Sunday, December 22, 2013

Hearty Turkey Soup

I had a lot of turkey left over from Thanksgiving and after a few days of eating leftovers decided to turn the remainder into some hearty stick-to-your-ribs soup.

yield: 6 hearty helpings

for broth
turkey innards (the parts that come in that little bag + the neck)
2 stalks celery, quartered
1 onion, quartered
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp black pepper
12C water

for soup
2 large carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
2 small onions, diced
2C (or more) turkey meat, chopped
1C grains (I used an Pedon Italian Style 5 Grains)

  1. for broth: Add all ingredients into a large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Cover pot and let simmer for at least 1 hour.
  4. Remove innards, celery, and onion from the broth liquid. Discard.
  5. for soup: Add carrots, celery, onions, and turkey meat to the broth in the pot.
  6. Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes.
  7. Add grains and cook for and additional 10 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart

I love salted caramel anything, and this tart is no exception.
Mine became more of a pie because I did not have a tart pan, but it worked just fine in the end!
yield: 1 tart

for tart
¼C cocoa powder
1½C all-purpose flour
10 tbs butter, chilled and cubed
½C powdered sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tbs ice water
sea salt flakes, for sprinkling

for salted caramel
1C heavy cream
3.5 tbs butter
1½ C sugar
½ C water
1 tsp sea salt flakes

dark chocolate ganache
⅔ C dark chocolate chips
½ C heavy cream

  1. for tart: Place cocoa, flour, butter, and powdered sugar in bowl of a stand mixer, mixing on low speed until mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  2. On low speed, add egg yolk and ice water until the dough comes together.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  4. Bring together to form a ball.
  5. Flatten dough into a disc, wrapping in plastic wrap and refrigerating for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  7. Roll the pastry out between 2 sheets of parchment paper until about 3mm thick.
  8. Line a lightly greased 9.5" round loose-bottomed tart tin with the pastry.
  9. Trim the edges and prick the base with a fork.
  10. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  11. Line pastry with parchment paper, fill with pie weights, and bake for 15 minutes.
  12. Remove paper and weights.
  13. Bake for 10 minutes.
  14. for salted caramel: Place cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil.
  15. Remove from heat and set aside.
  16. Place sugar and water in a medium saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.
  17. Increase heat to high.
  18. Bring sugar to a boil and cook for 10-12 minutes, without stirring, until mixture is a deep caramel color.
  19. Remove from the heat and working quickly, add salt and cream mixture, whisking to combine.
  20. Return to the heat and cook for another 2 minutes, until thickened slightly.
  21. Pour salted caramel into the tart shell.
  22. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, or until set.
  23. for dark chocolate ganache: Place chocolate and cream in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until melted and smooth.
  24. Remove from heat.
  25. Allow to stand for 10 minutes, until thickened slightly.
  26. Pour chocolate mixture over the caramel.
  27. Sprinkle sea salt flake over chocolate ganache.
  28. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until set.
  29. Bring to room temperature to serve.
  30. Enjoy!

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Cookies

I needed a recipe for this year's cookie swap and opted for these because they sounded interesting.
The flavors all went together really well and were deemed a success!
yield: 48 cookies

1C butter, room temperature
1½ C sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2C all-purpose flour
⅔ C cocoa powder
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
11oz bag Kraft Caramel Bits
1C white chocolate covered pretzels, coarsely chopped (I used white chocolate peppermint covered pretzels to add an additional flavor layer)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease baking sheet or line with parchment paper or silicone mat.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar 2-3 minutes on medium-high speed until light fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla, beating for 1-2 minutes on medium speed.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture on low speed, mixing until well combined.
  7. Fold in caramel bits and pretzels.
  8. Scoop rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheets, pressing lightly to flatten slightly.
  9. Bake for 9-10 minutes, until set. 
  10. Allow to cool 5 minutes before removing from cookie sheet.
  11. Let cool completely on wire rack.
  12. Enjoy!

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Eggnog Buttercream

These are Christmas, that is all.
yield: 22 cupcakes

for cupcakes
2C cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
½ C butter, room temperature
½ C brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
½ C unsulphured molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 C buttermilk

for buttercream
1C butter, room temperature
3½ C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ C eggnog

  1. for cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and brown sugar together 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, incorporating each before adding the next.
  6. Add molasses and mix to combine.
  7. Scrape bowl and paddle as needed.
  8. Add half of the flour mixture to butter mixture, on low speed, until it just starts to come together.
  9. Add buttermilk and vanilla until just combined.
  10. Add remaining flour mixture until it just starts to combine.
  11. Fill cupcake liners ⅔ full with batter.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  13. Let cool completely.
  14. for buttercream: In bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar for 5 minutes on medium-high until light and fluffy.
  15. Add vanilla, nutmeg, and eggnog, mixing until well combined.
  16. Beat on medium high for 2 minutes.
  17. Pipe (or spread) onto cooled cupcakes.
  18. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Lavender Banana Bread

I had a fair amount of lavender left over from some I had grabbed for a friend from our CSA. He never wound up needing it, so I decided to put it to use with this banana bread recipe.
I was worried about it tasting like perfume, but it was a unique alternative to your regular old banana bread.

yield: 1 loaf of banana bread

3 ripe bananas, mashed
⅓C butter, melted
1C sugar
1 egg, whisked
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
⅛ tsp salt
1½C all-purpose flour
2 tbs fresh lavender buds

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large bowl, mash together butter and bananas with a wooden spoon.
  3. Mix in sugar, egg, and vanilla.
  4. Sprinkle in salt and baking soda.
  5. Mix in flour until well combined.
  6. Add in the lavender buds.
  7. Pour batter into a greased 4"x8" loaf pan.
  8. Bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Let cool.
  10. Enjoy!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Browned Butter Cheddar Apple Pie

I was looking for something different for my Thanksgiving apple pie and this recipe seemed like just the thing!
While it was different and delicious, I'm not sure it was my favorite apple pie ever but does anything ever compare to the original?
yield: 1 apple pie

for pie filling
3lbs apples, peeled cored and thinly sliced (I used a combination of what I had from the CSA)
⅓C granulated sugar
¼C dark brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
4 tbsp butter
2 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs water

for pie crust
1 tsp salt
2½C all-purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
14 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
½C grated extra sharp cheddar
6 tbs ice cold water
1 egg, beaten
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

  1. for pie crust: In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the sugars and set aside for at least an hour while you prepare crust.
  2. In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar and salt. Add in half of the butter and pulse for 30 seconds. 
  3. Add in the rest of butter and cheese and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. 
  4. Sprinkle ice water over mixture and pulse until dough comes together in clumps. If dry, add a little bit more water (1 teaspoon at a time). 
  5. Remove dough from processor and form into a disk. 
  6. Divide dough into two disks; one slightly bigger than the other and wrap in plastic wrap. 
  7. Chill for about 30 minutes. The dough can be made up to 3 days ahead. Keep chilled. 
  8. Let stand at room temperature 15-30 minutes before rolling out.
  9. Roll out larger disk on a lightly floured surface to a large circle. 
  10. Fit into an ungreased 9-inch pie dish, crimping the edges into your desired style. 
  11. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
  12. Preheat oven to 400°F. 
  13. Line pie crust with foil and add pie weights (or beans).
  14. Bake pie crust for 10 minutes. 
  15. Let cool while you prepare filling.
  16. for pie filling: In a small saucepan set over medium heat, melt the butter. 
  17. When it starts foaming, whisk constantly until butter turns brown. 
  18. Toss with apples. 
  19. In a small bowl, stir the cornstarch and water until dissolved. 
  20. Toss with apple mixture.
  21. Fill the partially baked pie crust with the apple filling. Pile it high!
  22. Roll out the second dough and cut into strips to create a lattice top. I used a pizza cutter for this. Size and number of strips depends on your preference (or straight line cutting ability).
  23. Create weave top and crimp the edges.
  24. Whisk egg white and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl.
  25. Brush the top of pie with egg wash and then sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
  26. Place pie dish on a baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the filling is bubbly.
  27. Let pie cool for at least an hour before serving.
  28. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Rosemary Orange Roasted Turkey

This year was my second time ever cooking a turkey.
I opted for this recipe off of The Food Network, and it turned out fantastic.
I was a little nervous about brining because I had never done it before, but it turned out great -- the meat just fell off the bone which was something I (and my Dad who is a Thanksgiving turkey veteran) had never seen before.
yield: one 16-20 lb turkey

for brine
2 gallons water
2C apple cider
1½C sea salt
2C brown sugar
5 cloves garlic, minced
5 bay leaves
4 tbs black peppercorns
1/4C fresh rosemary
2 oranges, peeled (keep the peels!)

1 (16-20lb) turkey

for basting
1 stick butter, softened
3 tbs minced fresh rosemary leaves
zest of 1 orange

  1. for brine: Combine the brine ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn off the heat.
  3. Cover pot and allow mixture to come to room temperature.
  4. Cool mixture in the fridge until you're ready.
  5. for turkey: Remove the turkey from the wrapper and remove the interior bags.
  6. Place the turkey in a plastic bringing bag or a very large pot.
  7. Pour cooled brine mixture over the top of the turkey, adding extra cold water if you need more to completely cover the turkey.
  8. Seal the bag or cover the pot, allow turkey to brine in the refrigerator for 16-24 hours before roasting.
  9. Before roasting, remove the turkey from the brine.
  10. Discard brine.
  11. Preheat oven to 275°F.
  12. Truss the bird (tie the legs together -- this was already done for me) and place it breast side up on a rack in a large roasting pan.
  13. Stuff the turkey cavity with the two peeled oranges.
  14. Cover the turkey tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil.
  15. Make sure the roasting pan is completely covered.
  16. Place in the oven and roast for 10 minutes per pound. (My 16 lb turkey roasted for 2 hours and 40 minutes).
  17. Remove the turkey from the oven.
  18. Increase oven temperature to 375°F.
  19. Remove the aluminum foil from the turkey.
  20. Mix the softened butter with the rosemary and orange peel.
  21. Rub butter mixture all over the skin of the turkey, making sure the entire turkey is covered.
  22. Place the turkey, uncovered, back into the oven.
  23. Continue roasting the turkey, basting with butter every 15 minutes, for one hour.*
  24. Remove turkey from the oven and cover with foil until you are ready to carve and serve.
  25. Remove the oranges from the turkey before carving.
  26. Reserve pan juices to make gravy if you so desire (I did not).
  27. Enjoy!
*The original recipe says every 30 minutes until the meat thermometer reaches 170°F and the juices run clear. I don't know about the juices but the thermometer included with my turkey popped during the first run in the oven, and the meat thermometer measured way over 170°F mark by the first 15 minute basting session. I let it cook uncovered for 1 hour and it was perfect, so that is my recommendation.

My Thanksgiving Dinner

This year we hosted Thanksgiving in our brand new (to us) house for 8 people.
I way over cooked but it was fabulous and I am perfectly fine with eating Thanksgiving leftovers for days and days!
Main Course
Rosemary Orange Roasted Turkey

Sweet Potato Casserole
Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes
Herbed Corn
Corn Bread Stuffing
Cranberry Sauce
Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Dates

Pumpkin Pie
Browned Butter Cheddar Apple Pie
Banoffee Pie
Grand Marnier Fruit Dip & Fresh Fruit