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Showing posts from November, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm busy basting the bird wearing my "Thanksgiving Pants" but feel free to poke around and see what else is cooking.

Finally Sauerkraut

Finally the sauerkraut was ready! All total it took about 3 weeks.


1 head cabbage
1 T kosher salt
salted water

For cooking sauerkraut

2T butter
1T olive oil
1/4 c brown sugar
1T caraway seeds

Shred cabbage. (I did it by hand but no one will think less of you if you use a food processor - hey you're making your own sauerkraut!). Rub salt into cabbage. Let sit for at least two hours. Meanwhile you can simmer the water with salt in it. It needs to taste like what you would make pasta in - like sea water. Heat water until salt dissolves. Let the water cool.

Smash the cabbage into a glass jar. You really need to press it down tight into the jar. Add water to cover the cabbage by about 2". Place a piece of cheesecloth over the cabbage. Put a plate over the cheesecloth. (I used a plastic top to a sour cream container). It needs to be big enough to cover most of the cabbage. Now place a weight on top of the plate (I used a bottle of water). Next cover with a kitchen tow…

Parker House Rolls

No - not that Parker house (we would not want to eat rolls from that household - sorry inside joke there). This is still not the recipe I was looking for but it is a nice dinner roll. Not only is it tasty but it's rather convenient too. You refrigerate the dough for several hours so you can make them ahead of time and just pop them in the oven. I was a little confused by the directions (I was apparently directions-challenged today) so I've taken some step-by-step photos to help you along.

Parker House Rolls (Adapted from Bon Appetit)

2 1/2 t yeast (1 pkg)
1 c milk
3 T sugar
1/4 vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)
1 1/2 t salt
1 egg
3 1/2 c flour (I used Bread Flour)
1/4 c butter

Heat milk to about 100-110 degrees (should feel ahhh not owww). Add yeast and sugar. Let sit for about 10 minutes until it starts to bubble.

In a bowl add vegetable, salt, egg, and 2 cups of the flour. After yeast has proof add into bowl. Beat until dough begins to form, adding the remainder of t…

Quick Sourdough Biscuits

I'm always on the prowl for sourdough whatever, since Bertha is always hanging around looking for something to do.  I found this in my "to try" recipe file. At the bottom of the recipe it says The Culinary Products Group South San Francisco CA - who knows where I got it from. A quick search on the webbie-web and nothing.  Maybe it was from a previous sourdough starter? The recipe uses "proofed" sourdough batter, which I thought was an interesting take on things. While this is not the recipe that I was looking for, it is a keeper.

Quick Sourdough Biscuits

2 c proofed sourdough batter (see below)
2 3/4 c flour
1 T baking powder
1 t sugar
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/4 c butter (1/2 stick)
1/3 c milk
2 T melted butter

To proof sourdough starter:
The night before take 1 cup of sourdough batter and add 1/2 c water. Stir in 1 c flour. Set aside for 8-12 hours. Feed the starter as usual.

Your proofed sourdough should be nice and puffy now. Combine the dry ingredie…

Let's Talk Turkey (and Gravy)

In addition to using homemade stock, sometimes I use white wine and the stock. It makes a flavorful gravy.

I usually try to buy an organic free-range turkey. I find that they are moist - probably because they are usually fresh. I am definitely in the camp of stuffing the bird. I know there are people that say that by stuffing the bird, this dries the bird out and you can kill your family by stuffing the turkey. Well the turkey has always come out moist and I haven't killed any family member yet.  I remove the turkey from the oven after ensuring that the turkey thigh is about 165. I immediately remove the stuffing and set it in a covered dish to keep warm. I never stuff the bird the night before. But let me get back to actually getting the bird in the oven.

First off, the night before I wash the turkey and place it in a shallow bowl in the refrigerator with no covering. This dries out the skin and allows it to become nice and crisp in the oven. I place the turkey on top of a bed …

Cranberry Sauce

Getting ready for Thanksgiving can be daunting but there are many things that can be done ahead of time to make life easier and cranberry sauce is one of them. I usually make it up to a week before. It is really easy to make.

Cranberry Sauce

24 oz fresh cranberries
1c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
juice and zest from 2 oranges
2 cinnamon stick
1 t fresh ginger grated
1 vanilla bean

Split vanilla bean down the center with a sharp knife.  Rinse and discard any soft cranberries.

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and heat until cranberries start to burst. Stirring occasionally.
Taste and add additional seasoning and sugar as necessary. Cranberries can be quite tart so it really depends on the batch how much sugar needs to be added.
Let cool. Scrape vanilla bean and stir scrapings into sauce. Return bean to sauce. Chill. Remove vanilla bean and cinnamon before serving.  You might want to add a little dried cinnamon at this point. Taste and see if it is needed. The taste changes as the fl…

Taking Stock of Stock

Making stock is one of those things that you appreciate after you've done it and have stowed it in the freezer for future use. Since Thanksgiving is approaching quickly, I figured I had better get cracking on the turkey stock. I use the stock to baste the turkey, moisten the stuffing that doesn't fit in the bird and has to go in a dish in the oven, and as a base for the gravy. It is definitely better than buying that salty stuff that they sell in the store.
Stock is the easiest thing in the world to make. All it really requires is some time. I usually have a "stock" bag that I keep in the freezer. I put all the stems from parsley, mushrooms that are starting to get past their prime, and guts from when I seed fresh tomatoes. These are things that you would normally just toss or compost but they definitely have a value for stock. For chicken stock I also have a separate bag for the backs of whole chickens (again something you would normally just toss). 

Turkey Stock (…

Banana Bread Again (but different)

You may say this is cheating on a blog entry since I've done this recipe already is really a delicious recipe. And this time I used cultured buttermilk instead of yogurt (because I had some) and last time I made it as a chocolate banana bread. So here it is again but different:

Chocolate Banana Bread (adapted from The Bread Book)

4 T butter (softened)
3/4 c sugar
3 medium bananas
1 egg (room temperature)
1/3 c cultured buttermilk (room temperature)
1t vanilla
1 3/4 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 c chocolate chips (I'm usually a little more generous than that)

Grease a loaf pan. Cream butter and sugar together. While butter is creaming, in a separate bowl mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  To the creamed butter and sugar, add the bananas and mix until bananas are mashed.  Beat in egg, buttermilk, and vanilla.

Gradually add flour mixture to wet mixture.  Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into loaf pan.

Bake at…

Apple Tart

I saw this in the November/December Cooks Illustrated magazine and thought it might be nice instead of baking an apple pie. I'm thinking of making it for Thanksgiving. It was absolutely less work and I would say as good as an apple pie but a little different. This is definitely impressive looking and really is not that complicated to make. The press in crust is a breeze.

I added cinnamon to the recipe. I fail to understand how you can bake anything apple without adding cinnamon to it. As I've mentioned before, I'm a cinnamon freak. I added a little nutmeg too. They recommend using a 9" tart pan but I only have a 10" It came out fine in the 10" The crust was probably a little thinner but it was fine. I also used granny smith's instead of golden delicious. You need to use an apple that is going to stand up a bit to the heat and not turn to mush. In the base of the tart I mixed granny smiths with Fuji. I wanted the base to be a little sweet to contrast the…

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

These cookies come out really pretty. BUT they should come with a warning: Do not wear black while eating these cookies. You will have white all over you.

I saw these in the November/December 2014 Cook's Illustrated magazine and knew I needed to make them.  They are very soft and sort of gooey - just what I needed. Get ready to wash a bunch of bowls but you don't need a mixer.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (Adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

4 oz bittersweet chocolate
4 T butter (1/2 stick) 1 c flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 c packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 T espresso powder
1 t vanilla extract
1 t chocolate extract
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c confectioners' sugar

In a bowl melt butter and chocolate in microwave at half power, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool while preparing the other ingredients. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl - set aside. In a separate bowl mix brown sugar, eggs, espresso, vanill…