Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Guess what I got for Christmas!


Plus I got the meat grinder you know what that means???

It means I will no longer be subject to the shortage of Italian Sausage in Honduras (we've found it once in the 9 months we've been here) because I can make my own! Again - Woohoo!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lingerie Shower Bra and Panty Cookies

How fun are these!?!?

We threw a surprise lingerie shower for my sister who got married this weekend so I made these cute cookies! They really are so easy - you just use heart cookie cutters. I used two different sizes because in our family, the butt is bigger than the boobs (proportionally speaking). For the boobs I cut off the pointy end of the heart (the first batch I cut it off after baking - the rest I cut off before baking and it worked out much better.

For these I used Bridget at Bake at 350's recipe for the cookies and royal icing. I just recently discovered her website and I'm already in love. Her directions for royal icing are so easy to follow there's no way it can't come out right if you follow her directions.

I can't wait to make these again!

Snowflake Cookies

I love that Christmas gives you an excuse to bake! I made these cookies for a Christmas party that one of husband's bosses had a couple weeks ago. They were a big hit!

Please ignore the ugly ones...I do not claim to be talented in an artistic way...

I used Alton Brown's recipe for Sugar Cookies and Martha Stewart's recipe for Royal Icing.

I think they turned out OK for a first try...I made other cookies while I was visiting Texas for my sister's wedding - I'll post those soon with links to the recipes...I think they turned out better looking - I used different recipes and the consistency of the icing was easier to work with.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Dad's Turkey Gravy

This was a huge hit at our Thanksgiving dinner - and I am so thankful that we have tons of leftovers!

You have to start out really early by making the Giblet Broth (I know the giblets freak some people out but trust me - it's fantastic when you do it this way).

Giblet Broth

Giblets from Turkey
1 c. Carrot
1 c. Celery
1-1/2 c. Onion
30-40 peppercorns

Put everything in a bot and cover with water (~8 c.)
Simmer all day
When broth is ready, strain through mesh strainer.
Discard gizzard, and dice liver and soft parts of kidneys.

Dad's Turkey Gravy

Giblet Broth
Turkey Drippings
Diced Giblets (if desired)
12-14 T. Oil (get oil on top of giblet broth and turkey drippings)
12-14 T. Flour
1/2 c. White Wine
4 oz. Heavy Cream
Salt and Pepper

Begin by making roux.
Heat 12-14 T. oil in pan.
Add flour until mixture reaches paste consistency.
Heat until just starting to brown then set aside.

Combine giblet broth and turkey drippings to get 7-8 c. total liquid (if you need more, just add some chicken broth).
Bring to a boil.
Add half of the roux, whisking strongly.
Add more roux until desired thickness is achieved.
Add white wine and heavy cream.
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Add diced giblets at end if desired.

My Mom's Stuffing

Probably my favorite part of Thanksgiving is the's so moist and flavorful.

My Mom's Stuffing

3/4 c. Minced Onion
1-1/2 c. Chopped Celery
1 c. Butter
9 c. Soft Bread Cubes (I used regular wheat sandwich bread)
2 t. Salt
1-1/2 t. Crushed Sage Leaves (I used ground sage because that's what I could find)
1 t. Dried Thyme Leaves
1/2 t. Black Pepper

Saute onion and celery in butter until tender.
Stir in about 1/3 of bread cubes.
Turn into deep bowl.
Add remaining ingredients and toss.
Stuff turkey or put in buttered casserole just before roasting.

Before stuffing in Turkey

Stuffed Turkey

Fabulous Finished Stuffing

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know Thanksgiving is over but between the cooking, eating and enjoying time with our friends, I didn't have a chance to post about my Thanksgiving cooking! Get ready for some awesome Thankgiving recipes! I'll be posting them each in separate posts so they're easier to find later.

We spent Thanksgiving with many of our friends and everyone contributed to the meal making it absolutely fabulous!

Half of our spread

Husband carving the Turkey

Trevor and Raj hanging out before dinner

Christie making Mashed Potatoes

Hanging out outside after dinner

Rock Band after Dessert

Saturday, November 20, 2010


So...for Thanksgiving I will be making...

Stuffing (my mom's recipe)
Gravy (my dad's recipe)
Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows (classic)
Macaroni and Cheese (Pioneer Woman recipe)
Pecan Pie (Pioneer Woman recipe)
Vanilla Ice Cream (in my ice cream maker)

Husband is going to make...

Deviled Eggs (his mom's recipe)
Dressing (his mom's recipe)
and maybe...Green Bean Casserole

So excited for our first Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The family that cooks together....

Eats really good food...

When my husband and I first started dating, my idea of cooking was Hamburger Helper. It was kind of pathetic. For most of our relationship, I have been the one to chop the veggies and meat while he actually did all the cooking.

Now, I do most of the cooking, but on occasion, we work together to make something new and fun.

Thursday was a holiday so we got to go shopping together to buy for our meal that night. We had been planning for a while to make Behari Kabobs. Husband had them at a restaurant in Houston one time and so when we saw a mix at one of the Indo/Pak grocery stores we like in Dallas, of course we had to buy it. I had purchased a Papaya at the outdoor market the week before, so all we really needed was beef.

You begin by browning onions until crisp...and they mean crisp! After they are crisp you crush them so  you have basically onion flakes.

After the onions are browned and crushed, you'll need to cut open your papaya and get 6 tablespoons of mashed papaya. I just scooped out 6 tablespoons of papaya and mashed it with a fork...worked perfectly!

Then put all the ingredients - onions, papaya, and spice mix - into a bowl and mix together then add the meat and let marinade in your fridge for 2-3 hours.

Sorry the picture is a bit blurry. So after that put the meat on skewers and cook it on a *charcoal* grill (charcoal is really the only kind of grill we condone in our house...gas grilling just doesn't provide the same flavor).

Looks yummy already right? Cook to your desired done-ness...ours got a little over-done b/c we were waiting on rice and didn't want the meat to get cold.

We forgot to take a picture of the plate until we were already eating. Sorry! (But only sort of - I was glad to be eating already). We ate it with Jasmine rice and some diced fresh tomato and cilantro. The flavors complimented the kabobs perfectly.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What had happened was...

See...the thing's just...okay...I'm sorry...really there is no excuse...I have cooked since my last post - though not fried pickles - I just haven't taken the time to write (or take pictures of the things I've made)...but if it makes you feel any better, I was on vacation for two weeks in the middle of last month.

So...the pickles...oh the pickles...the pickles will have to's very sad...but we have a formal event to go to in November...and so we are on a 'healthier eating' kick until then.

Anyways...until I actually get back on the ball and show you what I'm cooking (maybe I will tonight...Ahi Tuna steaks anyone?)...I'd like to ask a questions of all (4) of you...

What are you making for Thanksgiving this year? (Or if you aren't cooking, what do you consider a staple - other than turkey of course!) This year is my first Thanksgiving as a married woman and even though we aren't hosting, there will be plenty of cooking to do to share with other people.

Looking forward to your responses!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Secret Love

Before I let the cat out of the bag on my secret love, I wanted to share with you all my new toy that FINALLY arrived yesterday (it seems like the things you really want to arrive always take the longest to get here).

Cuisinart® Chef’s Classic™ Enameled Cast Iron 7 Qt. Round Casserole

I'm very excited...I tried to convince Husband to buy me a (much) more expensive Le Creuset one, but since I'm really just starting with this cooking thing...he was probably smart to buy me this one...I'm very happy and look forward to trying new recipes in it! far as my secret love goes...there is this restaurant near my parents house called Burger Island...I would always go there and order only one thing...and they knew exactly what I wanted every time I went...

Fried Pickles!

Let me be clear...fried pickle spears...not the chips...the chips are okay...but the spears are heaven. If you've never had a fried pickle spear...I suggest you find out immediately the closest place to you that serves them and go now!

So...after getting inspired by a recipe for fried mozzarella sticks that uses panko bread crumbs as the breading, I made the decision that it is time to reunite with my secret love and attempt to make them on my own.

Expect to be reading about them soon...I'm adding pickles and panko (and ranch dressing for dipping) to my grocery list :)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Dad's French Onion Soup

I am going to start by asking your forgiveness...I really intended to take a picture of all the ingredients and all the steps when I made this...and I didn't...So, I'm sorry...please forgive me...

Growing up, we always had "traditional" meals...things we ate at least once a year for whatever occasion. My dad made French Onion Soup at the holidays...either Christmas Eve or New Years Eve. I love soup...and will not be limited by special, I asked my dad for his French Onion Soup recipe...of course then when I went to go look for Sherry or Madeira wine, I couldn't find them, so it got put on hold. I finally found Sherry at the "American" grocery store (I had checked 3 times already, I promise), Mas X Menos - that was a good day!

So, I started with the croutons...The bread here is good, but it doesn't last long, so I bought it the day of. My finished croutons - this is from one loaf (bagette). Make as many as you need...this worked out to be the right number for how I served the soup. 

Then, of course the onions...apparently my skillet isn't big enough so I actually had to brown the onions in three batches.

Then the beef broth...Dad says to use "good beef broth"...I figure Campbell's is, it's what I could find...not a ton of choices here. When I started browning the final batch of onions, I put the beef broth on to boil...timing worked out almost perfectly.'s where I forgot to take pictures of actually adding the onions, the Sherry and the White Pepper to the broth...but I'm sure you can use your imagination...The soup simmered for about an hour...then I turned it down to low to just keep it warm until we were ready to eat. Does it look yummy yet?

And again...I forgot to take a picture of the actual serving...If I make leftovers, I'll take a picture and post it later (maybe...if I remember). But it's pretty simple to do...and the last ingredient is Gruyere cheese...a lot of people will use something else...but trust me - Gruyere is perfect with it...

Here's the recipe...

My Dad's French Onion Soup

12 c. good beef broth
6-8 large onions - cut in rings
1-1/2 sticks butter - clarified
2 c. Madeira wine or Sherry
1 tsp. white pepper
French Bread
Gruyere Cheese

To make Croutons - 
Cut French Bread 1-1/2 inches thick. Bake on cookie sheet at 350 degF until dry (about 45 minutes)

For Soup - 
Sauté onions in clarified butter on medium to medium high heat until really brown.
Boil beef broth in stock pot.
Add onions to broth.
Add wine and white pepper. Salt to taste.
Simmer approximately 45 minutes.

To Serve - 
Fill oven safe bowl with soup. Place crouton on top and cover with Gruyere Cheese. 
Place under broiler for 6-7 minutes, or until cheese begins to brown.
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Chocolate Truffles with Sea Salt

This wonderful awesome treat comes from Pioneer Woman (click for the recipe). So simple to do - though expect your hands to get a little dirty. I made a few substitutions on the type of chocolate because of what I could find here...but it came out nice and dark and yummy! They were a big hit with husband and our friends - though husband wasn't crazy about the salt - he's not a salt person. You could always leave it off or substitute something else - we talked about trying to find white chocolate and drizzling a little white chocolate on top instead.

This is what you need...

And this is my final product...They aren't perfect looking...but let's be honest, who wants perfect?

These will likely be an addition to my holiday baking...though nothing can beat the caramels...Maybe I can figure out caramel truffles???
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