cilantro, green onions and chilis. It is best to chill it overnight to let the flavors marry.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

ESPRESSO COOKIES


I go to the Epicurious site a lot. I always have. I just love how user friendly it is and they have a great database for recipes. I went there yesterday morning, looking for an espresso cookie. I wanted a grown up type chocolate/coffee cookie. I found this recipe there. Have to love the comments people leave. Sometimes people slam a recipe and I make it anyway and it is oh so good. So I guess you have to take the comments with a grain of salt, eh? These were not brownie like as one commenter proposed. I thought they were a yummy, chewy, chocolate/ coffee cookie as another reader comenter proposed.

I did change it up a bit as I thought the batter was too runny. This may have a lot to do with how cooled your chocolate is. Oh yes melted chocolate loveliness!

I also had some caramel swirl chips to use up. I opted to use these nstead of choco chips. I figured, if I like Caramel coffee, than why not caramel coffee cookies. They turned out great. Next time though I want to use the chocolate chips for a more fudgy affect.

CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO COOKIES
adapted from a recipe from Epicurious, March 1997

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups (10 ounces) caramel swirl chips
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 large eggs, room temp
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon espresso
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 2 large heavy baking sheets.

In a microwave safe bowl combine butter and chocolate and melt in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds or so until just melted. Make sure chocolate is at room temp before adding to the mix.

In a bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs, sugar, and ground coffee on high speed until very thick and pale and mixture forms a ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 3 minutes, and beat in chocolate mixture.

Pour flour, baking powder, and salt into the mixture. Stir until just combined. Stir in remaining caramel chips and walnuts.

Drop batter by heaping tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto baking sheets and bake in batched in middle of oven 8 to 10 minutes, or until puffed and cracked on top. Cool cookies in baking sheets 1 minute and transfer to racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Aplets from Washington

So back in September when my blog had 100 posts, I decided to start a new feature. I have this old, old book of recipes that is called, America Cooks, by The Browns, published by Norton and Company, 1940. It is so old, in fact, that there are only 48 states represented in it. There are some very interesting recipes in the book, including squirrel recipes and such. Not that squirrel is a bad thing. I imagine that if meat was hard to come by I would start trapping squirrels and rabbits in my backyard. Well I would have to eat beans a lot more too! Which is not a bad thing.

In doing a search for the book, I found this link. I didnt know my book was worth so much. Too funny. That was published in 1948 and mine was published in 1940. I wonder if that makes it worth more? No matter, it's from my Mom, priceless!

The following recipe is for "Aplets" and it is from Washington.

APLETS
America Cooks, by The Browns

4 cups apple pulp
4 cups sugar
4 tablespoons gelatin
1 cup cold water
3 cups chopped nuts
1/4 teaspoon rose water

"Use Jonathan apples or Winesaps. Cut up and cook with sugar in as little water as possible. Drain and press through a sieve. Soften gelatin in water; add to apple pulp and mix thoroughly. Add nuts and rose water after mixture has partially cooled. Pour into buttered pans 3/4 inch thick. Let harden, cut in even pieces, and roll in powdered sugar.

Aplets are the most genial palate ticklers, that have come our way since the advent of fudge. They are done up commercially at the Liberty Orchards in the Wenatchee Valley."

My notes:

I used mac intosh apples.
I opted out of using nuts as I like the creamy smoothness of these confections.
I also did not press through a sieve, I used a ricer. A little messy but it managed to take out the fibers that were tough.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A CRAFT and A COOKIE #3

I must tell you this cookie is amazing. I took a recipe that sounded pretty good and tweaked it a lot. It made one amazing cookie. My Dad loves Pecan Sandies. I think they are made by Keebler. They are good, but wow, are they ever sweet. I decided I needed to give this recipe a go. I am so glad I did. Not only is it easy, it is delicious. Running the nuts through the processor may seem like a lot of work but in the end you are left with a lot of cookies for your efforts. That is good for this time of year. You just give them away! Also, it is one of those recipes you can make ahead of time and freeze the dough. When you are ready to make them just defrost, slice and bake.

Pecan Sandies
Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness Original

2 3/4 cups pecans, toasted
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, unsalted and chilled
2 eggs
4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Process nuts and sugars in processor. Add butter. Transfer to a mixer with a paddle attachment. Add eggs, salt, vanilla and flour. Divide dough into four equal portions. Roll into a log on waxed paper. Chill dough in fridge for at least forty five minutes or overnight. (You can also freeze the log for later use). Slice into 1/4 inch rounds. Place a pecan on top or roll sides in beaten egg, then chopped pecans. Place on sprayed cookie sheet. Bake at 350F for about 12 to 15 minutes. Sides will be a little golden.

No, I did not purposely roll that gold string into the letter "L" but it would have been a good idea. It did just kind of lay itself that way. Too funny. I got this idea from the internet. I used Christmas cards from last year. I am glad I saved them. You can make them bigger by adding more panels. The original inspiration comes from here.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Recipes to Rival: November Challenge, Butternut Squash Soup with Miso

Fall is of course soup time. With it's warm steamy presence on a cool day, nothing could be more comforting. Well, I guess there are a few things that are more comforting.

This soup is so incredibly tastey. I really would have never thought of putting miso with butternut squash but hey that's why I love Recipes to Rival. You make recipes that you might not necessarily think of making. And, so far, I have been wowed by all the recipes.

I highly recommend making this soup. I used butternut as I seem to have a surplus of it right now. The creme fraiche with vanilla was okay. For me the flavor in this soup that really made it great, was the miso.

Click
here
to see the full, Recipes to Rival, blog post.

Squash Soup with Vanilla Creme Fraiche

Top Chef recipe
Please see the original inspiration here.

Prep Time: one hour and 30 minutes
Serves: more than 8 (I estimate about 20)
Spike & Andrew's recipe:

Mirepoix:

3 sliced leek bottoms (rinsed)
4 carrots (peeled and sliced)
10 shallots (peeled and sliced)
1 clove garlic
1/2 lb butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup miso stir
Salt and pepper

Squash:

butternut
Oil for rubbing
Salt and pepper

Vegetable Stock:
4 quarts water
2 white onions
4 carrots, peeled
2 leeks
6-8 button mushrooms
Bouquet garnish (parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns)
I used turkey stock.

Vanilla Creme Fraiche:
Creme fraiche
2 vanilla beans

Additional Ingredients:
Salt to taste
Cayenne to taste

DIRECTIONS:
Mirepoix:
Sweat all of the vegetables with butter. Sweat down and deglaze with honey. Stir and add miso. Season with salt and pepper.
Squash:
Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and reserve one butternut head for garnish. Rub squash with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place one piece of sage under every piece of squash. Place squash face down on a sheet tray and roast at 350 degrees until done. Scoop flesh out and pass through a ricer.
Vegetable Stock:
In a pot, boil all ingredients together with the exception of the bouquet garnishes. (NOTE:allow to simmer for at least 1 hour)
Vanilla Creme Fraiche:
Whip creme fraiche and scrape vanilla beans and fold in.
Soup:
Combine squash and vegetable stock to desired consistency. Add mirepoix and cook. Blend with a vita prep and strain through a chinois. Season with salt and cayenne.
To Plate:
Add 6 ounces of soup in bowl and spoon in creme fraiche. Garnish with bouquet garnishes.

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