Herbs in my Garden

The weather is finally turning where I am at. Spring is in the air and I feel the need to get out and garden. I happily admit that as much as I like to cook, I like to play in the dirt too. If I can combine the two even better. Today was spent getting my pots on my back deck ready for planting fresh herbs. Making my list of herbs and seeds to purchase. Who doesn’t like to have fresh herbs while they cook. In the past my two favorites have been Rosemary and Basil. Every time I go out there during the summer I would run my hands on the plants and then smell my hands. Silly I know, but how can you not like the fragrant bouquet from these two plants. However last year after making compound butter, Tarragon has become my new favorite.  I have been trying to figure out dishes to use this tasty herb.  Surprisingly I think eggs are favorite paring with Tarragon.  This year I hope to be able to harvest and dry herbs which I usually never get a chance to do.  What is your favorite herb? What is your favorite dish to use it in?

Sur la table

Recently I got a card in the mail for this new store. I had never heard of them and so I checked them out online. After looking at their website I was so excited to go see it. There were so many cute aprons there. I told my husband about this store and he decided to go with me. Our drive down to the mall and checked it out. Oh boy it as like being in a candy store for adults. There was so much in the store that we both wondered around for a while in the store. All I wanted was a new apron, I ended up coming out of the store with a few new ramikins too. My husband took one look at them and said I needed them for chocolate souffle. He knows they are on my list of things to cook this year. I think that was a hint. Anyways if you have a chance to visit this store or go to their online site, I highly recommend it.

Enjoy the photos from the store. They offer a discount in store if you are a professional.

http://www.surlatable.com 

Yes I love cooking and kitchen toys are like crack. Think this place rates right up there with my Le Creuset outlet store and William and Sanoma. 

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Drunken Turkey

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because I really love to cook. Growing up I only knew of two ways to cook turkey. One was the tradition stuff the bird into a bag and place it in the oven. The second one was to deep pit it. In my personal opinion only the deep pitting of a turkey was exciting to me, but did not happen very often. That was until I was married and watching Martha Stewart. She showed how to cook a turkey using cheese cloth and basting it with wine and butter. Her turkey sounded so wonderful and looked beautiful. I thought to myself that surely I could make the same turkey. So that year I followed her recipe and my family loved my non boring turkey. After that I always made my Martha Stewart turkey. Over they years I have played with the recipe and finally perfected what my family now call my “Drunk Turkey”. Martha’s recipe called for only 1/2 cup of dry white wine and 1 stick of butter to melt and baste the bird with. Over the years I have tried different wines and finally settled on one that I really enjoy. Cupcake winery makes a lovely red wine called Red Velvet and this is what I use to baste my turkey. I use the whole bottle and 2 sticks of butter.

My Drunken Turkey Recipe
1 bottle Cupcake’s Red Velvet wine
3 sticks unsalted butter(soften 1 stick)
cheese cloth
Kosher salt
Ground peper
poultry seasoning
Poultry fresh herb bouqet
8-12 red onions(depending on pan size)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut onions in half and peal. Place in bottom of pan to place turkey on top of to cook. This will act as your roasting rack. I use a roasting rack now, but still tuck onion halves under the rack. Thaw and clean turkey, pat dry with paper towels. Place turkey in pan. Take hands and gently run hands up under skin to loosen along top of turkey. Use soften butter to rub under skin and on top of skin all over tukey. Season with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Truss legs and tuck wings up underneath turkey. Place sprigs of fresh herbs under skin and in turkey cavity. Place one half onion in cavity of turkey. Melt remaining two sticks of butter and pour in bottle of wine. Dip cheesecloth into wine and butter mixture, then place damp cheesecloth over turkey. Cook turkey at 425 for 30-45 minutes. After 30-45 minutes, baste turkey with butter and wine mixture then rotate in oven. Lower temperature to 350 degrees, continue to bast turkey every half hour and rotate for even doneness. Remove cheesecloth after 1 1/2 hours. Check temperature on turkey at 2 1/2 hours for doneness. Turkey should register 165 degrees on the thickest part of thigh. Cook longer if nessessary. When turkey is done remove from oven, place on platter or cutting board and lightly cover with foil to let rest at least 20-30 minutes. Congratulations your turkey is now drunk but very juicy and tender.

For gravy I remove most of onions from pan to serve on the side. Cooking down the drippings in pan on top of stove and scraping bottom of pan for extra bits. Skim off fat from drippings. Cook juiced down. Slowly add several dollops of sour cream to thicken gravy.

Enjoy!

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Poached Eggs and Eggs Benedict

So I have to confess that growing up I was never a huge fan of eggs. I did not mind them in things like cakes or cookies. The only way I ate them was hardboiled and made into deviled eggs. Then I met my husband and he liked to make breakfast on the weekends, how could I say no to that. So slowly he got me to eat scrambled eggs with cheese of course. Then came the omelette, which is really scrambled eggs with extra stuff. I must admit that my husband makes wonderful omelettes. So when I stated working on my list of things to make this year, I had poached eggs on my list. Which I had not made up until this point. I asked my husband if he had eaten poached eggs. His response was that poached eggs were what you used to make Eggs Benedict. Having made hollandaise sauce before, this should be easy right? Over the weekend I poached my first eggs and made Eggs Benedict. It was very tasty and rich. My first three eggs were a little over done having cooked them for four minutes, the next three I cooked for three minutes and turned out perfect.

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Potato Leek Soup

So when I went to the asian supermarket I went a little crazy and bought a lot of tasty goodies to cook with and will soon be future blog post. Among them were these beautiful leeks that I just had to get. Normally, I do not buy leeks, I do however love my onions and these just seemed too good to pass up. I just had to make Leek Soup that was in my Julia Child cookbook after pouring through cookbooks for blog inspiration. This soup can be served either cold or warm. the night I made it I served it warm with fresh homemade bread. The next day I had for lunch and tried it cold. this is a simple soup and not complex in flavor. For those who like easy, this is for you. Bon Appetit!

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
2 cups finely chopped leeks (pale green and white parts only)
4 cups peeled, medium-dice russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (from 4 medium thyme sprigs)
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 cups water
1/3 cup heavy cream

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add leeks, season with freshly ground black pepper, and cook until leeks are softened, about 5 minutes.

Add potatoes, salt, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to high, add vegetable broth and water and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are fork tender, about 10 minutes.

Blend soup in a blender in 2 batches until smooth. Return soup to the saucepan over medium heat, stir in cream, season with additional pepper as needed, and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.

Recipe from :
http://www.chow.com/recipes/27576-creamy-potato-leek-soup

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Chicken Piccata

One of my favorite movies is “Simply Irresistible”. What is not to like little romance, food and magic. Having watched it recently I was inspired to make Chicken Piccata. I have never had Chicken Piccata, but it just sounded so exotic and had to try to make it. Surfed many sites, but of course my usual addiction to Pinterest won out. I found a nice recipe that looked pretty simple and gave it a try. My choice was to serve it over angel hair pasta with a side of steamed broccoli and homemade bread.

This recipe was great because I got to use one of my kitchen gadgets. My mandolin which is not used a whole lot, but try to use when I can so my daughter does not classify it as UKG (useless kitchen gaget). For the longest time she has given me a hard time about getting a gadget for the kitchen and it not really serving a pourpose. She has finally seen the use of our egg slicer, but other stuff in the kitchen drawers she has not given into.

The pin I found led me to this website for the recipe
http://www.afamilyfeast.com/chicken-piccata/

My family enjoyed it but my daughter was not to crazy about the capers. Which I had drained and rinsed several times before adding. So next time I make I will make her plate then add capers to the rest of pan for my husband and I.

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Japenese Hot Cakes-Hottakeki

While in Japan I was lucky enough to sample Japanese Hot Cakes at breakfast. I loved these sweet little cakes. They are small,sweet fluffy, and sometimes come in green tea flavor. When I returned home I just had to make them for my famly. The first thing I did was go down to our local Asian Market and was able to find the mix on the shelf. Which was great because I so wanted easy. The back of the box had nice little pictures for directions. When I got up on Sunday morning to make for my family, I realized that after looking at the box I did not know if you used milk or water. So I searched the internet to find the company website. Which I did with ease, their website was all in Japanese and had the same nice picture directions. They had an English button, unfortunately it only led to their company information and not the actual products with cooking directions. So here I was stuck with the delima of which to use, milk or water. Then it dawns on me to stick the web address into my Google Chrome browser. I normally do not use it on my iPad so it did not occur to me right away to use it for the translate page function. Thank goodness it worked. However I always warn that using Google Translate. It does not always translate correctly. Its translation while not totally correct, it was fun to read. Here is my attempt to make Hottakeki (Japanese Hot Cakes). If you do find this mix, use milk to make the mix up.

Since I made used the mix, I have found another site that has the recipe from scratch. Which I plan to try next.

http://www.tarasmulticulturaltable.com/hottokeki-japanese-hot-cake/

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