Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Brunch

It's Christmas morning. The tiny tots wake up before dawn excited and you all meet around the tree to see what Santa brought. Then it's time to open the gifts to each other. You've spent time carefully considering what to buy your loved ones. You've wrapped packages, decorated them with gift tags and bows, and now it's time to tear in. Wait, no, not so fast! Let's savor this time. Let's see the joy and excitement on each face. Yeah, that's better.

OK, so not every family is like mine. We patiently take turns opening presents, one at a time please, we can't be greedy. We see what each person receives and we know from whom it was given. There's eight of us, so uh, yeah, it's gonna take a while. After all the presents are opened and the excitement has died down, our stomachs start rumbling. It's time for brunch.

Christmas morning is not the time to be in the kitchen when you can be enjoying your family and maybe some new gadgets. Here's a recipe given to me by my friend Wanda. It's the most requested item this Holiday season, and it's so easy to make. What's better is that you could make these the night before Christmas and serve them without doing anything more than warming them in the oven for a few minutes.

Bacon and Cheese Puffs
Makes 24 puffs

1 block of cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons milk
1 cup Parmesan cheese (shredded),
2-3 ounces bacon bits (You can use more if you must)
1 can of flaky biscuits (8 count)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, milk, Parmesan cheese, and bacon bits until well blended. Divide each biscuit into thirds by separating the layers evenly. Place each biscuit third into mini muffin cups and press into the cup to make a shell. Fill each shell with about a teaspoon of the mixture. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or room temperature.

Click here for the printable recipe at Tasty Kitchen.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hot Potatoes!


When I want a special side dish for a special occasion, it must be roasted potatoes. They are so yummy and easy to make, there is no reason to pass on making these babies!

I've had potatoes mashed, baked, boiled, fried, scalloped, au gratin and hashed. I've had tater tots, French fries, potato dumplings, potato soup, potato bread, potato chips, and probably other preparations of potatoes that I can't think of right now. Yet there is something special about roasted potatoes.

I learned to make roasted potatoes while staying with some friends in England. Roast Potatoes are a staple in British cuisine. You'll find them most often in the
Sunday Lunch and as a part of the Christmas spread as well. I guarantee they will be on my table this Christmas!

Roasted Potatoes

6 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
Kosher salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water, adding a little salt to season the water. Bring the water to a boil and boil potatoes for 5 minutes. Drain the water and return the potatoes to the pot. Cover the pot with its lid and holding the lid in place shake the pot to "rough up" the potatoes.

Place the potatoes in a roasting pan and drizzle with the oil and toss the potatoes to coat well. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Place pan in the oven and roast for about 50 minutes. Turn potatoes at least once halfway through cooking to allow for even browning. Once the potatoes have browned as you like them, remove from oven and place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil. Serve warm, but be careful that you don't eat them strait from the oven or you may burn your mouth!

Once you have learned to make roast potatoes, you can modify the recipe to create different versions. For example, changing the oil to a goose fat or the drippings from a roast will change the flavor. Try adding different herbs or spices. Roast the potatoes in olive oil and add fresh rosemary. I like using vegetable oil, salt and pepper and adding carrots that have been cut into large chunks. The possibilities are endless!

Click here for the Printable Recipe at Tasty Kitchen.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sinister Santas

If you haven't been following Cake Wrecks, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? Cake Wrecks is only the funniest blog on the planet, with pictures of insane cakes to laugh at each day, (well, actually Sundays are for nice cakes so we know how bad the others are.)

If you haven't seen
today's post, then hop on over and check it out, and then I'm sure you'll want this card for all your friends!

Santa is Watching card
Santa is Watching by cakewrecks
Shop for a greeting card at zazzle

And of course, if you've been a fan of Cake Wrecks for any length of time, this little guy is near and dear to your heart...

See more Wreckwear at the cakewrecks Zazzle Store!

Oh, and you HAVE to get the Cake Wrecks book! It's like the blog, but in book form, with more stories and new cakes! I was trying to look at it over Thanksgiving, and it took me about two days because everyone kept taking it from me to look at it themselves. {You can find links to the book on the Cake Wrecks blog.}

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Drenched in Custard

It's December and the most glorious time to be in the kitchen if you ask me. There are so many delicious treats to be made and meals to be prepared! When it comes to Christmas and food, I like to try new things, but I also like to prepare traditional dishes as well.

As I was thinking about what I wanted to prepare this year, I remembered a Christmas a while back when we visited some friends and had boiled custard. It was delicious! I don't know the exact history of boiled custard, although this type of custard seems to be traditional in the Southern United States. Custard in general has a long history of creating and complimenting dishes both sweet and savory.

My friend Pam has generously shared her recipe with me and now I'm passing it on to you! Enjoy this custard hot or cold, in a glass, or drenching your dessert!

Pam's Boiled Custard

2 cups sugar
1 cup plain flour
1 gallon whole milk
6 eggs, separated
Vanilla to taste
(about 2 large "cook spoons")

Put milk in a double boiler (or if you don't have one, set your pan in a skillet of water). Mix together sugar and flour and slowly stir into milk. Add egg yolks (be sure you do this before the milk gets too hot so your eggs don't cook too fast). Stir until milk comes to a boil. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Add vanilla." Allow to cool slightly. Beat egg whites and fold in. Serve in a pitcher.

Pam's Boiled Custard on Foodista