Archive for November, 2008

Apples, Caramel, Chocolate, and Nuts. Oh Boy, Caramel/Chocolate Apples!

Makes 10 apples

Caramel apples covered in chocolate. Does it get any better?
You’ve seen these type of apples on QVC for ten bucks a piece. But, did you know that they were easy to make?
Melt the caramel, dip the apples, melt the chocolate, dip the apples, roll them in chopped nuts, and bag ’em up.
Simple. And tasty, too.

Recipe follows.

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Thanksgiving Between Two Pieces of Toast

One sandwich

This isn’t a recipe as much as it’s an adventure. Many, many Thanksgivings ago, my sister, Lynn, made a sandwich on the Friday after Thanksgiving using dressing from the turkey on it.
This blew my mind. I had never thought of even trying such a thing. But, the saying in our house has always been, “You need to broaden your horizons. You have to try something before you say you don’t like it.”
I tried it, and I was hooked.
This is one of those sandwiches I look forward every Thanksgiving and Christmas. It just tastes delicious.

Recipe follows.

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Turkey Pot Pie

Serves 8 to 10

Any kind of pot pie is great comfort food to serve for dinner.  But during Thanksgiving or Christmas, we usually have leftover turkey and that calls for a turkey pot pie.  My family loves it.
When I first started making pot pies, it seemed like such a hard dish.  But the more I made it, the easier it got.  I have found that with a lot of recipes and there is a lesson in there: stick to it and if you make it enough, it will become almost second nature.
While a pot pie has a long list of ingredients, it is not hard.  Cook some cut up veggies, make a roux (butter and flour cooked together), add some stock, add some milk, add some frozen peas, and mix it all together.
I use pie crust for the topping but you can use biscuits if you wish.  Both are good. This recipe uses a unique method of keeping the pie crust from getting soggy and it works great.  So look for it in the instructions.
I also use a lot of meat in my pot pies.  Two pounds to be exact.  I just hate eating a pot pie where it seems like a turkey or chicken just walked through the gravy.
This recipe works well with barbecued boneless chicken breast, a rotisserie chicken for the grocery store, or leftover turkey meat.   Your choice.
So give this a try.  It is fast and delicious.

Recipe follows.

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Kitchen Tools #10: Flat Wire Whisk

Whisks is an important tools in the kitchen. Usually they are round in shape and are used for all kinds of mixing and whipping.
But, using a round wire whisk to make gravy is not very efficient. That’s where the flat wire whisk comes in.
For example, it does a great job of mixing flour and other ingredients. But, it is at its very best when you plan on making gravy.
The flat wire whisk allows you to get right on the pan bottom to completely mix butter and flour when making a roux to thicken chicken, beef or turkey stock to make gravy.
It gets into the corners of the pan and makes the job of combining the flour and butter that much easier.
If you do not have a flat wire whisk in your kitchen, you should consider adding one.

Turkey Carcass Stock

Turkey carcass stock is really easy to make and delicious. It’s also a great way to use up leftover vegetables and other stuff from the big Thanksgiving day dinner.
Instead of throwing them away, you get to put the bones from the Turkey Day turkey to good use. And you can do all sorts of things with the stock, like: a) make some soup from it, b) freeze some of it and make turkey gravy for Christmas, or c)use it to make that turkey pot pie everyone loves on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (at least my family does!).
The other good thing about this recipe is that you get to clean out the refrigerator. Got a half an onion? Throw it in. Small amount of carrots in the crisper? Throw them in. Some leftover thyme? In it goes. Same with celery.
Add some bay leaves and peppercorns and you’re done.
A recipe follows, but it really is only a guide to get you started. So feel free to use up whatever is in your fridge.

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Mom’s Apple Squares

Makes one 15 x 10-inch jellyroll pan of delicious apple squares.

When I was growing up, my mother (who is a great cook) used to cook for our family of six.  She had a recipe that made 14 dozen chocolate chip cookies.  And every time she made them they lasted two days!  But I digress.
This is another recipe from my childhood that my Mom made all the time.  However, this recipe has evolved over the years and I have made changes to it as I have learned about apples and pie making.
This is a great recipe because it is easy to do, it makes a lot, and it is a hit every time.  I use Granny Smith and Braeburn apples for the contrast between the two.  Granny Smiths hold up while cooking and the Braeburn tend to break down a bit.  If you cannot find Braeburn apples, then Fuji or Johnagold will work.
Also, I use a lot of dough in this recipe. I make two recipes of the Fail-Safe, Double-Crust Pie Dough found here.  I just cannot seem to roll out dough made from 1-1/2 cups of flour and make it fit in the 10×15 x1-inch jelly-roll pan. Besides, I love pie crust.
One unique thing about this recipe is the layer of crushed cornflakes on the bottom crust.  The cornflakes soak up and help thicken the juice that comes out of the apples.  This is what makes Apple Squares so cool. You cut out squares and you can hold the apple square in your hand to eat it. No plate needed.
Of course, I usually take a couple of squares and a little vanilla ice cream on a plate and dig in.  Delicious.
Note: Some in my family like the glaze and some do not. So to keep everyone happy, I glaze just half of the pan.

Recipe follows.

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Kitchen Tools #9: Kitchen Timer

There are only 24 hours in a day.  There never seems to be enough time. But keeping track of time in the kitchen can sometimes be a chore. Then my son bought me the Quad Timer last Christmas.
It keeps track of four different times at once. And that can come in real handy.
Here is one example:
Today, I baked two different types of yeast rolls for Thanksgiving dinner. Each had its own time to rise.
I fold my bread in the middle of its total rise time because this helps the formation of gluten.
So, for two different yeast doughs, I set a total of four timers: two different total rise times and two different times to fold.
I set the first timer for half of the first rise (30 minutes) and the second timer for the total time for the rise of the first rolls (one hour). The third timer was set for half of the time for the rise of the other rolls (one hour) and the fourth timer was set for the total rise time for these rolls (you got it, two hours).
When the first timer went off, I folded the first dough. When the third timer went off, I folded the dough for the second rolls.  At about the same time (in a perfect world), the second timer goes off to signal that the fist dough had risen enough and that it was time to shape the dough into rolls. And, then I reset the first timer for the second rise of these first rolls (one hour).
Well, you get the idea. When timing the rolls’ rise as I do, the only thing you have to remember is starting both timers at the same time! Duh.
At first, this timer is a little confusing, but after using it for awhile it really makes life in the kitchen easier. I always seem to be doing two or four things at once. Now that I have one, I wouldn’t be without it.
The Quad Timer is made by American Innovative and sells for about $30 with a rubber coating which makes it very secure to handle with wet hands.