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Meyer Lemon Bars

Meyer Lemon Bars

You don't have to use meyer lemons for this recipe but if you can find them you won't regret it. The sweetness of the meyer variety is a nice change from the lip-puckering tartness that you'd find with a regular lemon.

Most recipes have you pour a concoction of lemon juice, eggs and sugar over a warm, partially-baked crust. Easy enough - but the problem I find with this method is that the filling never seems to set properly even after the bars are baked and cooled. Try slicing nice even squares and you get sticky and gooey pieces. Not ideal. What I love about this recipe is that the filling is pre-cooked, like a curd, and when baked further in the oven its silky smooth texture holds its shape beautifully.

If you like citrus you can't go wrong with these meyer lemon bars.

Meyer Lemon Bars (adapted from Baking Illustrated)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more to sprinkle on the finished bars
pinch of salt
8 Tbls unsalted butter, still cool and cut into 8 pieces

7 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1 cup + 2 Tbls sugar
2/3 cup meyer lemon juice (from about 4-5 medium lemons)
finely grated zest from the lemons
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tbls unsalted butter, cut in to 4 pieces
3 Tbls heavy cream

For the crust
Cover a 9-inch square cake pan with two sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil, perpendicular to each other. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Put the flour, powdered sugar and salt in a food processor and process briefly, about 2 seconds. Add the butter pieces and process to blend, 8 to 10 seconds, then process until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse meal, about three 1-second pulses. Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared cake pan and press firmly with your fingers into an even layer over the entire pan bottom. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the crust until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

For the filling
In a medium saucepan whisk together the egg yolks and whole eggs until combined. Add the sugar, meyer lemon juice, zest and salt until well combined, about 30 seconds.

Add the butter pieces and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the curd thickens to a thin sauce-like consistency (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer), about 6 minutes.

Immediately pour the curd through a fine-mesh steel strainer set over a medium bowl. Stir in the heavy cream and then pour the curd into the warm crust.
Bake until the filling is shiny and opaque and the center 3 inches jiggle slightly when shaken, about 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 45 minutes. Remove the bars from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 2 inch squares, wiping the knife blade clean between cuts as necessary. Sieve powdered sugar over the bars, if you'd like.
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CrockPot Chicken Teriyaki
CrockPot Chicken Teriyaki

2 pounds chicken pieces
Frozen wings and drumettes.
If you don't want to mess around with bones, use chicken thighs.
Chicken breast just really doesn't have enough fat in it to hold up nicely in the slow cooker unless you decide to shred it completely.

if you have bottled teriyaki sauce, use about 3/4 of a cup, and then 2 tablespoons water in place of sauce.


1/2 cup soy sauce (La Choy is gluten free, and so is Tamari Wheat Free)
3 tablepoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cooking or regular sherry (I think tequila would work, too)
3 cloves smashed and chopped garlic


--plop your chicken in the crockpot
--cover it up with the sauce

cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-5.

If you are using frozen pieces, it will take longer than if you are using thawed or fresh chicken.
Different pieces of chicken also have different density, and that will also effect cooking time. If you are going to be out of the house, cook on low.

You can always switch it to high later.

Serve over cooked rice.
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Easter Pie

Italian Easter Pie

Our friend over at Bewitching Kitchen has this to say about the recipe:
“Each year I spot recipes for Easter Pie in websites and magazines, and I tell myself that I’ve got to see what it’s all about, but for one reason or another I never get around to making it. Still, the chances that this was the year to end my Easter Pie virginity were slim, because the thought of rolling dough in our nano-kitchen was downright scary. Yet, strange things happened. I read this post, and couldn’t stop thinking about it.”

I had a few problems with rolling the dough too even if I had a rolling pin at home. This recipe takes patience and determination. And you will find that it will all pay off in the end!

Read more... )
Italian Easter Pie2
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No fail pie crust

Ruth’s Grandma’s Pie Crust


4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups shortening
3 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons salt

1 egg
1/2 cup water


In a large mixing bowl, combine all-purpose flour, shortening, sugar, and salt. Blend together with a pastry cutter until crumbly.

In a small bowl, mix egg with water. Blend into flour mixture. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.
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Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Cheesy mac and cheese with sharp cheddar, parmesan, and broccoli.

Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 40 minutes Yield: Serves 4 to 6


1 bunch of broccoli, cut into florets

2 cups dry elbow macaroni
4 qt water
2 Tbsp Salt

4 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all purpose flour (whole wheat flour gives a heartier flavor)

3 cups milk (low fat or whole) pre-heated
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups (packed) grated sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces less 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cups (packed) grated sharp cheddar cheese


The pasta:
Boil 4 qts water with 2 Tbsp salt, add pasta and cook uncovered at a rolling boil for 2 minutes less than the time given on the pasta package instructions until al dente. (Pasta will continue to cook with the cheese mixture.) Rinse quickly in cold water to stop the cooking, drain and set aside.

Steam the broccoli while the pasta water is coming to a boil: (MICROWAVE maybe)
Bring a pot with an inch of water to boil.
Add the broccoli, sprinkle with some salt, and cover.
Steam for 4 minutes.
Remove the broccoli to a bowl.

Heat the milk:
In a microwave or stovetop, heat the milk until steamy. (Preheating the milk decreases time in the next step.)

Preheat oven broiler at 500°F.

Make roux with butter and flour:
Melt 4 Tbsp butter on medium high heat.
When the butter starts to foam sprinkle with 3 Tbsp of flour.
Whisk to combine.
Decrease heat to medium and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

Add milk and spices to roux:
Pour in the hot milk and whisk vigorously to combine, breaking up any clumps of flour.
Decrease heat to medium low and let cook, whisking frequently, until the sauce is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Stir in the dry mustard, paprika, nutmeg, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Whisk in cheeses:
Whisk in 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.
Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.*

Add broccoli & Pasta:
Stir until completely combined.

*Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese on top.
Broil for 5 to 7 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned. (omit if you want to microwave)

Add more salt and pepper to taste.

mac and cheese with broccoli
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Lemonade: If you stir Lemon Juice, sugar, and water together the sugar will sink to the bottom. A better way is to make a simple syrup heating water and sugar together until the sugar is completely dissolved, and then add the lemon juice.

The sweetness and strength of your lemonade depends on how sour your lemons are. Lemons earlier in the year are more sour than later in the season. Meyer lemons are sweeter than standard lemons.


Simple Syrup
1 cup white, granulated sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
1 cup water

1 cup lemon juice (4 to 6 lemons = 1 Cup of juice depending on their size)
2 to 3 cups cold water (to dilute)


"Simple syrup"
Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stirring so that the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat. Simple Syrup can be chilled to use later.

1. While the water is heating for the simple syrup, juice your lemons.

2. Combine juice and simple syrup into container.

Add 2 to 3 cups cold water to taste.

Add more water if you like it more diluted (ice will dilute the lemonade as it melts *).

If the lemonade tastes too sweet for you, add a bit more straight lemon juice.

Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes.

Serve with ice, sliced lemons

Quick Tip –

If you have extra lemons, they can be squeezed and the juice frozen to use later.

*Make ice cubes of some of the lemonade in an ice cube tray to serve with the drink. This prevents the lemonade from getting watered down as the ice melts.

For more intense lemon flavor, grate the zest from one fresh lemon and add to the simple syrup as you are making it. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and let the zest seep in the simple syrup for several minutes, strain out the zest when you add the simple syrup to the lemon juice.


Old Fashioned Pink Lemonade

Simple Syrup
1 1/4 C sugar (using unsweetened cranberry juice; 1 cup if using sweetened)
1 C water

3 C water
1 C cranberry juice
1 C lemon juice

Combine the rest of ingredients to the simple syrup.
Chill or serve over ice.
pink lemonade
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Coffee Doughnuts with Coffee Glaze

coffee donuts

Cold brew concentrate lends robust coffee flavor to these crispy cake doughnuts. In the Epi test kitchen, we're partial to New Orleans-style brews, such as Grady's, which—blended with chicory—are super smooth and lightly sweet.

YIELD Makes 12 doughnuts ACTIVE TIME 45 minutes TOTAL TIME 1 hour, 10 minutes


2 cups Gold Medal all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons High Brew cold brew coffee concentrate
2 quarts canola oil (for frying)

For the Coffee Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons High Brew cold brew coffee concentrate

Special equipment:
3" round cutter, 1" round cutter, deep-fry thermometer


Make the doughnuts:
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

Beat granulated sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

Add egg and continue to beat, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, until incorporated. Reduce speed to low and gradually add buttermilk and coffee concentrate, beating just until combined. Gradually add dry ingredients and beat just until dough comes together.

Turn out dough onto a large piece of parchment paper and cover with a second sheet of parchment. Using a rolling pin, roll dough between parchment sheets to about 1/3" thick. Transfer dough in parchment to a rimmed baking sheet and freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.

Peel off top sheet of parchment. Working on bottom sheet, punch out as many rounds as you can with 3" cutter, then use 1" cutter to punch out center of each round. Gather doughnut holes and scraps and re-roll; repeat process 3–4 times until all dough has been used (you should have 12 doughnuts). Place doughnuts on a second parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until slightly chilled, about 5 minutes.

Pour oil into a heavy-duty pot to a depth of 2" and fit pot with deep-fry thermometer. Heat oil to 375ºF. Working in batches, fry doughnuts until deep golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a wire rack lined with paper towels and let cool 2–3 minutes.

Make the Coffee Glaze:
1. Whisk powdered sugar and coffee concentrate in a large bowl until smooth. Dip warm doughnuts in glaze. Place on a wire rack to let glaze set, about 3 minutes, then dip again.

Quick Tip – If you don’t drink coffee, you can use a chocolate substitute, like Choffy.
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Spring Roll Wrappers

Making Your Own Rice Paper Wrappers

Organic rice paper wrappers are for more than just spring rolls. Because they contain rice rather than wheat or other flours, the wrappers are gluten-free and can be used to wrap all sorts of organic foods.

Unfortunately, finding commercially prepared varieties of organic rice paper wrappers is extremely difficult. However, making your own wrappers is a fairly simple process that doesn't require any special equipment. As long as you use organic ingredients, you'll have organic rice paper wrappers.

This recipe yields 18 wrappers.


1 cup of organic rice flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of water
Organic non-stick cooking spray, such as Spectrum spray


Sift together the flour and the salt into a medium-sized bowl.

Very slowly, add the water to the flour and salt mixture, stirring constantly as the water is added. Stir until the batter is extremely smooth.

Over medium heat, preheat a 5" non-stick sauté pan that has been coated with a thin layer of the cooking spray. Preheat for five minutes.

Pour one tablespoon of the batter into the middle of the pan and quickly tilt and swirl the pan in order to spread the batter quickly and evenly.

Cook the batter until it appears dry - about two minutes. There is no need to flip the batter over - the layer will be so thin that it will cook through quickly.

Gently remove the rice paper from the pan and set aside on paper towels to cool.

When you are ready to use the wrappers, remoisten them with a few sprinkles of water.

Cooking With the Wrappers

Lay the wrappers on a flat surface.

Fill the wrappers with a few tablespoons of your favorite organic ingredients.

Fold the two ends of the wrapper over the filling and then roll.

Wet your finger in water and rub the edges of the wrapper to seal.

Foods rolled in rice paper wrappers can be eaten as is (if the ingredients are already cooked), or deep fried until golden and crispy.

Serving Suggestions

A few ways to use your wrappers include:

Sweet apple dessert - Fill wrappers with organic apples that have been sautéed in organic butter or coconut oil and a dash of cinnamon. Fry rolls in coconut oil and drizzle with organic honey.

Asian Vegan Rolls - Sautee diced organic tofu with organic aromatic vegetables such as onion, celery and carrots. Add a dash of soy sauce and some organic cilantro. Fill the wrappers with the tofu and vegetables and roll.

Pear-ginger rolls - Sautee organic pear slices with organic crystallized ginger in some organic butter or oil. Add grating of fresh organic nutmeg. Roll in rice paper and fry. Sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.

Prawn, pink ginger and avocado rolls - Marinate prawns in a mixture of organic oil, rice vinegar and grated coriander for about 30 minutes. Sautee prawns. Place one prawn on each wrapper, and add slices of avocado, pickled ginger and leaves of cilantro. Roll and serve.

Grated vegetable and rice noodle rolls - Grate carrots. Slice green onions. Finely chop or grate cabbage. Sliver shiitake mushrooms. Soften rice noodles. Mix vegetables with noodles and add a handful of cilantro. Add a few tablespoons of rice vinegar, two cloves of minced garlic and a pinch of salt. When well mixed, roll in rice paper and serve as is, or deep fry the rolls.

Dipping Sauces

One of the joys of rice paper rolls is dipping them in a tasty organic sauce. Here are some suggestions for delicious organic dipping sauces:

Peanut sauce - In a blender, combine ¼ cup organic peanut butter, two cloves of garlic, one tablespoon of sugar, three tablespoons of soy sauce, one tablespoon of sesame oil, ¼ cup of water and two tablespoons of lime juice.

Sweet hot dipping sauce - In a small bowl, combine one clove of garlic, minced; ½ teaspoon of chili oil, three tablespoons of soy sauce, two tablespoons of white vinegar and one tablespoon of sugar.

Chili oil and soy vinegar sauce - In a small bowl, mix together four tablespoons of white vinegar, two tablespoons of soy sauce and four drops of chili oil.

Use Your Wrappers Creatively

With a little creativity and preparation, the uses for rice paper wrappers are endless. Go ahead - find your favorite organic ingredients and wrap them in organic wrappers. You'll be glad you did.

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Pork Tenderloin with Merlot-Shallot Sauce

Pork Tenderloin with Merlot-Shallot Sauce

This recipe was printed in the Houston Chronicle. It's very elegant, but quick and easy enough to prepare for a week night meal.


2 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb each)
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaf
1⁄2 teaspoon salt, divided
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
4 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup merlot or 1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon chicken stock powder or 1 tablespoon chicken soup base (a concentrated reduced chicken broth can be substituted)
2 tablespoons cherry preserves or 2 tablespoons blackberry preserves
2 tablespoons butter (optional)

Preheat oven to 350.
Coat pork with 1 1/2 tsp olive oil; rub with rosemary, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.

Heat a heavy, ovenproof skillet over high heat.

Cook pork, turning often, until lightly browned on all sides, 5 minutes.

Transfer skillet and pork to oven; roast until thermometer reads 150 degrees, about 10- 15 minutes.
Transfer cooked pork to a platter; keep warm.

Add remaining 1 1/2 tsp oil to same skillet.

Heat over medium heat.

Add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring until lightly browned, about 4 minutes.

Add wine; cook over high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium.

Stir in stock concentrate and preserves.

Add remaining 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper; adjust seasoning if necessary.

Whisk in butter.

Pour into a serving bowl.
Slice pork into 1/4" slices and serve with sauce.
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Pork Loin with Wine and Herb Gravy

Pork Loin with Wine and Herb Gravy


Pork loin (or tenderloins) cooked on the stove-top with wine and herbs, then sliced and served with a delicious, lightly creamy gravy. If using a pork loin roast, look for one with a little bit of fat. For pork tenderloins, be sure to trim the silverskin before cooking.


1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped

2 lb center cut boneless pork loin (or two 1 lb. pork tenderloins)

1 1/4 cups dry white wine (plus a bit more to deglaze pan)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
1/2 cup heavy cream (or a lighter cream mixed with 2 tsp. cornstarch)


Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Saute the garlic, rosemary and sage, stirring, for about one minute. Add the pork loin to the pan, carefully placing it on top of the herbs. Saute the pork for about 5 minutes on each side, then remove it to a plate. Add the wine to the pan and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan. Cook until the smell of the alcohol has disappeared, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Lower the heat under the pan to low-medium heat. Return the pork to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Partially cover with a lid and cook for about 1 1/2 hours (probably less if you're using pork tenderloins), flipping the pork and scraping the bottom of the pan every 20 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it, making sure there continues to be some liquid in the pan. Add 1/4 cup of warm water if necessary.

When the pork is cooked through (if you want to test with a thermometer, it should be about 150° internal temperature.) Remove pork to a plate to rest. Meanwhile, increase the heat under the liquid in the pan to medium. If your pan has little liquid, deglaze with a splash of white wine. Stir well to loosen the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook until the alcohol smell disappears (about 1-2 minutes). Add the chicken stock. Remove pot from heat and allow to cool in the pot for 20 minutes.

When the sauce has cooled, add the cream and put the pan back on the stove. Heat gently over medium-low heat, stirring the sauce constantly until it thickens a bit and warms. Avoid boiling. (*If your sauce doesn't thicken up, mix 2 Tbsp. cornstarch with 2 Tbsp. water and add a bit at a time to your sauce until it thickens to your liking.) Taste sauce and add salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste.

Place the resting pork on a cutting board (you can add any accumulated meat juices back to the sauce if you like!). Slice the pork very thinly and place on to a serving plate.

Pour the warm gravy over top.
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Turkey Gravy

Gravy from the Thanksgiving turkey pan drippings.

Total:25 min, Active: 10 min
Yield: 10 to 12 servings


1 Good Eats Roast Turkey, recipe follows
24 ounces reduced sodium chicken broth
8 ounces red wine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh herbs such as oregano, thyme or rosemary
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Roast Turkey:
One 14- to 16-pound frozen young turkey

For the brine:
1 gallon vegetable stock
1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:
1 red apple, quartered
1/2 onion, quartered
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
6 leaves sage
Canola oil


Remove the turkey from the roasting pan and set aside to rest.

Leave the drippings from the turkey in the pan and place the roasting pan over medium heat.
Add the broth and wine at the same time. Whisk to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan until all of the bits have come loose. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes in order to reduce the mixture slightly.

Transfer the liquid to a fat separator and let sit for 5 minutes to allow fat to separate.

Return 2/3 to 3/4 cup of the fat to the roasting pan and place over medium-high heat. Discard any remaining fat. Add the flour and whisk to combine.

Cook, whisking continuously, until the mixture starts to thicken and become smooth, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Once this happens, gradually add the liquid back to the pan and whisk until smooth and you have reached your desired consistency, approximately 5 to 6 minutes.

Remember, your gravy should be slightly thin in the pan as it will thicken once you serve it. Add the herbs and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

~~~~~~~ Brining~~~~~~~
2 to 3 days before roasting:

Begin thawing the turkey in the refrigerator or in a cooler kept at 38 degrees F.

Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.

Early on the day or the night before you'd like to eat:

Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.

~~~~~~ Baking ~~~~~~~~

Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.

Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.

Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F. for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 151 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest for at least 15 minutes before carving.

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown, 2008
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Making homemade gravy is one of the most daunting challenges that a new cook can face. Getting the thickness right, making sure there are no lumps and not scorching it are all hurdles. Once you’ve leapt those, you still have to figure out how to season your gravy. The best time to do that is while it is beginning to thicken. But there are literally hundreds of spices to choose from and not every spice goes with every kind of gravy. Don’t panic. Choosing gravy spices is a snap once you know the basics.

Season beef gravy with strong-flavored, savory herbs. Dried bay leaf, marjoram, sage and thyme add a rich depth to beef gravy. Grated nutmeg adds an unexpected grace note, and coarse pepper of any kind -- black, green, pink or white -- adds a tangy bite. Onion and garlic powder also work but these can easily overwhelm the other spices.

Spice up chicken and turkey gravy with lighter savory spices. Premixed poultry seasoning is the simplest choice. It usually contains oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme and pepper. Adventurous cooks can also experiment with ginger, marjoram, paprika and tarragon. Lemon pepper adds a fresh bite to poultry gravy.

Sprinkle generous amounts of strong-flavored spices into pork gravy to complement its richer flavor. Garlic and onion are best with pork, though these also complemented by oregano and sage.

Use a light touch when seasoning fish gravies to avoid overwhelming the delicate taste of the main dish. Lemon juice is best unless your gravy is cream-based. To avoid curdling the cream, use lemon zest or dried lemon peel. Curry, dill and mustard go well with fish, as do marjoram and paprika.

Season vegetable gravy according to the natural flavors of the produce in question. Strong, green vegetables like broccoli and kale can stand up to bold flavors like lemon, garlic and onion. More delicate vegetables like leeks and cauliflower do better with lighter curry, dill, cinnamon and parsley. Carrots and most squash are also complemented by cinnamon, allspice and other so-called baking spices.


Never over-salt gravy because it not only overwhelms the other flavors, but too much sodium can contribute to high blood pressure.


Always use a light hand when adding spices to gravy because you can always put more in, but you can’t take any out.
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apple cider gravy

Apple Cider Gravy

Easy make ahead dripless apple cider gravy. A flavorful addition to all of your holiday meals!


1/4C unsalted butter
1/4C all purpose flour

1 1/2C chicken broth*
1/2C apple cider*

1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. When butter is fully melted, whisk in flour until thickened. Slowly add broth and cider, whisking well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil, continuing to whisk until desired thickness is reached.

Serve immediately or chill and reheat as needed.

If making ahead, press plastic wrap to the surface of the gravy to prevent a skin from forming. Reheat in a saucepan or in the microwave, stirring to ensure an even temperature.

*Vegetable broth may be used in place of chicken broth for a vegetarian option.
*If apple cider is not available, apple juice may be used instead.
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mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes with Gingersnap Crust

The perfect two bite Thanksgiving treat. Creamy spiced pumpkin cheesecakes baked on top of a gingersnap crust.


20 gingersnap cookies
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tbsp granulated sugar

8oz cream cheese, softened
1/2C packed brown sugar

1/2C canned pumpkin
1 tbsp sour cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves

1 egg

Fresh whipped cream


Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease mini cheesecake pan with baking spray.

In a food processor, process cookies into fine crumbs. Add granulated sugar and melted butter, combining well. Divide equally among cheesecake pan cavities. Use a small flat bottom item such as a shot glass to press down on cookie crumb mixture. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 325.

In a medium to large bowl, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, sour cream, salt, vanilla and spices. Mix well. Finally, add egg mixing only until completely combined. Do not over mix. Divide among cheesecake pan cavities.

*Roughly 6 teaspoons or 2 tablespoons of filling per pan cavity. Using a small OXO cookie scoop, add roughly three scoops per cavity. Do not overfill. There should be a 1/4" gap between cheesecake mixture and top of the pan.

Tap pan on counter gently to force any air bubbles to the top.

Bake for 15-18 minutes in a 325 degree oven. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before transferring to the refrigerator to chill overnight.

Top off with optional fresh sweetened whipped cream prior to serving.
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Apple Crisp Smoothie

Apple Crisp Smoothie

Refreshing and delicious spiced apple and oat smoothie.


2C apples, peeled and cored
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4C milk
1/2C vanilla yogurt
1/4C old fashioned oats


Blend all ingredients until smooth. Divide among glasses. Serve immediately or chill.
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Slow Cooker Black Bean Taco Chili

Slow Cooker Black Bean Taco Chili

Hearty slow cooker back bean chicken taco chili. Perfect cold weather comfort food!


1 1/2lb chicken breast, trimmed of fat*
15oz corn, drained
15oz black beans, drained and rinsed well
15oz petite diced tomatoes, drained
1C yellow onion, chopped
1C green bell pepper
1 jalapeño, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 - 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 1/2 - 3C chicken broth

Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Tortilla chips
Sour cream


To the bowl of a 5-6 quart slow cooker, add raw chicken breasts, beans, vegetables, spices and chicken broth.

Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8.

Remove chicken breasts to shred, then return to slow cooker.

Serve with shredded cheese, tortilla chips and optional sour cream.

* substitute - browned ground beef
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BBQ sauce

Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce

Homemade brown sugar barbecue sauce with a spicy kick.


1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 1/4 cups Heinz ketchup

1 1/2 Tbsp molasses

3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp ground mustard

1 1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp chili powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder


Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat, stirring frequently until it begins to boil.

Reduce to low heat and cook for another 2 minutes.

Remove from heat.

Sauce can be used immediately or allowed to cool and put in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Quick Tip:
Add red pepper flakes for a little spice in addition to this sweet flavor.
charisstoma: (Default)
smoked sausage and potato bake

Smoked Sausage and Potato Bake


1 package Eckrich skinless smoked sausage, sliced 14 oz.
8 Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
1 green pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
2T butter
1t oregano
1t basil
1/2t black pepper
2T olive oil


Preheat oven 375

In a pan arrange sausage, potatoes, and peppers. Dot with butter cubes.

Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with seasonings.

Bake 40 - 50 min.


veggies - carrots, zucchini, broccoli, and cheese. Use same seasonings.
Ham instead of sausage.
charisstoma: (Default)
Sausage biscuit bites

Three Wise Men Sausage Biscuit Bites

These 3-ingredient biscuit bites are insanely tasty and filling. This recipe is super simple to scale down or double in order to meet your needs.


1 lb. hot sausage (pork or turkey)

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese

2 packages crescent rolls*

Dash salt & ground black pepper


In a saute pan, brown sausage; drain. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Blend in cream cheese until the cream cheese is melted.

Unroll one package of crescent rolls and place on a baking sheet. With your fingers, gently press the seams together to seal them. Spread the sausage mixture evenly over the crescent roll dough, leaving about a 1/2-inch border along the edges.

Unroll the remaining package of crescent rolls and place on top of the sausage mixture. Press the edges together to seal. Gently press the seams together.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until crescent roll dough is golden brown.

Cut into small squares and serve. (A pizza cutter makes really quick and easy work of the cutting.)


crescent rolls

Golden Crescent Rolls

"This is a great recipe for sweet, fluffy crescent rolls (kind of like a croissant but more dense)."

Prep 25 min, Bake 15 min, Total 3 h 10 min 20 servings 181 cals

2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, softened


Dissolve yeast in warm water.

Stir in sugar, salt, eggs, butter, and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in remaining flour until smooth. Scrape dough from side of bowl. Knead dough, then cover it and let rise in a warm place until double (about 1 1/2 hours).

Punch down dough. Divide in half. Roll each half into a 12-inch circle. Spread with butter. Cut into 10 to 15 wedge. Roll up the wedges starting with the wide end. Place rolls with point under on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double (about 1 hour).

Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 12-15 minute or until golden brown. Brush tops with butter when they come out of the oven.


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