Friday, November 25, 2011

Whiskey Glazed Carrots


From: This recipe is from The Pioneer Woman Cooks.

Ingredients:

1 stick Butter, Divided
2 pounds (to 3 Pounds) Carrots, Peeled And Cut Into Thick Circles
1/2 cup Jack Daniels Or Other Whiskey
3/4 cups (to 1 Cup) Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon (to 1 Teaspoon) Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste

How to: Just click here.

Turkey Gravy


From: I took this recipe of an imitation KFC gravy, omitted the pepper, went for it.  It was scrumptious!

Ingredients:

1 cup drippings
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup of chicken stock (or substitute water and chicken bullion)

How to: 

Combine all the ingredients in a small pot or skillet.  Whisk together until smooth.  Turn on medium high heat.  Whisk as it heats up and thickens.  Remove from heat just before it reaches the thickness you desire.  It will continue to thicken as it cools.

Sweet Potato Casserole



From: My great aunt Bobbie Carne (sister to my mother's mother) passed this recipe on and we've been cooking it for Thanksgiving as long as I can remember.  It's just not Thanksgiving without it.

Ingredients:  No amounts; just put in what you feel like, and then taste it. You can always add more of something.

sweet potatoes

brown sugar
honey
molasses
a pinch of salt
cinnamon
apple juice
butter
kosher marshmallows


How to: 

First cook the sweet potatoes.  My mom cooks them in the pressure cooker.  You could also boil them.  I poke lots of holes in them with a shish-ka-bob stick, cut off about half an inch of the pointy ends, put them in a microwave safe bowl, cover them, and microwave them.  Yes, I realize this is cheating and probably cooks any shred of healthiness out of them.  But it sure is easy.

Next, peel them.  Use an oven mit you don't mind getting dirty, or wait until they've cooled so you don't burn yourself.  Then add all the ingredients except the marshmallows.  Now mash, mash, mash, until they are as smooth as you desire.

Spread the potatoes into an oven-safe dish.  Sprinkle (or if you're my mom, layer) the marshmallows on top.  Warm thoroughly in the oven (about 350°F) so they melt a bit and get golden brown and crispy on top.  (The ones in this picture are not golden brown, nor are they crispy.  We were too impatient to eat them so I didn't bake them long enough.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Apple Jam



From: I put this recipe together using a few things from several online recipes that I found.  It took several tries to get it just right, but it's a great one!

Ingredients:

4 cups of FINELY chopped apples (no need to remove the peel)
1.5 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1 tbsp butter
1 box (1 3/4 oz) dry pectin OR 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed

How to:  

Measure apples in a measuring cup.  Now add in the same measuring cup water to fill up to the 4 cup line (with the apples in it).  Pour this into a large pot on high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat some and continue to boil for 5 to 10 minutes until the apples are cooked.  Use a potato masher to mash and stir.

Add lemon juice, spices and butter.  IF you are using pectin, add that at this time too.  If you are using arrowroot powder, do not.  Bring back to a boil (you may have never lost the boil).

Add sugars.  Bring back to a full rolling boil and stir constantly.

IF you are using arrowroot, remove the pot from heat and allow it to COMPLETELY COOL.  It must be cool enough for you to comfortably stick your finger into.  If you do not allow it to cool, the arrowroot will form small hard chunks in your otherwise liquid jam instead of helping the entire thing to gel.  Once it is comfortably cool, add the arrowroot powder and mix WELL.  Now put it back on medium high heat and bring to a boil.  It will start to thicken.

IF you are using pectin, continue boiling for one minute.

Now allow it to cool enough so that you can spoon the jam into jars, allowing 1/4 inch headspace in each jar.  Tightly screw on lids.

If you plan on storing your jam at room temperature, now it's time for the water bath.  If you plan on refrigerating the jam within 24 hours and/or eating it right away, you can skip the water bath.  Place the jars in a clean deep pot.  Add water up to the bottom of the lid of the jars, but so that it does not submerge them.  Place over high heat.  Bring to a high boil.  Boil for 10 to 15 minutes.  Using a jar grabber or thick rubber gloves, remove the jars from the boiling water and allow to cool at room temperature.  Once they've cooled, the jam inside will be even more thick and it's ready to store.

Congratulations!  You've just made home made jam.

Side Notes:  Pectin is more common, but more expensive.  If you are making several dozen jars of jam, this can be pricey, and arrowroot powder is the way to go.  If not, pectin might be your better choice.  Pectin can be found at Walmart near the canning supplies.  Arrowroot powder is a starchy powder and can be found at your local natural foods market (like Sunflower Market or Whole Foods) in the baking section.

This recipe makes approximately three or four 16-oz jars (depending on your choice of thickening agent) of jam.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Carne Arreglada


From: This is one of my husband's most frequently cooked and most loved meals.  Straight from Costa Rica and delicious!

Ingredients:

1 lb of cubed steak (the kind that's pounded flat)
Add the following spices to taste:
   salt
   pepper
   cumin
   oregano
   basil
   garlic powder
   onion powder
1 Tbsp soy sauce
pinch of curry
1 green pepper sliced into strips and seeds removed
1/2 onion cut into thin rings
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

How to: 

Cut the cubed steak into half-inch cubes.  Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet.  Saute the onions and pepper on medium heat until the onions are clear and the pepper loses its bright color and becomes a little transparent (fully cooked).  Push the pepper and onion to the sides of the pan and put the meat in the middle, spread out so it cooks well.  Add the rest of the ingredients to the top of the meat except for the soy sauce.  Use the soy sauce as liquid to keep everything moist.  Once the meat is cooked, remove from heat and allow to sit for five minutes before serving over Costa Rican white rice.