The Chew-ish Sausage Biscuits and Gravy

The other week we were watching The Chew and saw a recipe Michael Symon demonstrated that piqued our interest. It was a challenge for me, because I’m not a big gravy person. The Andouille Sausage Gravy with Corn Biscuits recipe was something I wanted to attempt but make my own. On the show, the gravy looked too loose for my taste, so I wanted to make sure I modified the recipe to be what I wanted. I also don’t like corn meal biscuits, so I just bought some pre-made biscuits to just work on the gravy.

corn-biscuits-with-andouille-gravy_recipe_1000x400_1412832230839

The gravy was pretty simple, but I modified the recipe slightly. I don’t like spicy sausage, so I used a simple mild sausage without the casing. I also cut the amount of chicken stock I used because I knew it would thin the gravy too much for my taste. So, below is my version of this recipe.

 

Sausage Gravy

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup Onion (minced)
1 pound Mild Sausage (casing removed)
2 1/2 tablespoons Flour
1 cup Low Sodium Chicken Stock
3/4 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 tablespoon dried Parsley
Salt

Place a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add a drizzle of Olive Oil and the Mild Sausage. Cook the Sausage, breaking it up into small bits as it browns. Cook Sausage until well browned, about 8 minutes. Add the Onion and a pinch of Salt. Cook until the Onions start to break down and become translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the Flour, stir to combine and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the Chicken Stock, and Cream. Simmer for 15 minutes or up to 45 minutes on low heat. The Gravy will thicken and reduce slightly.

To serve, slice the Biscuits in half. Spoon the Gravy over the Biscuits and garnish with Parsley

IMG_3783

 

I have to say, I don’t like gravy really and making it from scratch has always been somewhat intimidating to me. I’ve seen my great grandmother and grandmother make gravy so easily, but have never really tried it myself. In culinary school, I learned the concept and how to actually put those skills into practice, but I have never tried it fully on my own. This recipe was actually quite tasty and I would recommend it to anyone who likes sausage gravy and biscuits.

If you want to see the whole recipe from the show, including the biscuits, feel free to check it out here: Michael Symon’s Corn Biscuits and Andouille Gravy Recipe

Advertisements

Tomato Soup | Tasty Tuesday

9.16.14

Fall is here and my favorite comfort food is in demand with the chilly temperatures, Soup! I love a warm soup, no matter the season. They are simple, warm, and are served in one dish. But with the harvest of tomatoes I had enough to make a small batch of tomato soup with the tomatoes I had left over from my tomato sauce.

IMG_3560

I love tomato soup! It’s creamy and rich, and full of flavor. You can make your tomato soup with whatever flavors you like. You can be bold and add spices to punch up the flavor, or keep it simple with a few herbs and cream. The process is pretty simple really.

IMG_3599

 

Garden Tomato Soup

  • 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 2 small onion, diced
  • 4 whole cloves or 1 tsp ground
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp dried basil, or 1 tsp of fresh basil finely chopped
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream

In a stockpot, over medium heat, combine the tomatoes, onion, cloves, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and gently boil for about 20 minutes to blend all of the flavors. Remove from heat and blend in a blender in batches. You can use a food mill if you have one, and just run the mixture through the mill into a bowl. Discard any stuff left over in the food mill.

IMG_3596

In the stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux, cooking until the roux is medium brown. Gradually whisk in the tomato mixture, so that no lumps form, then stir in the rest. Season with sugar and salt, and adjust to taste. 

IMG_3597

Temper the whipping cream by adding a little of the hot soup to the cream, and whisk together. This helps the cream reach the same temperature as the soup, and prevents it from curdling in the soup. Adding the cream finishes the soup and makes it creamy, also adding a little flavor.

Use the harvest of garden vegetables from the summer to make your fall soups, or use them as starters to add to some early fall vegetables for more complex soups and stews. Whatever you choose, love your fresh foods and enjoy the season.

Renewal Sunday | Extracting Flavor

7.13.14

I have shared my recipe for making vanilla extract before, but many don’t know there are many things that can be used to make extracts. There are so many flavors that can be used and extracted, but I found this recipe for one using lavender.

lavender fields

Lavender is a very hearty plant, and can grow in most regions. The properties of lavender are calming and soothing. That’s why it works well in teas and herbs. Lavender is something many see in open fields or bouquets and centerpieces. But lavender actually has some great uses in the kitchen. Many teas and rubs include lavender as a spice. There are other unique ways to use lavender, such as sugar and pepper. There are a few different types of lavender, but the most common is English and French lavender, but you may not know there are only a few varieties that you can cook with. The most common culinary versions are munstead, white ice, and hidcote. Whatever you prefer, however adventurous you are, this recipe may help you take your food venturing a little further.

lavendar extracts

Making extracts are simple. It’s a basic equal parts sugar and water, with a little of whatever flavors you want to add towards the end. This recipe is for lavender, and any other essences you want to try. Be adventurous with your options, but be conservative with the flavors until you know the exact results.

Makes one 1/2 liter bottle

  • 3vanilla pods or 3 handfuls of dried lavender
  • 2cups vodka
  1. Add the vanilla or dried lavender to a clean 1/2 liter bottle or jar, then add the vodka.
  2. Mix the bottle by inverting it a couple of times.
  3. Seal the bottle or jar and keep in a cool place for 1 to 2 months.
  4. Use your homemade extracts in all of your baking endeavors.

I would say to find some smaller jars from a home goods store to store your extracts. It makes things easy to store and just makes things pretty.

Adding lavender to any recipe will enhance the flavor. Be adventurous and enjoy the flavors of nature.

 

Tasty Tuesday | Twisted Fish (Sort of)

5.20.14

I love fish, but sometimes it can be a bit bland just baking it. So I decided to kick up the meal a bit by making a menu of Parmesan Tilapia, Sauteéd Green Beans, and Roasted Golden Potatoes.

Don’t get me wrong, baked fish is good, but pan fried Italian tilapia just has so much more flavor to a light fish.

IMG_3062

I decided since I was adding a flavorful fish, why not make the sides just as flavorful. So I decided to use my culinary degree skills and add some sautéed fresh green beans and oven roasted golden potatoes.

Since I’m not really big on following recipes to the letter as law, I’ll simply say this about the individual menu items:

IMG_3061

Italian Tilapia

2 fillets
Season with salt and pepper, or preferred seasonings
Plate of Italian breadcrumbs
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup of vegetable oil

Mix the breadcrumbs, cornstarch, and parmesan on a large platter, mix with fork. Place the seasoned fish fillets in the breadcrumb mixture, cover and pat both sides. Place gently into a pan of hot oil. I used my cast iron skillet to fry these in. Let the fish cook fully on both sides, generally about 5 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the fillets.

IMG_3072

Sautéed Green Beans

2 cups of fresh green beans
1 half of white onion, sliced
2 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a stainless steel pan and melt the butter. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the beans and turn heat down to medium. Sauté beans until soft, but not mushy. You can add a tablespoon of water if your beans start to stick or your pan gets too hot. This will help to soften the beans.

IMG_3068

Roasted Golden Potatoes

3 medium size golden potatoes
Herbs de Provènce
Vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven at 400°F. Cut the potatoes into small cubes. Season to your preference and coat with oil. A trick I learned in culinary school when cooking potatoes in the oven. Take the pan you will be using, coat with oil and put in the oven while its preheating. While you prepare the potatoes to cook, heating the pan will heat the oil, and when you add the potatoes to the pan it will sizzle. What that does is essentially quick fry the outside of the potatoes, and will give the potatoes a nice crisp on the outside. Cook for about 15 minutes. Remove and sprinkle a little kosher salt on top. Potatoes need a lot of seasoning.

Well, here was the final product:

IMG_3078

Tasty Tuesday | Mother’s Day Brunch Recipes

5.6.14

Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Though it would be great to take your mom out to eat, but to avoid all the fuss and crowds try some of these tasty recipes for a brunch with mom.


MEYER LEMON CREPE CAKE

Meyer Lemon Crepe  Cake

 

Citrus Salad With Tarragon

Citrus Salad with Tarragon

 

Frittata-kale and artichoke

Kale and Artichoke Frittata

 

mini bacon and egg tarts

Mini Bacon and Egg Tarts

 

baked french toast

Baked French Toast

 

strawberry_kiwi_parfait

Strawberry, Kiwi, and Basil Parfaits

 

strawberry mango yogurt smoothie

Strawberry Mango Yogurt Smoothie

 

strawberry and asparagus salad

 

Warm Strawberry Spring Salad

 

Parmesan-Baked-Eggsjpg

Parmesan Herb Baked Eggs

 

Don’t fight the crowds, spend time with your mom in and enjoy each other’s company. Happy Mother’s Day!

Mad Monday | Cinco de MET

5.5.14

Well there’s so much going on today. Today marks Cinco de Mayo, a day of independence of sorts for the Latino community. Today is also the night of the famed and fashionable MET Ball.

fiesta

The Met Gala started back in 1971, and the themes have always been intriguing. This year’s theme is Beyond Fashion, and I’m interested to see how the stars interpret this theme tonight.

Cher and Bob Mackie at 1974 Met Gala
Cher and Bob Mackie at 1974 Met Gala

Here is a taste of the stars at Met Galas past:

Today is also Cinco de Mayo, the day that many Mexican-Americans celebrate the battle of freedom and democracy. What better way to celebrate than food and drink.

Ultimate Margarita
Ultimate Margarita

The Ultimate Margarita

1/4 cup fresh lime juice, about 1 large lime
1/4 cup silver 100 percent agave tequila
1/4 cup orange liqueur
1/2 cup coarsely cracked ice cube

Refrigerate the glasses if desired. In a shaker, combine the lime juice, tequila, and orange liqueur. Add ice and shake 10 to 15 seconds, then strain into the prepared glasses.

You can use salt or sugar on the rim, but I prefer mine plain with just a lime to garnish.

For those of you who want to try something a little more adventurous, try jello shots. Not just any jello shot, flavored cocktail jello shots. I’ve featured these before from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen.

Cucumber-Lime Margarita Jelly Shot
Cucumber-Lime Margarita Jelly Shot

Cucumber-Lime Margarita Jelly Shot

Difficulty:  Easy
Recommended Pan:  1-pound loaf pan (approximately 8” x 4”/20 x 10 cm)
Implements:  Muddler and a cocktail shaker
3/4 cup agave tequila
1 cucumber
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup frozen limeade concentrate (thawed)
2 envelopes Knox gelatin
1/4 cup Cointreau
Cucumber ribbons and Cayenne Sprinkle for garnish, if desired (recipe below)
Cut a three inch length of cucumber and coarsely chop (set remaining cucumber aside to make cucumber ribbons).  Place the chopped cucumber in cocktail shaker and muddle vigorously.  Add the tequila to the cocktail shaker, shake for a minute or so and set aside (no ice is needed).  Pour water and limeade concentrate into a small saucepan and sprinkle with the gelatin. Allow the gelatin to soak for a minute or two. Heat over very low heat until gelatin is dissolved, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.  Strain the tequila mixture, and stir into gelatin mixture along with the Cointreau. Pour mixture into loaf pan. Place in refrigerator to set (several hours or overnight).
To serve, cut into desired shapes.  To make the cucumber ribbons, peel the length of the remaining cucumber with a vegetable peeler.  Tie each jelly shot with a ribbon.  Trim ends to desired length.
Makes 18 to 24 jelly shots.
Cucumber-Lime Margarita Jelly Shot with Cayenne topping
Cucumber-Lime Margarita Jelly Shot with Cayenne Sprinkle
Cayenne Sprinkle
1 tbsp large crystal sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Mix ingredients, and place in small bowl for dipping.
Now many of you know I’m a foodie and culinary school graduate, so food is the most fun part of any celebration. And Mexican dishes are some of my favorite to eat and cook. But since it’s Monday, and not all of us have a ton of time to cook a labor intensive meal, I suggest trying something simple: Nachos!
Simple Nachos
Simple Nachos

All you need is some ground meat, I prefer turkey, and seasonings of your choice. Heat and add to tortilla chips with all the toppings you love.

However you celebrate, be safe. What’s your favorite Mexican dish?

Are you going to be watching out for the stars’ fashion on the red carpet tonight at the Met Gala? We will be watching to see who’s wearing what. Who are you looking forward to seeing?

Have a Mad Monday!

Renewal Sunday | H2O

5.4.14

It’s Sunday and time for you to get ready for the week ahead. One thing I struggle with is drinking enough water. I hate water, but I know it’s necessary. Our bodies need water to survive and function. I always had to be told to drink more water by my doctors and mother. Ugh, I hate water.

water glass

We’re supposed to drink so much water per day, but most of us don’t really drink what we’re supposed to. Whether it’s because we’re too busy or we just don’t do what we’re supposed to, it’s a necessity to our well being.

underwater

Water is a powerful source of the earth. It’s one of the elements and is very important to our destiny and our past. It’s calming, has cleansing properties, and is truly powerful.

bad water

Today, think of water and its truly renewing properties. The cleansing ones, the ones that can help you move forward healthy and renewed.

water fun

To have a moment of peace, try and relax with a glass of refreshing water and do something good for your body. Take care of yourself this week, enjoy your time alone, and stay healthy.

peaceful water creek

Have a wonderful week.

Mad Men Final Season | 4.12.14

4.12.14

It’s time again for the new season of Mad Men to begin, and this is the beginning of the end. The final season comes on tomorrow night and it’s definitely cause for a celebration.

MMS7-Facebook-Timeline-851x315-No-Title

What better way to celebrate than to throw a little themed party to start the new season off. We’re going to share with you some retro inspired treats and some classic cocktails, as well as fun decor touches to add to your party.

1. Pink Deviled Eggs – Something that I haven’t seen in a while are the colored deviled eggs that were prominent at a 60’s dinner party (via The Year in Food). Thought of as chic and modern back then is still classy and fancy today. Their pink hue comes from beet juice!

pink-deviled-eggs-645x427

2. Printable Coasters – These coasters are sure to add a little conversation at your party (via Second City Soiree)

mad-men-coasters-645x959

3. Homemade Bitters – If you’re a little more adventurous, try these homemade crafted bitters recipes. They will surely make your classic cocktails stand out (via How Sweet it Is).

homemade-bitters-I-howsweeteats.com-4

 

4. Swedish Meatballs – These meatballs are always a good go-to for an appetizer. They are timeless and go with any theme party (via Bon Appetit).

swedish-meatballs-940x600

 

5. Classic Old Fashioned – The Old Fashioned is one of the most classic drinks from the 50’s and 60’s, you can’t go wrong with an original (via Food52).

old fashioned Food 52

6. DIY Chalkboard Martini Glass – These custom martini glasses are great for guests to keep track of their drinks, and can also serve as a party favor (via Something Turquoise).

st-diy_chalkboard_martini_glass_parttwo3

7. Dyed Simple Syrups – These simple syrups aren’t just pretty to look at, they add unique flavors to any cocktail (via A Subtle Revelry)

simple-syrup-lineup1

 

8. Advertising – Of course you can’t have a Mad Men party without advertisements. This ad shows the culture of advertising at the time of the show.

Sexist-ad-1

9. Mad Men Masks – Set up your own photo booth for your guests to have a little fun before the show, or between commercials. These printable masks are like an instant costume, or you can just use them as decorations (via AMC).

mad men mask_betty

 

10. Classic Martini – You can’t have a Mad Men viewing party without a martini. This is a classic martini recipe. It’s simple and just perfect (via AMC).

mm-cocktail-classic-martiniI’m sad that this is the last season of Mad Men, but I will be sure to watch the madness of Sterling Cooper & Partners. Who is your favorite character? What’s your favorite cocktail? How will you watch tomorrow?

Mad Monday | 3.10.14

3.10.14

As I’ve gotten older, I’m starting to realize how important breakfast really is. So I came across a recipe last week that I was determined to try out. Very rarely do I get that serious of an urge to try out a recipe from the internet. So when I was so determined to try this one, I decided to share it with you.

I am a follower of Recipe Girl on Facebook. And last week she posted a recipe for Cream Cheese Pancakes. Now a little bit of history…as a kid I didn’t really like many breakfast foods. Then at a popular breakfast restaurant with my mother, I got an order of pancakes that were not cooked through and I bit into raw dough in my stack of hotcakes. It truly soured me to breakfast ever since.

Now the recipe originally came from Barefeet In The Kitchen, but I kind of adapted the recipe slightly for myself. This is one of the simplest recipes ever! It’s simply cream cheese and eggs. I did add some vanilla and regular sugar.

IMG_2791

Cream Cheese Pancakes

3 oz Cream Cheese
3 eggs
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
Pinch of sugar

Take the cream cheese and eggs and put them in a blender. Blend until smooth and fully combined. It’s a thin batter, so you don’t need much. Let the batter rest while you heat a griddle or cast iron pan. When you pour the batter, it will spread fast and wide (I used a 6 1/2 inch wide cast iron pan).

IMG_2788
The pancakes come out thin  and light. Not too sweet and not too thick. Something that avoids the possibilities of raw centers of my hotcakes.

IMG_2792
These pancakes remind me of the crepe batter we used in culinary school. When we made them in school, I was more inclined to like crepes because of how thin and versatile they were. You could make them sweet or savory, and they were just as filling as pancakes.

The batter I made yielded about 15 pancakes. You can top them how you want. I topped mine like I like my favorite crepes, with powdered sugar and lemon juice.

IMG_2790

 

I can truly say these pancakes made me feel like I could actually eat breakfast now, and like it. The next thing I am going to do is try and create variations of the recipe to make both savory and other sweet versions to share with you in the future.

I hope you try these out. They are good for kids and don’t take long at all to prepare. Simple, fast, and delicious.

Bon apetit!

 

Mad Monday | 2.10.14

2.10.14

Well the past couple weeks have been trying. A drain backup in my basement, basketball games, after school tutoring, shoveling snow, ice storms, and snow days….I’m truly over this winter!

So now that it’s February, Valentine’s day is upon us. A day to celebrate your love for someone special. Some think it’s a Hallmark holiday, but others think it has a more meaningful significance.

mean vintage valentine

Whether you celebrate it or not or don’t have someone special, it’s good to just do something nice for someone else. Give a little card or a piece of candy. Something to make someone’s day.

I remember as a kid we used to have Valentine’s parties and you could buy little cards for your friends in school. Or the little two-sided  perforated cards that you bought for your classmates with the conversation hearts that came in a box. You were all excited to go to school the next day with your goodies to share with your friends. Those were the days. Now days, schools have dances and sell roses or cards. That’s all fun and good, but there’s nothing like writing your own little note on the back of the card personalized for your friends.

conversation-hearts-bulk

If you want to be more romantic, try cooking a special meal for your loved one or making them a card by hand. Something personalized shows you took time to really think and feel about them.

Try a special cocktail to share together. Or even better, a signature cocktail or even a jello shot recipe from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen.

Valentine's Jelly Shots
Valentine’s Jelly Shots (via Jelly Shot Test Kitchen)

 

They have recipes for all occasions for all tastes. If you are adventurous and want to try something different, here is a recipe that will get you started. It’s simple and fun, and you could even get your Valentine in on the fun.

Valentines Jelly Pops
Ingredients:
 
Red Layer
1/2 cup boiling water
1 3 oz package strawberry flavored gelatin dessert (sugar free dissolves very easily)
1/2 cup cold water
 
Pink Layer
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 envelopes plain gelatin
1 6 oz container strawberry yogurt
 
White Layer
1/3 cup cold water
1 envelope less 1/2 tsp plain gelatin
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
8 each wooden coffee stirrers, cut into 2 inch lengths for garnish, if desired
 
Instructions:
These pops are super cute whether they’re made in a silicon mold, or set in a baking pan (I’d use a standard loaf pan – about 8″ x 4″)and cut into squares.  If using a silicone mold, prepare mold by spraying lightly with cooking spray, then wiping each mold cavity clean with a paper towel. This will leave a slight residue to aid in un-molding without affecting the taste or appearance of the jelly pops. If setting in a glass or non-reactive metal baking pan, no prep is needed.  The instructions below are for molds – so if you’re setting in a pan, just pour in the layers!
 
Red Layer: Dissolve strawberry gelatin in boiling water. Add cold water. Pour 1 tsp. of the gelatin into each mold cavity. Refrigerate until firm but not fully set (should be fairly firm, but still slightly sticky when touched – about 20 minutes). While the red layer is chilling, prepare Pink Layer.
 
Pink Layer: Pour water into small saucepan. Sprinkle with gelatin and allow to soak for a minute or two. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt. Allow to cool to room temperature – you may want to pop the gelatin in the fridge or freezer for a minute or two to help it along. Pour 1 tbsp into each mold cavity. Refrigerate until firm but not fully set (should be fairly firm, but still slightly sticky when touched – about 15 to 20 minutes). While the pink layer is chilling, Prepare White Layer.
 
White Layer: Pour water into a small saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin. Allow to soak for a minute or two. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved (about 5 minutes). Stir in the sweetened condensed milk. Allow to cool to room temperature. Pour approximately 2 tsp. into each mold cavity.
Refrigerate several hours or overnight, until fully set. (Overnight is ideal as it allows the layers to fully bond.) Garnish each jelly pop with a coffee stirrer segment to make the “popsicle” handle, if desired.
Makes about 15 jellies.

Limoncello | 12.17.13

12.17.13

You know that saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Well, for this holiday, use those lemons to make Limoncello. Limoncello is a lemon liqueur made of lemon peels and vodka. When I first came across Limoncello, I thought it was something fancy and only Italians were privileged enough to know the formula. Well I came across a few recipes and realized how simple it is to make your own limoncello.

A while back, I posted a recipe I learned in culinary school for making vanilla extract. Well, yeah it’s that simple. All you need are lemon peels (no piths…white layer under the peel) and a good, stiff vodka.

The Kitchn suggests 100 proof, or higher grain-alcohol, for best results. The reason why is purely scientific. The higher proof the alcohol, the more flavor will be extracted to yield a smoother flavor.

One recipe that was easiest to follow was Giada De Laurentiis.

Giada-Limoncello

Limoncello

Ingredients

10 lemons
1 (750-ml) bottle vodka
3 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar

Directions

Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.

Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.

Since it’s the holiday season, this recipe is good for hostess gifts or little guest take-aways. Use swing-top bottles to store and share. They keep well and look presentable too.

limoncello swingtop bottles

If you want to be fancy, try using specialty labels and personalize them to your specifications. I think anyone would be glad to get this gift.

kitchn bottles

They can sip the limoncello on its own over ice, or in a specialty cocktail. Try adding the limoncello to sparkling wine or sparkling water.

Merry Monday! | 12.9.13

12.9.13

Today, we are going to share with you the cookie of the day from the Williams-Sonoma blog. For today, the cookie is the decadent meringues!

meringues

Meringues are bits of baked cream of sorts. They are delicate and light, and perfect for cookie exchanges. With meringues for the holiday, you can add crushed peppermint pieces or coconut before baking. And these lovely treats make for a great after dinner treat, or a great passing item for a holiday party. Try this recipe to wow your holiday guests.

Meringues

4 egg whites

1 pinch salt

1/8 tsp. cream of tartar

3/4 cup superfine sugar, plus more for sprinkling

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, combine egg whites, salt and cream of tartar and whip on medium speed until egg whites are opaque and just holding their shape. Increase speed to medium-high and add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. When egg whites form stiff, glossy peaks, whip in vanilla extract.

To shape each meringue, scoop 2 tablespoons of whipped egg whites onto prepared baking sheets. Bake until crisp but not colored, about 30 minutes. Turn off oven and let cool completely in oven.

To serve, arrange meringues on a platter and sprinkle with sugar. Serves 4-6.

This is a great recipe to share with others or pass down as a family tradition. Try making it with friends or kids. For holiday sharing, use a decorative tin or eve a Mason jar with a colorful ribbon. These make great gifts and after dinner snacks. Share with friends and family and have a happy holiday.

Be Merry!

Orange Almond Scones | 12.6.13

12.6.13

orange-almond-scones1

I came across this yummy recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod in search for a scones recipe. While in culinary school, we learned the difference in pastries such as scones, biscotti, and petit fours, but never got to make them. And since I adore the cranberry orange scones from Whole Foods, I became curious to make them on my own for this holiday season. Just as something to have for Christmas morning or New Years Day to have with coffee or tea.

Orange Almond Scones

ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 tablespoon buttermilk
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling over scones

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Chopped almonds, for sprinkling over glaze, if desired

directions

1. Preheat to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together until fragrant. Add sugar mixture to the flour mixture and whisk again. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, using your fingers, two forks, or a pastry blender.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, orange juice, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture all at once, stirring enough to make a soft dough. Fold in the almonds.

4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until dough comes together. Pat dough out into a 1-inch circle. Cut into 4 large or 6 small triangles. Place on prepared baking sheet and brush scone tops with remaining buttermilk and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until scones are golden brown.

5. Let the scones cool completely on a wire rack. While the scones are cooling, make the orange glaze. In a medium bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, orange zest, and orange juice. Drizzle glaze over scones and sprinkle with additional chopped almonds, if desired. Let scones set until glaze hardens.

orange-almond-scones3

I like this recipe  because it’s simple and fast, so you don’t have to wait that long. Try these with tea or coffee, or just as a midday snack.

Bon apetit!

Merry Monday is back! | 11.30.13

11.30.13

Event Poster RoughDraft

Thanksgiving is over and now the holiday season has officially began. Our  Merry Monday posts will return on Monday!  Merry Monday is when we share  holiday ideas and inspirations pertaining to food, holiday decor, crafts, and events. We hope you enjoy our posts and check out our blog as well for recipes and event inspiration.

MerryMonday

We hope you enjoy our posts this year. We plan to share more with you and would love to hear your suggestions for topics or questions as well. If you have any thing you’d like to see, let us know. We will also start other weekly posts this year for the holidays, and hope to share our love of the Christmas season with you.

To inspiration and holiday cheer!

**~~** Cheers! **~~**

Thanksgiving 2013 | 11.29.13

11.29.13

Yesterday was the day of giving thanks. The day we as a country remember our forefathers and their quest to bridge relationships with the Native Americans. Today, we celebrate with food and family, and helping others. This year, I kept things simple with the food and the time with family watching the game was much needed.

IMG_2496My menu consisted of:

Cornish Hens
Mixed Greens with salt pork, garlic, and onion
Macaroni and cheese
Baked beans
Cornbread
Homemade Cranberry sauce
Cornbread Dressing
Cornbread
Dinner Rolls

This is pretty basic for a Thanksgiving meal, but I don’t like fussy meals. The basics allow for me to feed everyone and enjoy them as well. I hate being stuck in the kitchen constantly looking over complicated dishes. The plan was to get started and done in a reasonable time frame so I can watch the game with everyone else. Hey, I like football too! Going to culinary school also helped give me the know-how to effectively planning a menu to ensure time management is achieved. So, the only thing I cooked ahead was the cornbread for the dressing, so it could sit out and harden, and the greens ( I simply didn’t want to have too  many pots on the stove).

This year, I found a recipe by celebrity chef G. Garvin that mirrors mine for greens. He mentions collard greens, but I used a mix of collards, turnips, and mustards. I like the variety. I also did not use the bouillon paste. Not something I prefer. This recipe is simple and easy to follow. I used pretty much the same steps, so I’d like to share this with you for future meals.

IMG_2485Southern Style Greens

DETAILS


  • PREP 15 to 20 minutes
  • COOK 30 to 40 minutes

INGREDIENTS


  • 2 lb. fresh collard greens
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 10 slices turkey bacon
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. chicken bouillon paste (optional)
  • 1 cup water
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

COOKING STEPS


  1. Start by removing the spin from all the collard greens and cut them roughly and wash thoroughly – at least three times.
  2. Once then greens are washed, start by putting oil into a large roasting pan – then add the turkey, onions and garlic. Then add then greens and season with the salt and pepper.
  3. Now add the chicken stock and the water – cover and cook on low heat for 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. Note you most likely will need to add more water or stock as needed, and check the seasoning as well when adding more liquids. If you decide to use bullion paste – add right after the liquids.
IMG_2492
Cranberry Sauce

Growing up, my mom loved the canned, jellied cranberry sauce, ridges and all. I never indulged, just seemed odd to me that cranberries were shaped and firm with no signs of any cranberries at all. As I got older, I decided to try and make cranberry sauce from scratch. I didn’t like the recipe because it used things to really make the sauce jellied. That kind of defeated the purpose of what I was trying to accomplish. So, yesterday I decided to just cook the cranberries and add a little bit of orange zest with sugar and a hint of water to see what happened. Well it came out great! So good I could eat it on its own. This recipe is pretty simple and doesn’t really require much effort.

Cranberry Sauce

12 oz. bag of fresh or frozen cranberries into a saucepan and transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl, fewer if you want less whole cranberries. Add 1 cup sugar, 1 strip orange or lemon zest and 2 tablespoons water to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the reserved cranberries. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste and cool to room temperature before serving.

Whatever you prepared for dinner yesterday or whatever your traditions, I hope you enjoyed your day with friends and family. There are many things I am thankful for, yesterday was a great example of things I am thankful for.

Now it’s officially time to start the holiday season.

Happy Holidays!!

~Kia