Sunday
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
crockpot chicken enchilada soup
easiest ever carbonara with fresh pasta, salad
baked crispy chicken sandwiches, sweet potato fries
chipotle pork, skillet corn, green beans
salmon salad with avocado and cucumber, lemon vinaigrette
out for Halloween
out for a wedding

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Alton Brown's Pumpkin Pie

IMG_5455I confess, I have never tried pumpkin pie. The whole thing just doesn't sound delicious to me. That being said, C requests a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving every year. This year, Alton Brown featured pumpkin pie on his Thanksgiving special. I followed his instructions, but I did change his ginger snap crust to a standard pastry crust. C insists pumpkin pie be served with Cool Whip (blech!), but this year he had to settle for extra creamy Cool Whip since Kroger was sold out of the regular. Do they not realize it is Thanksgiving? 
Pumpkin Pie

16 ounces Pumpkin Puree, approximately 2 cups, recipe follows
1 cup half-and-half
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinammon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 pie crust

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring the pumpkin puree to a simmer over medium heat in a 2-quart saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the half-and-half, nutmeg, and salt. Stir and return the mixture to a simmer. Remove the pumpkin mixture from the heat and cool for 10 minutes.

Whisk the brown sugar, eggs, and yolk until smooth in a large bowl. Add the pumpkin mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour the prepared filling into a prepared pie crust and bake on the same half sheet pan until the center jiggles slightly but the sides of the filling are set, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack for at least 2 to 3 hours before slicing. Pie can be made and refrigerated up to 2 days in advance. Pie is best the day after it is made.

Pumpkin Puree

2 pie pumpkins
kosher salt

Slice a small piece of skin off the one side of the pumpkin so when laid on its side, the pumpkin will lay flat without rolling. Remove the stem and split the pumpkin in half from top to bottom, using a large cleaver and a mallet. Scoop out the seeds and fiber with a large metal spoon or ice cream scoop. Cut the fibers with kitchen shears if necessary. Reserve seeds for another use.

Sprinkle the flesh with kosher salt and lay the halves, flesh side down, on a parchment paper-lined half sheet pan. Roast until a paring knife can be easily inserted and removed from the pumpkin, 30 to 45 minutes. Test in several places to ensure doneness.

Remove the half sheet pan to a cooling rack and cool the pumpkin for 1 hour. Using a large spoon, remove the roasted flesh of the pumpkin from the skin to the bowl of a food processor. Process until the flesh is smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Adapted from Alton Brown
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Smoked Turkey Pasta

IMG_5408xOnce again, I had a smoked turkey to use up the week before Thanksgiving...can you ever really be sick of turkey? Of course you can. Which is why this dish can easily be frozen in a casserole dish and reheated when the turkey craving sets in again. After I made this, the remaining smoked turkey meat was banished to the freezer. When it gets cold in February for a week or so, I will defrost it to make more Smoked Turkey Chowder.

Smoked Turkey Pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil
½ onion, chopped
1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded, diced
1 ½ cups dry white wine
2 cups half and half
3 cups smoked turkey, shredded
1 teaspoon parsley
¾ pound linguine or pasta of your choice
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and sauté 1 minute. Add mushrooms and bell pepper and sauté until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add white wine and boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup whipping cream and simmer until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup whipping cream, smoked turkey and parsley; simmer 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain well. Add pasta to sauce in pot and toss to coat. Add cheese and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Adapted from Bon Appetit
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Smoked Turkey Chowder

IMG_5398xThis recipe is loosely based on the recipe I use for Chicken Corn Chowder.  The flavors of this chowder were fantastic.  I am not sure how much had to do with the flavor of the smoked turkey from Greenberg Smoked Turkey in Tyler, Texas, but I do know this was a winner.  And it would be equally fantastic with leftover turkey, which I am sure we all have a ton of.  I forgot to sprinkle the bacon on top, but it didn't even need it.  The bacon flavor came through beautifully in the broth.
Smoked Turkey Chowder

3 slices bacon, chopped
½ small white onion, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
¼ cup white wine
½ teaspoon dried sage
2 cups chicken broth
2 to 3 small russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 ½ cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1 to 2 cups smoked turkey meat (any leftover turkey meat will work)
1 cup half and half

Cook bacon in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat until brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels and drain. Discard all but 2 tablespoons drippings from pan. Add onions and carrots; sauté until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the sage, broth and potato, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover pan, reduce the heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add corn and simmer for 5 minutes more. Add turkey and half and half and bring to simmer, about 2 minutes. Season chowder to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with cooked bacon and serve.
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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving~Smoked Turkey

IMG_5392x
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, with great food and family around them! I know we will be stuffing ourselves silly!

C got a smoked turkey from one of his co-workers the week before Thanksgiving, so I will be blogging a couple of fantastic recipes using the smoked turkey. Of course, leftover roast turkey will work just as well as the smoked turkey, but you might want to increase the spices a bit, especially the salt.
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Carrot Cake

IMG_5096xC's favorite cake is a carrot cake, followed closely by tres leches cake. For his birthday this year, same as the first year we were dating, he requested a carrot cake. And over the seven years we have been together, I have used Cooks' Illustrated's recipe for carrot cake and my mom's friend's recipe for cream cheese frosting. The main difference between now and the first time, is that I now own a food processor (thank you wedding registry), so I no longer have to walk around with carrot orange stained hands after grating a pound of carrots for the cake.
Carrot Cake

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
1 pound carrots, peeled
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8” cake pans.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

In a food processor fitted with a large shredding disk, shred the carrots; fit the processor with the metal blade and pulse the grated carrots 3 to 5 times. Pour the carrots into a large mixing bowl. Process the granulated and brown sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. With the machine running, add the oil through the feed tube in a steady stream. Process until the mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 seconds longer. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the carrots. Stir in the dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool the cake to room temperature in the pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours.

Adapted from Cooks’ Illustrated

Cream Cheese Frosting
frosts one cake or 24 cupcakes

½ cup butter, softened
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
4 cups of confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Mix all ingredients until smooth.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Fried Okra

IMG_4935xI love fried okra. My favorite spot for fried okra is Hickory Hollow, but I think that is mainly based on the fact that Hickory Hollow has the best ranch dressing I have ever tasted. There were lots of things I wouldn't eat before I moved to Texas: queso, guacamole, and of course, ranch dressing. I would probably be a lot healthier if I didn't indulge in any of them. These okra are so good, you don't even need ranch dressing.
Fried Okra

3 to 4 cups fresh okra
1 egg
¼ cup milk
½ cup flour
½ cup processed tortilla chips
oil for frying

Trim the ends from the okra, then slice into ½” pieces. In a bowl, whisk the egg with the milk. Toss the okra in the egg mixture. In a food processor, pulse the tortilla chips until they resemble a fine powder. Mix the tortilla chips and flour in a separate bowl. Add the okra into the flour mixture and toss gently to coat. Heat 1” of oil in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Working in batches, fry the okra for 3 to 5 minutes, until they are golden brown in color. Drain on a wire rack.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

Portobello Mushroom Soup

IMG_4882xxThis farmshare has provided me so many fun blog updates. There were two huge Portobellos in my box, I would normally make Sausage Stuffed Portobellos, but C was gone for the evening and there was no way I could eat that much. Well, Miss F does love sausage, but I still think it would have been too much for the two of us. Miss F loves soup as do I, the best part is that we have leftovers for lunches. This soup was made up by me and it turned out quite nicely.
Portobello Mushroom Soup
serves 4

2 large or 3 medium caps fresh Portobello mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
¼ whole onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine
4 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
2/3 cup half and half

Coarsely chop the mushroom caps. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for two minutes. Sauté the onions until translucent, add the mushrooms and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes more and add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds more. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Add the chicken stock and parsley; bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the half and half, salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Garlic Rosemary Focaccia

IMG_4867xxWhen I saw this recipe on My Adventures in Food, I knew I needed to try it. More importantly, I knew I needed to make it when C was out of the house. Not only does he hate the smell of fresh baked bread, but he really despises the smell of garlic cooking in oil. Thankfully, he was gone all day one Saturday for an A&M football game, so I had all afternoon to stink up the kitchen to my heart's content. I also made the refrigerator pickles, I am positive he would hate the smell of boiling vinegar. This bread is wonderful. Make it!
Garlic Rosemary Focaccia

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/3 cup olive oil
3 ½ teaspoons dry yeast
1 cup + 1 tablespoon warm water (95-105 degrees F)
3 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
Coarse salt for sprinkling
Fresh ground black pepper for sprinkling

Combine garlic and olive oil in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat until garlic begins to brown. Do not let garlic burn. Remove from heat, discard garlic cloves, and let the oil cool.

Whisk together yeast and warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and table salt. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add half of the garlic oil. Stir half the flour mixture into the bowl with the yeast. Add the remaining flour, and mix on low with the dough hook attachment. Once flour is incorporated, turn mixer to medium. Knead until the dough becomes soft and sticky, about 5 minutes. Transfer dough to a large, well-oiled bowl. Turn the dough over so that both sides are coated with oil. Cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place to rise. Dough should double in bulk in about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450. Grease a half baking sheet (9x13) with some of the remaining garlic oil. Gently press the dough into the pan. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for another 30 minutes. Make indentations at intervals in the surface of the dough. Drizzle the remaining garlic oil over the top of the dough. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the fresh herbs. Bake in the lower third of the oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer bread to a wire rack and serve warm or at room temperature.

Adapted from My Adventures in Food
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Monday, November 15, 2010

Refrigerator Pickles

IMG_4854xI had two gorgeous cucumbers in my farm share and they had sent out a link to their Wood Duck Farms refrigerator cucumber recipe. I had to eat one of the cucumbers fresh, but I decided to make the other into pickles. I changed up their recipe a bit, theirs called for bell pepper, which I didn't have, so I omitted.
Refrigerator Pickles

1 large cucumber, sliced
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons pickling spice

In a small saucepan, boil the vinegar, sugar and salt until all the sugar has dissolved, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Place the cucumber slices and pickling spice in a sterilized Le Parfait jar. Pour the vinegar mixture and pickling spice over top. Seal the jar and refrigerate overnight.
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Friday, November 12, 2010

Pot Roast

IMG_4842xChuck roast was on sale at Kroger, so I had planned to make a pot roast. My friend Kristina was out of town for work, so she gave me her farm share for the week, as long as I would pick it up, it was mine for the taking. There were turnips in the box, so I decided to add them to the pot roast since I had no idea what else to do with them. A couple people had recommended Pioneer Woman's Pot Roast recipe. I adpated it a little, to add in turnips and potatoes. I still have no idea what to do with the turnip greens, which were about 10 times the size of the turnips.
Pot Roast

1 whole (3 to 4 pounds) chuck roast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole onion
3 to 4 turnips
2 russet potatoes
1 pound of carrots, peeled
1 cup red wine
2 to 3 cups beef stock
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Cut the onion in half, cut 6 to 8 carrots into 2-inch slices, cut the turnips in half and cut the potatoes into 2” cubes. When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the halved onions and turnips, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the onions to a plate.

Throw the carrots and potatoes into the same very hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so.

If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pan. Salt and pepper the roast. Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.

With the burner still on high, use the red wine to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of that wonderful flavor up.

When the bottom of the pan is sufficiently deglazed, place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway (about 2 to 3 cups). Add in the onion, turnip, carrots, potatoes, as well as the rosemary, thyme and bay leaf.

Put the lid on, then roast in a 275F oven for 3 hours (for a 3-pound roast). For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours.

Adapted from the Pioneer Woman
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

IMG_4368xWhen I saw these on Annie Eats and had a baby shower in just a few days, I knew they would be perfect. Miss F got all excited that they were her muffins, but she was quite disappointed when she bit into the cream cheese portion of the muffin.  I had a few issues with these, the muffin itself was super dense, the cream cheese shriveled up, which was unappetizing and the spice level wasn't near where I would want it.  If I make them again, I will certainly double up on the spices.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
makes 24 muffins

3 cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons nutmeg
¾ teaspoon ginger
1 ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, salt, baking soda and sugar. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin and oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Fill lined muffin tins half full. Cut the cream cheese into 24 equal squares. Place a cream cheese square into each muffin tin. Fill each muffin tin with the remaining batter.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the muffin part.

Let cool in pan for 5 min. before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Adapted from Annie Eats
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Monday, November 8, 2010

Crab Dip

IMG_4363xI first had this at brunch the day after Zane and Karen's amazing wedding.  I asked for the recipe straight away, I couldn't get enough of the creamy, crabby goodness.  His brother Lance had made it and the secret recipe was actually from Phillips.  I doubled the crab meat from the original recipe.  I actually halved the other ingredients and still used a pound of backfin crab meat.  Heaven.
Crab Dip

1 cup crab meat, cleaned and picked free of shells
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon Old Bay
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Allow cream cheese to come to room temperature and soften. In a large mixing bowl, combine softened cream cheese, sour cream, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. parsley, dry mustard and Old Bay. Stir in ¾ cup of the cheddar cheese and the mozzarella cheese. Mix well. Gently fold in crab meat by hand until evenly distributed throughout mixture. Be careful not to break apart the meat. Pour mixture into lightly greased gratin dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and parsley. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until top is golden brown and bubbling.
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Friday, November 5, 2010

Chicken and Shrimp Creole

IMG_4420xSince C doesn't eat seafood, I have to make separate plates for he and I whenever I decide to eat it. This was easy to split since the shrimp take so little time to cook. The only irritation was C whining about the shrimp smell, but the man complains when there is fresh bread baking, so his nose is obviously not up to par. The flavors were fantastic, it really hit the spot. It would be lovely with just shrimp and would cook up in no time.
Chicken and Shrimp Creole
serves 4

¼ cup oil
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers, with liquid
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon white sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 dashes hot sauce
½ pound shrimp, cleaned and peeled

Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until mixture is the color of a copper penny. Reduce heat to low and stir in bell pepper, celery, onion and chicken. Cook 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in tomatoes with green chile peppers, chicken broth, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Bring heat to medium high and when the mixture comes to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add shrimp for last 3 to 5 minutes of cooking, depending on the size of the shrimp. Serve over rice.
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola

IMG_4428xOne of my most favorite pasta dishes is Cooks Illustrated Penne a la Vodka. It is so good and reasonably easy to prepare. When I saw the episode of The Barefoot Contessa featuring a very similar dish, I knew I had to try it. Who cares that it takes over two hours...it is worth every second. This dish is amazing. Miss F kept asking for "more" and when I say kept asking, she had at least 5 helpings. Her little belly was about to explode. C thought it was good, but wondered why there was no meat. I will make it again with sausage for him.
Nick and Toni's Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola
serves 4

¼ cup good olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, diced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup vodka
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound penne pasta
4 tablespoons fresh oregano
¾ to 1 cup heavy cream
Grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large oven proof saute pan over medium heat, add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.

Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes through a sieve and crush them into the pan with your hands. Add 1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1 ½ hours. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.

Place the tomato mixture in a blender and puree in batches until the sauce is a smooth consistency. Return to the pan.

Reheat the sauce, add 2 tablespoons fresh oregano and enough heavy cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes. Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in ½ cup Parmesan. Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh oregano on each plate.
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Monday, November 1, 2010

Mini Banana Muffins

IMG_4332x It's my turn to host playgroup for the toddlers this week. I plan on taking full advantage of this glorious weather, so we are meeting at a local park. These muffins are easily eaten by toddlers and their moms alike. They are super easy to make and even easier to tote along to the park to soak up the sun.
Mini Banana Muffins
makes 30 mini muffins

2 to 3 brown bananas, peeled and mashed
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup natural applesauce
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, add bananas, sugar, egg, and applesauce and mix well.

Stir in baking soda, powder, salt and flour. Mix well.

Line the mini muffin tins with paper liners. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 way full. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool.
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