Saturday, November 27, 2010

Classic Cookie Recipe

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour; more for rolling
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
Sanding sugars or other decorations (optional)

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt to blend.  Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until well creamed.  Add the egg and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla, cream, and lemon zest and mix just until well combined.

Reduce the speed to medium low and gradually add the flour mixture.  Mix just until well combined. 

 Portion the dough into thirds, shape each third into a disk, and wrap with plastic.

 Refrigerate until firm enough to roll out (or chill overnight).

When ready to bake, line several baking sheets with parchment and heat the oven to 350 degree F.  Flour a work surface.  Working with one dough disk at a time, roll the dough to 3/16 to 1/4 inch thick, lightly flouring the pin, the dough, and the work surface as needed to prevent sticking.

Using a variety of cookie cutters, cut out shapes as close together as possible.  Combine and reroll scraps as necessary.

Using a thin metal spatula, transfer the cut-outs to the baking sheet and decorate with sanding sugars or other decorations.  Bake one sheet at a time until the edges are just beginning to turn golden, 9 to 10 minutes.

  Watch carefully - the cookies should remain pale except for the golden edges.  Let cool completely on racks.  Store the cookies, well wrapped in airtight containers, for up to a few days.

My first batch of Christmas cookies this year and what better to start with than with a basic cookie recipe?  Sounds good to me.  What a better way to start off the Christmas season by filling the house up with cookies baking in the oven.  ~isavortheweekend

Roasted Garlic Bulb

1 large/jumbo garlic bulb
Kosher salt
Olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Grab your garlic bulb and carefully trim the tips off.... that all garlic cloves are exposed.

Place the bulb on a piece of foil large enough to wrap the bulb in.  Sprinkle generously with kosher salt.

Drizzle generously with olive oil

Gather the foil from the bottom up and then twist at the top.  Place foil covered garlic bulb on small oven proof dish or pan in the preheated oven for 1 hr. 15 minutes.

When it's done, undo the foil at the top, open just enough to let out the steam and the wonderful aromas.  Once the bulb is cool enough to handle, take a spoon and start scooping out the cloves one at a time.  Don't throw away the foil just yet, drizzle any leftover olive oil over the cloves.  This oil is full of caramelized, luscious garlic flavor.  Now, this is a fun part although a little sticky and messy, I love the way the cloves slide and pop out.  Make sure to empty the whole bulb.

Once all the cloves are out start smooshing (is that a word?) them with the back of the spoon to make the paste.  Take out any tough skins.  If you'd rather put it in a food processor and mix it up that way, that's fine too.  Make sure to store it in a very tight lid container.  Yields about 3-4 tbsps.

So, now you're asking, "What in the heck do I use this for?"  Try it in your mashed potatoes.  Here's how:

5 lbs. potatoes, cut in quarters.
1/2 stick of butter, softened.
Kosher salt
2 cups whole milk (or 1 cup cream and 1 cup milk)
Garlic paste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil your potatoes the way you usually do.  When the potatoes are done boiling, scoop them out and place them on a large cookie sheet then place them in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.  In the meantime, in a small saucepan heat the milk then add two tbsps. of the garlic paste.  Mix and stir until well blended and heated through.  Simmer for a few minutes being careful not to burn the milk.  When the potatoes are done in the oven, take them out and place them in a large bowl, add the butter and start mashing.  Add the heated milk mixture a little at a time just until you reach the consistency you like.  Salt & pepper to flavor.  Serve to your family and don't forget to say thank you what with all the compliments you'll be getting!  :)
(Store any leftover garlic paste and use in whatever other recipes you can think of ~ share some with me if you'd like :)  )

I had a wonderful time in my kitchen this past Thanksgiving.  I made all my usual dishes:  Roasted Turkey|Ham|Green Bean Casserole|Garlic Mashed Potatoes|Giblet Dresssing|Candies Yams|Cranberry Sauce|Yeast Rolls.  Grandma brought her famous Corn Casserole and Amy Grace brought her delicious Blueberry Pie to go along with the my  Pumpkin and Chocolate Cream Pie.  A feast indeed!! (Click on "Roasted Turkey" to see what recipe I used).

The only thing I'm sorry about is that on Thanksgiving Eve, I dressed the turkey and oh she looked SOOOOO beautiful.  Here she is:
Is she beautiful???  Dressed to kill!!  But did I take a picture of her when she was done??  NOOOOOOO!  I'm so mad at myself.  I simply got way too busy (as you may imagine) and time just slipped away and the next thing I know, she's all sliced up and placed on the platter :(  wahhhhh!  She really was beautiful too when she came out of the oven.  Perfectly uniform in a luscious roasted brown color!  She was also VERY delicious, got many compliments on her, especially on one family member who doesn't like turkey but took a bite and really liked it.  Mission accomplished!!  ~isavortheweekend

Happy Thanksgiving, from our house to yours!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fried Chicken

by" Ree Drummond " The Pioneer Woman"

1 fryer (or 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
1 quart plus 1/4 cup buttermilk*
5 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons seasoned salt, such as Lawry's
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste (optional)
1/4 cup milk
Canola or vegetable or whatever oil you use for deep frying

Thoroughly rinse the chicken, then cover all the pieces with the quart of buttermilk and soak in the fridge overnight, or up to 24 hours.  When you're ready to fry the chicken, remove the container with the chicken from the fridge and let is sit on the counter for 30 minutes to take off the chill.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and mix up the breading:  Place the flour, seasoned salt, pepper, thyme, paprika and cayenne in a very large bowl.  Stir together well.

In a small bowl, combine the 1/4 cup buttermilk and the milk.  Pour the milk mixture into the flour and with a pastry cutter or fork, gradually mix until there are little lumps throughout.  This will adhere to the chicken and make for a crispier breading.  If necessary, add a little more flour or milk to the bowl in order to make it slightly lumpy.  Heat 1 1/2" of oil in a deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until a thermometer reaches 365 degrees F.  Lower the heat slightly, if necessary, to keep the oil from getting hotter.

Working in batches, thoroughly coat each buttermilk-soaked chicken piece with the breading, pressing extra breading onto the chicken if necessary.  Place the breaded pieces on a plate.

Add the chicken to the oil 3 or 4 pieces at a time.  Make sure they aren't sticking together, then cover the pan and fry for 5 to 7 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the chicken isn't getting too brown.  Turn the pieces over, cover again, and cook 3 to 5 minutes more.  All the while, monitor the temperature of the oil to make sure the chicken doesn't burn.  Keep in mind that we'll finish cooking the chicken in the oven, and it will continue to brown.

Place the chicken on a baking sheet and continue frying the rest of the chicken.

When all the chicken has been fried, bake the chicken for 15 minutes, to finish the cooking process.  Cut into the thicker part of one of the larger pieces, just to make sure the chicken is cooked through.  If any pink (juice or meat) is visible, the chicken needs to continue cooking in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.

I haven't cooked anything "new" in two weeks.  Fried chicken sounded good to make on a Sunday after a busy Friday and Saturday of babysitting, hair styling and more babysitting.  My hubby thought Fried Chicken sounded good too.  I like making him happy through his tummy :)  Well, the first thing that I didn't do was have the chicken marinate overnight in the buttermilk.  Had I read the recipe yesterday then maybe I would have so I'm really curious as to what kind of difference it would have made because the chicken came out really, really good.  I also didn't have *buttermilk so I followed her advice on how to make your own.  All you do is add 1 tbsp. of distilled white vinegar to 1 cup of low-fat milk.  This recipe asked for 1 quart (4 cups) of buttermilk so since I didn't have it, I added 4 tbsps. of the vinegar to the milk and stirred it well.  The seasoning in the chicken was perfect especially with it being homemade.  It was also just the right texture of crispiness since I don't like my chicken too crispy.  All in all a very good recipe for chicken, hubby really loved it, simple to make and I can't wait to make it again but will make sure I will marinate it overnight and I will also use real buttermilk, scouts honor!! ~isavortheweekend

Football season is almost, almost over.  We have one game left and I feel like listening to Dr. Falwell's "Never Give Up" sermon,  'nuff said.
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