Saturday, November 26, 2011

Make Cranberry Peach Chutney...It's Yumm-O On Poultry and Pork

I know I've not posted much lately between getting ready to move Dec. 13th and holiday's in between life has been a wee bit hectic.  You know what that's like ;-)  I've been giving homemade jam and relishes away as gifts and so far everyone has been very pleased with their goodies.

Let's get started on making this chutney.  

What You Need
  •  2 cups cranberries 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 raisins (I use golden raisins)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of ginger.
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pure ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves 
Let's Make It! (Makes 3 1/2 cup servings)

In a 2 quart saucepan over medium high heat, bring all ingredients, except peaches to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, stir it occasionally for about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.  Stir in peaches and pour into clean glass containers with covers.  Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.  It will keep in fridge for 14 days and goes wonderful with turkey, chicken and pork.  We love it with grilled pork chops a lot.

Until next time, see you around the kitchen,

Thanks for visiting and do come back soon!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Handy Dandy Cooking Terms and Techniques

I was mostly self taught when it came to cooking and baking and really didn't have a lot of input so there were terms I was totally clueless about.  I didn't know what folding meant or basting and so forth so I've put this handy dandy term and technique guide together for anyone just starting out or as a refresher for others.

Baste:  To moisten food while cooking with natural food juices, drippings, sauce or juice in order to add flavor and prevent from drying

Blanch:  to partially cook in boiling water or steam; also used to loosen skins from tomatoes (handy when canning and making sauces), peaches, and almonds as well.

Braise:  to cook meats slowly in a tightly covered pan using a small amount of liquid.

Cube:  to cut into exact pieces of 1/2 inch squares

Dash:  a unit of measure that is equal to 1/16 of a teaspoon.  Make it easy on yourself and find measuring spoons that say dash, pinch etc.  I love mine!  You can also measure by filling a 1/4 teaspoon one fourth full.

Deglaze:  to add liquid like water, wine or broth to a skillet after it's been used to cook meat, used to create a sauce.

Dice: to cut into uniform pieces, normally 1/8 to 1/4 inch.

Fold:  to combine a light mixture, such as beaten eggs or egg whites, with a heavy mixture, such as cake batter, without the loss of air.  Heavy ingredients are folded directly into the center of the light ingredients with a spatula and pulled toward the edge of the bowl.

Julienne:  to cut food into thing, matchstick size strips about 2 inches long.

Mince:  to chop food into tiny, irregular pieces.  Like minced garlic.

Poach:  to cook food by partially or completely submerging it in a boiling liquid like broth.

Puree:  to convert a solid into a liquid or heavy paste using a blender or food processor.

Simmer:  to cook food in liquid to just below the boiling point.

Until next time, see you 'round the kitchen,

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Buttery Almond Roca Sugar Cookies It's Christmas In Every Bite

I have a love affair once a year with a pretty pink can of Almond Roca and all its creamy toffee buttery crunch wrapped in those little gold wrappers.  I get all giggly just thinking about them.  I get one can in December and I do not share it except to make these cookies.  The rest of the can is mine, mine MINE!  If you've watched Little Nemo the seagull scene comes to mind with them screeching those words.  Years ago I took a butter sugar cookie recipe and mixed it with my Almond Roca and it was love at first bite.  

What You Need

1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup butter softened at room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped up Almond Roca or other toffee candy
In a glass bowl put some sugar in for coating cookies 

Lets Make Them!
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Combine sugar, butter, egg and vanilla in a large bowl, beat on medium speed, scraping bowl often until nice and creamy
  • Reduce speed to low, add flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Beat until well mixed.
  • Stir in toffee bits
  • Shape your dough with rounded tablespoon fulls into 1 1/4 balls and roll in sugar
  • Place your cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet
  • Flatten each cookie with the bottom of a glass into about 2 1/4 inch circles if the glass sticks just dip it in the sugar
  • Bake 10-12 minutes or just until edges are a light brown.  Sprinkle with sugar while cookies are warm.  Let cool completely before moving them off cookie sheets.
  • WARNING do not over bake these cookies or you'll have round bricks on your hands lol...
You might be wondering why I only treat myself to my beloved candy once a year.  Well, I'd probably  weigh a ton otherwise.  It's the only candy I can eat and not get sick of so I get one big can a year hahaha.  You can find it in any grocery store just look for the pink can.

Until next time, see  you in the kitchen,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sinfully Peanut Buttery Chocolate Bars

I figured since November is peanut butter lovers month I had to break this recipe out because I can tell you right now they are the most sinfully peanut buttery lovers dream.  They will literally make you want to hit the gym afterwards but oh so worth every sinful bite!  Makes my 46 year old slowed down metabolism long for younger days hahahaha.  I love peanut butter and yep, I am one of those who can just eat it out of the jar with a spoon.  With that said lets get you started on making them.

What You Need

1 cup of melted butter
2 cups of golden graham crackers made into crumbs
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 level cup of your favorite creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips (use your favorite chocolate we are a Hershey family)
Additional 4 tablespoons of peanut butter set aside
A 9x13 glass pan

Lets Make Them!
  • Mix together in a medium size mixing bowl your cracker crumbs, butter, powdered sugar and the 1 cup of peanut butter until blended nice and creamy
  • Pour your crumbs into your ungreased pan and press them evenly on the bottom
  • In a metal bowl over simmer water, temper/melt the chocolate chips with the 4 tablespoons of peanut butter, stirring occasionally until nice and smooth.  See below for example in tempering chocolate.
  •  Pour your chocolate mixture over your cracker crumb crust and spread evenly and place in your fridge uncovered for about an hour before cutting into squares.  You don't want to cover the top of your mixture because you do not want any water condensation hitting your chocolate or it will turn grainy. Water and chocolate do not mix!
Until next time, see you in the kitchen

Monday, October 31, 2011

Peanut Butter Lovers Fudge

Since November is Peanut Butter Lovers Month I couldn't bypass my Dad's peanut butter fudge.  I made my first batch of peanut butter fudge when I was 12 years old and my Dad loved it so much it became a tradition.   This recipe is so easy peasey and if you're a peanut butter lover you'll be even more in love with just how easy it is to make.  So, lets get started.

What You Need

1 (14oz) can of good quality sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup of your favorite creamy peanut butter
1 (12 oz) bag of white chocolate chips or 2 (6 oz) white baking squares chopped (which ever you like best)
3/4 cup chopped peanuts (I like to pop mine in the toaster oven for a few to toast them a bit)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (you can use Imitation but pure gives it a much better flavor)

Let's Make It!

  • Line either an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan with wax paper.  Make sure the paper extends over the edges of your pan
  • Heat the sweet condensed milk and peanut butter together in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat until just bubbly stirring constantly.  Remove from heat when it's bubbly and add your white chocolate, stir until smooth and immediately stir in nuts and vanilla
  • Pour your fudge mixture into your pan and using a rubber spatula scrape all of it out and spread evenly in your pan
  • Cover and chill for 2 hours or until just firm.  To remove fudge out of pan just life up on your edges of wax paper place on clean cutting board and cut into squares.

  • That's it!  Didn't I tell you it was easy peasey?  
  • Until next time, see you in the kitchen,

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Creamy White Fudge With Nuts A Family Favorite

Ahhhh this fudge has the hearts of my son Cameron, my niece Heather and my son's Nana.  Those three are my white chocolate lovers whether its in fudge form, cookies, truffles no matter if it's white chocolate these three have to have it.  It's rather funny too because we always get into the debate that white chocolate isn't really chocolate.  I am smiling as I type that we have a lot of fun with that debate.  Now my family loves macadamia nuts with their white creamy confections so I write this recipe with the macadamia nuts but you can use hazelnuts, walnuts and even pecans.  Just pick your favorite or leave nuts out.  Your call.  We're just a nutty kind of family :-)

What You Need

1 1/2 pounds of premium white chocolate
1 (14 oz) can of good quality sweet condensed milk
Dash of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1 cups of chopped nuts of your choice (we use macadamia nuts)

Lets Make It!

  1. Line an 8 or 9 inch square pan with wax paper.  Make sure paper extends over the edges of your pan
  2. Melt chocolate with the sweet condensed milk and salt in a heavy saucepan, over low heat.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and nuts right away
  3. Spread evenly into your pan
  4. Chill for 2 hours until firm.  You do not want to cover white chocolate it's much softer than regular chocolate and the condensation from covering will hinder the firming up of your fudge.
  5. Remove from pan by lifting up the edges of the wax paper, place on clean cutting board and cut into squares and watch it disappear in no time!
This year I want to make this fudge with dried cranberries.  I'll let you know how that pans out.  Okay well until next time, see you in the kitchen,

Cameron's Classic Peanut Butter Cookies An After School Favorite

 Makes 2 dozen cookies

I think every kid growing up had at least one cookie that was their all time favorite and these are my son Cameron's.   What I've never been able to get through to him was they were mine and my Dad's favorites first.  About the only thing my Mom ever baked were cookies and she was good at it and yet, she hardly ever ate them.  That was mostly my Dad's job, very much like Mr. V.  It is still up for debate and I go back and forth as to who really is the biggest cookie monster, my Dad or Mr. V.  I think I'll call it a tie.

I swear what makes these special besides that they taste so good is getting that old fashioned criss-cross pattern on the top and we liked ours a bit on the crunchy side.  Once a week I baked a batch of these peanut butter cookies for my son and we'd sit at the table together with our cookies and milk.  I am not a big cookie eater but I tell you what, I can do some damage with these hahahaha.  My son is now 21 and he doesn't come home a lot so when I really am missing him to the point of no return, I just bake these, call him and he's here lol....

What You Need

1 1/4 cup sifted all purpose flour
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (we're partial to Jiff)
1/4 cup crisco shortening
1/4 cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed golden brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup of roasted peanuts

Lets Make Them!

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper
  • In bowl combine your butter, shortening, peanut butter, sugar, brown sugar and the egg
  • In another bowl, sift your flour, then mix in baking powder, baking soda and salt, combine well
  • Mix your dry ingredients into your peanut butter mixture then add peanuts and fold
  • Put dough in fridge to chill for about 30 minutes
  • Shape dough into 1 inch balls and place on baking sheet 3 to a row (1 dozen per sheet)
  • Flatten cookie with a fork making a criss-cross pattern.  If dough starts to stick just dip the prongs of your fork in a small amount of flour or use a baking spray like Bakers Joy.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies are a golden brown
A very simple and classic recipe that keeps on going in my family.  I've made other peanut butter cookies in different styles but these are our all time favorite and I'm sure when my son has kids he will have to pass the crown down but for now,  they are still Cameron's :-)

Until next time, see you in the kitchen,