November 20, 2009

Honey Roasted Turkey

Honey Roasted Turkey

I’ll always remember my first Thanksgiving with Brandon when we were living in our first apartment together at the ripe old age of 20 and I didn’t really know how to cook anything except brownies. The turkey was the thing I most afraid of. I had always thought that cooking a turkey was so complicated and was surprised to find that it…wasn’t. I had much more problems with my stuffing which I completely ruined when instead of using a real actual onion (I think the only vegetables I cooked with back then were potatoes and tomatoes) I put in 1/2 cup (!!) of onion powder. You haven’t tasted onion until you put a 1/2 cup onion powder in something. To this day I really can’t use onion powder in anything, I think I used up my life quota of it.

But anyway, I think anyone can make a turkey. As long as you keep an eye on it and baste it regularly, there isn’t much thought or work involved. And the end product is almost always impressive looking and something that you can feel proud of cooking. …

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April 29, 2011

Whole Grain Blueberry Buckle

Whole Grain Blueberry Buckle

In my last post, I talked about how I love decadent desserts, but that I’m also making an effort to be a healthier person. Well, sometimes I forget that you can be a healthier person and still bake lots of great treats. Case in point: this coffee cake and also the entire cookbook that this coffee cake is from, Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. Up until now I’ve just thought of my whole wheat flour as a substitute: “I’ll add some whole wheat flour to these muffins to make them better for me.” But this cookbook has made me look at whole grain flours in a whole new light. Whole grain flours have something that white flour doesn’t have: taste. And because of that you can use them in your baked goods to make that something has tons more flavor and depth than anything made with plain white flour.

This coffee cake is made with whole wheat pastry flour and spelt flour. I went on an online shopping spree …

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February 18, 2009

Quick Gumbo

Quick Gumbo

I’m way behind with posting recipes due to being overwhelmed with work lately, but I just had to post this recipe in preparation for my next baking adventure.

Next Tuesday is Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday” and while I haven’t lived in a place that really celebrated Mardi Gras in almost 20 years, I grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast where it is a really big deal (not as big as in New Orleans, but pretty big). It’s one of the things I miss the most about living there. Mardi Gras and my birthday (this Friday) are always closely linked me for since they are usually so close to each other. There have been a couple of years that they have even been the same day (the date of Mardi Gras changes every year depending on when Easter is since Fat Tuesday is always the day before Ash Wednesday which is 40 days before Easter). In the past, I’ve gotten King Cakes for my birthday, but this year I’ve decided that I’m going to attempt to make one myself. It’s basically like a big …

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November 30, 2011

Cranberry Pandowdy (and my favorite Cranberry Sauce)

Cranberry-Apple Pandowdy

I hope all my American readers had a nice Thanksgiving. The past couple of years Brandon and I have had a guest to help us eat all that food, but this year was a simple Thanksgiving with just the two of us. Unfortunately, my brain kinda went on autopilot as I was preparing all my traditional dishes and I wound up making enough food for probably 5 or 6 people! Suffice it to say we had lots of leftovers.

The biggest culprit turned out to be cranberry sauce. I found a new recipe to try this year and went a little gung ho with it, making enough to feed about 12 people. Thankfully, the cranberry sauce turned out to be as good as its name: Cranberry Sauce Extraordinaire. It will definitely be my go-to cranberry sauce recipe from now on. The best thing is that it’s not just cranberries: it has apples, pears, pureed orange and berries. You can even mix in some pecans if you want. I love cranberries, but cranberry sauce can sometimes be a bit too tart for me, so I like how all the added fruit really balances the …

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December 21, 2009

Christmas Cookies!

Christmas Tree Cookies

I may have gone a bit cookie crazy. Besides my Peppermint Fudge Pinwheels, I have two more cookie recipes to share. Well, it’s more like one recipe and one technique, but I’ll get to that.

I’ve never been able to find a sugar cookie that I actually like. I’ve tried about a million and they all just taste blah to me. But I think that’s just the kind of person I am. Brandon told me the other day that I have tendency to put too much flavoring in the things I bake and that may be true, but I just want something that tastes like…something. I hate blah food. Even something that has too much flavor is better than something that doesn’t have any. But I think this is just that age old debate of people who like vanilla ice cream and people who like chocolate. Of course I choose chocolate! The only time I’ll eat vanilla ice cream is if it’s covered in fudge or caramel.

Anyway, I’m not sure I even have a point other than to say that this desire for flavor translates into everything I cook and share on this blog. I make a lot of stuff that I don’t share here because it’s boring or basic. I always try to find recipes that are fun (at least to me). Which leads me to these totally adorable Christmas Tree Cookies. They are fun and easy to make and did I mention how adorable they are? But that’s not even the best part of them. The original recipe was for plain ol’ sugar cookies, but of course I modified them! The best part is that they taste just like cinnamon graham crackers, which are my absolute favorite. And my boyfriend, Mr. You-put-too-much flavoring, actually said that these were perfect! And he hates cinnamon, so if he likes these cookies, anyone will.

Christmas Tree Cookies Christmas Tree Cookies

I bet these cookies would be fun to make if you have kids. You divide the dough into three rolls which you cover in green sugar, then after they’ve chilled for a while, you just sliced them up and bake. I think kids would definitely have fun assembling the little trees; I did and I’m almost 30 years old! These would be really festive and pretty for a party and they keep well in an air-tight container. As with all Betty Crocker cookies I’ve made (or maybe it’s just a personal preference?) I think these taste better the day after you bake them.

Christmas Cookies

The other kind of cookies I made are technically called Stained Glass cookies, but I’m not sure that’s really accurate, especially after I modified them. I have seen recipes for stained glass cookies that actually have a little transparent window of sugar in them and these are not like those at all. These are just your basic sugar cookie recipe, but you divide up the dough and color parts of it with food coloring.

You are supposed to cut out shapes with cookie cutters in the uncolored dough and then cut up the colored doughs into little squares and arrange them on top of the uncolored cut-outs so that it looks like a stained glass window. But OH MY GOD, that is tedious. Seriously, I did about 3 cookies like that and I was done. It took forever and the colored dough kept getting too soft so I had to keep freezing it every 5 minutes. I was about ready to shoot someone and that is not the attitude you should have when making Christmas cookies! It’s supposed to be fun, not mind-numbing. So I pretty much just gave up on the whole “stained glass” thing and just cut out circles and whatever else I wanted. Then I took the colored doughs and cut them with cookie cutters and added more little details. It was much more fun when I could just do what I wanted to.

Christmas Cookies Christmas Cookies

Despite all that work, the cookies that came out were pretty but they were blah. Just about the blandest sugar cookies I’ve ever tasted: they weren’t even that sweet! So I won’t be posting that recipe, but the technique is still interesting and fun (as long as you do what you want and don’t try to kill yourself being “perfect”), and it should work with your favorite sugar cookie recipe.

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January 19, 2010

Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I didn’t used to be a fan of soup. I don’t know if that was one of those things that I turned my nose up at when I was a kid or if my mom just wasn’t a soup person and so she never made it. Regardless, the only soup I ate for years and years and years was Campbell’s chicken noodle or tomato. But when I started cooking for myself, I figured out two important things about soup: It’s generally healthy (even the creamier ones still have vegetables) and it’s really easy to make. Throw some stuff in a pot and you just made soup! I realize that making soup probably isn’t a big deal for some people, but for me, who only ate soup from a can for 20 plus years? Making homemade soup is something I feel proud of, the same way I feel about making homemade bread.

This winter I’ve been craving lots of soup since we finally live in a place that gets cold, so I’ve been expanding my soup repertoire. I usually make it once a week but I’ve …

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May 24, 2011

Cherry-Rhubarb Fool

Cherry-Rhubarb Fool

After discovering my love for cherries late last summer, I was ecstatic last week when I went to my grocery store and they had cherries in the produce section for the first time this year. I’ll just tell you right now that you should be expecting lots of cherry recipes this summer. I wasted too many years turning my nose up at them and I gotta make up for it!

My grocery store also had some rhubarb in stock and I grabbed some since I’ve never tried it before and I’m all about trying new fruits and vegetables these days. I’m not going to make the same mistake I made with cherries! When I was looking through a new cookbook and saw this recipe, it seem like it would be a great use for the rhubarb.

February 1, 2012

Cherry-Orange Cream Scones with Blood Orange Caramel Sauce

Cherry-Orange Cream Scones

I know oranges are available year round but for some reason the only time I actually want to eat a whole orange is in the early months of year when my two favorite varieties are available: Cara Cara and Blood Oranges. When they show up at my grocery store I start hording them so I’ll be able to eat as many as possible before they disappear again. I haven’t been to the grocery in a few weeks, so when I went on Monday and saw they finally had blood oranges I grabbed a bunch and decided it was a sign that I had to make something delicious out of them. I was so energized by the idea that I found myself in the kitchen at 11pm later that night making these scones. If I had any regrets about staying up too late I forgot them as soon as I took a bite of one the next morning.

As I said last fall, cream scones are the only way to go. All the scones I’ve tried to make without cream were dry and dense and almost inedible. After some searching I think I …

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