Friday, November 21, 2014

A Teddy Day

 I am stuck in that weird place just before a large amount of cooking is to take place. It's a bit early to start cooking for thanksgiving yet the pressure is on to do just that.  I am making an entire thanksgiving feast for a family this year.  We will deliver it on Thanksgiving afternoon. My new project is to find a family in need each month and cook and deliver an entire meal to them. So, here I sit trying to figure out what I should be doing and not quite figuring anything out.  I do have a test recipe of crescent rolls rising. I am constantly looking for the perfect rolls recipe.  I picked the turkeys up at my food coop yesterday and they are defrosting.  Do you know it takes 4 days to defrost a frozen turkey?

 Did someone say turkey?  I also bought turkey parts so I can make the gravy in advance.  Otherwise, you end up making gravy at the last moment which is never fun.  Here is the way to do it:

Teddy charging after a bad kitty.  I've made my cranberry sauce, you can find the recipe here:

I've also made my pie crusts and froze them.  You can see how I do this here:

Yes Teddy, you will get lots of turkey. I did make dough for rolls this morning.  I am trying a new crescent roll recipe.  I am always searching for the best roll recipe out there.

Here I sit twiddling my thumbs waiting to start all of the heavy duty cooking and baking. I'm sure I will make a few more runs to the grocery store too.

Do you prepare in advance?  Are you ready for turkey day?

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Ever since The Blog Tech was a little boy, he has loved seafood.  Since it was his birthday, I made him one of his favorite dishes.....waterzooi.   This is a Belgian dish which we fell in love with when we traveled there.  A funny name which means simmering water.
 These are the vegetables I used in mine.  Leeks, shallots, carrots, potatoes, fennel, thyme, chervil and celery.  That is not celery you are seeing because someone that ran to the store for me bought cardones, thinking they were celery.  What the heck, I used them anyway.

 I had some celery root so I julienned it and added it along with the thinly sliced vegetables. Quarter the potatoes.

 Melt some butter in a heavy pot and add the vegetables.  Stir them and let them cook for a bit.

 Add 4 cups of chicken or fish stock.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add about 1 tablespoon of thyme.

 Bring it to a boil and then turn it down to simmer.  You don't want to overcook the vegetables, they should still have a bit of a bite to them.

 I added hake, shrimp and scallops, which I sliced thin.  Hake was not the right fish to use because it fell apart.  Salmon would have been better.

 I also added clams and mussels.

 Some people make this with chicken and not seafood.  I had some chicken which I had just roasted so I added some of it too.

 Throw all of the seafood in the pot, cover and cook until the shells open and the shrimp are pink.  Just before serving whisk 3 egg yolks with 2 cups of whole milk or half and half, temper it with 1 cup of the broth and pour it into the pot.  Taste for seasonings and adjust.

 Chop the chervil and stir it in.

Serve it with crusty french bread and good butter.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Double Chocolate Cake

   The Blog Tech loves chocolate, I don't.  But since it was his birthday, I made him what he wanted. He was very happy.  Here is the recipe:


2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Chocolate Icing:
1 1/4 cups butter
1 1/4 cups shortening
9 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa powder
4-5 T. milk
1/2 C. raspberry jam

1. Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom, and grease the sides.
2. Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together.
3. Add eggs, buttermilk and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients and mix well.
4. Add vanilla to boiling water and add to mixture. Mix well.
5. Pour into three 8 inch cakes pans and bake at 300 degrees for about 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
6. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
7. Make icing while cakes cool. Beat together butter and shortening until smooth.
8. Slowly add 4 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
9. Add vanilla and 1-2 tbsp water or milk and mix until smooth.
10. Add another 5 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
11. Add cocoa and mix until smooth.
12. Add more water or milk until the right consistency.
13. Once cakes are cool, place the first layer on a cake plate surrounded by waxed paper.
14. Brush the layer with raspberry jam which you have melted in the microwave. Spread about 3/4 cup of icing on top in an even layer.
15. Add second layer of cake and spread with jam and add another 3/4 cup of icing on top in an even layer.
16. Add final layer of cake on top and ice the outside of the cake.
17. Finish of with sprinkles or other decoration.
 Blend together all the dry ingredients.

 Add the liquids.

 Surround the first layer with waxed paper to just under the edges. Spread with the jam.

 Next add the icing.

 Second layer.

 More jam and icing.

I piped icing around the bottom and top edges and then pressed jimmies into the top.      
Pour yourself a big glass of milk and dig in.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chicken Stock and Snow

 Today is The Blog Tech's birthday.  I am making him a special meal and I needed some chicken stock.  I had just roasted Teddy a chicken so I took the carcass and made this stock.  Do you make your own stock?  It is so easy, smells wonderful and is far superior to the store bought stuff.  Just put the carcass in a pot, add carrots, celery, onions, a couple bay leaves and some black peppercorns.

 Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for a couple hours.  Strain it through a fine strainer and there you go.  Three quarts of wonderful chicken stock. I'll show you tomorrow what I made with it.  I make this about once a week.  You can freeze what you don't use.

 This is what it looked like outside this morning.

 Most of the snow missed us but at least we got a dusting.

Look at all of those Teddy tracks.  She goes into overdrive in the snow.  Or maybe she was just excited about her boys birthday.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Honey Butter Rolls and Onion Turnip Soup

I made this for lunch yesterday and it sure was good.  This is the first time I've made these rolls but it won't be the last.
 The recipe:
2 teaspoons rapid rise yeast
1 cup water
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoons salt
1 egg
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra if necessary
 2 tablespoon butter, melted plus 2 tablespoons honey mixed
Mix the water, honey, yeast salt and egg.  Beat in the flour and knead until you have a smooth ball.  Place it in a buttered bowl, cover and let rise for about an hour and a half.  This dough rises slowly at first.

 While the dough is rising, dice one very large onion and saute it in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Dice three peeled turnips and add it to the onions.

 Add 1 diced large potato.  I used two large red potatoes from my garden.

 You can see that I added black pepper here, don't add too much because when you puree this, it kicks up the pepper. Add 1 tsp. of salt and a pinch of dried rosemary.

 Add 3-1/2 cups water or vegetable stock.

 I added water and squeezed in several tablespoons of vegetable concentrate.  Bring this to a boil and turn it down and let it simmer while you prepare the rolls.

 Break the dough into 12 pieces and place them in a buttered pan.  Cover them and let them rise until they crest the pan.

 After about 1/2 hour, brush them with butter and place them in a 400 degree oven.  Bake until they reach an internal temp of 190 degrees, about 20-25  minutes.  If they get too brown, cover them with foil.

 Once the vegetables have softened, puree the soup with a stick blender or in an upright blender.  Grind in some fresh nutmeg.

 Brush the rolls with the combination of honey and butter.

 Serve the soup with a sprinkling of pepper flakes.

Pull off a roll and dip it in your soup.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Post Collards Cookoff

 We didn't win.  But we did have lots of fun!

 No one told us that half of the people attending the event would be vegetarians.  Oops!

 The woman that won has won for the last three years.  She said this is her last year to enter so someone else will have a chance.  We made a new friend, she is the sweetest person ever.

 Some contestants got very angry that they didn't win and left without cleaning up.  Sore losers.

 But a bunch of us stayed and cleaned up their messes.

I, of course, made way too much food.  But I anticipated this and brought take out containers and we packed up all the extras.  Everyone got to take some home with them.  Even the vegetarians.