Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Jessica's Eggnog

½ gallon whole milk
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
3/4 cups superfine sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
3 whole cloves
6 eggs, separated
1 cup bourbon
1/2 cup dark rum
1/2 cup kahlua
1 tsp vanilla
Freshly grated nutmeg

Place whole milk and 1 cup heavy cream in a large stock pot over medium heat. While it is heating whisk in sugar, cinnamon sticks, and whole cloves; continue whisking over medium heat 6-8 minutes, do not boil. In a separate bowl temper the six egg yolks with the cream mixture; then pour egg mixture into the stock pot and cook over medium heat 6-8 more minutes, until cream mixture begins to thicken. Chill (ice bath or place outside on a cool day). Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a punch bowl; add bourbon, rum, and kahlua to chilled cream mixture

Just before serving, beat egg whites until stiff. Carefully fold into mixture. Whip remaining heavy cream until stiff and fold in. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Serves 12-15 people *Note: The eggnog base can be made one day in advance; beat in the stiff egg whites and whipped cream just before serving.

We enjoyed the brandy soaked fruit cakes as well!


Monday, December 24, 2007

"Grandma's" German Chocolate Cake

My Grandma has been making this cake for almost 50 years and it is a family favorite! This is a must-have at birthday time!
GERMAN'S® Sweet Chocolate Cake

1 pkg. (4 oz.) BAKER'S GERMAN'S Sweet Chocolate
1/3 cup boiling water
2 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
1-1/3 cups sugar
3 eggs, separated
3/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk

Coconut-Pecan Frosting (recipe below)

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Line bottoms of 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with wax paper. Mix chocolate and boiling water; stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool.

MIX flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in chocolate and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition.

BEAT egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently stir into batter. Pour evenly into prepared pans.

BAKE 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Immediately run spatula around side between cakes and side of pans. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pans. Remove wax paper. Cool completely on wire racks. Spread Coconut-Pecan Frosting between layers, on top and sides of cake.

Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting

4 egg yolks
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
1 pkg. (7 oz.) BAKER'S ANGEL FLAKE Coconut (about 2-2/3 cups)
1-1/2 cups PLANTERS Chopped Pecans

BEAT egg yolks, milk and vanilla in large saucepan with wire whisk until well blended. Add sugar and butter; cook on medium heat 12 min. or until thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

ADD coconut and pecans; mix well. Cool to room temperature and of desired spreading consistency.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Favorite Holiday Snacks

Warm Spinach and Artichoke Dip*****

This was super creamy and rich, and only takes about 10 minutes to prep with a food processor. Some spinach dips can seem dry once baked, but this one really retained the moisture with the combination
of cream cheese and sour cream.
Olive Nut Spread*****

2 (8 oz) pkgs, reduced fat cream cheese
4 oz pimento stuffed green olives
2 oz walnuts, optional

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse 4-5 times. This spread can be served on bread as a sandwich spread, placed onto flour tortilla wraps as pinwheels, or with chips, pretzels, and chopped vegetables.

Finally, Andy's creative work in the bake shop - from making the dough to decorating (with very little coaching...besides the time I walked down the steps and he had EVERY ingredient in the mixing bowl ready to give it a spin - we pulled most of the flour back out and then I explained that step 1 is to read through the entire recipe first, which indicates to cream the butter and sugar before adding the additional ingredients :)

They turned out awesome, prefectly baked and sweet icing!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Simple Soups

Slow Cooker Brunswick Stew*****
Andy and I really enjoyed this! I also thought it was much better than the Kentucky Burgoo. I was very pleased to come home to this on a week night.
We served it with a dollop of sour cream.

1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
2 frozen or thawed chicken breasts
1 package frozen succotash or sliced okra or lima beans (10 ounces)
1 cup chopped onion
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried crumbled rosemary
1/2 teaspoon pepper
dash ground cloves
2 1/2 cups chicken broth

In slow cooker, combine undrained tomatoes and tomato paste. Add chicken, frozen succotash or sliced okra, onion, bay leaf, salt, rosemary, pepper and cloves. Stir in chicken broth. Cover; cook on low heat setting for 5 to 6 hours. Before serving, remove bay leaf and stir.

Acorn Squash Bisque**
This was disappointing, it was a little bland and not very thick; not at all what I was expecting. I really liked the photo I took though.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Ok, so I cheated Trader Joe’s has potato pancakes for the holiday season, so I heated a couple up along with the marinara sauce (but if you have leftover mashed potatoes this is the best use). All that was left to do was make an egg over easy and whola! an instant and delicious lunch.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Mmmmm. This is served best hot from the oven; the cornbread is soft and tender with the addition of sourcream and the meat (which I swapped for ground chicken) is moist and flavorful with a hint of tomato. I suggest adding a teaspoon or two of chili powder.

The craving for buffalo wings satisfied. (I decided to make these into wraps and serve them in a whole wheat flour tortilla; I also prefered ranch dressing instead of the bleu cheese.)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Morphing Leftovers

Mexican Lasagna*****

I made my favorite meatloaf on Sunday and then used leftovers in for this. To see the leatloaf recipe I used click here: http://johnstonesvinblanc.blogspot.com/2007/05/memorial-day-weekend.html

1/2 of a leftover Meatloaf, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups pasta sauce
1 jar of mild, salsa
1 package whole wheat tortillas
2 cups frozen corn, defrosted
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 to 5 scallions, chopped
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Mix in the pasta sauce and jar of salsa together. Spread a thin layer of the salsa mixture onto the bottom of a casserole dish. Layer 1/3 of the tortillas, 1/3 of the corn, 1/3 of the black beans, 1/3 of the scallions, 1/2 of the meat loaf, 1/3 of the salsa mixture and 1/3 of the cheese and repeat this process two more times until all of the ingredients are used. Finish with a layer of tortillas, more of the salsa mixture and a final topping of cheese.

Place the mexican lasagna in the oven until the cheese is bubbling and brown, about 10-15 minutes. Top with remaining scallions and serve.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Seasonal Sweet Treat

Cranberry Date Bars

  • 1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed
  • 1 cup, pitted dates, chopped
  • 2 tab water
  • 1 tea vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tea baking soda
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds, optional
  • 1/2 tea salt
  • 1/2 tea cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  1. In a covered saucepan over low heat, simmer cranberries, dates and water for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until cranberries have popped. Removed from heat, stir in vanilla and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, flax, cinnamon and salt. Stir in butter and oil until well blended. Pat half into an ungreased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.
  3. Spoon cranberry mixture over crust. Sprinkle with the remaining oat mixture. Pat gently. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until browned.

Yield: 3 dozen

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Rating system implemented

I have decided to implement a rating system on the recipes that I post. This way it provides feedback on what's a must-try verses what was nice to try but I likely won't make again. Of course this is just my own opinion and feel free to leave yours.

I have gone back and noted my favorite recipes with 5 stars ***** and from here further I will rate all recipes using a 1-5 star rating. (This also allows me to flip back through the recipes and recall which ones were my favorites.)

Kentucky Burgoo

I lived in KY almost 20 years and I don't ever recall having burgoo. It seems like that is the way it always goes, whatever your state is famous for you've never eaten that particuar food or visited that place. Now that I am in NC, I felt it was high time to partake in this native KY dish. It seemed to be a mix of beef stew and vegetable soup, quite tasty!

1-2 Tbsp EVOO
1 lb stew meat
1 large yukon gold potato, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1/2 c frozen okra, diced
1/2 c frozen lima beans
1/2 c frozen corn
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried crumbled rosemary
3 cups chicken broth

Heat large stockpot over medium-high heat and add EVOO. Once heated brown stew meat, turning on all sides. Add chopped potato, onion and garlic. Season with s&p.

Saute 10 mintues. Stir in the rest of the ingedients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!