A look into the daily agenda of the average American.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tired of Turkey? How about soup?

       Gobble gobble gobble!!  Turkey broth!

       We all spent the past week reflecting on what we are thankful for in life, as well as gorging on delicious holiday fare.  These days after Thanksgiving we eat tons of leftovers, from delicious roasted veggies, mashed potatoes with gravy, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, stuffing (my favorite!), and of course the turkey.  Now most of us, the omnivores at least, have a turkey carcass floating around in the fridge somewhere.  I know carcass conjures up images of something only vultures would be picking at, but in fact a turkey carcass is a beautiful thing which makes the best broth for these cold wintery days!

     
       First thing you want to do is ready yourself a mirepoix (onions, celery, and carrots).   In a large stock pot lightly fry the mirepoix to release the flavors.  Now, put that turkey carcass into the pot and just cover with water.  Fritz recommends using boiling water, which he heated in the electric kettle.  It makes the broth come to a boil much faster, obviously.  If you need to disassemble the bird a bit to get it to fit into the pot better feel free, this will also allow you to use less water.

       After the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer on low for at least an hour to break down the connective tissue which will give your broth that amazing taste.  You can add any spices you want to your broth, depending on the flavor you want.  A little thyme often goes well with poultry, but for this broth Fritz used more exotic spices such as star anise, juniper berries, bay leaf, and allspice.

     
       The final step for this broth is just to strain the solids out, after which you can pull the rest of the meat off the bones, and save whatever veggies you would like to be in your soup.  This recipe is meant to be very simple.  That is pretty much it.  You can now add anything else you want to your soup.  I was getting over a little cold so I enjoyed mine a bit  more brothy, but we also added orzo which makes it a little more substantial.

       Be creative and enjoy your holidays!! :)












This is the finished soup with orzo in it.  ----->
Some discard their veggies,  I like them and always return them!  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sauerbraten

Sauerbraten


sau·er·bra·ten/ˈsou(ə)rˌbrätn/


       If you love deliciously tender beef braised for hours, then sauerbraten is for you.  Go find a German grandmother and kiss her right now, because this recipe is amazing.  As a general rule, if Alton Brown has his name on a recipe, IT WILL WORK!!  I often type a recipe into a search engine with his name just to see what advice he has to offer. 
       Back to sauerbraten now.  It is a traditional German meal, as is schnitzel, and according to Wikipedia (and my German boyfriend) they are two of their national dishes.  So get crackin' and go make some sauerbraten! 
       Please take note that I doubled the recipe in the photos.  I was making extra to feed my hungry rabid co-workers.  Your pot should not be this close to overflowing if you just follow this recipe.  :) 
Ingredients: 









  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, additional for seasoning meat
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 12 juniper berries
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) bottom round
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 18 dark old-fashioned gingersnaps (about 5 ounces), crushed
  • 1/2 cup seedless raisins, optional



  • Directions

    In a large saucepan over high heat combine the water, cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, onion, carrot, salt, pepper, bay leaves, cloves, juniper, and mustard seeds. Cover and bring this to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

    Pat the bottom round dry and rub with vegetable oil and salt on all sides. Heat a large saute pan over high heat; add the meat and brown on all sides, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side.

    When the marinade has cooled to a point where you can stick your finger in it and not be burned, place the meat in a non-reactive vessel and pour over the marinade. Place into the refrigerator for 3 days. If the meat is not completely submerged in the liquid, turn it over once a day.

    After 3 days of marinating, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

    Add the sugar to the meat and marinade, cover and place on the middle rack of the oven and cook until tender, approximately 4 hours.


    Remove the meat from the vessel and keep warm.  Strain the liquid to remove the solids. Return the liquid to the pan and place over medium-high heat. Whisk in the gingersnaps and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps. Add the raisins if desired. Slice the meat and serve with the sauce.






    
    I was crushing the gingersnaps in the ziptop bag with a rolling pin.  I got bored
    and decided that a finer ground ginger snap might make a smoother sauce...  soooo........
    ..... so I threw the crumbled cookies into the vitamix.  It quickly pulverized
    the little gingery delights into a "gingersnap flour".  It made the sauce come
    together much quicker and was deliciously easy

    
    










           Here is the finished sauce made from the marinade/braising liquid and gingersnaps.  It was thick and beautiful.  Such an amazing recipe!  Next time I will try the full 5 days in the refrigerator, I stuck with three days and it was delicious enough. 

    Monday, November 19, 2012

    Limoncello


     
    Limoncello
     

           Ah, limoncello!  The mere name ushers a pulsating salivary moment.  It is clean, lemony, and soothing at its best, however, many imitators use cheap trickery employing such methods as lemon extract and other horrible nightmares I dare not mention.
     
           Take heart, for you have the power to remedy this situation.  With just a few days and a few ingredients you are well on  your way to a decadent after dinner digestif.
     
           The following recipe is once again from the almighty Alton Brown.  I do recommend looking at several recipes beforehand to make sure you like the technique they are using. 
     
           In my case today I am using an extremely fragrant Buddha's hand citron, also known as a fingered citron.  Yes, I said fingered citron.  The truly magical thing about the Buddha's hand is that the whole interior consists of a white pith that, unlike other lemons, is not bitter!  This means I am using a good portion of the citron to flavor my vodka.  Remember, get a decent vodka, something you might actually drink, so you don't end up with cough syrup or "lemon pledge".  Now, to the best of your ability, follow the following recipe:
     
     

    Limoncello

    Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2009 from FoodNetwork.com

    Ingredients


    • 2 pounds lemons, about 8 to 10
    •       (or in my case 1 Buddha's hand citron!)
    • 750 ml vodka, 100 proof  
    • 2/3 cup water
    • 2/3 cup sugar

    Directions

    Carefully remove the zest from the lemons using a microplane or rasp grater, being careful not to remove any of the white pith. Reserve the lemons to make lemonade or squeeze and freeze the juice for later use.
     
    Put the lemon zest into a lidded glass container that is at least 2-quarts in size. Pour the vodka over the zest, and let sit in a cool dark place for 7 days.
     
    After 7 days, strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer lined with muslin or several layers of cheesecloth and return the vodka to the container.
    Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan set over high heat and cook, stirring continually, until the sugar is completely dissolved, approximately 3 minutes. Once completely cool, add the sugar syrup to the vodka, and stir to combine.
    Cover and put the container in the freezer for at least 4 hours. Limoncello can be stored in the freezer for up to a year.
     
     
     
     
    I hope this batch turns out great.  I will update you later to show how I will be packaging these bottles as Christmas gifts.  Imagine how memorable a bottle of homemade limoncello can be.  Show you care, make limoncello!

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

    Jamaican Style Banana Fritters

    This meal is simple and quick, so let's not waste any more time.  I halved this recipe since I was only cooking for two...

    Ingredients

    • 6 ripe bananas
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

    Directions

    In a large bowl, mash the bananas and blend in the eggs. Stir in the flour. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Drop spoonfuls (2 to 3 inches in diameter) of the batter into the hot oil. Reduce the heat to medium. When bubbles begin to appear, turn and cook the other side until golden brown. Repeat the process until all the batter is used up, keeping the cooked fritters in a warm oven. Serve them with maple syrup or honey.
     
     


     
    The warm gooey banana fritters needed something,
    so I added some delicious crunchy cashews.
    I also had some maple syrup which I had to add. 
    Enjoy!
     
     
     
     
     
    Of course, I got this recipe from my mentor. Check out her site ;) http://www.marthastewart.com/349036/banana-fritters