Thursday, December 23, 2010

...We just didn't make the goal :(

So I guess 52 actually means ~21 (which is how many we've done that I remember; I still need to update with gumbo, oreo balls, etc) we'll extend this into 2011 too...and not extend the number required past 52. Just FYI to the general reader, Andrew and I do not live together, and next school year we will hopefully be apart (grad school and all that jazz for him, completing my degree for me), so it makes cooking together difficult at best. I think the most realistic goal for us is to complete 52 special recipes between 2010-2011...and then we can go from there!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and have a Great New Year everybody!

(and no, we won't be making a fruitcake!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Free Ninja Hooks Give Away!

I know this isn't cooking, but it's still really cool! Go check it out!
A personal finance blog I follow, Fabulously Broke in the City, is giving away Ninja coat hooks at: .

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cranberry Muffins

-1/2 c. softened butter (1 stick)
-1 c. sugar
-2 eggs
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 c. sour cream
-2 c. all-purpose flour
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 c. chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
-2 tbs sugar
-1/8 tsp cinnamon
*Note, I replaced ground nutmeg with cinnamon a) because Walmart was sold out and b) because my mom doesn't like nutmeg. If you want to use it, change the first measurement to 1/4 tsp nutmeg)

1. Preheat oven to 400F. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Fold in the sour cream.
2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just moistened. Fold in the cranberries.
3. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Combine topping ingredients. Sprinkle over muffins. Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes or until muffins are done. Cool in pan for 10 minutes; remove to wire rack.

They're really really good. I'm bringing them to my mom for Thanksgiving. Andrew'll be there too, so we'll hopefully have a lot of posts up from that (she bought a 30lb turkey)!! The cranberries are really tart (more so than I thought they would be), but they're really tasty!!! :D

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sweet Pepper Jelly

I will eventually upload the recipe for gumbo and potato salad, but I made pepper jelly today. I don't know how it truly is yet because it hasn't set, but the little unset bit that I tasted was really good :)

-3/4 c. chopped green bell pepper (we used 1/2 red bell pepper and 1/2 green bell pepper)
-1/4 c. chopped jalapeno pepper (fresh) (approximately 1 large pepper and 1 small pepper)
-1 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
-6 c. sugar
-4 oz. pectin (aka Certo)
-6 (1/2 pt) canning jars with lids (I just used one big jar. You need sterilized canning jars if you plan on storing these things in your pantry for a while. I plan to eat mine as fast as I can).

In case you are at a loss as to where to find Certo, it's on the baking aisle, kind of by the marshmallows.

1. Finely mince bell pepper and hot pepper. I watched a wikihow on how to mince things. I have a chopper, but I didn't want to use it. Apparently you just cut the top off, cut it in half, scrape out the inside (unless you want the spice), and slice it into strips. After that, turn the strips perpendicular to yourself and chop them into tiny pieces. Voilà!!!

And this is proof that you should try checking out farmer's markets or pick your produce very very very carefully. I got this pepper from Walmart :( Luckily, I bought two and the other was fine. It's always a good idea to pick up back-up!

Combine pepper, vinegar, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. MAKE sure the sugar is dissolved, or it won't set right.

2. Remove from heat and add Certo. The packages are 3 oz., and it calls for 4 oz., so you'll need to premeasure or eyeball it (not a good idea when canning).

3. Pour into jars. Be careful not to spill the hot liquid on yourself. It will HURT!

4. Leave it alone and let it set. This can vary. I read that it can take an hour to a day. You can tell by consistency. It may not set, in which case something might be a little off.

A great way to eat pepper jelly is with cream cheese and crackers. You just get out a brick of cream cheese and put it on a plate. Pour pepper jelly over it and eat it together on crackers. DELICIOUSO!!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Snickerdoodle Cake & Snickerdoodle Icing

Hey Y'all!

So this is the last thing Andrew cooked, but is not the last thing that I cooked. I'll update with those after this, because this is shorter and from a recipe book, vs. the kind of thing that I made, which is not from a recipe, but passed down through the family etc etc etc. So yeah, the post after this will be gumbo and then some potato salad (because you can't have one without the other, unless you're at a picnic or having fried chicken etc, then you can have potato salad). Anyway, I digress. So if you've got a hankering for something delicious, there is a simple snickerdoodle recipe headed your way via this post!

Snickerdoodle Cake
-Solid Vegetable Shortening (aka Crisco or an equivalent)
-1 package (18.25 oz) plain white cake mix
-1 c. whole milk
-8 tbs (1 stick) butter, melted
-3 large eggs
-1 tsp pure vanilla extract
-2 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease (with the Crisco) 2 9'' round cake pans, and then dust with flour. Shake out the excess flour. Set these pans aside. (You can surely use just one pan if you want, but this recipe assumes you want to make a layered cake)
2. Place the cake mix, milk, melted butter, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl (IGNORE THE DIRECTIONS ON THE BOX OF CAKE MIX). Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scraping the sides down again if needed. The batter should be/look well combined. Divide the batter between the pans, and smooth it out with the rubber spatula. Put in the oven.
3. Bake until golden brown and spring back to the touch (generally 27-29 minutes). Remove and let cool for 10 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan and remove them from their pans. Let cool for an additional 30 minutes.

*Prepare the Cinnamon Buttercream (aka Snickerdoodle) Icing*

5. Place one cake layer right side up, on a serving platter. Spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer right side up on top of the first, and frost the top and sides of both.
6. Let the frosting set for 20 minutes in the fridge.

*Recipe for Cinnamon Buttercream Icing
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1 container of buttercream frosting

1. Mix them together...and you're done with your Snickerdoodle Cake & Icing!!!

Okay, well, that's what we did for icing, but if you want to "really" make the icing yourself, you can do this:

-8 tbs (1 stick) of butter at room temperature
-3.5 c. confectioners' sugar, sifted
-3-4 tbs milk
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl and blend with an electric mixer on a low speed until fluffy (~30 seconds). Stop and add the confectioners' sugar, 3 tbs milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Blend with teh mixer on a low speed until the sugar is incorporated (~1 minute). Increase the speed to medium, and beat until light and fluffy (~1 more minute). Blend in up to 1 tbs milk if it seems too stiff.
2. Use to frost the top and sides of the cake of your choice.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Seasoning Blend

So I keep referring to this "seasoning bag" (specifically in the chili and crawfish dip recipes). So this is what I'm talking about.

Essentially it's just a bag of pre-chopped onions, bell-peppers, celery, and more onions. It's really handy if you don't want to go buy a bunch of everything for this one recipe. I generally try to use my best judgment when utilizing it in recipes, like, 1 cup vs. how many onions you should probably do the same. It works out quite well. So this post isn't really a recipe, but more of a clarification post :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Crawfish Dip

Crawfish Dip
- 1 lb crawfish tails, cut to small pieces
- 1 cup onion (chopped)*
- 1/4 cup celery (chopped)*
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped fine and minced)
- 3 tbs white wine
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 1 stick butter
- 1 bell pepper (chopped)*
- 1/4 cup shallots (chopped)*
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 (8 oz.) pack cream cheese
- 1 tsp dry mustard
* We used 2 cups from a seasoning bag

1. Cut crawfish into small pieces. Season and set aside in fridge.
2. In large saucepan, sautè onions, celery, bell peppers in butter (yeah butter)
3. Add crawfish and cream cheese. Stir, cover, and simmer until cheese is melted and crawfish cooked.
4. Add mayo, mustard, sugar, wine, and touch or two of Tobasco. Stir in.
5. Serve with crackers or bread.

It was pretty good. The butter doesn't stay in the mixture well at all, and it definitely needs to be eaten hot, but it's pretty good. Much like the Fettuccine, it is fairly sweet, surprisingly so. I think it needs some more hot sauce.