Kitchen Concoctions: November 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Sweet End

Today was my first day back to work in 5 days. It was defiantly hard to go back and get back to the grind. I defiantly did not want the fun and festivities (and of course food) to end! It was a very nice Thanksgiving, with two Thanksgiving dinners with both my family and then Eric's (that meant a wide variety of yummy foods). Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving too!

With this being Monday and cookbook of the month day (I know you all are SOO excited) I decided to make and blog about a recipe that might come in handy for the upcoming month of December. I decided to make these Snickerdoodle cookies. I love snickerdoodle cookies, especially warm right out of the oven (so needless to say I had quite a few while I was baking them yesterday). These were not quite like the sinkerdoodles cookies that I remember making as a kid (I will have to try and find that recipe and make them and blog about them too) but they were still very, very good.

I think the key to snikerdoodle cookies is to pull them out of the oven when you think they are not quite done (so they are chewy). The first batch I baked I forgot about this tad bit of information and they came out a little too hard for my liking.

These cookies would be good for your holiday cookie exchange, or to add on your holiday treat plate that you give your neighbors, or on a cold winter's night with hot cocoa, or when your boyfriend asks you and asks you to make cookies to use your new Kitchen Aid Mixer! : )

Honey Snickerdoodles
adapted from The Dean Bros. Cookbook: Recipes From The Road

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 large baking sheets and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder,, baking soda, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon, set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the egg, honey, and anilla. Slowly beat in the flour mixture.

In a small bowl combine the remainig 3 tablespoons sugar and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Form the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place the balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light brown and slightly cracked on top. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Makes about 3 cookies.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving A Few Days Late

So I had the recipe below scheduled to post Thanksgiving Day but for some reason it did not post. I have been busy with the holidays and was out of town so I did not realize that it did not post until today. Even if this recipe did not get posted until after Thanksgiving it was a delicious apple pie recipe and I received many complements on it. This would be great for Christmas or just any time you are craving apple pie. (Oh and it is called Carmel Apple Pie and there is carmel in it but it was hard to taste... so my advice is to add more how could you go wrong with that!)

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and ate way too much, I sure know I did!

Of course Thanksgiving wouldn't be Thanksgiving without pie. And in my book the trinity of pies that should grace the Thanksgiving day table should be pumpkin, pecan, and apple (with streusel topping of course)!

But wait who am I kidding!?! Thanksgiving isn't Thanksging without blueberry pie, cherry pie, and chocolate muse pie too! I love pie but really only eat it at this time of year so I must splurge and have a bite of everything! : )

But apple pie, now that's classic. Especially with streusel topping, vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce! That is why I HAD to make this pie from November's cookbook of the month.

With graham cracker crust, carmel and streusel topping there was no way this could not be a winner! And a winner it was! A perfect pie for a perfect holiday!

Caramel Apple-Nut Crumb Pie
adapted from The Dean Bros. Cookbook: Recipes From The Road

1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup warm dulce de leche or carmel sauce
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled cored and thinly sliced

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped

1 prepared 9-inch graham cracker pie crust****

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Whisk together sour cream 1/2 cup dulce de leche, and remaining filling ingredients, except apples. Fold in apples. Spread remaining 1/4 cup dulce de leche on the bottom of the unbaked crust. Pour the apple mixture into crust and bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, 1 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg on low speed until the flour is moistened but still crumbly (do not over mix). With fork, gently fold in the chopped walnuts into the topping mixture,

Sprinkle the partially baked pie with the topping. Return the pie to the oven and bake another 30 minutes more or until golden brown. Drizzle pie with additional carmel sauce. Let pie cool completely before slicing.

***Below is my personal go to recipe for graham cracker crusts. Whether it be for pie, bars, or cheesecakes this is the recipe I use. I personally think it makes the best graham cracker crust!

Graham Cracker Crust
my own concoction

10 to 12 graham crackers
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted

Crush graham crackers in food processor or by hand using a meat mallet or rolling pin (much easier using food processor so if you don't have one get one). Place crushed graham crackers in bowl and add remaining ingredients. Press in to pie pan, or baking dish. Bake for about 8-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven until a light brown. If you are making a pie that will be going back into the oven to bake do not over bake your crust at this step; however if your pie is a no bake pie you will want to let the crust brown a little bit more.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A 'Healthier' Sweet Potato

I know I promised you a recipe every day this week before thanksgiving but yesterday was extremely hectic; so I apologize for posting this late! And I apologize again because yesterday was Monday and I was going to post a Thanksgiving recipe that came from this month's cookbook but when I went to make the recipe I realized I was missing a few ingredients. So I will post that cookbook of the month recipe tomorrow (you must check back because that recipe is defiantly a keeper and a must for Thanksgiving).

So the blog post below really isn't your typical carefree ramblings about my life in and out of the kitchen. I have a little side project I am working on (which I will share more about soon)! But here is a glimpse at my writing style for that! So I hope you enjoy learning a little about the sweet potato.

Thanksgiving won't be Thanksgiving without sweet potatoes. However, many sweet potato casserole recipes out there are loaded with fat and sugar and use canned sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are very healthy and provide many vitamins and nutrients but when drenched with butter and sugar all nutrition is lost. Why are sweet potatoes so healthy? According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the sweet potato is the #1 Super Foods for better health, and is the king of all vegetables.

Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A, which is important for vision as well as skin, nail, and hair health. It is also high in potassium, which helps heart and kidney function. Vitamin C is also found in high levels in this vegetable. Vitamin C promotes healing and helps the body fight infection. Sweet potatoes contain calcium as well, which helps build strong bones and teeth.

This sweet potato recipe is easy to make, uses fresh sweet potatoes, and is a little bit more healthy that that traditional Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Casserole but still has all the traditional sweet potato flavors.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

4 medium sweet potatoes
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3 tablespoons honey butter (recipe to follow)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour.

Cut a slit into the top of each potato. Carefully scoop out the pulp from the potato, leaving the skins intact; place the potato in a large bowl. Add the sugar, pumpkin pie spice and the honey butter to the potato and stir together. Stuff the potato mixture back into the reserved potato skins. Sprinkle the pecans over each potato.

Return the stuffed potato skins to the oven; bake another 12 minutes. Any extra honey butter can be used on Thanksgiving Day rolls.

Honey Butter

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup marshmallow fluff

Whip all together with an electric mixer and serve at room temperature.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Don't Be A Pumpkin Hater

I love pumpkin! I mean I L-O-V-E everything about pumpkin! I love the movie It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. I love picking out the BEST pumpkin right when October hits (it is a very time consuming process to pick out THE best pumpkin). I love carving pumpkins. I love making (and eating) all the pumpkin flavored treats, from pumpkin pie to pumpkin muffins to pumpkin flavored ice cream!

So when I saw these Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Breakfast Rolls on the blog Picky Palate I knew I had to make them. I was a little worried though about Eric. You see he likes picking out his pumpkin in October to carve it but does not spend nearly as much time finding 'the perfect one' like I do. And every Halloween he humors me by watching It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. But when it comes to eating pumpkin or anything pumpkin flavor Eric hates it! He hates the taste of pumpkin, never has and unfortunately never will.

So, needless to say that when I went to make these breakfast rolls I was worried (so were my thighs) that I was going to be the only one eating these. But miraculously Eric liked them enough to eat two for breakfast that day (or should I say breakfast dinner) and then kept munching on the left overs.

These pumpkin breakfast rolls were very good and pumpkiny. They would be perfect for breakfast Thanksgiving Day because they were so easy to make (they are 'semi-homemade') but taste and look like you made them entirely from scratch!

Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese Breakfast Rolls
adapted from the Picky Palate

2 packages/cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup canned pumpkin (Libby’s)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Unroll crescent rolls to form 4 rectangles placed side by side. Pinch seams together to form one long rectangle. Place cream cheese, brown sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg into a mixer; beat until well combined. Spread mixture over crescents leaving a 1/2 inch border around edges. Starting at long end, roll up then cut into 1 inch pieces. Place around 2 9-inch cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake for 28-30 minutes or until rolls are golden brown. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes. Frost warm rolls with cream cheese frosting recipe below.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz softened cream cheese
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon canned pumpkin (Libby’s)

Mix all ingredients into a large bowl until smooth. Spread over warm rolls.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Spice Up Your Pumpkin

You made your list and checked it twice, your grocery list that is! You went to the store and got everything you needed for T-Day. But then it happened, Turkey Day comes and you go to make that pumpkin pie, or those pumpkin muffins for breakfast, or that sweet potato casserole and low and behold you didn't make it home with the Pumpkin Pie Spice (dun dun dun)! EKK! What are you going to do!?!

Sorry to bring up anyone's dreaded Thanksgiving Day nightmares; but it was fun being overly dramatic! A TON of holiday recipes call for pumpkin pie spice. I mean sure you could pick it up at the store but a.) it can be pretty expensive for a little container of it (although sometimes around this time of year they have it on sale) and 2.) most people already have all the ingredients for pumpkin pie spice already in their basic spice rack. So don't get mad (get Glad! hehe) if you are in the middle of baking up some yummy holiday treats (like I am now, I can't wait to post them) and you don't have that pumpkin pie spice. Just use the recipe below and measure out whatever amount the recipe you are making calls for.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

2 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoon ginger
1 1/2 teaspoon allspice

Mix all spices and store in an air-tight container.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Spoil Me Rotten

For someone that was not exactly thrilled about their birthday, I sure did 'clean up' nice! Eric has gone out of his way to spoil me all this month. From making dinners to little things like letting me pick out the movie to watch : ) he has made sure I embraced my birthday.

When I mentioned I wanted to get Pioneer Woman's new cookbook, so that I could be a crazed fan and go to her book signing, what did Eric do... surprise me with the book.
For my birthday he had planed all month to get the perfect gift:

Yes, that's a Kitchen Aid Mixer Professional! I was so shocked and excited when I saw it! I have been wanting a Kitchen Aid Mixer for quite sometime! Eric immediately started asking me what I was going to make with it. He then pulled out another gift:

I didn't even know that there were different attachments for the Kitchen Aid Mixer. Eric said he couldn't decided on whether to get the meat grinder, pasta maker, or the ice cream attachment. He went for the ice cream maker (good choice). I think it is so cool that the mixer turns into a ice cream maker with this attachment!

Then today I was catching up on my blog reading and I saw on the food blog Taste and Tell that I had won a contest that Deborah (the author of Taste and Tell) was having for Emeril's new cookbook Emeril 20-40-60! When she made the announcement on her blog as picking me as the winner she even gave a shout out that it was my birthday! Thanks Deborah!
And thanks to all my friends, family and fellow bloggers/readers who wished me a Happy Birthday, it was perfect! Oh, and don't worry, these items (my new toys and books) will be making a more in depth appearance in the upcoming months (look for recipes soon)!

OK, enough about me lets talk food! Since Thanksgiving is a week away I decided that I would post a recipe each day this week that might help you on T-day! Nothin' too fancy maybe just some smashed taters, or an apple pie, or some cute Turkey cookies. I hope (remember I said hope not I promise) to post a different Thanksgiving themed or related recipe every day leading up to the big day, so gobble them up.

The first recipe(s) I chose to feature are mashed potato recipes. I have only been writing this blog since March and have already posted three mashed potato recipes. One is my all time favorite mashed potato recipe (but of course I have to say that because they are Eric's world famous mashed potatoes), another is my own recipe for 'loaded' mashed potatoes (I am also partial to this recipe too!) with cream cheese, bacon, sour cream, and herbs, and the last one is from Rachael Ray. All are easy, taste great, and would be perfect soaking up some homemade (or store bought, whatever floats your gravy boat, hehe) gravy!

Eric's Famous Mashed Potatoes:

Silky Mashed Taters with Bacon:
No pic of Rachael Ray's mashed potatoes but you can fin the recipe here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One Year Older...

Today is my birthday! And I don’t know why but I have not been looking forward to my birthday this year. Normally I embrace my birthdays and the start fresh of a new year and the goals and challenges I set for myself before my next birthday. But for some reason I have not embraced my birthday as much this year.

But, Eric, my awesome boyfriend has totally embraced my birthday and has gone out of his way this entire month to make me feel extra special! And he has BIG plans for us tonight (that he has been concocting all month). So, needless to say he has really turned my birthday frown upside down; and I have been smiling all week now because of my birthday!

I also decided to share cupcakes that my mom ALWAYS made for us on our birthday when my brothers and sisters and I were little. She never made them into cupcakes (always a sheet cake or a round 2-tier cake) but these cupcakes still bring me back to my birthdays as a child (ahhh, the good ole days when you got to have birthday parties and everyone spoiled you rotten)!

This cake is so moist and rich. It is also easy to make and goes perfect with cream cheese or butter cream icing. We also loved this cake as kids (and I still do now) because there are no eggs in the recipe so you know what that means: it is perfectly ok to lick the bowl (and spoon, and spatula, and your fingers...).

Just promise me two things... that you will try this recipe AND you won't laugh when I tell you where we got this recipe. This amazing, simple, extremely chocolaty chocolate cake recipe came from my sister Rachel's, Barbie coloring book that she had when she was little! Can you believe that?!? Every time any of us makes this cake recipe we laugh about the source of this recipe. I guess the lesson here is that you never know, when and where you might stumble upon that amazing recipe!

Chocolate Cake
adapted from 'Some Barbie Coloring Book'

2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until well mixed. Pour into a 9 x 13 inch pan, 2 8-inch round pans, or cupcake pans lined with cupcake liners. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Frost with your favorite icing.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Not Just Any Wings (Ok I Know Not Very Creative Title, But Hey I Can't Be Creative All The Time)

One of Eric and I’s (is that correct grammer? should it be Eric and mine or mine and Eric's) favorite easy go to dinners is chicken wings. I say ‘easy’ because even though the prep and cook time is very minimal the clean up can be quite the chore (oil clean up duty is not fun at all, I guess that is why Eric gets the responsibility for that one!).

Also, with any fried food it is not the healthiest option or rout. AND since Eric and I BOTH are now starting to eat healthy (I am so happy that Eric wants to eat healthy too, it will make it easier on me!) traditional wings are not always best the heart or hips.

So, imagine how happy I was to try these chicken wings from this month’s cookbook. These wings are broiled, not fried and have a fairly healthy sauce on them and to dip them in. With these wings I get to eat wings that are healthy and not a huge mess to clean up and still fairly easy to prepare and very tasty. So in my book these wings are great! Plus the dipping sauce is basically just guacamole… one of my favorite things in the world, which paired perfectly with the jalapeños, lime juice and honey in the sauce! I will defiantly use this recipe to spice up our monthly wing nights!

The only modifications I did was to the avacado dipping sauce; in which I just made my own (well actaully Eric made it).

Lime Marinated Chicken Wings with Avocado Dip
adapted from The Dean Bros. Cookbook: Recipes From The Road

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup vegetables oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Pinch salt and pepper
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 limes, juiced
1 pounds chicken wings, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 lime, zested
Avocado Dip, recipe follows

In a blender, puree until smooth the jalapeno pepper, garlic, vegetable oil, tomato paste, salt, honey and lime juice. Pour marinade over the chicken. Add the lime zest and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (oh I guess I forgot this part too, because I only marinated mine for like 5 minutes).

Preheat boiler to medium heat.

Arrange chicken on a baking sheet lined with foil (CRUCIAL- don't forget to do this or you will be scrubbing your baking sheet for days... I learned this the hard way). Broil chicken at least 6 inches from the heat for 4 to 5 minutes per side; or until chicken is crispy on the outside and cooked through. Serve with Avocado Dip.

Avocado Dip:
1 avocado
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 roma tomato, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Pit and peel avocado. Place avocado in a medium bowl; mash. Fold in 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves; lime juice, garlic tomato, salt; and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Guest Blogger...

…well sort of! It is still me but I am featuring another one of my boyfriend Eric’s specialty dishes. He cooks so much, and it is always so yummy, that I should have him be a guest blogger from time to time. He is WAY more funny then me and I am sure someone else’s writing would be fun to read from time to time. I just might ask him if he is willing to do that for me and for you!

So, this is Eric’s famous (famous with me, his family, and now you all : ) chicken parmesan recipe. Eric loves Italian food because that is what he grew up on, considering his mom and extended family is Italian. Chicken parmesan, stuffed shells, home made manicotti, linguine and clams, are all popular dishes to grace his family’s table for large family get togethers and celebrations.

Now I love Italian as well, but since my Mom and her family are from Louisiana we grew up on a lot of Cajun food. It has been fun for Eric and I to try new foods with each other from each other's up bringing.

This chicken parmesan is classic with one unusual ingredient. The unusual ingredient, which is essential for having your chicken turn out moist and juicy is mayo. Yup, you read right mayo! Instead of using eggs to coat the chicken before placing it in the bread crumbs Eric uses mayo, because that is what his mom uses. It truly is the secret ingredient to making this chicken turn out the best- super moist, juicy and flavorful! Oh, and incase I forgot to mention this recipe is super easy to make!

Eric’s Classic Chicken Parmesan

4 chicken breasts
1 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs
2 1/2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup mayo
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 jar your favorite spaghetti/tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place chicken in a Ziploc bag and use a meat mallet, rolling pen, or pan to flatten chicken out to about 1/2 an inch thick.

In a bowl combine bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning. Remove chicken from bag and coat with mayo and then cover with bread crumb mixture. Place chicken in a pan that has been lightly coated with olive oil or sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and done all the way through. During the last 5-10 minutes add 1/2 a jar of tomato sauce over chicken and top with mozzarella cheese.

Serve over pasta and topped with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

(Sorry these directions are not very formal- I went off of what Eric has told me and what I have watched here and there. If something is unclear, just let me know and I will try and clear it up for ya!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Excuses, Excuses

For once I feel like I have perfectly good excuses for not blogging in so long and as to why I am so late posting the cookbook of the month recipe for this week (even though I don’t think anyone even notices or cares that it is late)!

I was on such a roll on blogging back in October. Not only was I on top of posting the cookbook of the month recipes I was also posting quite a few other recipes as well. I even got so far caught up that I have prewritten some blog posts and typed out the recipes for a few different things and just have to upload and edit the pictures (that is a chore though, in and of it’s self).So I was doing so good, ahead of schedule (even on my personal blog I have been able to post pretty regularly, lately).

So then why, you ask, have I not posted anything in a week! Well the reason that I haven’t posted any cookbook recipes yet is because to be honest I hadn’t even made anything from the cookbook I chose this month since August (that is when I made the ribs I posted about last week). AND I had a couple of recipes that I REALLY wanted to make from this Dean Bros Cookbook to post this week but was so busy that I just never had time to get to the store to get some of the missing ingredients. AND I had good intentions of posting some of those other recipes that I had prepared but didn’t have time to do that either!

The past week has been EXTREMELY busy but I guess that is to be expected this time of year. So my very good excuses as to why I have been MIA the past week is the fact that I have been swamped at work, I have had quite a few extracurricular activities/events to attend, and this past weekend I went out of town to visit my mom (Aw I am such a good daughter).

And like I always say… That is no excuse!

So this cheese sauce was not my top recipe to feature this week from the Dean cookbook but it was one that I defiantly wanted to try and I had all the ingredients on hand so I could make it. This sauce was very rich and cheesy! The hint of mustard and tabasco went perfect with the pretzel sticks. This sauce would have also been perfect with a soft pretzel (like the ones from the mall or Sam's Club) or over broccoli or asparagus. The recipes calls for cheddar cheese but I think Velveeta would be better. Also the original directions say that after you melt the cheddar cheese remove pot from eat and add cream cheese. Don't this or you will have chunks of un-melted cheese in your dip. I show my modifications to the original recipe below:
Another not so 'hot' pic but how else are you supposed to make cheese sauce pretty!

Cheesy Pretzel Dipping Sauce
adapted from The Dean Bros. Cookbook: Recipes From The Road

1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups (8 oz) sharp cheddar cheese or Velveeta
4 (oz) cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon mustard
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
salt and pepper
pretzels, bread, veggies for dipping

In a large saucepan, bring the milk and butter to a boil; reduce heat. Add cheeses and stir until melted. Reduce heat to lowest setting and stir in remaining ingredients. Transfer sauce to serving dish. Serve with pretzels, bread, or veggies. Reheat sauce in microwave if it becomes firm. Makes 2 cups.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Georgia, Meet Texas...."

So the first recipe from The Dean Bros. Cookbook: Recipes From The Road that I had to make and feature were these ribs. This rib recipe is inspired from The Salt Lick, which is a local Austin favorite. The Salt Lick BBQ is SO famous that it has been featured on several Food Network shows as well as The Travel Channel. It is known for its famous BBQ as well as scenic location and being BYOB.

Even after living here in Austin for over 5 years I have yet to eat there (I know, what am I thinking)! It is defiantly on my list of restaurants I MUST try. And the good thing is that with this recipe I get a little glimpse as to the wonderful food that I have heard so much about.

I also wanted to try this rib recipe because I saw Bobby Dean make it on Paula Dean’s show and they talked about how dry rubbed ribs were so good and that if you have never had them you had to. And until I made these ribs I HAD never had dry rub ribs.

I really did enjoy these ribs. Even though they were dry rub they still got my fingers a little messy but not nearly as bad as your typical rib. I will defiantly make these again because they were so easy and tasted so good. And I will DEFIANTLY head to the Salt Lick soon so that I can try their world famous food!

Sorry these pics are SOOO awful! The rub kind of makes them look blackened.
Dry Rub Baby Back Ribs
adapted from The Dean Bros. Cookbook: Recipes From The Road

1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
4 pounds baby back ribs, cut into 2-rib portions

In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients except the ribs. Rub spice mixture all over the ribs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate ribs for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours.

Preheat the grill to medium heat.***

Arrange the ribs on the barbeque and grill for 40 to 45 minutes, turning with tongs occasionally until meat is tender and crisp on the outside.

***I cooked my ribs in the oven on 350 for 30-40 minutes and they came out just fine.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Couple Of Georgia Boys

Because of the fun filled Halloween weekend, I have gotten a little behind on my blogging.

For the cookbook choice for the month of November I decided to go back to some Food Network favorites. The authors of this cookbook are not only food Network stars but so is their mom. In fact, their clam to fame is their mom’s rich and hearty Southern style cooking.

For the month of November I have decided to feature The Dean Bros. Cookbook: Recipes From The Road. One reason I choose this book, besides ALL the yummy recipes I want to try, is that there are several pie recipes in this book that look too good to pass up. AND with this being the month of November and the month of Thanksgiving (one of my FAVORITE holidays) I thought this book would be perfect because we all need a good list of pie recipes for occasions like Thanksgiving.

In addition to the assortment of pie recipes within this book, there are a large number of other desserts (it is a DEAN cookbook so of course there are desserts), along with a large amount of delicious dinner recipes as well. Since the Dean Brothers are Georgia Boys (like my own guy) they love their food the good ‘ole Southern way (also like my man)… with butter and fried! But despite Paula’s reputation of greasy, fried food there are a number of recipes in this book that are prepared on the more 'healthful side.'

I really liked this book and so far so good on the recipes I have tried. For this book Jamie and Bobby Dean traveled to some famous Southern hot spots, and this cookbook is a collection of the recipes from their travels.

Each section of the book features different states and the famous restaurants within. The Deans then take these famous restaurant dishes and make them their own. Each state’s section has a little introduction about their travels and then each recipe has a little introduction as to why they chose that recipe/restaurant to feature. I especially liked this book, since I am a southern girl myself I know first hand many of the restaurants featured or would like to go check them out when I travel.

This book was a fun read and the recipes seem to be very promising! Oh, and incase you were wondering, pretty much 95% of the recipes have pictures!

Oh, and a little update, I went as Rosie the Riveter for Halloween and took meatballs to my work Halloween lunch. I know not very Halloweenie but they were easy and I had all the ingredients to make them. I will post the meatball recipe soon, and maybe if you are lucky me as Rosie!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mixed Review

So after completing 5 recipes I have mixed feelings about the cookbook 365 Dish A Day. I really liked it because there where 365 recipes and I would say 90% of them had photos to go along with them. Also, there were a varity of recipes from desserts, to soups and salads, to main entrees. However, because the recipes are each assigned a day of the year. The book starts at January 1 and goes until December 31 with a different recipe assigned for each day. There fore, the recipes are not in any particular order; so if you are looking for something specific you will have to use the index.

As for the recipes I made, some were really delicious and others were just ok. A couple of recipes I will definitely make again, Eric has even requested them to be made again already, and others I won’t because they were just ok so I will stick to other recipes that I have that are similar. There are still a couple of other recipes from the book that I want to try so I will have to post those when I try them.

These pork chops were good, but I would have to say my favorite ‘citrus’ pork that I have made recently were the ones in Emeril’s cookbook that I featured last month. These pork chops had similar flavors I just think that I liked the pork loin version over the chop.

Although this jerk chicken was an array of complex flavors, it was not the ‘jerk chicken’ I remember from my youth. Eric did not care for the ‘complex’ flavors; I on the other hand liked the spice blend. I do not think I will make this again anytime soon, purely based on the fact that I have a TON of jerk chicken recipes and I want to find the perfect one!

OMG, these crackers! Most people would not think or want to make crackers from scratch since there are so many that are available to purchase at the store. And because I have a small amount of OCD in me and want to learn practically everything (especially everything in the kitchen and food related) I knew I wanted to make homemade crackers. And let me tell you these crackers were extremely easy to make and came out wonderfully; better than any that I have ever bought. They went perfect with my hummus and with cheese on them. They were perfect by themselves and the were perfect with dip. Eric has already asked me to make them again, and because they were easy and extremely tasty and went perfect with my hummus. I defiantly will be making these on a regular basis.

Brownies are my weakness. I love how they are rich and gooey and chocolaty. I am always trying new brownie recipes and making old ones. These brownies were good, the icing was gooey and rich. These brownies were perfect with ice cream because the icing was like fudge topping. However, I honestly don't know when I will make these again. Like I said, although they were good, I have other brownie recipes I want to try and others that top my favorites list.

This soup appealed to me because of not only the sweet potatoes but because of the combination of the sweet potatoes and bleu cheese. This soup was smooth and creamy and rich. The flavors blended so well together. At first glance you would think this soup was plain and boring. But every spoonful left you wanting more. The bleu cheese was defiantly the secret, but perfect, ingredient in this soup.

So in the end this book is still a toss up. I will defiantly make the sesame crackers again and there are a few other recipes from this book I want to try; but I think for the most part I will not be running to this book first if I am looking for a new recipe. But hey, that is why I do this cookbook of the month challenge so I can conquer my shelves and shelves of cookbooks and find winning books and recipes!
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