Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Uh-Oh

Well I guess I jinxed myself in my last post about not posting the bad recipes. Of course that was in the middle of me baking my casseroles and thought that was the easier part. So here is my Thanksgiving cooking debacle...

I decided to bring sweet potato casserole and mashed potato casserole for the main meal. Made them last night and put them in the fridge thinking I was all smart cooking ahead. I took them out to warm to room temperature and then put them in the oven this afternoon. We were scheduled to be at the Bliss house around 1pm. Well at 1:10pm the sweet potato casserole wasn't done yet, probably because I put it in a deeper dish. I was using my grandmother's recipe so I hadn't made it before. Once it was baked and set in the middle I was supposed to put marshmellows on top and bake for 10 more minutes. Checkety. Check. Check. 

I went about my business while it was baking again, you know laundry, straightening, taking advantage of 10 minutes free. Oh and at this point I had sent Charlie and Daniel on to the Bliss house so they could visit. Cole and I were to follow when the casseroles were done. 

I open the oven and...hmmm it smells a little like smores...that's not good. I kid you not...the marshmellows apparently turned in to popcorn and had jumped off the casserole and were now dripping down in to the oven. I think maybe 3 were left and they were burning. Nice. 

I pulled it out and the word "mess" doesn't even do it justice. I scraped off the remaining marshmellows and it was like glue. I was scared to put on the lid because I knew as soon as it cooled, I would never get it off again! So I took the casserole with no top or foil or wrap and sticky marshmellow glue dripping down the edge and a little left on top. Stupendous. And to top it off, the mashed potato casserole was a little over cooked. 

Here's a shot of the oven and pot...

Notice the Easy-Off beside the dish. I had to use it not only in the oven (which I decided to let soak over night) but also on the dish itself. It was either that or throw it away. 

So I called my mom on my way to the Bliss' and told her what happened. We couldn't figure out what went wrong. Then she says "that's why I just make a pecan and brown sugar topping for mine." Now she tells me. So I blame her for this year's Thanksgiving debacle. Because I'm mature like that. 

If you need me tomorrow, I'll be cleaning my oven. 

What about you? Any funny stories to share from today?

Thanksgiving goodies

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! First, let me say that I am so thankful to have such a wonderful family. Rather they are near or far, I love every single one of them, especially my three sweet boys (Charlie, Cole and Daniel). They bring such joy and fun to my life.

So on this beautiful Thanksgiving Day, do you ever wonder what others are having for their meal? Or what everyone is busy cooking today other than a turkey? Well, no surprises here, I'm baking. We are heading to The Bliss' house for a nice meal and I'm bringing mashed potato casserole, sweet potato casserole, chocolate chip cookies and an apple pie. I wanted to bring more pies but we don't need them since it will only be 8 of us. (can you tell I'm used to cooking for the Rothrock clan? We usually have about 20-23 people for Thanksgiving!) 

I thought I'd share a few new recipes I've tried recently that have been a success (no use posting the icky ones, right?). So here you go...oh and both of these came from The Chew (ABC show). 

Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
(I was skeptical about this one. I'm not a big fan of pumpkin pie to begin with but 
Daniel loves them so he asked me to try it. It's very good but very rich!)

1 Pillsbury pie crust
6oz semisweet chocolate
3oz bittersweet/unsweetened chocolate
14 oz can pumpkin
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 Tbs cornstarch
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
pinch of ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbs unsalted butter
12 oz evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

1. In a double broiler, melt the chocolate and butter. 

Don't know what a double broiler is? Take a pot and fill part way with water. Place another metal or glass bowl on top of the pot (be sure water is not high enough to come in to the top pot). Bring water to gentle boil and place ingredients in top bowl. The heat from the bottom will slowly melt the top bowl. Just be sure you don't get any water in the top pot, especially with chocolate! If your chocolate starts getting too hard or thick, bring the temperature down a touch.

2. Mix all the other ingredients together then fold in the melted chocolate mixture. 

3. Place pie crust in pie pan then place pie dish on a baking sheet. Pour in pie mixture and bake at 325 until center of pie has set (about an hour, although mine took a bit longer). Refrigerate until cooled then serve with whipped cream. 


Gourmet Chocolate Chip Cookies

(let me first say that I thought Nestle Tollhouse's recipe was always the best until I tried this one. It's very similar but some of it is in the technique, which I never knew!)

2 cups minus 2 Tbs cake flour (or all-purpose)
1 2/3 cup bread flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 cups plus 2 Tbs sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 packages dark chocolate pieces (at least 60% cacao content)

1. In a mixer, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes on med-high speed
2. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. 
3. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined - only 10-20 seconds!
4. Fold in chocolate pieces
5. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop generous golf ball size mounds of dough onto baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes until just barely brown.

Dough can also be kept in refrigerator for up to 72 hours and baked in batches if you don't want to bake them all at once. You can also garnish the cookies with a sprinkle of sea salt before baking for a salty-sweet taste. 

Then eat with a big napkin and milk! 

So those are some of the things I've been making this week. Of course I am still cooking and baking tomorrow and loving it! Maybe I'll post my dinner recipes tomorrow. 

What did you make for Thanksgiving? What's your favorite dish? I would love to hear so let me know!

Bon Apetit!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Vampire's beware! (pasta dish)

VAMPIRES BEWARE! You can probably guess by the picture that this is a recipe with lots of garlic but that's what makes it so yummy.

There's a few things that I've learned this time around (meaning this pregnancy/post-pregnancy). One of them being that I must have a creative outlet of some sort. For me that could be scrapbooking, painting children's furniture/artwork, cooking, baking, decorating and sometimes gardening. I used to garden more but with two babies, it's hard to watch them in the yard, sometimes the house is easier.

Anyhoozle, the point of that is to say that I've become addicted to the cooking channel and started experimenting with more dishes lately. Specifically I try the ones from The Chew. I was on top of all their shows but now I'm about 1.5 weeks behind...which means I'll be watching ideas for Thanksgiving dishes AFTER Thanksgiving. Ugh. If you want some new recipes, check out their site. Several I've tried have been great.

This dish by Mario Batali (with my own tweaks) is SUPER easy, quick to make and very tasty. It got two thumbs up from The Food Critic (aka the Hubby). It will take you about 30 minutes total (including prep) and serves 8. Now these amounts below are fairly accurate since I followed Mario Batali's recipe but honestly, I didn't measure when I made it. So if you like sun-dried tomatoes, add 2 jars. If you love greens, add more spinach. You get the picture!

Tip: if you don't drink wine, buy the little 4-pack bottles found at the grocery store. Usually recipes only call for the amount that's in one of the little bottles and the rest you can save for future recipes. They run from $6-12 and are easy to store.

Sun-Dried Tomato and Spinach Pasta

1/4 cup EVOO
1 small jar (or 2) oil-packed sun-dried tomatoe halves (drained & thinly sliced)
1 box whole grain thin spaghetti
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup (ish) of dry white wine
2 Tbs salt
4 cups baby spinach (pick off the stems)
1 tsp chili flakes (optional)

Bring 8 quarts water to boil. While the water is heating do the following:
  1. heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
  2. add the garlic and cook until lightly golden brown.
  3. add the sun-dried tomatoe pieces and wine, bring to boil and remove from the heat
  4. take several large sips of the white wine - oh wait, that's my mom's recipe version
Cook the pasta in the boiling water (be sure to add the salt to the water) for 1 minute LESS than the package instructions call for.

Add 1/4 cup (or 1 ladle worth) of the pasta water to the olive oil mixture. Add the chili flakes (optional).

Drain the pasta then add it to the olive oil pan. Add the spinach and toss well. Toss over medium heat for about 30 seconds, until the pasta is nicely coated.

Serve hot - garnished with fresh parmesean cheese and/or breadcrumbs.

Bon Apetit!