Monday, September 22, 2008

Sarsaparilla Skirt & Vest GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Sarsaparilla Skirt & Vest GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

another fun one from grosgrain fabulous! This would be especially handy on those FAmily Reunion nights in Vernal.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

new item!

I just added a new element to my page. If you scroll down, you will see my Delicious bookmarks on the right. I have been using Delicious for years now. Two years, almost exactly. I have a Delicious tag on my Internet Explorer toolbar, and whenever I see a recipe that I might want to make some day, I just tag it. It has been really handy for me and I am no longer left wondering "now where did I see that recipe for coconut cupcakes/fig ice cream/lasagne soup?".

Now you can see what I'm tagging!

This does have a downside. Now I can't tag anything embarrassing, like the NKOTB fan club or a recipe that uses canned cream of chicken soup or something else that is not foodie friendly. Don't tell the others.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The only thing on Oprah's "favorite things" list that I will be able to partake of

Here it is, people, Oprah's favorite turkey burger. I saw the beginning of her "Favorite Things" show for summer and this was the first item.

Does it live up to the hype? The recipe looked really good to me, but then I opened my jar of Major Grey's chutney (which is a type of chutney, not a brand, I learned) and I wasn't so sure. I am a fan of chutney, but this did not taste good straight out of the jar, and it was extremely salty. The brand was Crosse and Blackwell. It was my first experience with Major Grey's chutney, so maybe another brand would be better. I don't know.

Then, as I started to make the recipe, again I was uneasy. It is a huge recipe which should serve 8 so I decided to 1/3 the recipe, which pretty much amounted to guessing the amounts of the ingredients. It seems that Oprah's people pay less heed to the website than the show. There were mistakes all over the place. (It says it serves 6, but then instructs you to shape 8 half-pound patties. It calls for cinnamon in the instructions for the topping, but not on the ingredient list. ) Also, the amount of salt and pepper it called for sounded crazy. All of this left me wondering if the recipe would turn out anything like the burger Oprah holds so dear.

So I went through with the recipe anyway, even adding almost all of the salt it called for, and they were delicious. I am craving more. My husband (who is very manly when it comes to food- he loves his beef) actually declared them better than regular burgers. The burgers looked great because they keep their shape better than beef (no fat to shrink them!) and they had perfectly seared black lines from the grill. Though turkey has a tendency to be dry, these stayed quite moist, probably from the apples.

Some notes if you are going to make these burgers:
  • 1/3 of the recipe made 5 average-sized burgers
  • I used a grater for the apples because I thought bigger chunks might lead to burgers falling apart on the grill. It worked perfectly!
  • They were quite salty, which was a nice contrast with the sweet topping, but I will probably scale back on the salt next time (I scaled back a pinch or so this time around)
  • we topped ours with the chutney topping, mayo, and a little bit of the Tabasco chipotle pepper sauce. I think they would also be good with lettuce, tomato, cheese, or whatever you like on your beef burgers.
  • They can be formed a day ahead of time to be grilled later
As for the chutney:
  • I roasted my pears with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top, as I did not know the amount to use, and it worked fine
  • I did not follow the recipe here. Since my chutney was already so salty and because I didn't like it that much anyway, I just used 1 whole roasted pear and mixed it with a few spoonfuls of chutney and a handful of raisins. We liked it that way!

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Monday, September 01, 2008

And I shall go to Foodie Hell for it

I was previously under the impression that normal people are not allowed to make Eclairs. They were only for well experienced and paid pastry chefs. Like French Macaroons, they were just off-limits to me and my kitchen.

Enter the Daring Bakers challenge for this month: Pierre Hermes Chocolate Eclairs.

I did it. I made them, and they really weren't too hard. I even managed to get an entire plateful that looked, dare I say, as if born of a paid pastry chef. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of that plate because it was a paper plate and it needed to be delivered quickly to my neighbors before they got soggy. But I did get a picture of this little dandy, which would have been lovely if not for a few chocolate drips.

I love this recipe because the pastry creme and part of the chocolate glaze can be made ahead. The pastry dough comes together really quickly- like 10 minutes- and it can be frozen on the baking sheet for later, if you wish. You know I love food that can be made ahead of time!

Here is my bullet list for you to read if you intend to make this recipe:
-The chocolate glaze is quite a fussy glaze recipe, but delicious and worth it
-The chocolate sauce recipe is a separate recipe but you'll need it for the glaze. You will have extra leftover sauce, but don't fret. It is DELICIOUS eaten with a spoon and mixed with milk it makes a mean hot chocolate or chocolate milk.
-I did not use Pierre's recipe for chocolate pastry cream. I worship you, Pierre, and after making the glaze I thought I would do anything you asked....but then I discovered that some people who had made the chocolate pastry cream thought it tasted almost exactly like Cook n' Serve Jell-o Pudding. So I used Cook N' Serve Jell-o Pudding and I shall go to Foodie Hell for it. I opted for vanilla, because I just love the classic eclair combo of vanilla creme with the chocolate glaze. I also folded in some stiffly-whipped heavy cream, for good measure.
-When piping the eclairs onto the baking sheet, I just used a big Ziplock bag with the corner cut off to about 2 cm, and it worked perfectly. I learned to pipe slowly to make a thick, even eclair.
-The recipe says to cut in half to fill with cream, but I used a bismarck tip to inject the shell with cream, which gave them a more professional appearance.
-one more tip: be sure you bake them long enough. Notice how the baked shells on this cookie sheet look fallen? That makes them really hard to fill. The should be baked until they are darker and more firm, as the filled one in the first photo.

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