March 2014

herb-roasted-turkey-breas

I would have never in a million years thought to make this for a Sunday dinner, for many reasons:
1. Turkey is for Thanksgiving
2. Turkey is awfully healthy for a Sunday
3. I didn’t realize that you could just buy a boneless breast of turkey
4. I didn’t realize that would be good

But, it was my husband’s idea, and a brilliant one at that. His ultimate objective was to make something we could eat for leftovers during the week, and in this case he had roasted turkey sandwiches on his mind.  It doesn’t take much to get me on board with any type of sandwich for dinner, so I decided to try it and roast it with plenty of herbs. And all I can say is, who knew?? Who knew it would be so good, who knew it would be so easy, and who knew this was available to us?

Recipe
  • 1 frozen boneless turkey breast, about 2.5 lbs
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
  • S&P

The turkey needs to thaw out first, which takes about two
hours if you submerge it in a lukewarm bowl of water (keep the wrapping
on).
When thawed, unwrap the turkey (leaving the
inner cooking twine on to hold it together), and preheat the oven to
325.  Make a rub out of the fresh rosemary and
thyme, olive oil, lemon, dry
mustard,  and about 1 tsp salt, and plenty of
pepper.  Place the turkey in a roasting pan and rub the herb mixture
all over the top. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until an instant thermometer in the middle of the turkey
reads exactly 160 (mine took about 1 hr 50 minutes).  Take it out and cover tightly with foil, and let it sit
for 20 minutes before slicing (the temp will
rise up to 170 during this time, ensuring you don’t overcook it and it
turns out SUPER moist).

I made a gravy out of the minimal drippings (it’s a lean meat), and served with super creamy mashed potatoes to make up for it. And then, the sandwiches…..

 

 

three-layer-chocolate-cake-with-salted

Sorry, I’ve been missing.  Lots going on. And while every time I cook or think about cooking I have my blog in mind, I can’t find the time or motivation to write about it. I need a ghost writer. Any takers?

Birthday cake.  What’s better than a birthday cake? They’re delicious, they’re celebratory, and you only get to enjoy your own once a year. When my friend Annie was planning her 30th birthday party earlier this month, she asked me to be her cake captain.  Actually I nominated myself, but she selected me. I’m not sure how many others were in the running, but I imagine it was pretty stiff competition.  It was a job I took very seriously and it took a lot of research, brainstorming, and decision-making.  Luckily I just came out of leadership training at work.

I made the executive decision to stick with my go-to chocolate cake, which is Ina’s perfect chocolate cake recipe.  But I doubled the recipe, and made a 3-layer 10 inch cake. By the way, it IS the perfect chocolate cake recipe and I will never try anything different.

When it came to the filling, I decided on salted caramel butter cream.  Why? Well, because 1. It’s salted caramel butter cream, and 2. It’s one of Annie’s favorites and she had it at her wedding.  And I ate most of it so I owed her one.

So, here it is:

Chocolate Cake

Salted Caramel Butter Cream Filling

  • 1 cup of Martha’s salted caramel filling (you can half this recipe)
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

 Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting

  • 4 sticks butter, softened
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 8 oz melted milk chocolate
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup milk or cream

Topping

  • 4-6 smashed Cadbury Caramello bars
  • Coarse sea salt

Prepare the cake as instructed, doubling the recipe if you want to make a triple layer 10-inch cake.  After it has cooled, refrigerate the layers for at least an hour, but preferable overnight (cake tastes better the next day!).   When ready to frost and assemble, prepare the salted caramel filling.  I did NOT use a candy thermometer, I just used her recommended timing and it turned out perfectly.  Use one cup of the filling (and save the rest for ice cream!), and beat together with butter, powdered sugar, milk, and salt.  You’re going to need to lick the bowl here.  To prepare the chocolate butter cream, melt 8 oz of milk or semisweet chocolate (30 second intervals in the microwave).  Beat the powdered sugar and butter, then add in the chocolate and milk.

Take the cakes out of the fridge and level them off to create a flat surface (this is actually quite easy with a serrated knife and a chilled cake).  Place the first layer on a cake stand, and top with plenty of salted caramel filling (as much as you want, really – you will definitely have some filling left over).  Place the next layer on top, and repeat.

Add the final layer, then frost the whole thing with the chocolate butter cream.  Top with caramellos and sea salt.

The only thing I would have done differently with this cake is that I would not have transported it via cab while wearing a mini skirt. Very tricky.  The cake is about 500 lbs so you will need to prepare for some heavy lifting and rock solid planning if you need to take it anywhere.  But, you will be very happy once you do. It goes perfectly with ice cream, wine, and karaoke party buses.

spicy-roasted-cauliflower
 First of all, if this isn’t fun I don’t know what is. And yet it’s so simple. I love roasted cauliflower, so why not roast the whole darn thing??! It’s fun to make, it’s fun to eat, and it’s fun to look at.  This recipe came from my once-in-a-while genius food researcher husband, who found the recipe here.  We omitted the garlic because we don’t really like it, but do as you please. It went perfect with our steakhouse dinner.

An Incredible Steak

an-incredible-steak

I was going to call this ‘the perfect steak,’ but then I realized I haven’t tried every single steak so I couldn’t possibly know if this one is perfect. But it is darn near close.  A friend of mine at work who likes to swing by and rattle off all of his delicious-sounding homegrown recipes (hi Mike B.), told me about this a while ago and I’ve had it on my mind ever since.  I even texted him on Sunday to get an emergency reminder of what to do.

So, let’s get to it. The key to this steak is the cooking technique.  This is how the steakhouses cook a steak, according to Mike, and I’ve never met a steak at a steakhouse that I didn’t like.  It also must be foolproof, because overcooking meat runs in my family.

Now, the marinade is optional – but I really like the additional flavor it brought to the table. Mike adds tons of garlic, we didn’t. Up to you.

What you need:

  • 2 boneless Rib eyes (at least ¾ inch thick)
  • Optional marinade (1/2 cup balsamic, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • HOT grill pan or skillet
  • Butter
  • Oven at 400 degrees

If marinating, do so at least 3 hours before or overnight.  When ready to cook,  remove from the fridge and let the steak come to room temperature (about 30 minutes before).  Sprinkle with lots of salt and fresh cracked pepper.  Heat a grill pan and a tablespoon or two of butter over the stove on high until it’s super hot.  Sear each steak for two minutes on each side, then place the skillet in the oven for 6-9 minutes.  6 will get you to medium-rare, 9 will get you to medium-ish (We did 8 and it was perrrrrrfect). Let sit for several minutes before serving.  And voila,  suddenly you’re the steak hero of the family.  Thanks for sharing Mike!

Wild Rice Chicken Salad

wild-rice-chicken-salad

Do you have any girly events coming up? Like perhaps a baby or wedding shower? Or maybe a ladies’ luncheon?  This should be your dish to bring. It hits all the women’s hot buttons: it’s a ‘salad,’ it contains fruit so it must be healthy, it has cashews so there’s a crunch factor, there’s a bit of a twist with the wild rice, and it’s pretty.  By the way, what does the -eon add to a lunch? What happens between a lunch and a luncheon that justifies a whole new word?  Just wondering.

I first had this salad at my cousin’s baby shower many years ago, and it’s literally been on my mind ever since because I loved it so much. The recipe is courtesy of my lovely Aunt Donna, who swoops in with some real winners from time to time (like this pork tenderloin).  I highly recommend.

Oh and guess what? My husband loved it too.

Recipe (makes about 8 servings)

  • 3/4 cup uncooked wild rice, plus salted water
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken, cubed
  • 1 can (8oz) pineapple chunks, drained and halved
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1 1/2 cups seedless grapes, halved
  • 3/4 cup light mayo
  • 1/2 cup chutney
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup roasted salted cashews

Cook the rice according to instructions (boil in about 5-6 cups salted water, for almost an hour).  Drain thoroughly and let it cool and dry out a bit. In a bowl, add the chicken, pineapple, celery, and grapes. Mix together the mayo, chutney, and salt.   Add the rice to the bowl, then mix in the dressing. Chill until ready to serve (can be made a day ahead), then toss in the cashews.  I also added about 3/4 cup golden raisins for fun, and a little extra chicken.   I like to eat this salad on a croissant, but it’s totally good solo.