Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy

Wow – this turkey was completely worth all the extra work it required. I have never had a more moist and flavorful turkey – we didn’t even need to drown it in the gravy! Speaking of the gravy – wow, what a great addition to such a tasty bird. Instead of using the leftover cup of apple cider, I used all chicken stock for the gravy. I think the apple essence was just right and not at all weird. Also, the cinnamon was a subtle addition and did blend well with all the other flavors. I was a little worried about the herb butter because I didn’t want the rosemary and sage combination to over power the meal – it didn’t. I am so happy with how it all turned out! This will most likely be my go to recipe for Thanksgiving turkey and it was the best that any of us had ever tasted. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy –

Brine –

  • 7 quarts water
  • 1 quart apple cider
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 head garlic, cut in 1/2 equatorially
  • 1/2 bunch fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 bunch fresh sage
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 (12 to 14 pound) turkey

Herb Crust –

  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh sage, leaves finely chopped
  • 3 sticks butter, room temperature
  • Kosher salt

Gravy –

  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 large or 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 quart chicken stock, divided
  • 2 cups apple cider, divided
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

Special equipment: butcher’s twine

To brine the turkey: Combine all of the ingredients for the brine in a large container. Add the turkey and let it brine in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

To prepare the turkey for cooking: Remove the turkey from the brine the night before roasting and pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels. Combine the rosemary, sage, and butter for the herb crust in a small bowl. Season, to taste, with kosher salt. Work the butter under the skin of the turkey and massage it into the breasts and the legs. Massage the bitter on the outside of the skin as well. Tie the legs together over the breast so they will protect it during cooking and help keep it moist and juicy.

Gravy preparation: Put the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, apples, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and thyme in a roasting pan and season with salt. Arrange the turkey on top of the veggies and refrigerate overnight UNCOVERED! Yes, that’s right, uncovered. This will help the skin dry out and become really brown and crispy. Make sure that there is no raw food near the turkey in the refrigerator. After refrigerating overnight, the turkey is ready to go in the oven.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Put 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup apple cider in the bottom of the roasting pan. Roast the turkey in the preheated oven until the skin gets really nice and brown, about 40 minutes. Lower the oven heat to 350 degrees F for the remainder of the cooking time. Baste the turkey every 30 minutes or so and add more stock to the roasting pan, if needed. Cook about 17 minutes per pound. Once it gets to the proper color, tent the turkey with aluminum foil to prevent it from getting too dark.

Remove the turkey from the oven when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the turkey registers 160 degrees F. Make sure that the thermometer is not touching a bone when doing the reading. When the turkey has reached the proper temperature, remove it from the roasting pan to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Strain all the veggies over a bowl to separate them from the stock/mixture. Discard the veggies. Skim off the fat and add it to the roasting pan. This is the fat for the roux. Put the roasting pan over 2 burners and over a low heat and whisk in the flour. Cook until the mixture looks like wet sand, about 4 to 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the remaining 1 cup apple cider, remaining chicken stock and the stock/cider mixture. Cook until the mixture has thickened and reached a gravy consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour into a serving pitcher or bowl.

Carve the turkey, transfer to a serving platter and serve with the gravy.

Cook’s Note: Don’t fight over the drumsticks.

Give thanks for such a great turkey!!!

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Brioche and Sausage Dressing

Wow – this was more work than I anticipated…brioche takes time, especially the recipe I ended up using. If there is anything I have learned this year it’s plan ahead. I thought I did a pretty good job until I realized the brioche I needed could take up to 4 days to make if I chose. This is baking in the oven now, and it smells divine! I’m hoping that it is worth all the extra effort I put into it.

Update: Wow – was this ever tasty! Be sure to use a good quality butter when making this bread, because it is such an important component and flavor in this. The dressing was so flavorful and moist, and I am happy to report that it was completely worth the head ache and effort to make. I will not forget the lesson I learned this Thanksgiving about planning. Next time this is on the menu, I will be sure to bake it off or just start it a week before it’s needed. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

briochea

*Basic Brioche – The Bread Bible

Dough Starter –

  • 2 TBSP room temperature water
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup (2.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg

*Make the starter one to two days ahead. In a mixing bowl, add ingredients and mix until very smooth. Cover with plastic wrap.

Flour Mixture –

  • 5.5 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 tsp
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 TBSP room temperature butter

1. Combine first four ingredients and pour on top of the starter, cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

2. Using a standing mixer, add eggs and mix on low speed for about a minute until evenly moistened. Raise speed to medium and beat for two minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with an oiled rubber scraper, then continue beating for five minutes longer or until the dough is smooth and shiny but very soft and sticky. It wont pull away from the bowl completely.

3. Add the butter one TBSP at a time until all incorporated. The dough will be soft and sticky. Lightly oil top and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

4. Chill – refrigerate for one hour, then gently deflate with rubber spatula, then return it to the refrigerator for another hour.

5. Deflate/Chill – turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Press or roll into a rectangle, flour as needed. Give the dough a business letter turn, brushing off excess flour. Rotate 90 degrees so the closed side faces left. Make a second business turn and round the corners. Dust it lightly on all sides with flour. Wrap loosely but securely with plastic wrap and place in a large ziploc bag. Refrigerate of at least six hours and up to two days.

6.  Shape/Rise – remove from fridge and gently press down to deflate. Roll/press into a 7 1/2″ by 5″ wide rectangle. Roll down from top in three turns, being sure to brush off the excess flour. Place seam side down in a prepared 8×4 inch loaf pan pressing down firmly. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until the dough reaches the top of the pan – about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with a rack on the lowest position of the oven and place a baking stone or a baking sheet on the rack.

8. Glaze/Slash/Bake – glaze the top of the loaf with a mixture of one egg yolk and a splash of cream or milk. Slash the top of the loaf 1/4″ to 1/2″ deep lengthwise down the loaf, making sure to leave 1″ at each end. Set on hot stone and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees.

9. Cool – un-mold loaf to cool on a wire rack at least two hours before cutting.

dressing

*Sausage Brioche Dressing – adapted from Food Network

  • 1 brioche loaf, cubed into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound pork breakfast sausage
  • 4 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and cross cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped sage leaves
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions –

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Spread the brioche on a baking sheet and put it in the oven until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Set aside in a large bowl.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the sausage and break it into pieces with a spoon. Cook until browned, then transfer it to the bowl with the brioche. Add the celery to the sausage drippings and cook until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Put the sausage into the brioche bowl. Stir in the stock and sage and mix until the brioche absorbs most of the liquid. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

dressing2

Transfer the dressing to a 13 by 9-inch baking dish and cook, uncovered for 20 minutes. Cover with foil and bake until golden brown on top, another 20 to 25 minutes.

Lion House Dinner Rolls

I tried out these rolls on Little Miss S’ class last week. They were quickly snatched up by all the parents – I even saw someone make two turkey sandwiches to take home! These were buttery, fluffy, slightly sweet and reminiscent of Hawaiian rolls. I told M I would make these for Thanksgiving which I plan on making a few days in advance. All the breads I have ever made freeze really well with no noticeable change in flavor or texture.  Now that I’ve successfully made them once, I know what to expect, and maybe I will actually get a full 24 mostly equally sized rolls out of this recipe. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Lion House Dinner Rolls – adapted from My Kitchen Cafe

  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 5-6 cups flour

Directions –

In a large bowl, combine the yeast and water. Let stand 5 minutes (no need to do this if using instant yeast – just add the yeast and water together with the other ingredients). Add sugar, butter, salt, dry milk, 2 cups flour and egg. Beat together until very smooth. Add remaining flour gradually (about 1/2 cup at a time) until a soft but not sticky dough is formed. Knead the dough for at least five minutes if using an electric mixer and for at least 10 minutes if mixing the dough by hand. When the dough is smooth, supple and elastic, place it in a lightly greased large bowl covered with greased plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled.

Separate the dough into two portions. Roll each section out to an 11X14-inch rectangle. Brush the top with melted butter. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough into two pieces, the long way (see photos below). Then slice the dough into five or six strips across so you end up with 10 to 12 small rectangles. Roll each small rectangle up like a snail and place on a silpat-lined or lightly greased baking sheet with the roll resting on it’s open edge. Repeat with the second portion of dough.

Cover the rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap and let them rise until doubled. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes until they are nicely browned

Big ‘ol Breakfast

What started off as an idea to make buttermilk pancakes became so much more. Once I decided to have the SIL over for breakfast, I thought fried apples would be a good addition to the pancakes, but that still might not be enough food for us all. Then I thought “what else goes well with pancakes?” That question led me to think of my favorite side dish at Cracker Barrel, (which costs a ridiculous $2.59 for a dinky serving – seriously, the plate is the size of a saucer) the super yummy-not-so-good-for-you hash brown casserole! I did a naughty thing by adding some leftover bacon to the mix of ingredients, but I did leave out lots of the butter that the recipe called for. Also instead of cheddar cheese, I added a full 8 ounces of Colby Monterey Jack cheese. I did M a favor by sautéing the onions until they were soft and translucent – he really doesn’t like the strong flavor. In addition to these tasty vittles, M requested biscuits and sausage gravy! Who does he think I am?;o) The night before I browned the breakfast sausage, made the buttermilk biscuits and readied the casserole for the oven. In the AM, all I have to do is cook the apples, make the gravy, put the casserole in the oven and cook some scrambled eggs! Whew!

Wow – this breakfast was delish! The casserole was the bomb – sorry to use such a stupid word to describe it but I couldn’t think of a better one!;o) I will make this again and everyone will love me for it! The biscuits and sausage gravy came out really well – so much better than Cracker Barrel’s salty mess they call gravy…and the baked scrambled eggs weren’t bad either. Baking them created a light and fluffy finished product and it was so much easier than cooking 10 eggs on the stove. This is the largest breakfast I have ever taken on, but it was so much easier because I planned ahead and didn’t have to make all these in the morning. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

*Cracker Barrel’s Hashbrown Casserole – adapted from Tablespoon

  • 2 pounds frozen hash browns, thawed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted (*I used around a TBSP total, maybe two)
  • 1 can (10.75 ounces) cream of chicken soup
  • 1 pint sour cream (I used about 1/3 cup less)
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped (I softened these in a couple tsp of butter)
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (*I used Colby Monterey Jack)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions –

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then grease one 13×9 inch baking dish.

2. Combine all the ingredients together and pour into prepared pan. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

*Sausage Gravy – adapted from Taste and Tell

  • 1 – 16 oz. tube of pork sausage
  • Additional fat if needed: bacon grease or butter
  • 4 TBSP flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste – don’t skimp!


Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to a cast iron skillet or large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the sausage and break it up into bite size chunks, but don’t break it up too much, you want nice cocoa puff sized chunks. Brown the sausage and get some fond on your pan.

Turn the heat down to medium. Remove the sausage and drain, reserving the fat. Return about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the rendered sausage fat into the pan. If you don’t have enough fat, add a little bacon grease or butter to bring it up. Add the flour and cook while whisking until the roux is golden brown. Keep stirring and slowly pour in your milk, making sure to whisk out all the lumps. If it looks too thin, don’t worry, it’ll thicken once it simmers. If you like your gravy super thick, use less milk (2 or 2 1/2 cups). Once you added all the milk, return the sausage back to the skillet, add herbs if you want to get fancy, and season with salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper. Simmer the gravy until it’s thickened and serve it over your split biscuits.

*Oven Baked Scrambled Eggs – adapted from One Perfect Bite

Ingredients for 6 or 12:

  • 3 to 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 12 to 24 large eggs
  • 1 to 2-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 to 2 cups milk

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 11-inch glass pan with cooking spray if using 12 eggs. Spray a 9 x 13-inch glass pan if using 24 eggs. Pour butter into baking dish.
2) Beat eggs, salt sour cream and milk in a large bowl. When completely blended, pour egg mixture into pan.
3) Bake uncovered for 10 minutes. Stir well, folding sides and bottom toward center and top of pan. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until eggs are set but still soft. Fluff with fork to form curds. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 to 12 servings.

*Fried Apples – adapted from La Fuji Mama

  • 2 medium apples ( I used three small Fuji apples)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (I used a little less)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (I used about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt

1. Peel and core the apples and then slice them into 1/4-inch wedges.

2. Melt the butter in a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat.  When the butter has fully melted, sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter and then quickly place the apple slices in a single layer on top of the brown sugar.  With a wooden spoon, stir the apples to coat them in the butter and brown sugar.  Continue to stir the apples.  When the butter and brown sugar have formed a syrup, sprinkle the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt over the ingredients in the pan and stir to incorporate.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to stir the apples until they are fork tender and the syrup has reduced and thickened slightly.  Remove the skillet from the heat and let the apples cool for several minutes.  Serve alone, or as a topping for ice cream.


Pot Roast with Vegetables

Mmm…yet another recipe that makes me love cooler weather! This was my first time trying this recipe, and it was so good. I paired this meal with thyme roasted carrots and mashed potatoes…M was bummed that the rolls I made for S’s friendship feast weren’t part of the meal but I will make sure to make some next time. This roast has great flavor and the gravy created while it braised for three hours was perfect for spooning over the mashed potatoes. A couple of notes for next time – I added one pound of button mushrooms half way through cooking so they wouldn’t become too mushy, and I will add less water next time. Also, for the mashed potatoes I cooked up almost four pounds of Yukon gold potatoes then mixed them with four ounces of cream cheese, a few tablespoons of butter and a splash of half and half. Everyone enjoyed this and I think the flavor is so much better than the average crock pot recipe I have tried in the past. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pot Roast with Vegetables Ingredients – adapted from Tyler Florence

  • 1 (3 to 4 pound) piece beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 – 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup water (*next time I will use 1/2 cup)
  • 2 yellow onion, halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bunch baby carrots
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, stems removed and sliced in half
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (*I used dried)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

Directions –

Season all sides of the beef with a fair amount of salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot that has a tight cover; heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately high heat. Brown the meat on all sides, taking the time to get a nice crust on the outside. Pour in the tomatoes and the water. Scatter the vegetables and herbs around the pot roast, season with salt and pepper; and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of oil. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Braise for about 3 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices, until the beef is fork tender.

Slice the pot roast and arrange on platter surrounded by the vegetables. Serve with the pot juices.


Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake

Is this cheesecake ever good! I made it for the first time last year while visiting family in California. My dad requested this cheesecake specifically and I was apprehensive at first because at that time I had only made a cheesecake once. I am usually nervous about cooking for other people, but I wanted to impress him and everyone else who tried it. To my delight, my dad said it was the best cheesecake he ever had and even my Grandma said it was good…huge compliment in my book! Anyway, this cheesecake isn’t exactly a quick dessert and it is really important that you let it sit in the refrigerator overnight for the best flavor…your patience will be rewarded! Note to self – more apples next time. I ended up only using three of the four apples pictured because I thought three looked like enough when they were all cut up. M is requesting some type of chocolate infused cheesecake for Thanksgiving, so if that ends up happening I will be sure to post that one for you all. Also, if any of you out there has a tested cheesecake recipe recommendation, please leave me a comment! It’s always hard to choose new recipes – especially a chocolate cheesecake…there are so many to look through! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake Ingredients – adapted from Dorie Greenspan via Culinary Concoctions

(Everything minus the graham crackers)

For the Crust

  • 30 gingersnaps (* I used one sleeve of graham crackers)
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

For the Apples

  • 1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 3 large Golden Delicious or Fuji apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths
  • 2 tbsp (packed) light brown sugar

For the Filling

  • 1 1/2 pounds (three 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp apple cider
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

* Caramel Sauce for Drizzling

Directions –

To Make the Crust: Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan.

Put the gingersnaps in a food processor and whir until you have crumbs; you should have a scant 2 cups.  (If you are using graham cracker crumbs, just put them in the food processor.)  Pulse in the sugar and cinnamon, if you’re using it, then pour over the melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are moistened.  Turn the crumbs into the springform pan and, using your fingertips, firmly press them evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan as far as they’ll  go.  Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven.  (The crust can be covered and frozen for up to 2 months.)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the pan from the freezer and wrap the bottom tightly in aluminum foil, going up the sides.  Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until the crust is set and lightly browned.  Transfer to a rack to cool while you make the apples and the filling.  Leave the oven at 350 degrees F.

To Make the Apples: Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  When the foam subsides, toss in half of the apple slices and cook, turning once, until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Sprinkle the apples with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and cook them, turning, just until coated, another minute or so.  Scrape the apples onto a plate, wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining apples.  Let the apples cool while you make the filling.

Getting Ready to Bake:  Have a roasting pan large enough to hold the springform pan at hand.  Put a kettle of water on to boil.

To Make the Filling: Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on medium speed, scraping down the bowl often, for about 4 minutes, or until it is velvety smooth.  Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes.  Beat in the cider, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Reduce the speed to low and beat in the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in.  Finally, beat in the sour cream and heavy cream, beating just until the batter is smooth.

Pour about one-third of the batter into the baked crust. Drain the apples by lifting them off the plate with a slotted spoon or spatula, and spoon them into the pan.  Cover with the remaining batter and, if needed, jiggle the pan to even the top.  Place the springform pan in the roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 to 45 minutes, covering the cake loosely with a foil tent at the 45-minute mark.  The cake will rise evenly and crack around the edges, and it should be fully set except, possibly, in the very center if the center shimmies, that’s just fine.  Gently transfer the cake, still in the pan, to a cooling rack and let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it for at least 6 hours; overnight would be better.

Run a blunt knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the crust, open the pan’s latch and release and remove the sides.

Source: Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, Houghton Mifflin Company, November 2006

Carrot Cream Pasta

I found this recipe awhile ago thinking it sounded like a tasty and healthy (minus the heavy cream) meatless meal, aka – something M wouldn’t eat. I think roasted chicken would be a good addition to this and even some peas – you can’t go wrong with peas and carrots now, can you? In my opinion, you can go wrong with too much garlic! Woo – does my breath reek of it! If you plan on making this one and raw garlic’s spiciness isn’t too much for you, then add it all, baby!;o) I only added four of the five and I’ve learned my lesson – I forgot that raw garlic can seem spicy, but it’s also much more potent when it’s not cooked. I recommend maybe adding one or two cloves instead of the recommended five. Other than that, this pasta has a nice flavor – nothing spectacular, but it’s tasty. I added some ketchup (gasp) for its sweetness to cut some of the garlic flavor which made it much easier to eat. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Carrot Cream Pasta Ingredients – adapted from Reeni

  • 1 pound of Organic Carrots, sliced in 1-inch rounds
  • 5 cloves of garlic, whole, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Sea or Kosher salt and fresh pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • 2/3 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated, plus more for serving
  • 1 pound of Pasta
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of the pasta water
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl toss the carrot rounds and garlic with the Olive oil, using your hand to thoroughly coat the carrots and garlic with oil. Season well with salt, pepper, and thyme.
2. Bake in a 9×13 inch baking pan about 45-50 minutes until carrots are tender. Take the pan out and toss halfway through the cooking time.
3. When carrots are tender, remove from oven. Cook the pasta in a generous amount of salted water to al dente according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking
make the carrot cream.
4. In a blender or food processor puree the carrots and garlic together with the heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. When the pasta is done cooking reserve a cup and a half of the pasta water.
5. Drain pasta and add to a large mixing bowl. Toss with carrot cream, adding pasta water a little at a time until you get a nice consistency and the pasta is evenly coated.
6. Serve with Parmesan and crusty bread/garlic bread.

Southern Biscuits

It’s been pretty quiet in my kitchen this past week. M got rear-ended on Monday and the weekly routine was effected by it. I have done some cooking here and there, but no pictures. Last night I decided that I would try to make some biscuits for breakfast to sit along side some scrambled eggs and bacon. Pretty simple, but that’s all I had in the fridge. I haven’t gone grocery shopping all week, but I knew I had the ingredients to make some of these. I found the recipe this morning on Food Network’s website. It seemed simple enough and I was happy to see that the recipe wouldn’t yield a ton of biscuits! I don’t have anything to compare these to but they are nice and light. Speaking of light, you don’t want to over work the biscuit dough and your wet ingredients should be pretty cold. While I prepped the dry ingredients, my buttermilk, butter and shortening were chilling out in the freezer. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Southern Biscuits Ingredients – adapted from Alton Brown

  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 cup buttermilk, chilled

Directions –

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs. (The faster the better, you don’t want the fats to melt.) Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk. Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.

Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times. Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting. (Biscuits from the second pass will not be quite as light as those from the first, but hey, that’s life.)

Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15 to 20 minutes.


Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

I love being able to make treats like these! I haven’t made them in at least a couple months…for good reason. They are too darn good! What I love about this recipe the most is that you prepare the dough the day before you want to bake them off, because who wants to wake up at 4am to have fresh from the oven cinnamon rolls at 10am?? Not this girl! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls – adapted from Alton Brown

Dough:

  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 large whole egg, room temperature
  • 2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
  • 6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
  • 20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
  • 1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil or cooking oil

Filling:

  • 8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4-ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons

Icing –

  • 2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened, approximately 1/4 cup
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups

Directions –

For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.


Golden Pull-Apart Butter Buns

I made these lovely little rolls to accompany the chicken noodle soup that I made Friday night. These tasted good, but I’m sure that if I could smell better (I’ve been stuffed up for the past week and a half…lack of smell always messes up my sense of taste), I could judge the flavor accurately. M and the kids seemed to enjoy them, but I’m still on the hunt for rolls that taste like Texas Roadhouse rolls – those are our favorites! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Golden Pull-Apart Butter Buns – adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 3 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour or 1/4 cup instant potato flakes
  • 3 tablespoons Baker’s Special Dry Milk or nonfat dry milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons soft butter
  • 2/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk

1. Combine all of the dough ingredients in a large bowl, and mix and knead — using your hands, a stand mixer, or a bread machine set on the dough cycle — to make a soft, smooth dough.

2. Place the dough in a lightly greased container — an 8-cup measure works well here — and allow the dough to rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it’s just about doubled in bulk.

3. Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.

4. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces, by dividing in half, then in halves again, etc. Round each piece into a smooth ball.

5. Lightly grease two 8″ round cake pans. Space 8 buns in each pan. Can you use 9″ round cake pans, or a 9″ x 13″ pan? Sure; the buns just won’t nestle together as closely, so their sides will be a bit more baked.

6. Cover the pans, and allow the buns to rise till they’re crowded against one another and quite puffy, about 60 to 90 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

7. Uncover the buns, and bake them for 22 to 24 minutes, until they’re golden brown on top and the edges of the center bun spring back lightly when you touch it. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the center bun should register at least 190°F.

8. Remove the buns from the oven, and brush with the melted butter. After a couple of minutes, turn them out of the pan onto a cooling rack.

9.  Serve warm. Store leftovers well-wrapped, at room temperature. Makes 16 buns.