Friday, December 31, 2010

In the Bluegrass, and BEYOND!

For Christmas, my sister gave me a cookbook called 'Creating a Stir - In the Bluegrass and Beyond'.  (Buzz lightyear much?) It's a great idea, all the recipes are from Kentuckians and all the proceeds go to help Kentucky's children in need.

A double whammy of the heart and belly, which I appreciate.  Anyway, this book.  It's got some good ones.  I am not a salad person, did you know that?  I am guessing by the number of baked goods and sticks of butter used on this blog, you probably assumed that of me.

But, damn it, how the New Year approaches.  And damn it, how my wedding is 6 months away.  I had to make a salad.  But if I was gonna make one, this one would do just fine.

Bibb and Endive with Tarragon - Dijon Vinaigrette
adapted from Creating a Stir - In the Bluegrass and Beyond

1 head bibb lettuce
2 heads belgian endive
7 ounces chopped artichokes
1/2 crushed walnuts

Tarragon - Dijon Vinaigrette
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar
(or 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Juice of 1 lemon

 Ya know, just whisk it.  Haven't you ever made a salad before?

It doesn't taste like butter, but much like mountain berry mist, it cools you off on a hot December day.




Thursday, December 30, 2010

Resolution number 1 of a babillion...

I have a problem.  A breakfast problem.  It costs me $4.95 a morning, and it is capitalist.  

It is starbucks. They get me with their damn granola.  I would MUCH prefer to go to my local coffee joint - but if I haven't had breakfast, starbucks ALWAYS lures me in from my walk to work with their damn greek yogurt parfait.  It gets me every time - but not anymore.  No more with your wooing me into granola submission, Starbucks.  This time, I am taking matters into my own hands.  With my own damn granola. 

And I gotta say, I really couldn't taste the difference.

Homemade Granola

4 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2  cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 300 F. In a bowl mix the oats, almonds, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. In a saucepan warm the oil and honey. Whisk in vanilla. 

Carefully pour the liquid over the oat mixture. Stir gently with a wooden spoon; finish mixing by hand. Spread granola in a 15x10 inch baking pan.

Bake 40 minutes, stirring carefully every 10 minutes. Transfer granola-filled pan to a rack to cool completely. Stir in raisins or cranberries. Seal granola in an airtight container or self-sealing plastic bag. Store at room temperature for 1 week or in the freezer for 3 months.

Edna's china, they don't make it like they used to...

breakfast for two.

Take that, starbucks.

So, the next time I pass you, I think I'll have an easier time saying no.  The New Year is for resolutions after all, isn't it?


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Kentucky Kind of Christmas

From my family, to yours - may you have your loved ones near as we celebrate the coming year.

The men in my life!

Whelp there's no denying relation here



Whit and Family

No bakes and crack balls.

So here's the thing.

I was an overweight kid.  Not terribly, just enough to where you frowned when you saw me with a chocolate ring around my mouth.  I have pinpointed the reason WHY I was overweight as a child, and I am here to warn you.  The reason lies below.

None of my mother's friends were particularly great cooks, but ole Sue and Bonnie made two things, and they made em right. No Bake Cookies, and Sausage Balls. ( And Margaritas, but I didn't quite know that yet...)

Now, I don't know what the hell Sue put in those sausage (crack) balls, but I do know that Bonnie didn't create the no bake.  She made no bakes for a reason, and that reason was because she had had a margarita by the time she got to bakin'... err. no bakin'...

So here's to you No Bake Cookies!  Thanks for the chocolate ring around my mouth as a child.  Thanks for making my pants too tight today, and thanks, for being no bake.

No Bake Cookies
2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons cocoa
1 stick butter
1/2 cup milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups oatmeal
Waxed paper

In a heavy saucepan bring to a boil, the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk.

 Let boil for 1 minute then add peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal. 

On a sheet of waxed paper, drop mixture by the teaspoonfuls, until cooled and hardened. 

 Now if only Sue would tell me that sausage ball recipe...



Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bark the Herald Angels Sing...

Bark. the herald angels sing.  Peppermint, and chocolate things!

Yea. I just said that. and I didn't erase it.  I could have.  I could have taken that sentence away, and no one would ever know.  But I feel like we should be honest with each other, that's what friends do after all.  And I honestly just said that.  I actually sang it.

What cha think about them apples (err, nuts?)

See, I could have erased that too...

No one would ever be able to do a recap of Amuse Bouche with "the shit they should have shown" because I show it all.

Peppermint Bark

1 cup crushed candy canes
2 pounds white chocolate
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Optional 4 ounces dark, bittersweet, or semisweet chocolate

Place candy canes in a plastic bag and hammer into 1/4-inch chunks or smaller.

Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. 

Combine candy cane chunks with chocolate and peppermint extract. Pour mixture onto a cookie sheet layered with waxed paper, and drizzle the melted dark chocolate if desired.  

Place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes or until firm. 

Remove from cookie sheet and break into pieces (like peanut brittle.)

And toss them into a box with the rest of the butter/carbs/fat you made this week. 



Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas video, to you from me.

Merry Flippin' Christmas.

Try not to pee your pants like I almost did while watching this.



Friday, December 24, 2010

Which came first:The Samoa or the Samoan?

Do you want to know what I've always wondered.  Are Samoas named after Samoans?

I mean.  It's one letter difference.  That's gotta count for something.  If there was an America cookie, don't you think it would be named after Americans?

They are islanders right, and there's coconut in them.  Am I stretching for the commonality here?  My follow up to this is how did they become so popular with the girl scouts if they are Samoan cookies?  Did girls scouts start in Samoa?

There is some shit in elementary school that they left out.  I still have things to learn.  I think there should be a cultural culinary background in common foods, MORE SPECIFICALLY girl scouts.  You should get a damn badge if you can name where all the cookies you sell came from.

I think I missed my calling.  

Not that any of you should or would trust me to fill your children will knowledge.  I think that would be a mistake for all involved. 

But hell, in the meantime, make yourself some Samoas.


 1 cup butter, soft                                                         
1/2 cup sugar                                                              
2 cups all purpose flour                                              
1/4 tsp baking powder                                                
1/2 tsp salt                                                                  
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
up to 2 tbsp milk
3 cups shredded coconut
12 ounces of caramels
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon milk
8 ounces dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350F.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. 

Mix in flour, baking powder and salt at a low speed, followed by the vanilla and milk, adding in the milk as needed to make the dough come together without being sticky.   Roll the dough out between pieces of wax paper to about 1/4-inch thickness and use a 1 1/2-inch cookie cutter to make rounds.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and use a knife, or the end of a wide straw, to cut a smaller center hole.

Repeat with remaining dough. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned and cookies are set.  Cool completely. 

Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. 

Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.  Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. 

When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula.

Using the spatula or a small offset spatula, spread topping on cooled cookies, using about 2-3 tsp per cookie. 

Reheat caramel for a few seconds in the microwave if it gets too firm to work with.While topping sets up, melt chocolate in a small bowl

Dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment paper. 

 You. Are. Welcome.