Saturday, November 29, 2008

Leftover Southwestern Turkey Hash

I am cursed with an ability to wake up at the crack of dawn no matter the day, today that time was 7:45 AM (late for me!). Getting up this early means I have plenty of time for breakfast on the weekends, today it gave me plenty of time to use some leftover turkey.

**Southwestern Turkey Hash**
1/2 C Diced Sweet Onion
6 Small Red Potatoes, sliced in thin rounds
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, Sliced
1 C Quartered Grape Tomatoes
2 C Turkey, I just run though and quick chop this
1/2 C Cilantro
1 Pickled Jalapeno, chopped
Cheddar Cheese to sprinkle over the top (about 1/2 C)
Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning to taste

(If you're not a big fan of hot, leave out the jalapeno and be sparing with the Cajun seasoning)

1. Heat large pan with oil in it (enough to cover the bottom of the pan) over medium high heat. Once skillet is hot, saute onion and potato until potato begins to brown around the edges, stir so that it browns on both sides. Season with Cajun seasoning.

2. Once potato is ready, drop turkey into skillet, saute about one minute. After a minute, drop in bell pepper.

3. Add chopped jalapeno and tomato, saute another two minutes. Turn off heat, sprinkle cheese and cilantro over top and serve!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Traditions...

Thanksgiving has always been about family for me, and with family comes food and football. This year was no exception. However, because my parents live out of the country and my Aunt and Uncle live in Florida we don't get to spend as many holidays together as we did when I was little. This year my father rented a beautiful house in Spicewood and we hosted Thanksgiving for my family, my Aunt, Uncle, Cousin and paternal grandparents.

Living Waters on Lake Travis - where we stayed is an amazing private residence located in Spicewood, Texas.

We had an amazing time and had a fantastic meal, which included my permutation of a favorite stuffing recipe.

**Three Bread Sage Stuffing**

12 Tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) sweet butter
2 1/2 cups finely chopped sweet onions
3 tart apples (I prefer Granny ), cored and chunked; do not peel
1 pound lightly seasoned bulk sausage
8 strips thick center cut bacon (cut into bite-sized pieces)
3 cups coarsely crumbled cornbread (homemade)
3 cups coarsely crumbled whole-wheat French bread
3 cups coarsely crumbled white bread (preferably French)
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage, salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 1/2 cups shelled pecan halves
2/3 cups roasted chestnuts
1 14 oz can chicken broth

1. Melt half of the butter in a skillet. Add chopped onions and cook over medium heat, partially covered, until tender and lightly colored, about 25 minutes. Transfer onions and butter to a large mixing bowl.
2. Melt remaining butter in the same skillet. Add apple chunks and cook over high heat until lightly colored but not mushy. Transfer apples and butter to the mixing bowl.
3. Crumble the sausage and put bacon into the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, until lightly browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer sausage and bacon to the mixing bowl and reserve the rendered fat.
4. Add remaining ingredients to the ingredients in the mixing bowl and combine gently. Cool completely before stuffing the bird; refrigerate if not used promptly.
5. If you do not wish actually to stuff the bird, spoon it into a casserole. Cover casserole and set into a large pan. Pour hot water around the casserole to come halfway up the side. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes at 325°F., basting occasionally with cooking juices from the bird or with the reserved bacon/sausage fat and chicken broth, if necessary. This makes a pleasantly moist stuffing but not overly wet.
Makes enough stuffing for a 20-pound turkey, to make 12 to 14 portions.

Now for the football: as a very proud UT grad the annual A&M/Texas game has larger implications in my family, not just the numbers for the football team but major bragging rights within the family. I am the second Longhorn in over a hundred years (yup that's right 100 years!) and have to fend for myself sometimes. This year was no exception as my Aunt Tory (a proud Aggie) and my cousin Sidney were rooting for that other team and my sister and I were assured of a Longhorn victory. Somewhere between the final pass through the left overs (we eat our Thanksgiving meal at lunch) and the late night snacking Texas beat A&M in a pretty big way and the rivalry (in our house) was settled for the year. Now, if only this whole cluster of the Big 12 South champion gets settled we'd be on our way!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Osso the Crockpot

Tonight my parents came home and since I had lots of errands to run and things to do around the house before their arrival I wanted a dinner I could throw into the crockpot -- something warm and wholesome. Thus was born my version of a crockpot Osso Buco:

*1 Large onion sliced into thin wedges
*3 Large carrots, sliced
*4 Stalks celery, sliced
*4 Cloves of garlic, sliced
*4 Beef shanks (3-4 lbs)
*1 1/2 TBSP Herbs d'Provence
*2 Tsp Salt
*2 Tsp Black Pepper
*1 C Beef Broth
*1 TBSP Beef Bullion
*1 8 oz can Tomato puree
*1 C Dry White Wine
*1/8 C flour
*1 small clove garlic, minced
*Zest of 1 large lemon
*Juice of 1/2 large lemon
*1/2 C chopped parsley

1. Coat crockpot with cooking spray. Place salt, pepper, beef bullion, tomato puree in crockpot with wine and beef broth, mix well. Season beef shanks with salt and pepper - brown on the stove. After both sides have browned, add meat and veggies to crockpot. Cover, cook on LOW 7-8 hours or on HIGH 4-5 hours, or until tender.
2. Transfer shanks and veggies to serving platter; cover with foil to keep warm. Turn crockpot to HIGH, mix flower with a few TBSP of water and mix until smooth. Stir liquid into cooking liquid to create sauce. Cover; cook on HIGH 15 minutes or until thickened.
3. Serve sauce over shanks and vegetables. Combine parsley, minced garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice. Sprinkle parsley combination over shanks.

This is excellent with a crusty bread.

Sunday Morning Breakfast

I love breakfast, and I love Sunday morning -- one day of the week that you can take to enjoy reading the paper, watching the news, eating a big breakfast (something that involves cooking, not just a grab and go kind of thing), and reveling in the beauties of Saturday College Football - or the results of it at least. I stayed up last night to watch the OU v. Texas Tech game, being the staunch UT fan that I am I wanted to see Tech lose -- better for us, sorry Tech! And I was not disappointed, OU played at the top of their game and unfortunately Tech looked like they weren't in the same game.

So this morning, along with enjoying the recaps and highlights the Austin American Statesman has in the Sports section, I made a sugary sweet version of french toast and my favorite accoutrement, bacon!

*2 large eggs, well beaten or use egg substitutes
*2/3 cup sugar
*1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
*sliced bread - Left Over French Bread is my bread of choice
*butter-flavored cooking spray or oil

Beat together the eggs,sugar,and vanilla extract. Dip each slice of bread into the batter to coat both sides. Drain off excess batter and cook on a hot griddle that has been first sprayed with nonstick butter flavor spray (or brushed with oil). Brown well on both sides,but don't let burn.
Some people add powdered sugar and syrup to French toast but this recipe is so sweet I don’t think it’s needed at all. the number of servings will also vary depending upon the size of your bread slices- I usually serve 2-3 slices per person.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My first blog post...

So I'm new to this whole blogging thing, but after flirting with it on a site with a mini-blog type feature ( I thought it might be fun. It's the weekend before Thanksgiving and my family is on their way here tomorrow, today though I'm catching up on my TV and being lazy. I'm a Top Chef addict and until today only had the first two episodes of this season on my DVR -- I've been watching and am not really sure what I think of this season yet. Sending two people home on the first episode was a bit harsh in my opinion, but hey, this is my only forray into reality TV watching so maybe that's what these shows have to do to "step it up" each season. Anyway, watching Top Chef made me want to get in the kitchen and cook but since it's 2PM it's not really meal time -- instead I went for the snack foods. I love caramel popcorn and have morphed a few recipes I've tried into my own version, here it is:

1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 quarts popped popcorn
1 cup roasted peanuts

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place popcorn in baking dishes (I split this between two dishes) and mix in 1/2 cup peanuts in each dish.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
Place in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before breaking into pieces.
It's hard not to pull this out of the oven and eat it straight from the pan, but I warn you, it BURNS! Make sure to let this cool so that your tounge remains intact. Maybe this isn't Top Chef but it still tastes good.