Nov 29, 2015

Turkey Gravy

This hardly qualifies as a recipe. It is basically turkey gravy from a mix, though slightly enhanced. But I made this for Thanksgiving this year, and it was so easy. When trying to get a lot of different dishes all ready at the same time on Thanksgiving Day, anything to simplify the process is welcome, in my opinion. The recipe comes from allrecipes.com.

2 (1.2 ounce) packages turkey gravy mix
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups water
2 cups turkey pan drippings

Place the turkey gravy mix and flour into a saucepan, and gradually whisk in the water, followed by the turkey drippings. Whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and simmer the gravy until thickened, about 10 minutes (it took less than five for me, but this may depend on personal preference).

Fish Tacos

Growing up, I always thought that fish tacos sounded horrible! I think I had imagined something like a whole fish (eyes, skin, bones, fins, and all in a tortilla). The very thought grossed me out. But then when I actually got around to trying them, I loved them! So here is a homemade version that you can throw together very quickly. To be clear, this is less a recipe than instructions for combining already prepared ingredients, but I thought it turned to be both easy and delicious. Fish tacos will definitely be part of our meal rotation from now on.

Frozen breaded fish fillets (whatever you like), baked according to the directions
Chopped cabbage (I just used a prepared coleslaw mix)
Salad dressing (a ranch dressing would probably work, but I used a Bolthouse Farms cilantro avocado yogurt dressing)
Mango salsa (I used a commercial version)
Flour or corn tortillas

And to put this together, I simply cooked the fish fillets according to the directions and then cut them into smaller pieces to put in the tacos. And while the fish was cooking, I heated the tortillas and assembled the other ingredients. Then once the fish was done, I put a few pieces of fish on each tortilla, topped that with chopped cabbage, drizzled it with the salad dressing, and then added the mango salsa. Yum!

Nov 21, 2015

Chocolate Pecan Pie

This is a pie you should definitely add to your Thanksgiving or pie repertoire. It is very easy to whip up and very rich and yummy. The pie is another winning recipe from Chef John over at FoodWishes.com. You can see a video demonstration here.

1 9-inch pie shell, unbaked
2 eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a whisk, beat the eggs until pale-colored, light and frothy. Add the milk and vanilla and give the mixture a stir. Blend in the brown sugar, white sugar, and flour. Then add the hot melted butter and blend together. Finally, add the chopped pecans and mix well.

Spread the chocolate chips evenly in the bottom of the pie crust and pour the pecan mixture carefully over the top so that the chocolate chips remain evenly distributed.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and filling is set. If it jiggles when you take it out of the oven, cook it a bit longer. Let cool completely. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Nov 14, 2015

Cream of Mushroom Soup

From sugary mushroom-like creations earlier this week to using actual mushrooms in this wonderful soup. This recipe comes from one of my favorite food bloggers, Chef John, over at foodwishes.blogspot.com. I love mushrooms, and this cream soup version is full of delicious mushroom flavor.

1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 pounds sliced fresh mushrooms
1 pinch salt
1 yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 sprigs fresh thyme (I used 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme)

2 cloves garlic, peeled
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves for garnish, or to taste

Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat; cook mushrooms in butter with 1 pinch salt until the mushrooms give off their juices; reduce heat to low. Continue to cook, stirring often, until juices evaporate and the mushrooms are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Set aside a few attractive mushroom slices for garnish later, if desired. Mix onion into mushrooms and cook until onion is soft and translucent, about 5 more minutes. Stir flour into mushroom mixture and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes to remove raw flour taste. Tie thyme sprigs into a small bundle with kitchen twine and add to mushroom mixture; add garlic cloves. Pour chicken stock and water into mushroom mixture. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Remove thyme bundle. Transfer soup to a blender in small batches and puree on high speed until smooth and thick. Return soup to pot and stir in cream. Season with salt and black pepper and serve in bowls, garnished with reserved mushroom slices and a few thyme leaves.

Nov 11, 2015

Mushroom Meringues


This is a treat that my mother always used to make for Christmas, both for the family and to give to friends and neighbors, beautifully packaged in cellophane bags. Mushroom meringues are traditionally associated with the French dessert Bûche de Noël, but we like them on their own. They can be impressive looking yet are quite easy to make. My sister Emily recently demonstrated them for a Relief Society cooking class in our ward, so I thought it would be a good time to put up the recipe as well as a few pictures.

½ cup egg whites, room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup superfine sugar (I use regular granulated)
Unsweetened cocoa
6 ounces semisweet chocolate

Beat egg whites in a large bowl until foamy. Beat in salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla. With mixer set at low to medium speed, add sugar gradually until it is mixed in. Then beat at high speed, 6 to 7 minutes, until stiff.

Place meringue mixture in a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip, at least 3/4-inch in diameter. A disposable pastry bag or gallon-sized Ziploc bag can also be used. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Make mushroom stems first, while meringue is firmest. To shape stems, pipe out the meringue in 3” long strips (they will be cut in half later; each length will create two stems). Pipe out caps in mounds about 1 inch in diameter. Try to keep them high and puffy rather than flat. If caps have points, dampen finger and press points flat before sprinkling with cocoa. Sprinkle stems and caps very lightly with cocoa.

Place cookie sheets in preheated 200 degree oven. Bake for at least 2 hours (humidity can affect the baking time). Check to see if they are dry and not soft at all. Meringues can be left in a warm oven with heat turned off for several hours to completely dry. Try not to open the oven door too frequently during baking.

To assemble tops and stems, cut stems in half with a sharp knife. Melt chocolate and allow it to cool a little. Spread melted chocolate on flat side of mushroom cap with a knife and attach a stem. Allow to cool upside down. If kitchen is warm, cool in freezer until chocolate hardens. Store in airtight container.

Assembling the mushrooms

Waiting for the chocolate to cool