Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just because it is not broken...

You all know the saying..."If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Well, I have decided that in some instances I plainly disagree. Case in point, my gougers.
I have made gougers the same way for years, and they are absolutely delish!

...but I added dill this time, and they are even better!

Why would I do this to a perfectly good recipe, except out of boredom? Because I am a forgetful, busy woman.

For Thanksgiving I had made my favorite roasted carrots (an Ina recipe) and I was so busy that I completely forgot to add the dill in the end. So, there I am with A LOT of dill and nothing to do with it. Several days later, I ran into some friends that had just cured their own salmon, which takes a lot of dill, but I was too late. What was I going to do with all that dill?

Being that I hate waste, I decided to risk ruining my famous gougers by adding dill.

I am not that daring though, I only added the dill to half the batter.

I anxiously waited while they were cooking, but kept wondering how it could go wrong. The flavors should make sense...

...and they did!

I was planning on putting the regular version of this recipe in the cookbook, but I took a risk, it paid off, and now you all will see the dill version of the recipe instead. So, I challenge you today to take one of your favorite recipes and do something new to it. What is the worst that can happen? It does not turn out...order a pizza.

Monday, November 22, 2010

How to cook a turkey...

Here is how I make my Thanksgiving Turkey...

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Begin by washing your bird, thoroughly, inside and out.

Pat the bird dry with a paper towel and salt the inside cavity (about 1-2 tablespoons of salt, depending on the size of your bird).

Rub olive oil all over the outside of the turkey and then salt and pepper (about 1-2 tablespoons of salt and 1/2 that amount of pepper).

If you are stuffing the turkey (which I recommend), do so now. Once the stuffing is complete, cover the cavity opening with aluminum foil.

Cut onions, carrots and celery in half (enough to cover the bottom of your roasting pan) and place into your pan. Pour 1-2 cups of water into the pan and place the bird on top of the vegetables, tucking the wings and legs up close to the body and sticking the onions from the bottom of the pan around them. Place the pan in the oven and roast for the designated amount of time (see note below), basting every 30 minutes. While basting, check on the browning of the bird, if it starts to get too brown, loosely cover with aluminum foil for the remainder of the cooking time.

When the cooking time is complete, the interior temperature of the turkey should be 168 to 170 degrees. Remove the turkey from the oven, and let it sit for 30 minutes before carving.

If you are more ambitious than I am, and plan to make your own gravy, you can do so while the turkey rests. I, personally, order it from a gourmet chef in town and just heat and serve.

Cooking time note: The rule that I have always used for cooking time of a turkey is 15 minutes per pound, plus an extra half hour if the turkey is stuffed. Using that method, a stuffed 20 pound turkey, for example, would need 5 1/2 hours of cooking time. ALWAYS use a thermometer to test whether or not the bird is fully done and extend or decrease the cooking time as necessary.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanksgiving is coming...

If you love to cook, how could you not love Thanksgiving???

I am excited about the upcoming holiday and cannot wait to smell the delish aroma of a turkey in the oven, a pie cooling on the counter, and cool Fall air.

I am planning to post a Thanksgiving recipe on Monday, but in the meantime, I thought that I would pass along one of my favorite table decorating ideas for this feasting holiday.

Take large hurricanes, mason jars, or glass bowls--whatever fits the style of your home--and fill them with clementines. The orange color is perfect for this time of year, and you can snack on the fruit when you have finished your meal. If you want a little extra pop of color you can add cranberries to the containers as well. Refreshing and edible, you cannot beat that!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kitchen Block...

I have not blogged in over a week because I have total and complete kitchen block. Not the wood cutting board in the middle of your kitchen, more like a form of writer's block that makes it seemingly impossible for me to want to cook anything more than the bare minimum. About once a season I get this general kitchen malaise, I do not know why or how it comes on, and it usually leaves as quickly as it sets in, often with a baking spree that goes on for several days.

I am sure some of you reading this are thinking...

This sounds like every day of my life...

For some people, cooking is never fun, but for someone like me who puts anything cooking related right after friends and family, this is certainly the exception to the rule.

Perhaps it is a kind of hibernation in preparation for the holidays, perhaps it has something to do with Daylight Savings (that is a good excuse for everything else, why not this?), or perhaps I just don't feel like it. Whatever the case, I am sure that this kitchen block will end, just as it always has in the past...

...Just in time for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I have always said that nuts don't belong in food.

I do not understand why people mess up perfectly delish baked goods by adding nuts to them? From brownies to cookies, from breads to bars, the number of dishes that have been ruined by nuts are countless.

So, will you see dishes with nuts in my cookbook?

What do you think?

(In case you are a little slow on the uptake the answer is, no).

It is not that I hate nuts. I actually rather enjoy a handful of cashews, peanuts, or almonds, just don't add them to my food!

My strong opinions about this particular subject have lead me to realize that when testing my recipes with friends and family, there are some things that some people just do not like and never will. It is why there are four page menus at a lot of restaurants...everyone has their food quirks and we have to respect that.

In addition to nuts in food my dislikes include coconut (it is the sole food that turns me into the rude guest that will not eat what is served to me), cottage cheese, runny eggs, and almond extract. I will not eat veal, even though I eat lamb. I do not particularly like pulled pork or really fishy fish. I know what I like and I know what I don't, and so do the people that read and test my recipes.

My testers represent the general public and how they will feel about my recipes...some will love everything, some will hate it all, and most will fall somewhere in between.

What does this mean to me?

It means that I have to learn not to take it personally when someone does not like one of my recipes. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if their comments are something as ridiculous as, "Nuts don't belong in food."