Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cranberry Margaritas

When I think of margaritas I think of summer. Sipping a frozen tart drink on the patio trying to beat off those sun rays. Now I am fighting to be warm with Seattle getting down to about 17 degrees last week. Sipping on a  frozen tart drink was the least from my mind.
What else to warm your bones with a little booze right? My solution for a winter warm up - Cranberry Margaritas! I mentioned making them for Thanksgiving, we made them and it turned out that only 2 of us really liked them so we got the whole pitcher to ourselves. I wasn't complaining.
Cranberry Margaritas:
3 cups cranberry juice
1 1/2 cup fresh lime juice- about 5 pounds of limes
1 1/2 cups tequila
1/2 cup Triple Sec
Lime wedges
Coarse Salt or Sugar

The key is fresh squeezed Lime juice!  We just combined all the liquids in a large pitcher and stirred. Rimmed the glasses with either salt or sugar depending on preference. Poured in to ice filled glasses with a floater of tequila and a wedge of lime.  It's a very festive color.  enjoy!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Gobble it Up!

mini apple pies with Star Crust
below mini chocolate cream Pies
 My 3rd year of thanksgiving! I have learned a few things over the years, but first a quick recap of the last 2 years.  Year one was crazy I cooked solid for 2 days and had 15 people coming to my house. The term go big applied here! I made 4 different desserts (sweet potato pie, apple pie, chocolate pecan tart, and cream puffs), a 24 pound turkey named Hank, 5 different sides (carrots, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts, green bean casserole and stuffing) I truly have no clue how I pulled it all off.
Last year I had a smaller crowd, only cooking dinner for 8 was way more manageable. I also had to work on the day before and the day of. I still made 4 different desserts in the form of mini pies (apple, sweet potato, pecan, and chocolate cream) a 17 pound turkey,  and 4 sides (green bean casserole, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and stuffing) Everything was in smaller portions so a bit easier to handle. 

Now that I have bored you all with a not so quick overview of the last 2 years- lets get on to this year. I am hosting about 10 people. I learned last year that my mini pies were cute- however they took a really long time to make. This year I am sticking to two desserts.  I have a 20 pound turkey courtesy of my work! yeah I got a free Turkey! I am going to add a cocktail. That should be fun! Now for the recipe roundup!
To start the day off right I will be serving a Special cocktail in addtion to Ryan's homemade beer. In trying to be festive I thought of a Cranberry Margarita- Here is a recipe simple and easy.
Cranberry Margaritas!
1 1/2 cups cranberry juice
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 cup tequila
1/2 cup Triple Sec
-Pour everything over ice and stir to combine. garnish with some salt rimmed glasses and lime!

Turkey Brining in my largest pot. -  (beer brine)
I asked Lukas to name the Turkey-  as we do every year since I was young, usually it's Tom. He has named our Turkey- Bunny. Yes! that is not a typo- A turkey named Bunny!  Last year I did a beer brine bird, and the year before was a cider brine. Both were amazingly delicious. No other recipes I saw looked as good as the cider-brined-turkey-with-star-anise-and-cinnamon . It will go down as one of my favorite turkey brines of all time. I will just warn you now, doing a wet brine like this one takes up alot of space in the fridge. If you have an extra fridge or even a large cooler it will help to keep your fridge free for other ingredients. And for easy clean up use a brine bag- yes they do make heavy duty bags just for this, don't use a garbage bag- they are NOT food safe.
this year really jumped out at me. So  I am going to go with the
Now on to the sides. Really if it ain't  broke don't fix it right? Well I am only changing a few things around.
But not the Mashed Potatoes! They are the co-star to any thanksgiving dinner for me. Served with any creamy mashed potatoes goes the gravy! Gotta have gravy! here is a fantastic rich-and-silky-turkey-gravy recipe.
Green Bean Casserole- A can of green beans and mushroom soup just doesn't cut it. 2 years ago  I made up my own version- Using fresh green beans, and a thick mushroom sauce. I am a sucker for the fried onions so they have to stay. The first year it was devoured, no leftovers for me. Last year I  made double and it was still all gone. This we will see if I can make enough! -yet still no recipe. I am such a slacker. 
Once again I am here with Stuffing- I can't explain how it's made. I can say whats in it but it's going to have to be by feel. I have watched my dad make it countless times- It's a basic stuffing recipe with onions, celery, mushrooms, olives, chicken stock, sausage, bread, salt, pepper, garlic. Mix together and either stuff or bake in the oven. Dad I'll be calling you on Thursday morning!
Last but not least Brussels sprouts! My favorite! My sister in law never liked Brussels sprouts until I made them for her. SO I get to make a whole bunch because I know they will at last be eaten by both of us. With any leftovers I will use for pizza later in the week. (SO YUMMY)
 Now onto Desserts! This is usually the section that takes the most amount of time to make. So happy I am only going to make 2 different kinds. 
Salted Caramel Cream puffs- Oh YES! thanksgiving doesn't have to be all about pies. I declare cream puffs just as good if not better then pie. They are light and fun to eat! need I say more?!
As always I will make Ryan's favorite- Chocolate Pecan tart. Rich and full of a toffee and chocolate flavor is a great end to a turkey dinner. 

This year I will take  more pictures.  I hope I have inspired some ideas. And wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Curried shrimp & corn bisque

It's October! I took the summer off. Now I'm back and better then ever. Yes you read the title right Curried shrimp and corn bisque. First of all I had no idea that I was going to make this soup. Crazy right?! This was an unplanned soup and amazing surprise. I kinda just kept grabbing things from the pantry. A dash of this and a sprinkle of that. Lucky for all of you I wrote everything down.
Are you ready for a creamy spicy complex bisque? It only took about 30 min start to finnish. Now my boys don't consider soup as dinner. So tonight I am paring this soup with Erny's slow cooked ribs! Man  dinner is going to spectacular!
Some useful equipment but not necessary to make this: immersion blender- it's a handheld stick blender used for pureeing soups and sauces. If you don't have one a blender or food processor does the trick.

Curried Shrimp and Corn Bisque:
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS garlic minced
1/2 onion diced up
2 carrots diced up
3 medium potatoes diced up
1 head cauliflower cut up in chunks
46 oz chicken stock- or veggie
1 tsp Tandoori curry
1 tsp Vindaloo curry
2 tsp graham Masala
2 tsp smoked sea salt
1 tsp salt
1 TBS hot smoked paprika
2 tsp black pepper
1 TBS olive oil
2 cups corn- fresh or frozen
3 cups small shrimp- raw

In a 4 quart pot over medium heat 2 TBS olive oil. Then add the onion, carrot, cauliflower and potatoes. Saute till the onions are clear about 5 min. Then add all the spices, saute for another minute. Add the chicken stock. Turn the heat up to high and boil till everything is soft, turn the heat down to low. Now use an immersion blender to puree the soup, this should yield a creamy base.  In a different pan add 1 TBS olive oil  and on high heat add the corn and shrimp. Saute them till the shrimp is fully cooked.  Add the shrimp /corn mixture into the soup. It's souper easy!
post #103 on 10/3