Saturday, November 22, 2008

Taco, Burrito, what's hanging out of your speedo?

My title is from a SNL cheerleader skit. I couldn't find it on Youtube, but I did find this:



My food pictures are always pretty crappy, but they've been especially crappy lately because I am so hungry by the time the food is ready! You know what happens to Professor Lupin in Harry Potter 3 when he sees the moon near the Whomping Willow? Well, that's pretty much how I get when it's time for me to eat again. (And yeah, I know I sound like a Harry Potter nerd, but at least I don't shout out "Expecto Patronum" in my sleep like my sister Julia.)

I got these recipes from my Dad who got them from the Pioneer Woman.

It's actually a recipe for cowboy nachos, but instead of serving them as an appetizer I used flour tortillas and served them up as tacos. Yummy.

Cowboy Breakfast Sandwich

I have a new culinary obsession. I've had this breakfast sandwich for lunch or dinner three times this week. (Ironically not once for breakfast.) Occasionally I find a recipe that I love so much that it trumps all my other cravings and any time I'm hungry it's all I can think about. Most recent example being the chocolate peanut butter cake I've mentioned now four times on this blog. I was actually angry with Bobby for about 3 hours last week for eating nearly the rest of the cake and leaving me with only the most measly, teeny-weeny slice.

This is my "Nobody better mess with me or my cake" face.

The mayo and the jalapenos are what make this breakfast sandwich special. I load mine with so many jalapenos that by the end I'm practically breathing fire, but it's so worth it.

Here's the link- wouldn't change a thing.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday Dinner with the Schrant's

I love when Sunday dinner turns out well. I've found that I have certain criteria for what makes a good Sunday meal. I want it to be very traditional, but still sophisticated. I don't want anything too unusual, and I want it to taste amazing. We invited Ben and Laci Schrant over and I told Bobby if they asked if they could bring anything that some kind of bread or a green salad would be great, but they didn't have to bring anything if they didn't want to. They showed up at our door with both! And both were delicious. Thanks guys!

I had been using this recipe for roast chicken for years and finally stopped because I just thought the chicken tasted kind of greasy. On Saturday I realized maybe it's because of all the butter I smear all over it? Hmmm... it only took me three or four years to figure that one out. Yikes. So I went online to find another recipe and came up with this:

Roast Chicken with Lemon, Garlic and Thyme

One 2- to 3-pound farm-raised chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
one bunch fresh thyme
1 head garlic
1/2 lemon, cut into quarters

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Salt and pepper the cavity and stuff it with the head of garlic cut in half crosswise, the lemon quarters, and the bunch of time. Truss the bird. Trussing is not difficult, and if you roast chicken often, it's a good technique to feel comfortable with. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.

Now, salt the chicken—I like to rain the salt over the bird so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). When it's cooked, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin. Season to taste with pepper.

Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. I leave it alone—I don't baste it, I don't add butter; you can if you wish, but I feel this creates steam, which I don't want. Roast it until it's done, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove it from the oven and add the thyme, if using, to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.



Gravy:

I haven't made gravy much. I think it's because I am too hungry by the time I have the drippings I need to make it to go to the trouble of making it. But I made it this time and I LOVED it. The point is I'm no expert. But here's what I did:

I don't have a roasting pan so I took the drippings and poured all but two Tbs or so into a saucepan. I added about 1 cup of water and put the pot over medium heat. Then I took 1 tablespoon of flour and mixed it quickly with the reserved drippings. Then I added this mixture to the pot and mixed it until it got thick. Once thickened I pushed it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and as for the result- I can't speak for anyone else, but I sure liked it!

The other new recipe I tried was Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie from the Smitten Kitchen. Only change I would make is the pie needs to cook for longer than the recipe says. And I would use a higher temperature. I've made this pie twice now and I still don't know exactly what to tell you time-wise so just keep an eye on it. I did make some changes in bold down at the end of the recipe, but I can't vouch for them. I do know that following the original recipe's directions will result in a very under-done pie filling.



Aaahhh!!! This pie is heavenly. Which is why I put a halo around it.

Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

A half-recipe of your favorite pie crust, chilled (here's a link to the one I love: Ina's pie crust.)

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk (I used 2 cups of half and half instead of one cup each of cream and milk)
3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup drained candied yams from 15-ounce can (regular canned yams can be substituted)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (or 1 1/4 tsp ginger)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon table salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Roll out dough on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to make 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang all around pie plate.

Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Using thumb and forefinger, flute edge of dough. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.

Remove pan from refrigerator, line crust with foil and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake on rimmed baking sheet 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights, rotate plate. Bake 5 to 10 more minutes until crust is golden brown and crisp. Remove plate and baking sheet from oven.

Make the filling: While pie shell is baking, whisk cream, milk, eggs, yolks and vanilla together in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in large heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring to sputtering simmer over medium heat, 5 to 7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat. Whisk in cream mixture until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl, using back of ladle or spatula to press solids through strainer. Re-whisk mixture and transfer to warm pre-baked pie shell. Return pie plate with baking sheet to oven and bake pie for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Continue baking until edges are set (instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 175 degrees), 45-60 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature, 2 to 3 hours. (The pie finishes cooking with resident heat; to ensure the filling sets, cool it at room temperature and not in the refrigerator.)



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You're welcome.

You guys are going to love me so much. This is a present for those of you who grew up going to Disneyland like I did. For those of you who had passes in high school and when the lines were too long, you could always count on finding a seat on Pirates of the Carribbean, the Haunted Mansion, or in the Captain EO theater. I really hope Mary sees this especially, because she's the one I watched this with the most often.

I was so sad when they shut down the Captain EO theater and replaced it with, "Honey I shrunk the audience" or some crap like that. Now I can watch it on Youtube whenever I want, though. Without the 3D glasses of course. I was so excited and asked Bobby to watch it with me. I think he's sad he'll never get those 16 minutes back. Here's a link to part one if you're interested.









Thanks Dad for sending me this photo!! Here we are about to enjoy some Captain EO.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

This picture was taken almost a year ago by my sister-in-law Jen. This is how Franny looks when she's pretending to be sick.

Friday morning at 5:45 Miss Franny walks into my room and says cheerfully, "Good morning, Mom!"

I manage a "good morning, sweetheart" in reply and ask her if she'd like to watch cartoons until Mommy's ready to face the day. Happily she runs off into the family room to get cozy on the couch with a blanket with some Disney channel entertainment. She usually isn't up quite this early, but a little early morning TV-watching is pretty normal in this house.

Around 7:15, I emerge from my room and nudge both girls (Sophie has joined Franny on the couch) for some cereal. They eat breakfast and everything about this day so far is fairly normal, aside from getting up 1/2 an hour too early. So I'm surprised when at 7:30 we start heading to the girls' room to get dressed and Franny tells me she is cold and wants to go to sleep. First I tell her we can get her warm school clothes on. She replies that she wants to get in bed. This reminds me of something that happened earlier in the week. We were babysitting our little friend Jack and he felt really cold and wrapped himself up in a blanket. A few hours later, he was sick with a fever. So even though everything seemed to appear normal with Franny, I decided to listen to what she was saying and let her get back into bed. Sure enough, a few hours later, she was running a fever.

I can't tell you how cool it is that she was able to tell me she was sick! Ha ha! Isn't it funny the things we celebrate with our kids? But this was a major breakthrough. I mean, there have been several times when I've sent her to school only to get a call a few hours later: "Mrs. Fields, Franny's been acting really tired all day. Her face is flushed. I think you better come pick her up." It feels like such a triumph to have her just tell me, "Mom? I'm cold. I want to go to bed." I'm so proud of her.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Homemade Brownies

Brownies
Outrageous Brownies
I love these. Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

Ingredients

  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1 cup for batter and 1/4 cup in the chips and nuts)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound chocolate chips (just the 1 lb., save the 12 oz. for later), and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Do not over-bake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares.


(I actually cut this whole recipe in half. Also, it is really important that you wait until the brownie batter is at room temperature before you add the chocolate chips.)

Fresh Cut Quilt

My quilt is finished! Read more about it here.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fish Tacos with Lime Mayonnaise

I mentioned in this post that I wanted to try this mayonnaise on fish tacos. It was so good. It tasted better than I ever dreamed it could! I made the avocado salsa and served them with the lime mayo and cilantro on flour tortillas. I can't wait to make them again! (Another plus- this recipe is dairy-free and could easily be made gluten free by subbing rice flour and corn tortillas.)

BATTER FOR FRYING FISH

2 c. self-rising flour
8 tbsp. cold water or more, if needed
4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. oil
2 egg whites and 2 egg yolks
1 or more lbs. filleted fish
oil for frying

Soak fish for 25 minutes in salted water. Whisk 2 egg yolks and stir in flour, cold water, salt and oil. Mix all together. Beat 2 egg whites until stiff, fold into flour mixture. First dip fish into flour, then into batter, then into flour again and into batter again. Fry in oil until golden brown.

Halloween 2008


We had a great time on Halloween. We asked our neighbor and her four daughters to come over, as well as Sara, Max, and Ruby. Our friend Morgan Yost happened to be in town so he came over as well. We had our traditional chili and cornbread and this cake that I can't stop raving about. After fighting with Sophie the night before at the trunk-or-treat because she was so unhappy about having to put her candy inside the bag instead of holding it ALL in her hands, I assumed our neighborhood trick-or-treat would follow a similar trend. I was pleasantly surprised however to see her running just as fast as her sister and the older girls to each of the houses. Everytime she got a new piece of candy, she'd stop and open up her little purse and put the candy inside, and then take off running again. She insisted on running the whole time. I've never seen that kid run so fast. I was laughing the whole time.

I've attached some video. Sorry it's a little dark, but I think it lends to the spookiness. :)
video
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