Sunday, December 20, 2009

Orange Chile Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Every time I've ever seen pork, it looks so dry. It just always gets super overcooked. This is a really good way to cook pork and keep it juicy.

Orange Chile Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Pork Ingredients:
2 pork tenderloins (When you buy a package of pork tenderloins, it will generally have two in it)
1 gallon cold water
1/2 cup table salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp table salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Glaze Ingredients:
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1-2 tsp red chile flakes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

1. Trim the silver skin off both tenderloins.
2. Add cold water and 1/2 cup salt to a large bowl or small bucket to make a brine. Add pork and brine in the fridge for at least 1 hour. (Longer would be fine).
3. Make the orange glaze while the tenderloin is in the brine. Combine orange juice, sugar and chile flakes in a small sauce pan or frying pan. Bring to a simmer and let simmer until it gets thick like a glaze. Set aside.

4. Whisk cornstarch, sugar, salt and black pepper in a small bowl until combined.
5. Pat tenderloins dry with paper towels, then roll in cornstarch mixture until evenly coated on both sides. Thoroughly pat off excess cornstarch mixture. Too much cornstarch will leave gummy spots on the tenderloin.
6. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat until just beginning to smoke. Reduce heat to medium and put both tenderloins in the skillet. Cook until well browned on all sides. Transfer tenderloins to a wire rack set in a cookie sheet.

7. Brush tenderloin with orange glaze and put into preheated oven. Let roast until the thickest part of the pork reads 145-150.
8. Remove from oven, brush with glaze and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Slice and serve

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cranberry Orange Pound Cake

This pound cake is super delicious! I found it on this website and decided to try it out. It is probably one of my favorite pound cakes I've ever tried.

Cranberry Orange Pound Cake

2 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
2 tsp orange zest (peel)
1 tsp vanilla
6 eggs
8 oz sour cream (1 cup)
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh cranberries
2 apples, diced

Preheat oven to 350

1. Grease and flour a bundt pan (extremely well or the top of the cake will stick and get stuck in it)
2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add in orange zest and vanilla.
3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg.
4. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in sour cream.
5. Fold in cranberries and apples.
6. Pour batter (it's really thick) into the greased bundt pan. Bake for 65-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool about 15-30 minutes before removing from the pan.
7. Drizzle on the glaze while the cake and the glaze is still warm.


1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1 cube butter
1/2 cup half and half

1. In a medium saucepan mix the sugar and the flour. Stir in butter and half and half.
2. Cook over medium head until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly
3. Drizzle over cake while still warm

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Derby Pie

Derby Pie

(Enough filling for 1, 10” or 2, 8” pies)

2 eggs

½ cup butter

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts

½ cup flour

1 cup sugar

¼ tsp vanilla

2 Tbsp bourbon (Optional)

Melt butter. Add flour, sugar and slightly beaten eggs. Stir in nuts. Add vanilla. Stir in chips.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, the top should be golden brown.

(You will need to pre-bake your pie crusts for this recipe, bake them for 10-15 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Let them cool and then fill with pie filling)

Ready to go in the oven:

Cut open. You can see how the chocolate chips all sink to the bottom:



(Makes 3, 8” or 2, 10” cheesecakes)

Graham cracker crust

3 lbs 9 oz (7 cups) Cream cheese, room temperature

1 lb 2 oz (2 ¼ cups) sugar

¼ oz (1 ½ tsp) salt

15 oz (1 ½ cups + 1 Tbsp) eggs (Probably around 15 medium eggs)

1 ½ oz (3 Tbsp) egg yolk

7 ½ oz (3/4 cup + 3 Tbsp) heavy cream (or sour cream will work as well)

.75 oz (4 ½ tsp) vanilla extract

1. Coat the cake pans with a light film of fat and line them with parchment circles

2. Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of each pan

3. Combine the cream cheese, sugar and salt and mix on medium speed with the paddle attachment, occasionally scraping down the bowl, until the mixture is completely smooth, about 3 minutes

4. Whisk the eggs and egg yolks together. Add the eggs to the cream cheese mixture in very small amounts, making sure to scrape down the sides after each addition and making sure they are fully incorporated. This may take up to 6 additions. This will make it so it is not lumpy and perfectly smooth.

5. Add the heavy cream and vanilla, mix until fully incorporated

6. Add batter to pans, gently tap to release air bubbles

7. Bake in a hot water bath at 325 (or 300) until the centers of the cakes are set, about 1 hour

8. When the timer goes off, turn the oven off and leave the cheesecakes in the oven without opening the door for 30 minutes – 1 hour

9. Cool the cakes completely in the pans on wire racks. Wrap the cakes in plastic and refrigerate overnight to set.


Chocolate cheesecake: To 4 cups batter for 1, 8” cake, add 5 Tbsp sifted cocoa powder and blend well.

White chocolate cheesecake: To 5 cups batter for 1, 8” cake, add ¾ cup melted white chocolate and blend well.

Marble cheesecake: To 1 cup batter for 1, 8” cake, add 4 Tbsp melted bittersweet chocolate: Pour the chocolate batter into 4 cups plain batter and gently swirl three or four times with the end of a wooden spoon. Do not over mix. Pour the marbleized batter into the prepared pan and proceed as directed above

Lemon cheesecake: To 5 cups batter for 1, 8” cake, add 4 Tbsp lemon juice and the grated zest of one lemon and blend well.

Pumpkin cheesecake: To 3 cups batter for 1, 8” cake, add 1 ¼ cup pumpkin puree and blend well.

Easy Pie Crust

Easy Pie Crust

This is a 3, 2, 1 recipe.

3 parts flour

2 parts fat

1 part water

Normally it’s made with 3lbs flour, 2 lbs fat, 1 lb water but that makes a giant batch! It probably makes around 10+ pies so I am going to cut it in half.

Also you can use a variety of fats for this. You can use butter, shortening or lard either by themselves or a combination of the three. Pure butter tastes the best, but doesn’t hold up as well under the heat of the oven. Shortening holds up well but doesn’t taste as good and lard makes the flakiest crust of all. I like to use half butter, half shortening for mine.

This half batch makes about 6-7 pie crusts:

1 ½ lb (3 cups) flour

½ lb (1 cup) butter, cold

½ lb (1 cup) shortening

½ lb (1 cup) ice water

1-2 tsp salt or sugar (depending on your pie – if it’s super sweet, add salt. If it’s not, add sugar)

The trick to good pie crust is to keep it as cold as possible. Use cold butter, ice water and put the dough in the fridge when the butter starts to melt in your hands to cool it back down.

In a large bowl add flour and all your fat. Using your super clean hands start breaking the fat up and incorporating it into the flour. You will continue to do this until the butter/shortening pieces are about the size of a pea or a little smaller.

If the butter starts to get warm, put in the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill it back down again.

Once the butter is incorporated into the flour, add the ice water and mix with your hands just until it comes together into a dough. Do not knead it, it will break up the butter chunks.

Roll it out and put into a pie plate. Once it’s in the pie plate, you don’t have to worry about chilling it anymore. If you mess up on rolling the first time, put that part of the dough into the fridge and work with the rest of the dough.

Shape and use like normal pie crust.

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Chicken Salad
Cooked chicken, cubed
2-4 stalks celery, diced
1/2-1 red onion, diced
Toasted almonds
Old Bay seasoning
Salt and pepper

Combine chicken, celery, onion and almonds in a bowl. Add mayo and stir until well coated. Season to taste with old bay, salt and pepper.

Serve on a croissant or in eclair shells (pate a choux - I will try and post a recipe later. That's what's pictured above)

Artichoke Dip two ways

When I participated in the Annual Lee's Holiday Food Show, I served two different types of artichoke dip. The first dip was an artichoke and green chile dip. It's just a different take on your normal artichoke and spinach dip. The second was a cream cheese, spinach artichoke dip. Both are delicious and very easy to make.

Artichoke and Green Chile Dip


2/3 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts

1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp hot sauce (I use Franks Red Hot)

Combine mayo and yogurt in a medium bowl, stirring until smooth. Add drained and chopped artichoke hearts, drained chiles, parmesan cheese, garlic powder and Tabasco sauce. Spoon mixture into a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake uncovered at 350 for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese. Broil 1-2 minutes or until lightly brown.

Serve on toasted baguette slices or crackers.

Cream cheese, spinach and artichoke dip

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach
1 (7.5 oz or 14 oz) can artichoke hearts
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Spread cream cheese into the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate. Mix the spinach, drained and chopped artichoke hearts, mozzarella cheese and garlic powder until well blended. Spread over cream cheese. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until cheese melts and the top is golden brown.

Serve on toasted baguette slices or crackers.

Rosemary and Peppercorn Brined Turkey

Rosemary and Peppercorn Brine Turkey
Dried rosemary leaves
Whole black peppercorns
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
3 carrots, roughly chopped
2 small-medium onions, roughly chopped
Poultry seasoning
Vegetable oil or butter

1-3 days before you are ready to cook your turkey, rinse it off and put it in a 5 gallon bucket or a pan big enough to hold the turkey and cover it with water. Fill it up with cold water, making sure your turkey is fully covered. For your brine you will use 1/2 cup salt for every gallon of water. Add salt, 1 container dried rosemary leaves, and 2 palmfuls of whole black peppers into the water. If your turkey is sticking out of the water at all, cover with a clean rag. It will absorb the water and keep the turkey wet. Keep the turkey in a cold (below 40 degrees) place for 1-3 days until you are ready to cook it.

The day you are ready to cook the turkey, preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Pull turkey out of brine and dry off with paper towels.
Stuff the cavity of the turkey with some of the celery, carrot and onion. Put in a large roasting pan and put the remaining celery, carrot and onion in the bottom of the pan. Rub the top of the turkey with vegetable oil or room temperature butter. Season with poultry seasoning and a little salt and pepper. (Don't use too much salt, it was in a brine)

Put turkey into a preheated oven with the legs in the back for 30 minutes. (The turkey should be golden brown). Pull out of oven and cover only the breast with tin foil. Leaving the legs exposed, put back in the oven with the legs in the back and drop the oven temperature to 350. Leave in the oven until the breast temperature reaches 161 degrees. (If you have a 15 pound turkey, it will be about an hour and a half). Pull out of the oven when the breast is 161 degrees. Cover with foil and let it rest for at LEAST 30 minutes. This will let the juices re-distribute.

Carve and serve

Hearty Beef Stew

Hearty Beef Stew
3 pounds chuck-eye roast, cut into 1 1/2" cubes
1 1/2 tsp table salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped coarse (about 2 cups)
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp flour
1 cup red wine - alcohol will cook out (If you don't want to add this, add 1 cup extra stock)
2 cups beef or chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried thyme
6 small yellow or red potatoes, halved or quartered depending on how big they are
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Place beef cubes in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. In a large cast iron skillet or a large soup pot, heat 2 Tbsp oil. Add beef in two separate batches. Brown meat on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, adding remaining tablespoon of oil if needed. Remove meat and set aside. (If using a cast iron skillet, move meat into a soup pot). Add onions to now empty pan, saute until almost softened, 4-5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic. Continue to saute about 30 seconds longer. Stir in flour, cook until lightly colored (about 1-2 minutes). Add wine, scraping up any browned bits that may have stuck to the pan. Add stock, bay leaves and thyme. Bring to simmer. Add meat, return to a simmer. Cover and place in oven. Simmer in oven for 1 hour.
2. Remove pot from oven, add potatoes and carrots. Cover and return to oven. Simmer until meat is just tender, about 1 hour. Remove stew from oven. (Can be cooled, covered and refrigerated up to 3 days)
3. Add peas and allow to stand 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings and serve.

Baked Potato Soup

Baked Potato Soup

4 baking potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2/3 cups flour
6 cups milk
1 cup cheddar cheese, divided
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped green onions, divided
6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled (Optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Pierce potatoes with a fork, bake at 400 for 1 hour or until tender. Cool. Peel potatoes, coarsely mash. Discard skins.
3. Put flour in a large pot gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until milk starts to thicken. Add mashed potatoes, 3/4 cup cheese, salt and pepper and stir until cheese melts. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in sour cream and most of the green onions (only save a few for a garnish). Cook over low heat until heated all the way through.
5. Ladle into a bowl and top with cheese, onions and bacon

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hot Chocolate Layer Cake with Homemade Marshmallows

This year for Mart's birthday I wanted to make him something special. I am not much of a baker, but this really wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. He loves chocolate and we saw this in a magazine at school. It was delicious! The cake was really dense, almost like a brownie crossed with cake. It was so rich that a small slice is more than enough.

Hot Chocolate Layer Cake with Homemade Marshmallows

For the cake:

6 oz (3/4 cup) unsalted butter; more for the pans
13 ½ oz (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pans
¾ cup canola oil
4 ½ oz bittersweet chocolate; finely chopped (I used chocolate chips)
3 cups white sugar
2 ¼ oz (3/4 cup) natural unsweetened cocoa powder (If you use Dutch cocoa powder, don’t use any baking soda. Use baking powder instead and double what it should have been for the soda. i.e. 1 tsp baking soda = 2 tsp baking powder instead)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 Tbs. vanilla extract
2 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt

For the frosting:

2 ½ cups heavy cream
3 oz (6 Tbs) unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract (originally called for 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out)
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used chocolate chips)
2 cups white sugar
6 oz cocoa powder
½ cup corn syrup
¼ tsp kosher salt
Position racks in the bottom and top thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350 F.
Butter three 9x2” round cake pans (springform works best) and line each with a parchment round. Butter the parchment, then dust with flour and knock out the excess.
In a 3 quart saucepan, combine the butter, oil, chopped chocolate and 1 cup water. Heat over medium heat until melted.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and cocoa powder. Pour the hot chocolate mixture into the sugar mixture and whisk until combined.
Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, baking soda(powder), and salt. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans.
Set two pans on the top rack and the third on the lower rack. Stagger the pans on the oven racks so that no pan is directly over another. Bake, swapping and rotating the pans’ positions after 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Cook on racks for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks, remove the parchment paper and cool completely.
Make the Frosting:
In a 4 quart saucepan over low heat, combine the cream, butter and vanilla and stir until the butter is melted. Whisk in the chopped chocolate until melted (completely melted! Don’t leave any little tiny chunks). Whisk in the sugar, cocoa powder, syrup, and salt until smooth. Be sure the cocoa powder dissolves completely. Pour into a 9x13 pan and freeze until firm (about 2 hours) or refrigerate overnight.
Remove the frosting from the fridge or freezer. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium for 2 minutes to soften. Change to a whisk attachment and beat at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Homemade Marshmallows:

Gelatin 1 1/4 oz
Cold Water 16 fl oz
Sugar 1 lb 8 oz
Corn Syrup 12 oz
Honey 8 oz
Vanilla 1/2 fl oz

1. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
2. Bloom the gelatin in 8 oz water. (Blooming is when you add the gelatin to water and wait until it absorbs it all and becomes a big blob)
3. Meanwhile, combine the sugar, corn syrup, honey and remaining 8 oz water in a heavy bottom saucepan. Stir to ensure all the sugar is moistened. Bring to a boil over high head stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stop stirring and skim the surface of the syrup to remove any impurities. Continue to cook without stirring, occasionally washing down the sides of the pan using a wet pastry brush. Heat to 252 degrees. Remove from heat, cool to approx. 210 degrees.
4. While the sugar is cooling, dissolve the gelatin over simmering water (using a double boiler, put a metal or glass bowl over a pan of boiling water, but do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
5. Stir the gelatin into the cooled sugar syrup using the whip attachment on high speed until medium peaks form.
6. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared sheet pan, the easiest way to do this is to place the mixture in the frame, place a sheet of oiled parchment on top of the marshmallow mixture and roll the marshmallow into the pan.
7. Remove the slab from the pan, inverting onto work surface and peel off the paper.
8. Cut the marshmallows and coat in 1/2 powdered sugar and 1/2 cornstarch.

Make the marshmallows. (Adrienne made some for her cake so I just used her leftovers). I'm sure you could use store bought as well, but it won't be quite as cool.
Assemble cake.

Here is my finished cake with the homemade marshmallows piled on top and dusted with some dutch cocoa powder!

It took me all day long, but I was so proud of my cake and really excited for Mart to see it and taste it. He loved it and it was by far the best birthday cake I have ever made.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Squash Soup with an Apple Cranberry Relish

This soup is super delicious and has a different flavor than just a pureed squash soup!

Squash Soup

6 cups (about 2 large squash - either acorn or butternut), cut in half and seeds removed
Melted butter, for brushing
1 Tbsp kosher salt, plus 1 tsp
1 tsp freshly ground white pepper, plus 1/2 tsp (black will work if you don't have white, it will just leave black spots in your soup)
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 Tbsp honey
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
4 ounces heavy cream (1/2 cup)
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Brush the flesh of the squash with a little butter and season with 1 Tbsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. On a sheet pan lay the squash flesh side up. Roast for about 30-35 minutes or until the flesh is nice and soft.

Scoop the flesh from the skin into a pot and add the stock, honey and ginger. Bring to a simmer and puree using a stick blender or a food processor (a blender would probably work too). Stir in the heavy cream and return to a low simmer. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. (Taste it, you may need to add more salt or pepper)

Relish Topping

1 crisp apple (Mcintosh or Granny Smith) finely chopped
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries, chopped
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

When the soup is finished and ready to be served, top with a small scoopful of the relish.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Grilled Flank Steak with a Garlic-Chile Marinade

At school Thursday I was working on a flank steak for the line and for a lunch we are catering and I found two recipes. The first was a garlic, shallot, rosemary marinade and the second was the garlic chile marinade. John chose for me to do the garlic chile. After I finished prepping it for the marinade I had decided that I wanted to make it at home as well and try it out before Monday. I bought one of the marinading steaks and brought it home to try for dinner. It smelled really good and I think it turned out well. Martin liked it and Ethan even ate some, and he's not a big red meat eater.

Grilled Flank Steak with Garlic-Chile Marinade (From

For Marinade:
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 2 Tbsp)
2 medium scallions, minced (about 2 Tbsp) (I used a yellow onion instead)
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced (about 1 Tbsp - just save the rest of the can for something else)
1 medium jalapeno chile, seeded and ribs removed, minced

**Note: The ribs in a jalapeno are the hottest part. If you remove the ribs and the seeds it will cut back the heat significantly)

For the Steak:
1 flank steak (about 2 pounds) patted dry with paper towels
2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper

1. Puree all marinade ingredients in blender until smooth.
2. Using a dinner fork, prick steak about 20 times on each side. Rub both sides of steak evenly with salt and the with the paste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

3. Preheat your grill
4. Using paper towels, wipe paste off steak. Season both sides with pepper. Grill steak directly on grill until well browned 4-6 minutes. Using tongs, flip steak; grill until second side is well browned, 3-4 minutes. Cook until the internal temperature is 125 degrees. It will continue to cook as it rests. You do not want to over cook a flank steak! It is a meat that needs to be cooked rare or medium rare.

5. Cover steak with foil and let rest at least 15 minutes to let the juice redistribute.
6. Using a sharp chef's knife or a carving knife, slice steak about 1/4" thick against the grain and on a bias. Serve immediately.

Below is a drawing, it will show where you need to cut your meat to make it so it doesn't end up super tough and chewy. The grains on a flank steak all run the same direction so we need to cut against the grain and on a bias to give the slices a bigger surface area.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Roasted Chicken with a Sage-Vermouth Sauce

Usually when I post meat dishes, I have no idea how they taste. I just go by smell and what they look like and others opinions on them when they eat them. Not this dish. This is the chicken that I had a small bite of to taste it at school. It was the first bite of chicken I have had in 8 years. It really was a good piece of chicken and I was so excited about it that I came home and made it for dinner that same night. It's not a hard dish to make either. I used to be really intimidated by sauces on meats because I had no idea how to make one that tasted good. After making this sauce, I know it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I'm excited to start learning more new sauces so I can try out some different ones.

Pan-Roasted Chicken with a Sage-Vermouth Sauce


4 chicken breasts (I used boneless skinless which cook much faster. The recipe calls for bone in with skin and then you cut the bone out yourself. If you don't want to bother with that, just get boneless skinless)
1 cup kosher salt (or 1/2 cup table salt)
Ground pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 large shallot, minced (I didn't have shallots at home and used half a small yellow onion)
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry vermouth (not expensive at all and it cooks out by the time the sauce is finished)
4 fresh sage leaves, torn in half and smashed enough to bruise the leaves (this brings out more flavor)
4 fresh sage leaves, cut into a chiffonade (stack leaves one top of each other and roll them up tight. Start and one end and just cut chop them up. Once the leaves unroll it will make it like little sage confetti)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 3 pieces

Dissolve salt into 2 quarts cold tap water in a large container or bowl. Put the chicken in and let it brine and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Rinse chicken under running water and pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides of chicken with pepper.

Put oven rack to the lowest position and preheat oven to 450.

Heat oil in an oven safe skillet over medium-high heat until the oil begins to smoke. Swirl to coat pan with oil. Brown chicken skin side down until deep golden (about 5 minutes...keep an eye on it) turn chicken and brown until golden on second side (about 3 minutes). Turn chicken back over to skin side down and place skillet in oven. Roast until juices run clear when chicken is cut with paring knife (this will dry out the chicken so use a thermometer if you have one) or until thickest part of breast reads 145 on thermometer, about 15-18 minutes. (It will finish getting to temperature while it rests). Transfer chicken to a platter to rest. Cover with foil to keep it warm and continue cooking.

Put skillet back on the stove and add shallot. Cook over med-high heat stirring frequently until shallot is softened. Add chicken broth, vermouth and sage leaves. Increase heat to high and simmer rapidly, scraping bottom of skillet with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until slightly thickened and reduced down to about 3/4 cup. (About 5 minutes). Pour accumulated chicken juices from platter into skillet, reduce heat to medium and whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. Season to taste with salt and pepper (you probably won't need any salt) and discard sage leaves. Spoon over chicken and top with the sage chiffonade.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Homemade caramel sauce

Today I made a homemade caramel sauce to top my vanilla pudding cinnamon rolls instead of store bought sauce and it was really really good. I don't have a picture, but next time I make it I'll take one and post it.

This recipe is really easy to remember, it's all in ones.

Homemade caramel sauce

1 pound butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Combine everything in a nonstick pan and stir constantly in small figure 8's on medium heat until it combines and reaches the color, taste and thickness you are going for. The longer you cook the caramel for and the darker the color gets, the harder your caramel is going to be. Because I wanted a sauce to drizzle over, I probably cooked mine for about 10 minutes or so.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Spice Rack

I have been working on a new spice rack for my kitchen and I recently finished it! I'm very happy with the way it turned out.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Turkey noodle soup

Turkey Noodle Soup

Roasted cooked turkey, diced
2-4 carrots, peeled and diced
2-4 celery stocks, diced
1 onion, diced
Turkey stock (or water will work, but you will need a base)
Dried homemade (store bought) egg noodles
Ground sage
Thyme leaves
Turkey base (only if your stock needs more flavor or if you're using water)

Bring your stock to a boil (or water with base added to make a stock) and add vegetables to simmer until cooked. When they are starting to get tender, add turkey. Add noodles and cook until they are tender, but not mushy. (If you made a thick soup like I did, pull the veggies and turkey out and set aside while your noodles cook and add them back in at the end so the noodles have liquid to cook in).

Once everything is cooked and in the pot, season with salt (if needed. If you're using a base, they are really salty already so check before you add extra salt), add a little ground sage and some thyme leaves.

Just a twist on a classic chicken noodle soup


I love salsa, especially with tomatoes fresh out of the garden. My neighbor gave me a huge bag full of tomatoes, so to use some of them up we made salsa.

Fresh Salsa


Fresh tomatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
1 can green chilis
1 handful cilantro, chopped
The juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper

Basically just chop everything, put it in a bowl and mix. Season with salt and pepper until it tastes right to you.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Super fast chili

Super fast chili

1 lb hamburger, browned (Optional)
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can corn (not creamed), drained
1 can diced tomatoes (the bigger can, I can't remember the size - Do not drain)
1 onion, diced (or dried onions if you would prefer those)
Beef Stock (if using hamburger, if not you can use chicken if you want)
Tomato paste
Chili powder
Cayenne pepper (Optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown hamburger and saute onions and put them in a large stock pot. Add beans, corn and tomatoes. Add beef stock to cover the vegetables. (If you like it thick, just barely cover them, or if you like it more runny add a little extra) Put in a couple tablespoons of tomato paste and about 2 palmfuls of chili powder. If you like a little kick, add a couple sprinkles of cayenne over the top. Season with salt and pepper and heat to boiling. As soon as it's warm, it's finished.

Parmesan Herb Breaded Chicken

Parmesan Herb Breaded Chicken

Chicken Breasts (as many as you want to make)
Flour (1/2 - 1 cup, depending on how much chicken you are making)
Eggs (1-2 again, depending on how much chicken you are making)
A few slices of bread (for bread crumbs. You can use the store bought kind if you don't want to make them)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
Olive Oil

Flatten your chicken breasts with a meat mallet or the bottom of a frying pan. A trick I learned once was to put the chicken in a ziplock bag with a tiny bit of water, that way when you hit it, it slides easily in the bag and doesn't get chicken juice all over.

Grab three separate bowls (I use pie plates). In the first one, put flour and some salt and pepper. In the second bowl, beat the eggs and in the third we will put the breadcrumbs. In a food processor, put the bread and pulse until it becomes crumbs (or you could use the store bought kind if you don't want to make your own). It works fine with moist bread or dried if you have some old stale bread. Add the breadcrumbs to the third bowl. Add the parsley, some freshly grated parmesan and some salt and pepper.

Lightly coat a frying pan with olive oil.

First coat the chicken with flour, shake of excess. Then cover with eggs and then cover completely with bread crumbs.

Cook in frying pan until golden and the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Roasted Chicken

Roasted Chicken

Whole chicken, thawed
2-3 carrots (no need to peel)
1 onion
2-3 stalks of celery
1 head of garlic (no need to peel)
1/2 a stick of butter, room temperature
Fresh herbs: I used sage, 1 sprig of rosemary, basil and a little bit of thyme
Salt and pepper
Poultry seasoning

Roughly chop your vegetables (no need to peel any of them, they are just for flavor) and break apart your garlic head.
Season the cavity of the chicken with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Put 3/4 of your herbs (whole) into the cavity and fill the rest with your mirepoix (celery, onion and carrot).
In the bottom of the tray your chicken will be roasting in, put the rest of the mirepoix and your garlic cloves and about 1-2" of water. Chop the remaining herbs and mix into the butter. Spread the butter under the skin of the chicken and season the top of the chicken with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Add a couple dabs of butter to the top to brown the skin.

Put in a 375 degree oven until the chicken reaches 170 degrees. If you want, you can baste the chicken throughout the cooking with the juices that run off into the tray. Also if the chicken starts to get too brown, just cover with foil.

When the chicken comes out of the oven, cover with foil and let it sit for AT LEAST 15 minutes. This will finish cooking the chicken and let the juices redistribute.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Chicken, Pesto and Rosemary Potato Pizza

When Kacean lived in Portland, she worked at a pizza place. She made up a pizza while she worked there, and it became her favorite pizza. Since she moved home, she hasn't had it and has been craving it. Yesterday she came over and we made one with chicken and one without chicken for dinner. She was so excited. It really was a good pizza.

Kacean's Chicken, Pesto and Roasted Rosemary Potato Pizza

Pesto sauce (store bought or homemade - I will post a recipe after the pizza recipe)
Shredded mozzarella cheese
2 chicken breasts, cooked, cubed (I seasoned mine with salt, pepper and mesquite seasoning)
Fresh spinach leaves
Fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
Roasted rosemary potatoes
Pizza dough (store bought or homemade - I can post a recipe for dough as well)
Fresh grated parmesan cheese
Corn meal

Make or roll out store bought pizza dough.

(Kacean making her pizza dough)

Put cornmeal down on a pizza tray or a cookie sheet and lay dough on top of the corn meal. This will make it so it doesn't stick. Spread pesto over the dough. Add chicken.

Then add a thick layer of spinach.

Top with cheese, mushrooms and artichoke hearts.

Add the roasted potatoes and finally top with fresh Parmesan.

Bake at 450 until the cheese is melted and the dough is all the way cooked (probably 20-30 minutes)

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Potatoes, diced
A few springs of fresh rosemary, leaves taken off the stem and roughly chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Toss everything and roast in a 400 degree oven until the potatoes are tender.
Set aside for the pizza

Pesto Sauce

A couple handfuls of fresh basil leaves
A couple cloves of garlic, minced
Fresh grated parmesan cheese
(Usually pine nuts, but I don't add them)
A lemon or lime
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Put basil, garlic, lemon or lime juice (just squeeze the entire thing), salt and pepper and cheese into a food processor. Turn on and drizzle olive oil into mixture until it forms a thick sauce.

Southern Dill Potato Salad

(Sorry about the weirdo shadow on the picture, it was the best one I got)

At school Amy was making a potato salad and it looked really yummy. I am normally not a huge fan of potato salad, but she gave me a taste and I was hooked. This is probably one of my favorite potato salads I've ever had. I don't like a lot of mayo and try not to use it very often, so I really liked that this was half mayo and half sour cream. There are also a few other things I might change for next time, I will put my notes in the recipe.

Amy's Southern Dill Potato Salad

4 lbs unpeeled red potatoes (about 10)
5 hard boiled eggs

3/4 c. sour cream
3/4c. mayo
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs dijon mustard
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 tsp celery salt
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 Tbs fresh dill (recipe calls for dried, but we used fresh and it was super good!)

(Kelsie's changes: I would probably not use the entire half an onion and maybe grate it up instead of dicing to keep the flavor but not have the crunch and intensity of it. Also, I would add 1-2 additional stocks of celery. It's also very good with a little paprika on top)

Cook the potatoes whole until tender. Cool.
Boil eggs, cool and peel.

Dice the potatoes and eggs up so they are about the same size (bite size). Mix sauce and coat potatoes. Chill.

Herb Rolls

In school today I roasted a turkey to make turkey tetrazzini on Wednesday. We decided to make some herb rolls to serve with the tetrazzini. They look and smell delicious! I won't be baking them off until Wednesday right before we serve them, so I will post pictures after they are baked. Today I just made the dough, formed the dough into rolls and chilled it so it's ready to go when we need them.

(Everything we make is measured by weight and volume, and not by I will try and convert my recipe so it can be made at home without a scale. Also, it's a huge batch and can easily be cut in half)

1 lb=16oz
8 oz=1 cup
1 oz=2 Tablespoons

Herb Rolls

5 lbs 2 oz flour = 10 1/2 cups
1 oz dry yeast (double if using fresh yeast) = 2 Tbs dry yeast
3 lbs warm water = 48oz = 6 cups
8 oz sugar = 1 cup
1 1/4 oz salt = 2 1/2 Tbs
4 oz powdered milk = 1/2 cup
8 oz room temp butter (or shortening) = 1 cup
3 Tbs dried basil leaves
2 Tbs dried oregano leaves
1 Tbs dried thyme
1 Tbs garlic powder

Add water to yeast to let it activate
Combine the flour, dry ingredients and butter. Mix well. Add yeast to dry ingredient mixture then mix until it forms a smooth dough. Let rise until it doubles in size. Knead and form into 2 oz rolls (a small golf ball size). Let rise again utnil doubled in size. Bake for approximately 10 minutes at 350.
Yield 5 1/2 dozen.

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