Thursday, January 31, 2013

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes

I love sweet potatoes. I love their flavor, texture and color. I prefer my sweet potatoes roasted. I'm not a fan of the classic sweet potato casserole with loads of sugar on top. I like to taste the natural flavors of a sweet potato.

Sweet potatoes are really more versatile than folks think. They can be roasted along with a chicken or made into french fries. A baked sweet potato with butter, salt and pepper is delicious too.

Tonight I was craving sweet potatoes.

Here is a recipe for simple, roasted sweet potatoes.
It was just the flavor I was craving.

 I'm having fun with my new vegetable cutter.
Cut, coat with oil, sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with maple syrup.
Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes.

 They had a nice caramelized coat on the bottom from the maple syrup.
It added wonderful flavor.

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes

2 large sweet potatoes, sliced in 3/4 in. rings
2-3 Tbsp. canola oil
sea salt
maple syrup

Peel sweet potatoes and slice into 3/4 in. rings. Place in a bowl
and coat evenly with the oil. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a 
cookie sheet. This saves you from soaking your cookie tray for a day. 
Spray with oil. Lay your sweet potatoes on your tray. Sprinkle with sea
salt and drizzle with maple syrup. Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes.
Flip potatoes half way through the baking time. This helps to get
both sides coated in the maple syrup. The potatoes should be soft
but not falling apart. You want them to have a little firmness.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Slugs and snails and puppy-dogs' tails...

...that's what little boys are made of. 
I wished for a niece but I am pretty
smitten by my four nephews.

Here are a few photos of my little,
nephew Caleb. He is growing like a weed.

 Sweet, sweet baby.

6 weeks old and needs to see the barber.
His mother claims she won't cut his hair until
he is one. Looks like he will be sporting piggy tails.

Norman Rockwell worthy.
These two are quite the pair.

A happy Auntie,

Friday, January 18, 2013

Pig Meetn'

We had a butchering day with my family yesterday. I vividly remember
butcher day as a child. I always wanted to take off school for butcher day. One day mom asked if I would rather go somewhere to stay or come with them to butchering day. I told her I'd rather come to the 'pig meetn' with them.
For years it was called the 'pig meetn'.

The older I got I did all I could to miss the 'pig meetn'. The strong smell and cutting up raw meat wasn't a real draw for me. What teenager doesn't
have more important things to do, ha. Now that I'm married I decided I'd participate in 'pig meetn' again so I could reap the benefits of fresh sausage, pon hoss and spending a day with the family. I guess that means I'm growing up.

I will step you through the process with photos. But please don't go by this to butcher a pig. I'm green behind the ears at this. I may have missed some important photos.

The pig was slaughtered by a local man and came to us in halves ready to butcher. Start cutting out the parts of the meat you want to keep- roasts, ribs, bacon and such.

Cut the fat off the meat pieces. Put the red meat in one pan and the fat in another. The red meat is used for sausage and the fat is used to make lard.

Trim the bones down as close as you can and throw them in a pot of boiling water too cook down for meat puddin which is made into pon hoss.

Once you pick the meat off the bones you cooked, run the cooked meat through a sausage grinder to make it fine. Brown the meat in the kettle and remove some meat puddin if you like. As a child I remember eating the meat puddin on cooked hominy with apple butter. Then add the broth that was made when you cooked the meat off the bones. Pour in corn meal, salt and pepper. Stir for 30 minutes with automatic paint stirrer. Of course it was new and just used for butchering. Then pour into loaf pans, once set, slice and fry on a hot griddle until crisp on both sides. We grew up putting King Syrup on our pon hoss, my husband puts mustard on his. What do you put on yours?

In another kettle add the fat you cut off the meat and cook it down until the liquid reaches 375 degrees. Then pour it into jars and once it's cooled you have lard. Some folks use a lard press to press more lard out of the cooked fat but we didn't.

The Grandma's reminiscing on how much work it was to butcher back in their day before freezers. They had to can a lot of the meat after they butchered. 

Mom and Dad butchered the day before so Mom was the cook and babysitter.

What a lovely day with family.
 I'm glad I was a part of the 'pig meetn' this year.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Grilled London Broil

I have always wanted to fix 
London broil but never took the time
to research how to cook it.

Most recipes call to marinate it
for 24 to 6 hours. Well, I can't
think that far ahead... so I tried
a 'quick' version of Emeril Lagasse's
marinated and grilled London broil.
It was delicious.

Thank you Emeril.

Four easy steps. And you have London broil.

Add three easy sides and you have a dinner.

Grilled London Broil

1-2 lb. London broil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup red wine
2 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. Soy sauce
1 tsp. hickory smoke marinate, not hickory smoke
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
3 tsp. pepper, coarsely ground
3 garlic gloves, crushed
1/2 tsp salt

Stab meat all over with a fork so it can marinate quickly.
Place London broil in a gallon zip lock bag.
Whisk together ingredients and pour in bag.
Let set for 30 minutes to an hour.
Or longer if you want to do as Emeril says.
I feel like 24 hours would be over marinated.
But a little longer than 30 minutes would have 
helped break down the meat and tenderize it.
 Grill 5 minutes per side. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
Slice diagonally. It will be dark pink- don't freak out
this is what makes it tender. It's how it's supposed to be.
Serve with steak sauce.



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Homemade Doughnuts

Happy new year to all.

Last week when it snowed I decided
to make homemade doughnuts.
I called my mother for her recipe and
took the plunge of making them alone.
Thank goodness my dear friend, Karana, stopped by 
on her way home from work to help me fry and glaze them.

 Let raise twice. Roll and cut out. Let raise again and fry.

 Fry, glaze and eat.

Homemade Doughnuts

5 cups water
5 Tbsp. dry yeast
1 Tbsp. sugar

 1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
5 eggs, beaten
4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2 tsp. nutmeg
15 cups of flour

2 lbs. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla

Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1 cup of warm water. Set aside.

In a very large bowl: cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs,
salt, vanilla, and nutmeg. Mix until combined then add yeast mixture.
Add flour alternately with remaining 4 cups of water.
I used my small hand mixer for the first few cups of flour- 
then I used a wooden spoon to mix the rest of the flour in.
Cover and let raise double, punch down. Let raise double again.

Mix together glaze ingredients. Set aside.

Half dough and roll out to 1/2 in. thick. Cut circles and lay on a lightly
floured surface. Stretch doughnut centers out as you lay them down.
Let raise double again. Heat lard, canola oil or Crisco to 375 degrees.

It's important to maintain that temperature as at this temperature 
the oil seals the outside of the doughnut so it doesn't soak in. If the 
oil is too hot the doughnut will get too brown and crisp on the outside 
before the inside has time to be cooked through. If the oil is not 
hot enough, the doughnut will absorb too much of the oil and 
the texture will be soggy and greasy.  

Fry until golden brown. Lay on paper towels for a minute or so.
 Place doughnuts in rows on a wooden stick or wooden spoon handle. 
Lay across glaze bowl and pour glaze over doughnuts with a ladle. 
Let drip for a minute and place on trays. Eat as many
as you can fresh because they are the best!
Freeze for another snowy day.