Tuesday, November 25, 2008

PW’s Turkey Brine

Since I’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately, I haven’t had a chance to wrangle together my homemade brine mixture to photograph for you. I hope to do that later in the day Tuesday, but in case you need the ingredients/instructions right now, here it is:

This is enough for a 20-lb turkey; you can decrease the quantity for a smaller bird.

2 gallons water
2 cups apple juice
2 cups kosher salt (can decrease to 1 1/2 cups if you’re concerned about salt)
2 cups brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5 bay leaves
3 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 tablespoons dried rosemary
Peel of 2 oranges (I just roughly slice off the orange part of the peel (not much white pith) with a sharp knife, then give it a rough chop to release all the citrus-y wonderfulness)

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Turn off heat immediately, cover, and allow mixture to come to room temperature. Cool mixture in the fridge until you’re ready.

To brine the turkey, remove turkey from wrapper, remove gross bags, and rinse thoroughly under cool water. Place the turkey into a plastic brining bag (available at many kitchen shops, maybe even stores like Target) OR a very large pot. Pour cool brine mixture over the top, adding extra cold water if you need more to cover. Seal bag or cover pot and allow turkey to brine in refrigerator for 8 to 18 hours before roasting.

Before roasting, remove turkey from brine and rinse thoroughly under cold water. Pat dry. Discard brine.


IMPORTANT BRINE NOTE: I forgot to mention that when you brine your turkey, the drippings are quite salty. For this reason, it is VERY important that you use a no-sodium (or low-sodium) chicken broth when you make the turkey gravy. Also, I often will cut the drippings with the giblet water to decrease the saltiness.

IMPORTANT BRINE NOTE 2: Many frozen turkeys are injected with a sodium solution—it’s best NOT to brine these turkeys! Brining fresh turkeys is the way to go.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pecan Pie Recipe

Pecan Pie Recipe


PW’s Pecan Pie

1 unbaked pie crust
1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup melted butter (regular, salted)
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 heaping cup chopped pecans

Mix sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl. Pour chopped pecans in the bottom of the pie shell. Pour syrup mixture over the top. Bake pie at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, being careful not to burn pecans and crust.

Allow to cool for several hours or overnight. Serve in thin slivers.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Exotic Yogurt Muffins


2 six-ounce cartons Rachel’s Exotic Mango-Pineapple-Passion Fruit Yogurt
1 egg
½ cup canola oil
2/3 cups brown sugar
1 cup crushed canned pineapple

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda

1 six-ounce carton Rachel’s Exotic Mango-Pineapple-Passion Fruit Yogurt
2/3 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Butter/grease muffin pan.
Mix egg and 2 cartons yogurt in a mixing bowl. Add brown sugar, pineapple, and oil, and mix until combined.

Sift dry ingredients and add to wet mixture, stirring to combine. Do not overstir!

Fill 12 muffin cups with batter and bake for 15-18 minutes.

Prepare glaze by mixing yogurt and brown sugar. Drizzle over the top of warm muffins. Sprinkle generously with brown sugar.

Lotsa Love,


Friday, November 14, 2008

Blueberry Pound Cake with Delicious Dipping Sauce

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 6-ounce carton Rachel’s Vanilla Chai Yogurt
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup canola oil

Dipping Sauce
1 cup blueberries
4 tablespoons sugar
1 6-ounce carton Rachel’s Vanilla Chai Yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together 2 cartons yogurt, sugar, eggs and vanilla until just combined. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently stir in 1 cup blueberries. Do not overbeat.

Pour into a loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

While cake is cooling, dump 1 cup blueberries into a small saucepan. Add 4 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon water, and stir together. Over low heat, cook mixture until syrupy, about five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 carton yogurt.

Eat sliced cake with dipping sauce and a cup of coffee. Close your eyes and feel really, really happy. Repeat as needed.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pasta with Eggplant


Olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 medium eggplants
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
Fresh basil
1 1-lb package fusilli
salt & pepper
Parmesan Cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.
Slice eggplant into round slices. Sprinkle one side with salt and allow to stand or 15 minutes. Turn over and repeat. Rinse eggplant and pat dry.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and cook onion and garlic until starting to turn color, about 5 minutes.
Add eggplant, stirring gently. Cook for 8 minutes, or until somewhat tender.
Dump in canned tomatoes and reduce heat to simmer. Add salt and pepper and simmer until eggplant is tender. Toss in cooked pasta and chopped basil. Stir in 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
Garnish with shaved Parmesan.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Champagne Oranges

Champagne Oranges


Champagne Oranges
Serves 10-12

½ cup sugar
½ cup orange marmalade
Mix well and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves

8 large navel oranges. Cut peel from oranges, slice and quarter each, removing white center pith from each slice.

1 ½ cup champagne or sparkling white grape juice

Pour sugar / marmalade mixture and champagne or grape juice over sliced oranges. Refrigerate 8 hours.

Sprinkle with 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds before serving if desired. (If Wetsy isn’t having any!)


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Patsy’s Chicken Salad


Combine the following:
1 roasted chicken, deboned and cut or pulled into small bite-size chunks
1 – 1 ½ cups dried cranberries
½ - 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

½ cup plain yogurt
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise

Combine with chicken mixture, place in storage container and refrigerate.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Marinated Asparagus and Hearts of Palm


Serves 10 – 12

3 lbs. fresh asparagus
2 – 14.4 oz. hearts of palm, drained and cut into ½ inch slices
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

Steam asparagus till crisp tender. Cool and combine with hearts of palm and tomatoes.

Combine the following:
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup cider or white vinegar
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup soy sauce

Pour over asparagus mixture. Chill 8 hours.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Cucumber Sandwiches


1 medium cucumber
1 - 8 oz. softened cream cheese
½ teaspoon salt
2– 4 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 load very thinly sliced white bread

Peel cucumber and slice lengthwise. Remove seeds and discard. Slice then dice very finely. (You may want to use a food processor.)

Add cream cheese, salt and Tabasco to cucumbers.

Spread mayonnaise on each slice of bread. Spread cucumber mixture on half of bread slices up to, but not on, crusts. Top with other half of bread slices. With small round biscuit / cookie cutter cut into rounds, avoiding crusts. (I was able to cut 3-4 rounds out of each sandwich.) Place in single layer in container, place wax paper between layers, ending with a top layer of wax paper. Refrigerate. Garnish with parsley or watercress prior to serving.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Patsy’s Wild Rice Salad


Serves 8

½ teaspoon salt
1 cup wild rice (real wild rice; don’t use a mixture of wild/white)
1 – 6 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained & halved
1 – 6 ounce can peas, drained (I used early June peas)
1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Bring 2 cups water to boil and add salt and rice. Stir well, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 50 minutes.

Combine the cooked rice, artichoke hearts, peas, green pepper, tomatoes and ½ of the dressing. Toss well, cover and chill. Just before serving, toss again. Add more of the dressing if it seems dry. You may wish to sprinkle with toasted slivered almonds before serving.

Combine the following ingredients and shake well. Refrigerate.

1 1/3 cup canola oil
½ cup white vinegar
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon paprika


Friday, November 7, 2008

Delicious Baked Acorn Squash

Delicious Baked Acorn Squash

Acorn Squash
Kosher Salt
Brown Sugar
Pure Maple Syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Half each squash, then scrape out the seeds and stringy membranes.
Sprinkle each half with salt.
Add a generous tablespoon of butter to the center of each squash.
Add 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons brown sugar.
Drizzle squash with maple syrup.
Pour 2 cups water in the bottom of the baking pan.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 30-45 minutes, or until squash is golden brown. In the last 5 minutes of baking, turn on the broiler and allow tops to get a little more brown and the butter/sugar mixture to bubble.

Serve on a platter and share with Aunt Winifred.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

P.W.’s Homemade Chocolate Milk Mix for the Fridge

1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate pieces

Heat cream over medium-high heat until slightly boiling. Add chocolate pieces and turn off heat. Whisk slowly until chocolate is melted and mixture is very smooth. Pour into a container and keep in the fridge up to two weeks. Mix with cold or warm milk, depending on how frightful the weather outside is.

Note: Mixture, after refrigerated, will be quite thick. Just stir well in cold milk and you’ll be fine.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

PW’s Pumpkin Cake with Whiskey Whipped Cream

1 cup golden raisins
1 cup whiskey (optional)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 stick of softened butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/4 cup plain, unflavored yogurt
1 cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Spray 9 x 13 inch pan with baking spray. Combine whiskey and raisins in a bowl and allow to soak for awhile.
Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
Add butter to a mixing bowl and beat. Add sugar and beat. Add in eggs 1 at a time, beating after each egg.
Add yogurt and pumpkin and mix gently until just combined.
Add flour mixture in increments, beating until just combined.
Drain raisins and stir in by hand.
Pour batter into pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

When cake is cool, make Whiskey Whipped Cream:

1 cup heavy cream, very cold
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons whiskey

Combine ingredients and begin mixing immediately on high speed until stiff, about 4 minutes. Spoon over cooled cake.

Eat extra cream with a spoon, if desired. I won’t tell anyone.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

PW's Creamy Herbed Potatoes

4 to 5 russet potatoes
1 stick (1/4 pound) butter
1 medium onion, finely diced
8 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk (half & half works, too)
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped sage

Slice potatoes very thinly.
Add butter to a large skillet over medium low heat. When melted, add diced onion. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add cream cheese to the pan and stir to melt.
Pour in cream and milk, stirring to combine.
Season with plenty of salt and pepper, then add chopped herbs.
Place potatoes in a buttered baking dish. Pour contents of skillet over the top.
Top with Parmesan cheese and bake for 45 minutes, or until bubby and…bubby.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Pioneer Woman's Whiskey-Glazed Carrots

2 - 3 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into thick circles
1 stick (1/2 cup…1/4 lb) butter
1/2 cup Jack Daniels or other whiskey
3/4 to 1 cup brown sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper

Melt 1 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add carrots in two batches, cooking for 60 to 90 seconds each batch. Remove from skillet.
Pour in whiskey and allow to evaporate 30 seconds.
Reduce heat to medium, and add remaining butter.
When butter melts, sprinkle brown sugar over the top.
Stir together, then add carrots to skillet.
Cover, and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
Remove lid and add salt and pepper. Continue cooking until carrots are done and glaze is thick, about 5 more minutes.
Pour onto a platter and serve immediately. Sprinkle with chopped chives if desired.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

PW's Favorite Enchiladas

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 large (28-ounce) can enchilada or red sauce
2 cups chicken broth
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped Cilantro
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and flour and whisk together to make a past, cooking for 1 minute. Pour in other red sauce, chicken broth, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 to 45 minutes.

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 4-ounce cans diced green chilies
1/2 teaspoon salt

Brown meat with onions in a skillet. Drain off fat. Stir in 2 cans diced green chilies and seasoned salt. Set aside.

10 to 14 corn tortillas
½ cup canola oil

Heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. One by one, using tongs, fry tortillas oil until soft, not crisp—about 30 seconds per side. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat until all tortillas have been fried.

Sauce (above)
Meat (above)
Tortillas (above)
3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup chopped black olives
1 cup chopped green onions
½ cup chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour ½ cup red sauce in bottom of baking pan. Spread to even out.
Dip each tortilla into red sauce, then remove to work surface. Spoon meat, a little grated cheese, a little black olives, and green onions in the center of tortilla. Roll up and place, seam down, in baking pan. Repeat until pan is filled. Pour extra red sauce over enchiladas. Top with remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until bubble. Sprinkle chopped cilantro over enchiladas before serving.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Indian Grilled Chicken Marinated in Milk/yogurt

Chicken pieces (whatever kind your family eats)- must have the bone and skin still on.
Plain yogurt
2% Milk
Garam Masala spice
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Marinate chicken OVERNIGHT in a mixture of all ingredients.

Heat grill to around 300-400
Place chicken skin down on grill and bake for until internal temp is 140.
Flip chicken over and continue to bake until chicken has reached 165 F for at least 4 minutes.
Remove from grill and let it "rest" for at least 3 minutes.