Monday, November 23, 2009


The super bowl is here! Thanksgiving day. Tomorrow you will see me at Coscto buying food to feed 40 people. Bring it on baby! Last year I did the 12 days of Thanksgiving, please review . . .

  • If you want an easy roll recipe that will knock everyone's socks off, try my family's out of this world rolls recipe. I have been eating them since out of the womb.

  • Want to free up the oven for the rolls and all the other stuff you need to bake, cook your turkey in a roasting pan and make in D good.

  • Delish stuffing only comes around once a year. Ours has mushrooms and pine nuts.

  • Does gravy frighten you? Learn how to make gravy now! (and see me in my kitchen at work).

  • Now I don't do creamed corn, but I do cook frozen corn without water, and it makes it tasty. Try it!

  • This is truly a no fail pie crust and I don't understand why isn't the only pie crust recipe in the world, because it is so easy, and without a doubt the best tasting pie crust on earth.

  • The question is, why are they called mashed potatoes when we all know we should be ricing our potatoes!

So good luck one and all and happy thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Custard and shortcake with berries


Under these berries lies a delicious little secret . . . . .


Now this is one of the most heavenly desserts I have ever put together. This is because I have combined two of my favorite desserts, strawberry shortcake and creme brulee.

First you must make the custard for the base.

4 c heavy cream
3/4 c sugar
7 egg yolks
1 1/2 t vanilla or one vanilla bean scraped (I used the bean)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and get some water boiling. Meanwhile. In a sauce pan heat the cream (first add the vanilla) till just before it boils (its ok if it boils, no biggie). While the cream is heating up beat together the sugar and eggs till the eggs lighten in color and it is smooth. When the cream is hot, ladle the cream into the eggs very slowing while stirring. you want to temper the eggs and not create scrambled eggs. If you introduce the heat slowly, that is called tempering. Once all the cream is combined run it through a fine sieve to get out any accidental scrambles. Pour into six ramekins evenly. Place into a roasting pan. Place in the oven and add the boiling water in the pan. Be careful not to splash water into the ramekins. Insure the water reaches half way up the ramekins. Bake for about 40-45 minutes. The custard should look set but be slightly wiggly in the middle.

Once they are done, let them cook in the fridge for at least two hours, but can be done in a day advance.

Next make the shortcakes.

1 c flour
1/4 c butter
1/4 c sugar
1/4 t salt
1 1/2 baking powder
1 egg
1/4 c buttermilk

In a food processor (or by hand if you are old school) combine flour sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in butter by adding it to the flour and pulse a few times with the food processor. Beat the egg and buttermilk together. Add to processor and run until all combine and makes a ball.

Drop dough onto a cookie sheet with a mini ice cream scoop. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes until light golden and cooked throughout. Cool.

Top custard with a shortcake and top with fresh berries, then top with fresh sweetened whipped cream.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

To brine or not to brine?

First of all let me say that the hardest part of doing this blog is the photos. You know how many countless great things I have cooked and forgotten to take a picture before we ate it all? It happens ALL the time. Like for instance this Sunday I cooked a dandy of a turkey, but I forgot the picture, I could take a picture of the ziplock full of leftover turkey, but that wouldn't do it justice now would it.

Why did I make a 20 lb turkey for Sunday dinner do you ask? Because I wanted to ask myself the question, to brine or not to brine. I have always brined, because I always want to do things the best way, not the easiest way . . . usually. But frankly, brining is a big pain the rear. My turkey from last year was really good no doubt, but was it the brine? perhaps. So I have been reading turkey recipes and putting my ear to wind every time I hear turkey. So many different ways to do things, cook it upside down, deep fry it, buy a pre brined turkey, inject it . .bla bla bla. Which one shall I try first? What sang to me the most was putting butter and herbs under the skin of the turkey between the breast and the skin.

So this is what I did. The night before I made an herb butter with a stick of butter, three cloves garlic minced, about a teaspoon of sage, thyme and rosemary, and a pinch of salt and pepper. I mixed the butter and herbs together and rolled it into a loaf in parchment paper, and put it in the fridge. The next morning before church, I preheated the oven to 325 degrees. I rinsed the turkey and patted it dry. I seasoned the cavity with salt and pepper and stuffed it with stuffing. Next, sliced my herbed butter loaf into thin slices. I loosened the skin from the breast of the turkey gently and slid butter under the skin all over the turkey. I put it in the roasting pan, coated the top of the skin with olive oil and liberally salt and peppered it. Then I put it in the oven and roasted it for about 4-1/2 t0 5 hours. 2 of those hours were uncovered the rest were covered. I used a digital thermometer to make sure it read 165 degrees (it actually was about 170)

I have to say, it was a great turkey. Moist and flavorful. I felt so much easier not to brine! and I couldn't really see a difference. That being said, I must admit I am not a turkey officianato. Turkey is merely a vehicle to plate all the other great things for thanksgiving, as far as I am concerned. Its no beef tenderloin if you catch my drift.

So this year, I am not going to brine. Its a pain. Hope not to disappoint.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

pumpkin pie from a fresh pumpkin


So I love pumpkin pie indeed. However, I have never made a pumpkin pie because they are so readily purchased from the store that are really good. I have never tasted a homemade pumpkin pie that tasted any different than coscto's pumpkin pie. They come out of the same libby's can anyway, right? Wrong.

My children go to an amazing school. Their teacher, Mrs. Sorensen, is like the kid whisperer. She is this incredible grandmother who has been a teacher her whole life, and now teaches, pre school through 2nd grade right out of her home. The school is unreal, they do everything, violin, spanish, ballet, tumbling, geography, farming, art, science, math, reading, spelling, religion and the list goes on. I don't know what am going to do next year. Porter has only known this matriarchal teacher who just loves him up, praises him, give him all the attention in the world, and he is will have to join the dark world of the Utah public school system, where with thirty five kids in a class . . . I shutter.

Anyway, on thursdays they always do cooking, and they made a pumpkin pie, which I got to taste. It was special! Can pumpkin pie really be special? It was made from a fresh pumpkin! So of course I had to rush home and try it for myself. I was so excited I forgot to ask for the recipe, so I had to make one up myself. Thats half the fun right?

First get a pumpkin, now there is such thing as a "pie pumpkin" or a "sugar pumpkin" but I am not even sure that is what I bought, I just bought a pumpkin about the size of my head (actually a little smaller, but that is only because I have an enormous head, your head should suffice). Now put it on a cooking sheet, and place in the oven at 400 degrees for about an hour, till it is soft. Once you pull it off, the skin will just peel off.

Now cut into chunks, removing the center with the seeds and puree in a blender or food processor till smooth. You need 1 1/2 c puree.

Meanwhile, get your pie crust going (use a store bought or the easiest pie crust in the world ) and pre bake it. Now in the picture I did something pretty cool (ok, I stole the part of the idea from martha stewart) I took an extra pie crust and cut out a bunch of triangles and brushed them with egg wash and sprinkled them with sugar, so you can do that too if you want. Don't bake these, but set them aside. Bake the pie crust a little on the under done side. Let it cool completely.

Now to make the filling:

3 eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1 -12 oz can evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 c pumpkin puree
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
dash of nutmeg
dash of clove
dash of all spice

Mix the above ingredients till smooth. Pour into the cooled, baked pie crust. With the uncooked pie crust triangles, line the rim of the pie, over lapping each triangle over the next and pressing down so they stick.

Bake the pie at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes until it is set, but a little wiggly in the center. It will set more as it cools out of the oven.

A pie with fresh pumpkin has a yummy earthy flavor, I love it! Pumpkin pie must be served with cream and not with you know what . . . . . cool whip blaa!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bon Jon


I am finally posting this recipe, I think I have mentioned Bon Jon a couple times, but have never posted it.
This is a family recipe that is in the top 20 of most made dinners. It is a Iranian dish that started with my Grandma Pope (who is not Iranian, but lived in Iran for 3 years) Think of it as a Persian version of beef berginion, but not anything like it. It is my dad's favorite meal in the whole world, and its definitely in my top five. That being said, you might be quite disappointed if you don't like "ethnic tasting foods". This is a slow cooker, and and equally be done in a crock pot, I use the oven.
note: in the photos I am doing a double batch. this stuff freezes great so I always do double!

Ingredient List:
2-3 lbs stew beef
1 eggplant, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic minced
4 bay leaves
2 t cinnamon
2 t turmeric
1 t curry powder
1 t beef base
2 large cans diced tomatoes
salt and pepper

step 1:

Lay out your stew beef on some paper towels and allow it to come to room temperature before you brown it.

step 2:

Brown the meat on high heat. Season each batch with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. I only brown one side because I think that is all you need. Don't crowd the pan, do the meat in batches.

step 3

After all the meat is browned add a cup-ish of water to the bottom of the pan, along with the teaspoon of beef base. Stir to get the brown bits of the bottom of the pan. Pour off the liquid onto the meat that you have set aside.

step 4

Saute the onions (add a little oil to the pan). Season with salt and pepper. Cook until they become fragrant.

step 5

Add eggplant and garlic to the pan and saute a little longer. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 6

Return meat with drippings to the pan with the onions and eggplant. Add tomatoes and all remaining spices. Season with a little more salt and pepper.


Stir everything together. Cover and put in the oven to slow cook. Time and temperatures depend on the time you have. At minimum cook at 325 for 3 hours. I cooked this batch at 275 for 6 hours. Low and slow is the best. This is what it looks like when it is done.

Serve over rice.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Homage to one of my first posts ever!


Yo peeps! I have been doing this blog for a year now! I can't believe it! Time has gone by so fast. What is crazy I haven't even posted my all top twenty most used recipes yet. What the flip have I been writing about! I just want you to come back wanting more. . . . .
So I figure, many new readers don't really delve deep into the archives like they should. If you haven't read how to make pizza yet, you should. It has been one the single greatest things I have learned in recent years. My sister in law Krista hooked me up with this lesson, and now I am hooking you up . . . . again!

As for the pizza above, it could be called the Costco pizza, because I bought all the ingredients (besides the dough) at costco.

Chicken Artichoke Pizza

Costco Alfredo sauce
Fresh mozzarella (the pearls from costco)
fresh spinach
marinaded artichokes
cooked chicken (rotisserie from coscto)

Top the pizza dough evenly and cook in a 500 degree oven on a baking stone. Best to make the dough thin!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Inspired from Malaysia


A mall food court is a pit of despair. What is worse, sometimes the food looks like it might be good, then you order it and you can barely eat it. Well not in Malaysia and Singapore. Some of the best food we ate was in a mall food court. This meal is inspired from one of the places we ate.
The place looked like a diner with stools up to the counter. Instead of a counter it was a tempanyaki style grill. So you would order of the menu and sit down any where you wanted, then the cook would grill up the food right in front of you and then you would eat it right off the grill. It was so good, I had to go back again the next day.

What I loved the most was the beans sprouts and the bak choy. The bean sprouts they stir fried in just a tiny bit of oil, salt, pepper and a little soy sauce. Then he add a splash of water and covered them to let them steam. I have eaten bean sprouts but never, just bean sprouts. SOOO GOOOD!
Next it was the bak choy. Same thing, salt pepper, soy sauce and also some fresh garlic. Cooked it the exact same way. Done in about 3 minutes.

The shrimp ( I buy the already shelled and clean frozen raw shrimp at costco, its the best, the tails are still on and you have to remove the smaller vein still) He cooked in oil, lots of garlic and lots of chilies, and a little soy sauce.
I cooked them the same way, but can anyone tell where in the halibut I can buy fresh red chilies? If you know please make a comment. So I used chili paste. Which still worked good. I cooked them in a really hot pan and took them out of the pan as soon as the turned pink, so they were tender.

The beef wasn't really inspired by Malaysia, this is something I cook all the time, and is actually inspired by Korean BBQ.

1/4 c soy soy
1 clove garlic minced
2 T sugar
2 T sesame oil
2 T dehydrated onions (or double that green onions minced)
2 T rice vinegar
1/2 t chili paste (optional if you don't like spice)
1 T toasted sesame seeds

1-2 lbs sirloin steak, super thin sliced (two inches wide 1/4 inch thick)

Add all the ingredients besides the steak together, add the steak and let marinade for at least 30 minutes. Cook on a hot griddle or pan. It should take no more than 2 or 3 minutes to cook.