Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Winter Comes Calling

This past weekend it was in the low 60s.
Now it is snowing.

Well, they say in Indiana that if you don't like the weather,
wait five minutes.

Early afternoon and the snow is beginning to fall.

Just an hour later and things are beginning to turn white.


Two hours later and there is about an inch of the 
cold, wet, white stuff
covering everything.

I'm not ready for this.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Last Tailgate of the Season

This past Saturday was
the annual IU vs. Purdue (hiss) game,
otherwise known as the Oaken Bucket game.

The winner of the game gains possession of 
the Oaken Bucket for the next year.

Each year, a link with the winning team's initial
on the chain is added to the bucket.

Then, the winning team's initial is proudly displayed
outside the oaken bucket until it is claimed by the
next winning team.

Enough of the football:
on to the food.

Our theme this week was "Thanksgiving Leftovers".

So I adapted my recipes to match that theme.

First up:  Brie en Croute.

1 puff pastry sheet
1 8-ounce round of brie
3 to 4 tablespoons F.R.O.G (Fig, Raspberry, Orange, Ginger) Preserves

Allow the puff pastry sheet to thaw and roll out to a square.

Place the brie in the center.

Spread enough preserves on top to mostly cover the top of the brie.

Then, gather the corners of the pastry together and tuck in "artistically".

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Normally, one would let this sit for 20 to 40 minutes before serving with sliced apples and/or crackers, but this is a tailgate.  At this point, the baked brie en croute went into the refrigerator.  I will heat it back up over low flame on the mini grill at the tailgate.

Next up are the Krab Bites.

I sliced each fake crab leg into four sections.  Then the "pre-cooked" bacon is cut in half crosswise.  Each crab section is wrapped with a half piece of bacon and secured with a tooth pick.

The final dish of the day was Ina Garten's French Apple Tart.

1 puff pastry sheet
3 Honeycrisp apples
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup F.R.O.G. (Fig, Raspberry, Orange, Ginger) preserves
2 tablespoons rum

After thawing the puff pastry, roll out on a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Peel, core, and slice the apples and arrange in diagonal rows on the pastry.

Sprinkle with sugar and dot with the cubed pieces of butter.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning halfway.  If the pastry begins to puff up, stab with a knife (gently, not like Norman Bates would stab Marion).

Let cool for a few minutes before gently (there's that word again) prying off the parchment with a spatula. Wait any longer and you run the risk of the tart becoming one (and not in a good way) with the parchment.

Heat the preserves and the rum together until melted.  Pour over the top of the cooked pastry.

After the tart has cooled, cut with a pizza cutter.

We really need to work on figuring out a way to prevent the spillage of the sugars over the edges, resulting in burnt caramelized edges.  Ina doesn't address this problem.  Well, this isn't the first time I've had problems with an Ina recipe.  Too bad I don't work for her, because I could save her much embarrassment.

Can you believe it?  The last Saturday in November and the temperatures were in the low 60s.

The feast is spread.  Besides our contributions, our tailgate buddies brought regular chili and chicken chili, sliced BBQ pork loin, turkey, stuffing, iced pumpkin bars (cake, really), apples with caramel, and cheese spread and crackers.  Later, more food arrived with more tailgate buddies.

Already, half the French apple tart has disappeared.

The crock pots are working their magic.

This is a mighty feast.

Meanwhile, our tailgate neighbors had made their famous spam and bologna egg sandwiches for breakfast and later had venison/beef burgers and brats.  Sadly, I missed out on the venison/beef burgers. 

Once again I opted to stay outside instead of going into the game.  This allows the others to know that I am there to guard things while they are watching the Hoosiers lose once again, I was able to sit outside without fear of getting another migraine (after just finally getting rid of a month-long one) I had the chance to get some writing done. 

After writing for a bit, I grew restless and wandered next door.  Our very nice neighbors invited me over to watch the game on their TV and to eat some food.

And back to some food.  I love stuffing.  This stuffing was super moist and very well seasoned.

On the left is the brie en croute.  It may not look pretty, but it is oh, so delicious.  Especially on a thin slice of apple.

The tailgates were going strong.

Everywhere you looked.

Except for the student section.  Seems that many of the kids were still at home with their families. 

Despite a few sprinkles and a bit of wind, this was a wonderful day for a tailgate.

And yes, IU managed to lose yet once again.  But hey, we almost managed to have a perfect season!  A perfect losing season, that is.  We won one game against a minor team from South Carolina.  Whoot?

On the bright side, downtown is brightly lit.

I'm already looking forward to next year.  Maybe we'll even have some wins to go with the good food and great company?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turkey Day Plus One

It was the day after Thanksgiving
and I was looking for something
to make for dinner.

Since we had steak and shrimp
for Turkey Day,
why not have turkey the next day?

Works for me.

The ingredients for a Spicy Rum-Maple Marinated Turkey Tenderloin:

Turkey tenderloin
2 tablespoons spiced rum
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon Tamari sauce (soy sauce can be substituted)
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, grated

Please note that all of these measurements are approximate as I do not measure when I am making a marinade.  I simply add a bit of this and a bit of that and then taste to test. 

Pour the marinade in the bag and seal, removing as much of the air as possible.

I always place the bag in a container in case of leaks.  Allow to marinade for at least a couple of hours.  Before cooking, bring to room temperature.

Sear the turkey tenderloin on all sides in a bit of oil over medium-high heat.  Place the pan in a 350 degree oven until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees.  Depending on the starting temperature of the turkey, this might be 20 to 30 minutes. 

After resting, covered in foil, the temperature will rise to 165.  At this point the turkey will be completely cooked, yet moist and tender.

Now for our second dish: Stuffin' Muffins.

1/4 pound mild or sage breakfast sausage
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
5 cups cubed bread or dried stuffing crumbles*
1/2 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage or 1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaf, crumbled
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash freshly ground black pepper
1 cup turkey stock**

*I opted to use packaged cornbread stuffing crumbles this time.
**More liquid can be added if a moister stuffing is desired.

First I removed the casings from two breakfast sausages*** and broke the meat apart as it cooked.  When no longer pink, remove to paper towels to drain.

***This is probably not 1/4 pound sausage, but it was what I had on hand.

Wipe out the pan and add the butter to the pan.  Melt the butter and add the chopped onion and celery.  Cook until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the bread with the herbs and seasonings in a large bowl.

Add the cooked vegetables and the sausage.  Stir together.  Pour in the stock and mix well.

Lightly grease twelve standard size muffin cups.  Pack the stuffing into each cup.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes.****

****Do as I say and not as I did.  Since this recipe is designed for regular stuffing (or dressing), I found a stuffing muffin recipe and went by that recipe's time and temperature guidelines instead.  That recipe called for 375 degrees at 25 minutes.  Next time I will lower the temperature to 350.

The stuffin' muffins came out crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.

And the turkey tenderloin has been sliced after resting.

This was a very nice post-Turkey Day meal.

The turkey was slightly spicy and very tender and the stuffin' muffins were nice packages of crispy bits juxtaposed with the soft interior.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Nontraditional Thanksgiving Dinner

It was just the three of us at home this Thanksgiving;
so we decided to do things our way.

We had the traditional Thanksgiving dinner last Sunday
with the husband's family
and we will be having a
"Thanksgiving Leftover" themed tailgate this Saturday,
so we wanted to do something different for our family dinner

First on the menu was Carrot Souffle.

1 pound Carrots    
 Salt (to taste)
½ cup Sugar                
1 teaspoon Vanilla
4 ounces Butter        
3 tablespoons Flour     
3 Eggs                      
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg*
*Not shown and a new addition to the recipe.

Peel carrots.  Cut into 1 inch pieces and place in salted water and cook until tender.  I cooked these in the microwave for about six minutes or so. 

Meanwhile, add flour, baking powder and sugar to a blender or food processor.  Pulse to blend together.  Add the eggs and the vanilla. 

Melt the butter.  Add the drained carrots and the butter.  Blend or process, until smooth.

At this point I decided to add the grated nutmeg to the recipe.

The mixture is ready for the next step.

Pour into a greased 2 quart baking dish.  This goes into a 275 degree oven for 45 minutes.  Remember that this is a souffle, so it needs to be baked low and slow.

Forty-five minutes later and the souffle is done. 

The Foodie Daughter worked on the Pumpkin Muffins.

Makes: 2 dozen Mini Muffins and 1 dozen Regular size Muffins OR 4 dozen Mini Muffins

1 Cup + 2 TB    Brown Sugar
¼ Cup + 2 TB   Molasses
¾ Cup                Margarine (butter will not work)
1 ½                     Eggs (1 egg + yolk)
1 ½ Cups           Prepared Pumpkin (Pumpkin Puree not Pumpkin Pie Filling)
½ TB                  Baking Soda
2 Cups               Flour
¼ tsp                  Cinnamon

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cream the Brown Sugar, Molasses and Margarine together.

Add the Eggs, Pumpkin and Baking Soda.  (Dough will be a bit grainy)

Add the Flour in stages.

Add Cinnamon and mix well.

Put in muffin tins.

Bake Mini Muffins for about 8-12 minutes and Regular Muffins for about 15-17 minutes.

Check with a cake tester.  Let cool and Enjoy!

The large muffins are ready to go into the oven.

The mini muffins have just come out of the oven.

The mini muffins are ready to be served for dinner.

The main course for our nontraditional Thanksgiving Day dinner.
Rib eye steaks and gulf shrimp cooked on the grill.

Dinner is served.

Surf and turf, Carrot Souffle and creamed corn
with Pumpkin Muffins for dessert.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours
from the Foodie Family.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy the day
and remember to give thanks
for all that you have. 
And thank you for following me
on my foodie journey through life.