Monday, November 17, 2008

Cherry Cranberry Scones

Coffee and scones are a great way to start the morning. I found this recipe for Cherry Scones in my new copy of The Mixer Bible, Second Edition, Meredith Deeds and Carla Snyder, Robert Rose, 2008. It called for dried cherries. Dried cherries can be expensive so I substituted a bag of Craisins in the cherry flavor.

It seems that with the edition of the Kitchen Aid stand mixer and The Mixer Bible we just can't do enough baking.

Cranberries are some of my favorite food since out of the first 12 posts I have 3 that include cranberries. In this recipe I used dried Craisins and I selected a cherry flavored package since I like cherries and cranberries together. The sweet and the tart are a great combination.

Since we just got married last month we are still receiving wedding gifts. I have a cousin who works part time at a glass studio. He makes plates, glasses, ornaments and many other decorative items. Tom gave us a swirling blue serving dish that is so out of shape it is amazing that it balances on it's feet. It is beautiful and captures the sunlight that comes into the kitchen. We love it!

Cherry Craisin Scones with Orange Glaze
Modified from The Mixer Bible, Second Edition, 2008

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Line a baking sheet with parchment

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Grated zest of 1 orange
2/3 unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces

1/2 cup buttermilk*
1 1/2 cups or 1 pkg cherry craisins
2 tbsp buttermilk

3/4 cup confection's sugar, sifted
1 tsp orange juice

*If you do not have buttermilk you can use regular milk and add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to it. Set it aside for a few minutes before using.

1. Place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and orange zest in the mixer bowl. Attach the flat beater and mixer bowl to the mixer. Set to Stir and mix until combined. Increase to Speed 2 and mix in butter, one piece at a time, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Decrease to Stir and mix in the 2/3 cup buttermilk and craisins until just combined, about 6 seconds.

2. Turn mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 mounds. Working with one mound at a time, sprinkle to with a little flour and pat into a 5 inch disk. Cut each into 8 wedges and arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Brush with 2 tbsp buttermilk.

3. Bake in middle of preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until firm and golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze; In a small bowl, whisk together confectioner's sugar and orange juice until smooth.

5. Drizzle glaze over warm scones and serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fried Okra - is there any other way to eat it?

When I was growing up mom used to make gumbo. It was good. I liked it, but as an adult I don't like the slime that comes from boiled okra. What I do like is fried okra and I like it really fried, I like it almost burnt. Turns out Hoby likes it the same way.

There are so many ways to batter okra. We called him mom and she gave us her recipe. She said she washed the okra, then cut it and breaded it with cornmeal. We tried that, added some flour, tried some egg and milk. We ended up with flour, then egg and milk and then cornmeal. It was good. We had it with a grilled sausage.

Fried Okra

Okra, washed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
lemon pepper
salt and pepper
oil for frying

1. Wash the okra and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

2. Place oil in skillet and begin heating.

3. Place flour in a bowl. Place some flour, cornmeal, lemon pepper, salt and pepper in a separate bowl. Mix egg and water in a separate bowl.

4. Dredge okra in flour. Dredge in egg and milk. Dredge in cornmeal mixture and place in hot oil.

5. Fry until golden brown. We like it burnt.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Jalapeno Bacon Wrapped Doves

Dove Season - it is a National holiday in Texas. Well, any opening day of any season is a national holiday in Texas. Never plan a wedding or a party on the opening weekend of any hunting season. Only the women will show up. That is a fact.

Dove season means alarm clocks set for 3:30 or 4:00am. Coffee in a thermal cup and camouflage clothing. I have even seen women's nighties made from silky camouflage and baby clothes in soft cottons. What-a-Burger is open 24 hours so the #11 breakfast meal is the breakfast of choice. A two hour drive and a short walk and you are ready for the sun to come up.

It is important to be at the lease before the sun is up and the birds start flying. Once the limit of 11 birds per licensed hunter has been reach it is time to turn around and come home. Once home you pop the breast meat out of the bird. There is blood in the meat so you soak it in a bowl of heavily salted water. The salt draws the blood out of the meat. Change the salted water a few times. Hoby likes to freeze his doves in plastic baggies with water. This eliminates the chance for freezer burn. I think this season he has a total of 77 doves in the bottom of the freezer. We really need a game freezer for the garage since he is starting to talk about deer season.

To prepare the doves:

Hoby seasons the breast with anything he finds in the spice rack. This time he used salt, pepper, lemon pepper and Caribbean Jerk Seasoning. Then he sweated some jalapenos on the grill and seeded them. He place the jalapeno along the breast bone side of the dove and wrapped it in bacon secured with wooden toothpicks.

Hoby placed the doves in shallow plastic dishes and covered them with a bottled Italian salad dressing. This batch was marinated overnight and we took them to mom and dad's. Hoby grilled them with Jardines Orange Zest Sauce, which was one of the sauces we purchased for 50 cents. I looked at HEB last weekend and the sauce is on the shelf for over $4 a bottle.

All who at them were in love. They were great. There were two left over and my cousin Mike showed up and ate them. Guess we were saving him a few.

We didn't get any photos of the doves on the grill so next time we grill some dove we will shoot 'em again! This time with a camera.


HEB is my favorite grocery store. If you live in South Texas, then you know about HEB. But those who do not it is the greatest place. HEB has recenlty expanded into Mexico.

From Wikipedia:

The company was founded in 1905 when Florence Butt opened C.C. Butt Staple and Fancy Groceries on the ground floor of the family home in Kerrville, Texas. In 1919, Howard Edward Butt, her youngest son, took over the store upon his return from World War I. In 1924, he expanded the Butt Grocery Company with a new store in Junction, about 60 miles (97 km) from Kerrville. Charles, the youngest son of Howard E. Butt, became president of the H.E. Butt Grocery Company in 1971. Today, Charles Butt is chairman and CEO of H-E-B, having grown the business from sales of $250 million in 1971 to $13 billion in 2006. In 2003, the company was #10 on Forbes' list of largest privately held companies; H-E-B is also the largest privately held company in Texas. Mr. Butt, whose fortune is estimated to be over $2 billion, is the richest man in San Antonio.
Historically, the company is known for its generosity, with 5% of annual pretax earnings given to civic and charitable causes in the communities they operate in, including education and food banks. In December 2006, Chairman Charles Butt gave $1 million to the McNay Art Museum for the new Jane and Arthur Stieren Center for Exhibitions.
H-E-B is also environmentally driven, focusing on recycling and conservation, and in 1999 began converting their Houston distribution fleet to run on liquefied natural gas.
The year 2005 marked the company's 100th year in operation.

Some stores are typical grocery stores, but recently there has been a trend with HEB to bring in more unique products, gourmet products, prepared foods in the Cafe on the Run, pharmacy, dry cleaners, banks branches, cell phone stores, electronics departments, photo centers, florists, books sellers, food demonstrations, sushi bar... the list goes on. I could purchase a flat screen TV, a bicycle, a bottle of salad dressing, and a $40 a pound steak all in one location!

HEB recently opened a new store a block from my house. Now a block in Texas isn't 200 feet like some places, it is about 4 minutes away driving 45 mph. So that is a block. The new store has it all going on. This weekend I went to check it out and saw a woman dispensing the most gourgeous olive oil into a bottle. I asked her about it and she offered me one. I stepped back since olive oil has become more expensive than a gallon of gasoline and asked the price. I stepped forward when she said with this coupon it was free! So off I went and picked up a few more items before checking out. Anything free is a prize, but when I saw it ring up at $7.99 and ring off $7.99 with the scan of a coupon I was in heaven!

I went home and imediatly called my girl friend Susie. She was busy and was to call back. When my husband returned from dove hunting I informed him we were going back to HEB to get more free olive oil. He was so impressed he was game. Ususally men don't go for making a trip to the grocery store just to get something for free. When we returned to the neighborhood, I found Susie in her yard and off we went in her car back to HEB. Of course each trip we made purchases to offset the oil.

I told my mom, aunt and sister-in-law and we all went back on Sunday for more oil.

I gave away one bottle and I have four beautiful bottles of oil.

I found out that HEB gave away 1,000 litters of olive oil over the weekend.

Cibatta Bread

We like Cibatta bread. It has texture and it is chewy. I have not bought a sandwich loaf of bread on purpose for about 2 years. HEB (our local grocery chain) has a wonderful bakery where you can purchase different types of artisan breads. But with the addition of the KitchenAid Stand Mixer to our arsenal we have been making all our own bread. As I flipped through our new copy of The Stand Mixer Bible, Second Edition, Meredith Deeds and Carla Snyder, Robert Rose, Inc., 2008, I found a recipe for Cibatta! WOW!!! Just had to try it.

The first mistake we made was putting the yeast and warm water into the COLD mixer bowl. The cold metal bowl dropped the temperature of the water too low for the yeast. We started over by warming the metal mixer bowl with warm water prior to adding the yeast and 1/2 cup of water.

The second mistake I made was I used 1 cup of water instead of 1/2 cup of water. After adding the 6 cups of flour and mixing the dough I had batter. I realized what I had done and added 1 cup of flour. Still too much like batter. I added a 2nd cup. In hind sight I should have added one more. After our bread rose in loaf form it was still flatter than what it should have been. But it still taste great!

We don't have oven tiles so we used a Pampered Chef pizza stone and a Pampered Chef stone jellyroll pan.

We have a built in microwave over the range. When we turn the light on underneath it and tape the door just open so the interior light stays on it makes the perfect draft free warm place to rise our bread dough.

Cibatta Bread

Cibatta dough is the stickiest dough ever, but don't let that scare you. Just use lots of flour when handling it. The results are definitely worth it.

2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100 degrees F)
6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp salt
2 1/2 cups cool water

1. In the mixer bowl, stir together yeast and water. Let stand until yeast begins to form, about 5 minutes. Add flour, salt and cold water. Attach the flat beater and mixer bowl to the mixer. Set to Stir and mix until a dough forms.

2. Remove the flat beater and attach the dough hook. Set to Speed 2 and knead until dough is stretchy, about 8 minutes. Remove the mixer bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a war, draft free place until tripled in bulk, about 4 hours.

3. Turn dough out onto a generously floured work surface. Using a pastry knife or a metal dough knife, fold dough into thirds, much as you would fold a business letter. Flour the top and pat down down. Cover with a towel and let stand for about 20 minutes. (This process tightens the dough so the loaves will have a nice shape.) Dip the metal pastry scraper into cool water and cut dough crosswise into 4 loaves.

4. Cut 4 sheets of parchment paper into pieces 3 inches larger on all sides than the loaves. Liberally flour dough, place on parchment paper and cover with towels. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours. Meanwhile, place oven rack in the middle position, line with clay oven tiles and preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

5. Carefully slide 2 of the loaves, with parchment paper, onto baking sheet. Place baking sheet on the hot tiles and remove it much as a magician would pull a tablecloth from a set table, leaving the parchment paper and loaves on the tiles. Make sure the loaves do not touCheck Spellingch and have enough room to expand. Spray loaves and the inside of the oven with water. Shut the door quickly. Spray again 3 times, at 2 minute intervals. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until loaves reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. Let cool completely on wire racks. Repeat with the remaining loaves.

Chicken, So Many Ways, So Little Time

I'm a Texas girl - I eat beef! I am very blessed to live in San Antonio, Texas. We have a grocery store chain that started in Kerville called HEB. They are so on top of their game that they are the only true grocery store left in town. All other grocery stores are attached to the big box chain stores called Super-W**-**** and Super-T*****. They have the best prices and awesome store brand products as well as the name brand and many gourmet and specialty products.

Their beef is just to die for. They own and raise all their own cattle. They control them, they slaughter them before 36 months, which is when Mad Cow begins to manifest. They raise different qualities of beef to include organic. They slaughter in their own plant and wet or dry age up to 21 days. There is nothing like HEB beef. But more about HEB beef in another post. This one is about chicken.

I don't like handling poultry. I have always been afraid of contamination and poisoning myself if I handled it wrong. So those frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts seemed the safest to use. Those things could sole a shoe if cooked too long. They are dry and have no flavor. Sometimes they are so large I wonder what steroids that athletic chicken took to get so big. Do they drug test chickens?

Hoby and I met and the beef girl shied away from chicken and the man who didn't have HEB beef shied from beef. One day we discussed why I didn't like chicken. So the hunter in Hoby de-boned a chicken, kept the skin on and there you have our love affair with chickens.

I buy whole chickens - a very economical way to purchase chicken - and Hoby de-bones them. We split the chicken in half and place each half in a zip lock bag. Then when we are ready to cook we decide from a number of bottles of sauces in the refrigerator or a few dry rubs in the pantry. Hoby then seasons it up, opens a beer, heats the grill and there we have some of the best chicken in Texas!

A few weeks ago I stopped off at HEB and found a basket of sauces and dry rubs marked down. The rub had an expiration date of November 2009. So I just couldn't pass up bottles of sauce at 50 cents each and dry rubs at 25 cents each! WOW! So I got two of everything.

One of the dry rubs was Char Crust Dry-Rub Seasoning for All Meat and Fish. It is put out by Char Crust, Inc. Chicago, IL 1-800-311-9884. The blend we got was Original Hickory Grilled. It has wheat, salt, sugar, spices, caramel color, hydrolyzed soy and corn protein, paprika, mustard, and natural hickory smoke flavor. We have tried it on a New York Strip steak and found it to be subtle and really let the flavor of the meat through.

Tonight Hoby season both sides of the chicken with the rub, salt and pepper and let it sit for about an hour. Then he took his beer, tongs and chicken to the grill. In Texas we grill year round, rain, 100 degree heat, we grill. Tonight it is in the low 70's and dropping into the 50's before sunrise.
Dad called while Hoby was grilling and the great bird hunters are off again at 3:30am for another hunt. Weather and conditions are identical to the successful weekend they just had.

Hoby also made a salad and heated up left over Yukon Gold Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes we made in the KitchenAid stand mixer a few days ago from The Mixer Bible.

As I previously mentioned, I purchased several sauces and rubs that day for pennies on the dollar. The following week I was going down the isle and saw the rubs I picked up for 25 cents each. There they were on the shelf priced at over $6 each. Each time we get out a chicken half we debate over which sauce to use. Thus far all have been excellent!

Also on the menu tonight was a Cibatta Bread I made yesterday from The Mixer Bible. After we started the KitchenAid we noticed how liquid the "dough" was looking. I studied the recipe and discovered that I used a cup of water with the yeast and not half a cup. But this is a blog for another day. Needless to say - the Cibatta Bread might not really be Cibatta Bread, but some type of new variety that tastes really good.

Next time you don't know what to do with chicken, just pick up a few rubs and sauces and try something new!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies With the KitchenAid Stand Mixer

My husband Hoby works from home so when things get slow, Hoby gets cooking. Today he made Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with the KitchenAide stand mixer.

He used a recipe out of our new cookbook, The Mixer Bible Second Edition, Meredith Deeds and Carla Snyder, Robert Rose, Inc., 2008.

Hoby tends to modify most recipes when he cooks. He is very creative and it is one of the reasons we get along so well. He loves to cook and he loves to eat. Today he called me at my office and asked if we had any nutmeg and yes we do, but not in a spice jar that shakes. I keep whole nutmeg and grate what I need for my recipes. This is the best way to enjoy nutmeg and when you get the nutmeg grater out when friends are over it is a big hit. So gourmet!

The cookies turned out great! Hoby reports using extra nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla and added pecans and walnuts. He also said that he baked the cookies the Caphalon cookie sheets for 11 min 30 sec (for our oven).

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat Oven to 350 dg F

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

2. Place butter in the mixer bowl. Attache the flat beater and mixer bowl to the mixer. Set to speed 4 and beat until soft and creamy. Increase to speed 6 and beat in brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Reduce speed to stir and mix in flour mixture in 3 additions. Mix in chocolate chips and oats until evenly incorporated.

3. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets. Bake in middle of preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden and slightly firm t the touch. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 4 dozen cookies.

ENJOY - we are!
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