Thursday, August 2, 2012

Food City Kitchen On WVLT, Chef Walter and Jan Charles - Grilled Steak w... or
A chimichurri is fabulous stuff - it's a traditional Argentinian salsa that is traditionally served with steaks. Argentina produces some of the finest steaks in the world, and this chimichurri sauce is the national, traditional accompaniment. Once you taste it you'll see why chimichurri is part of the national cuisine!
Chimichurri is also one of the easiest sauces you'll make. It's just as simple as a vinaigrette - olive oil, vinegar, a bit of garlic and either parsley or cilantro, and you're almost there. And just like a good vinaigrette, it can double as both a marinade and as a salsa or sauce served on the side. Matter of fact, it's just as delicious on grilled chicken as a marinade and sauce as it is with flank steak or sirloin. Once you try it, you'll find yourself reaching for this chimichurri recipe over and over!

Food City Kitchen On WVLT, Chef Walter and Jan Charles - Grilled Steak with Chimichurri Sauce from The Food City Kitchen on WVLT. Like this? Watch the latest episode of The Food City Kitchen on WVLT on Blip!

See all episodes of The Food City Kitchen on WVLT
Visit The Food City Kitchen on WVLT's series page

Food City Kitchen On WVLT, Chef Walter and Jan Charles - Lemon Bars Reci... Fresh lemon bars - a shortbread cookie crust with a tangy sweet lemon filling. Simple and delicious!
I love lemon - almost as much as I love chocolate - which is saying something. That's why this recipe for Lemon Bars is one of my favorites - fresh lemon juice and lemon zest combine in an easy curd, then is layered on top of a quick shortbread cookie crust. Once chilled, simply cut the lemon bars into squares, and you'll have a tangy, sweet, citrusy dessert in no time!

Food City Kitchen On WVLT, Chef Walter and Jan Charles - Easy Ratatouill... Ratatouille takes advantage of the best of fresh summer vegetables, and in this version it's a snap to have a French classic - simply!
Ratatouille is an absolute classic - and for good reason! The freshest summer vegetables are usually simmered together with basil for a delectable French country treat.The first time I made this I literally picked everything out of my mother's garden and had this within an hour. Now I hit the farmer's market for my veggies, and I've since adapted my recipe to take advantage of the oven by roasting the vegetables. Eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes go on a baking sheet with olive oil. The result is a more flavorful, fresher tasting finished dish. Serve this with simple pasta for a quick, fresh, vegetarian man dish.

Food City Kitchen On WVLT, Chef Walter and Jan Charles - Walter's Summer... Too much zucchini? Walter shows you how to take care of it in a way that's simple, delicious and healthy! This is a wonderful take on a traditional zucchini casserole, and Walter updates it with green chilies. The result is fabulous - and helps make all that healthy zucchini delicious too!

Food City Kitchen On WVLT, Chef Walter and Jan Charles - Pan Roasted Veg... Chef Walter makes a fabulous pan roasted vegetables dish with Dale's Seasonings. This stuff is amazing. Walter takes a simple blend of vegetables, mushrooms and onions, and turns it into one of the best veggie dishes ever. Dale's Seasoning is the key to pan roasting these mushrooms.

Food City Kitchen with Chef Walter and Jan Charles - Peanut Cola Cake

Walter's Peanut Cola Cake from Southern Living, Chef Walter Lambert brings a to-die-for cola cake with a peanut butter frosting. This recipe throws together in no time, and the icing is just as simple. Topped with honey roasted peanuts, this cake takes the traditional Southern cola cake to a terrific place.

TG Best Ground Beef Recipes - How to Make Easy Baked Meatball Subs!

Food City Kitchen On WVLT, Chef Walter and Jan Charles - Cowboy Beans!

Food City Kitchen On WVLT, Chef Walter and Jan Charles - Walter's Summer...

Thrillbilly Gourmet - Best Ground Beef Recipes - Stuffed Bell Peppers wi...

Food City Kitchen with Chef Walter and Jan Charles - Walter's Tomato Cas...

TG - Crepes! Crepes with Nutella, How to Make Dessert Crepes with Nutella

TG - Easy Chicken Parmesan, Easy Baked Chicken Parmesan Casserole

Food City Kitchen On WVLT, Chef Walter and Jan Charles - Healthy Banana ...

TG Stuffed Shells with Ricotta - 4 Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Baked Lemon Garlic Chicken

Lemon Garlic Chicken - Recipe for Baked Lemon Garlic Chicken

Like many people, I have too many duties for the hours at my disposal. Because of this I've a several favored food staples that I keep in my refrigerator and pantry. Chicken, ground beef, pasta, potatoes and marina head up the lists of methods to build great dinners easily. I’ve learned that regardless how smashed for time I am, I can create quick, simple, inexpensive chicken recipes for dinner at least twice weekly, and this one is among the best.
Lemon and garlic are constants in my kitchen. Each offer wonderful flavor to a number of recipes, including this one. Baked Lemon Garlic Chicken leads my list for fast, simple and scrumptious. It combines vibrant, beautifully distinct flavors in a savory delight that appeals to everybody. Create this with either chicken breasts or chicken thighs, anything you have on hand or find on sale.
This recipe involves leaving the skin on. Because the chicken is cooked with the sauce, often it can lack color once the baking is finished. Consequently it works very well to run your almost-cooked chicken under the broiler just for a little bit, until it is golden and beautiful. This recipe works beautifully along with herbed rice, or rice pilaf, and don’t forget to serve the sauce.
One additional note - if you wish, you can double the recipe, then let the extra chicken freeze with the sauce as a marinade. Simply wrap it well, and defrost in the refrigerator before cooking. Or create the recipe as written, separate it into individual portions, freeze all of them separately, and you have a fantastic meal for just one or two. Perfect Baked Lemon Garlic Chicken in no time!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 min
Will serve: 4 servings

• 1/4 cup olive oil -- I prefer full flavored or extra virgin, but what you may like
• 3 tbsp minced garlic
• 1/3 cup dry white wine
• 2 lemons, one zested and squeezed and 1 sliced into wedges
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 tsp . dried rosemary
• 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
• 1 tsp . chopped fresh thyme leaves
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on
• Fresh parsley, finely chopped, to complete
• Optional - 4 ounces. quartered cherry tomatoes
• Optional -- 1 tbsp capers

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
With a small saucepan over medium low heat, heat the olive oil until very warm. Add garlic and cook for just about a minute. Do not allow it to burn - you actually just want to permit the flavors start to bloom.
Remove the oil from the heat, then include the white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, herbs and ½ tsp of kosher salt and ½ tsp of fresh black pepper to the oil. Mix to mix, and place in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish.
Dry chicken well and put all of them in the dish, turning to coat with the sauce. Place them skin side up. Dust lightly with salt and pepper (yes, that’s again). Put lemon wedges around your chicken, and add the cherry tomatoes and capers if perhaps you are making use of them.
Bake chicken for 30-35 minutes, depending on size of the chicken pieces. You'd like an internal temp of 165F. In the event the skin is under done or too light, let them broil for just a little bit or until golden. Cover your casserole with foil, and permit chicken to rest for ten minutes prior to serving. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve with its own pan juices, and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley.

*Note -- you may use boneless, skinless chicken and there are generally advantages and disadvantages to either kinds. Skin free cooks a tad bit more speedily, but could dry out and does not truly appear golden. Skin on pieces can be golden and toasty, yet really are a bit more fatty, and may seem a lttle bit ‘flabby’ without caution. Honestly - both of them taste terrific.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Simple Pasta Primavera – What is Pasta Primavera? Springtime Celebration!

Simple Pasta Primavera – What is Pasta Primavera? Springtime Celebration!

There are many recipes for pasta primavera, and they come in a thousand variations. From gourmet pasta recipes which call for cream, expensive cheeses, or unusually shaped pastas, to the simplest of recipes for pasta primavera, asking for nothing but a couple of vegetables and a drizzle of oil. They are usually all delicious too – and the thing is, they are every single one an authentic pasta primavera.

Why? Because the word primavera in Italian means nothing more than spring, and so when asking ‘what is pasta primavera?’, the answer can be found in any pasta recipe that connotes spring, it’s weather, it’s warmth, and it’s fresh produce. For this reason, not only is pasta primavera a very healthy pasta dish, it is also incredibly adaptable, quick, easy and delicious. It can serve as a main dish or a side, and many recipes for pasta primavera are even fabulous cold.

This particular recipe for pasta primavera is quick, easy, delicious and adaptable. Use whatever fresh vegetables you wish – and if you luck into a bit of the best of spring veggies, such as asparagus or ramps, throw them in! Cut the roasting time for the more delicate veggies, so as not to overcook them. If you’d like, start the carrots about ten minutes before the other vegetables, or just cut them into a finer julienne and toss them all in together. Or if you are simply craving fresh, bright flavors, make this any time of year with whichever veggies you find most appealing.

Give this simple pasta primavera a shot – you’ll quickly come to love it!


  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into thin strips
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into thin strips
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, one yellow and one red, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, both to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 pound bowtie pasta
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, halved and seeded
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat oven to 450F.

In a large bowl, toss the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Transfer vegetables to a large baking sheet and spread into a single layer. Place into preheated oven and roast for about 15-20 minutes. Halfway through baking time, stir the vegetables. You want the carrots to be tender, and the rest to begin to brown, but not overcooked.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of well salted (tastes like sea water) boiling water, cook the pasta until either tender or al dente – to your preference. It should take about 8-10 minutes. Drain pasta, but hang onto about a cup or so of the pasta cooking liquid.

Toss the vegetables and pasta together in a large bowl to combine. Made sure to add the oil and juices from the veggies that collect on the baking sheet. Add cherry tomatoes and Parmesan, and enough of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season with salt and black pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

How to Deglaze a Pan and Build a Pan Sauce

I’m going to show you how to make a pan sauce, and we’re going to do this by deglazing. Now you can think of this as using a magic potion in the kitchen, and you’re going to do it with this magic wand.

Now over here all I’ve done is browned off a pork chop. And you want this nice rich, deep color, because that means you’ve got this stuff left in the pan. Now this is going to be the fond that we’re going to use to build a sauce. It’s called fond because that means foundation in French, and it’s the foundation for sauces, and it’s the foundation for flavor.

Now to deglaze, what you want to do is get that stuff up off the bottom of your pan and into your food where it’s going to do you some good. We’re going to do that this way – with a little wine. And you can do it with any number of things, just about any kind of liquid. I like using a little bit of acid, and wine is an acidic ingredient. You can also use vinegar – I love cooking with vinegar; it just adds amazing flavor. You can use alcohol of whatever kind, brandy if you want to.

Now next step, and I’m going to throw in…now this is how hard a pan sauce is. It seriously is this easy. A little bit of garlic, a little bit of shallot, and a little bit of chicken broth. You don’t much, and at this stage, we’re going to give this, I’d say, no more than three or four minutes. I’m going to let it come to a very nice, heavy rolling boil. We’re going to reduce it by about half in volume, while those shallots get soft.

This is just about perfect. We’ve allowed that wine to reduce and that intensifies all those flavors. It burnt off about all of the alcohol, but you’ve got amazing taste left in there. So this one we’re going to keep very, very simple. We’re going to finish it with just a pat of butter, and we’re going to whisk him in like that. And as soon as that gets melted down, we add the last little tiny thing. Are we good? There! This is just a little bit of fresh parsley.

That’s it! And I’m taking this straight this straight over this way. Perfect. And that is how to deglaze!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fond! What it is and how to use it!

Fond and How to Use it

One of the most important things that you can learn how to do if you’re teaching yourself how to cook, is to learn how to cook with this stuff. Now, you’re going to hear this talked about in two different ways. There are going to be people who have studied classical French food and they’re going to be calling it suc – think of the French word sucre for sugar – that’s what that is. Here in America we call it fond, even though fond in classically French cooking is the next step. But we’re going to call this entire process of development fond. And I remember it, and help my kids remember it when I’m teaching them by remembering we’re fond of fond.

Now fond in French means foundation and what you’re doing with this stuff is building from it. And it’s the most valuable thing which you can develop in your kitchen. This is the first step in deglazing and this is the first step in developing a pan sauces.

Now what I’ve done in here, is I’ve browned off a whole bunch of bacon, and then I’ve browned chicken on top of it. All this luscious, lovely stuff down here in the bottom? That’s where the outsides of my foods have caramelized or developed their sugars. It’s incredibly rich, it’s incredibly deep in flavor.

Now my next step is going to be to use the fond, all of this wonderful stuff as a base for a sauce that I’m going to build to go with my chicken. I’m going to do that by simply deglazing my pan. Deglazing is not hard. You put some kind of liquid in there, keep it over the heat, scrape it up with a wooden spoon, and that’s what gives you the basis for just about any kind of pan sauce you want to develop. In this case I’m using some white wine, some chicken broth and some veggies, but you can use just about anything you can think of. And that’s all there is to it.

So – fond. We’re fond of it. It’s the foundation for all of our recipes. This is how you get really fabulous flavor!

Peppercorns - Green, Pink, Black and White

Video and transcript for Peppercorns - Green, Pink, White AND Black Peppercorns!, by Jan Charles, The Thrillbilly Gourmet

One of my very favorite ingredients to work with when cooking is pepper. Now pepper is ubiquitous, it’s all over the place. Salt and pepper is very, very common but there is so much more than that. You’re probably very familiar with simple black peppercorns. You can get them in all kinds of sizes, shapes and varieties. You just crush them up and apply as much or as little as you want. But that is not all there is to pepper, and a lot of it depends on the life cycle of when the little seeds – well, they’re drupes – are picked.

So – if you don’t let them get all the way to the black peppercorn stage you start out over here, with green peppercorns. Now these are very similar, they have the same chemical compound that give black peppercorn it’s little peppery kick. That distinct little bite that nothing else has. Now these are done in several different ways. You’ll often find them sold like this, in little tiny jars and they’ve been packed in a salt water brine or sometimes in vinegar, and to use them this way – let’s see if I can make this happen – just crush them with the back of a spoon. Just open them up and you’ve got that wonderful peppery kick. It’s softer though, and if you’ve gotten rid of the salt brine,  you have this beautiful, soft blossom of flavor, but without quite as much strength.

Now go on up in the life cycle and you wait a little bit longer, a white peppercorn is simply a peppercorn that has been picked right before it has developed that black outer casing. Now these are also done dry, and done just like you would do a black peppercorn. A lot of times white pepper is reserved for white dishes.  If you want to do a pretty b├ęchamel and don’t want black pepper flecks, or if you run a puree of potato and don’t want the black pepper flecks, use the white pepper. You get much the same flavor but you don’t have, you know – little specks.

And finally, over here, we have pink peppercorns. Now this is a slightly different species than these other three, but they do have much the same flavor. You can buy these dried, and if you can see this, this one’s set aside by this, what  you have is this little tiny husk, and this little kernel on the inside. Now that husk is what it makes it so pretty, and pink peppercorn – and green peppercorn too – both have been rising in popularity recently. I’ve noticed that from browsing online – lots of people have been posting recipes.

Next time you’re looking at pepper – give one of these other ones a try. You’ll love the difference in flavor, and the variety, and you won’t be limited to just the black!

Monday, March 26, 2012


To use a vanilla bean, take a sharp knife – and you’re after all these little tiny seeds that are inside of it. I don’t think anybody but me has called that caviar, but that’s how valuable they are to a baker. And if you take the tip of your knife and run it this way, that is pure vanilla. And if you’ve ever eaten a custard or an ice cream that had all those little tiny black flecks in it that’s where they come from.

Now that’s the good stuff, use that when you’re cooking, but don’t throw the pod away. Once you’ve harvested the caviar, because this still has 100,000 uses. For example, dry it off, throw it in a container of sugar, and you’ll have vanilla sugar. You can let these sit there for a couple of weeks and the scent of the vanilla is already in the sugar. The scent is unbelievable – to die for. And the cool thing is you can keep adding sugar as you use it up, and it’ll continue to develop the flavor for a long time. I think I’ve changed this one out probably three times and it still has got a tremendous amount of flavor.

Now if you really love to bake, and you really want to play, extracts and whole beans are not the only way you can do it. This is ground vanilla bean, and what this has done, a manufacturer has taken an entire vanilla pod, probably after they have been used for extract, they’ve allowed it to dry and then they have ground it up. And you can use this in a custard, or in a cake or in ice cream, anywhere you would use real vanilla, and it’s probably – well – I’ve used it in a one to one ratio – a teaspoon of vanilla and a teaspoon of the ground vanilla bean. Really great flavor and the price is awesome -  a fraction of a lot of the great vanilla extracts.

Now this one you don’t find often, outside of commercial bakeries, but this one is – I’ll try to pour this left handed so y’all can see. This one is a vanilla paste. And it’s the same thing. It’s ground vanilla – there we go. See how it’s almost like syrup? It’s been sweetened, usually with a corn syrup of some kind. So you can only use this in a sweet application, the corn syrup doesn’t work really well if you’re making a savory vanilla sauce for a pork loin. But if you’re making cookies, and if you’re making cakes, you can certainly use vanilla paste.

Ok – so that’s it. Pretty much what you need to know about vanilla. You need to go try some of these!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Simple Crockpot Chili Recipe

Simple Crockpot Chili Recipe
Easy Slow Cooker Chili with Ground Beef

This simple crockpot chili recipe is one of my family most beloved meals. I ordinarily double or even just triple this recipe, since it's so simple and easy to toss together. That way I've got more that I can deposit in the freezer. Chili with ground beef is among the most lowest priced recipes I am aware of -- and also it happens to be extremely nutritious. Plenty of protein, fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, lycopene, take your pick - the low fat meats and plenty of vegetables are really unquestionably one of the best approaches to complete a meal.

I also love recipes that I can do this quickly with ground beef, that is certainly continually an inexpensive staple. Even when draining off the most fat as is possible, this easy recipe continues to be loaded with flavor, coming from the the variety of peppers, cumin and garlic. Best of all is how quick it really is to toss together such a scrumptious supper -- just saute the beef and vegetables, toss it all in a pot and you're good to go.

Lastly, this easy chili recipe is good for the slow cooker, crock pot or Dutch oven -- however you choose to go. If you use a crockpot, then merely saute everything at the beginning, then simply heap everything into the crock pot to bubble quietly away to greatness while you go do something fun. If you're going to be puttering around the house, feel free to put your simple chili in the Dutch oven on the back of the stove. The heat is easier to tweak in the Dutch oven, but otherwise there's no difference.

Ok - that's my preaching. Here we go.

The Method! - Simple Crockpot Chili Recipe

You'll need:

* 1 pounds ground beef or ground chuck
* 2 medium yellow onions, diced
* 3 large cloves garlic, minced
* 2 medium bell peppers, diced
* 1-2 Anaheim peppers, diced
* 2 - 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained, juices reserved
* 1 19.75 ounce cans black beans, drained
* 1 19.75 ounce cans pinto beans, drained
* 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
* 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder (or to taste)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
* 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste)
* 1 teaspoons black pepper (or to taste)
* 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
* juice of 2 limes
* optional - 1-4 jalapeno peppers, 1 habanero pepper, 1-3 teaspoons cayenne pepper - these are all major heat elements, and you can layer them in as you wish

Instructions - Simple Crockpot Chili Recipe

1. Brown the ground beef in a heavy Dutch oven over medium heat. If you're using a leaner cut of meat, add some olive oil - a tablespoon or two - to the pot to facilitate the browning. If you are using a fattier cut, let it render the fat out on its own. I like to let ground beef or chuck render, then I drain the fat, and rinse it under hot water to get even more fat off. Yes I know - normally fat means flavor and that's a little overboard. But in this case you're going to be adding a ton of extremely high-flavor ingredients, and I'd just as soon get rid of the fat. That way I can eat as much as I want with no guilt. It doesn't serve a purpose here - so away with it!

2. Once the beef is browned and drained as necessary, return it all to the heat and bring the temperature back to about medium. Add the onions, garlic and peppers. Stir everybody up and allow the veggies to cook about ten minutes or so, or until fragrant the onions are becoming translucent. If you want to up the heat quotient - start with far less than you'll think you need - say 1 habanero instead of 4. Put one in at this point, and give the chili an hour between each additional heat smack. You'll thank me for this.

3. At this point, you can transfer the ground beef and veggies to your crockpot. Add in everything else but the lime juice, set it on low, and leave it alone for about 8 hours. If you can, about halfway through, taste it and adjust it for seasoning ? salt and pepper. Be very careful with the 'hot' stuff, unless you know exactly how much you like. You can always add it later, but you can't take it out.

4. If you're going to finish in your Dutch oven, then everything else (except the lime juice) can now go in! Everybody into the pool! No particular order necessary - just throw it all in. Bring to a simmer, and allow it to simmer for a good long time. Give it a minimum of an hour - three-four hours is even better. My kids start dipping out of the pot the minute it's not raw - so you may have to be sneaky at this point. Frankly it smells so good you'll have a hard time keeping it safe.

5. Now - that's the base chili. The only 'artistry' part you need can come into play at this point. After the first hour (or two or three hours in a slow cooker), start tasting. I can almost guarantee you'll need salt and black pepper. If you want additional heat start layering it in now. You can add additional heat or more cumin, more chili powder - whatever you like. Just go slowly and allow the flavors to marry for a half hour or so before adding more. Remember - this is a long simmering dish, and well worth the taking a bit of time - so you'll have opportunity to pop the flavor in any direction you like. If you're adding additional peppers, make SURE to let them simmer in and fully incorporate.

That's it - you're done. Have at it - you invested a little time one day (and not even that much), so you can reap the benefits over several meals. Enjoy the rewards.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Colcannon - Irish Potatoes Colcannon

Buttery Potatoes and Cabbage

While Irish Colcannon isn't well-known in the US -- it ought to. A very close relative - mashed potatoes -- is known through out this country. Colcannon potatoes -- the particular term 'Colcannon' means white headed cabbage in Irish, is a really basic meal featuring mashed potatoes, cabbage, together with butter. You'll discover even more elements that show up occasionally in addition -- milk, cream, pepper and salt, bacon, onions, leeks, scallions plus bacon or ham are typically acceptable enhancements. This food is meant to be straightforward and satisfying in addition to delightful - and it truly is all of those items and a lot more.

A Colcannon recipe is often offered family style, with a well within the center of the mashed potatoes. Melted butter is literally poured in that well, and the plan is literally that everybody get a fork full, and then soak every bit into the melted butter just before enjoying it. You got to really like just about anything in which each mouthful is designed to hold the most melted butter. Just about all Colcannon recipes include cabbage -- unwaveringly insist that only kale be used - this is a relation to everyday white cabbage. In my head it doesn't necessarily make sense that 'white headed cabbage' be talking about any dark green veg, nonetheless the entire world is filled with strange things, huh?

Irish Colcannon is usually normally offered on Samhain, the day following Halloween - November 1st. I've seen records towards a custom in which small coins or charms are placed in the dish and each one was meant to foretell the fortune of the individual recipient for the upcoming year. Interestingly, I've also noticed this tradition more often spoken about in mention of Barmbrack, a fruited Irish tea bread more commonly. It can be quite possible it's a regional discrepancy. Seriously they are both scrumptious, and so go ahead and put any kind of tokens that appeals to you in any recipes you opt to offer. But alert your diners so they will not eat some thing unexpectedly.

Colcannon potatoes are one of those recipes similar to pumpkin pie in the US. Absolutely everyone within Ireland realizes what it is, nevertheless it is not eaten much beyond once per year. The Irish Folklore Commission also provides a song about it. Give it a test next St. Patrick's Day -- or anytime in addition there's a chance you're feeling somewhat Irish. Sing the music also. I won't tell.

Colcannon Recipe
Colcannon Mash

You'll Require:
4 large Russet or Irish potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup milk, whole milk preferably
Fresh ground black pepper
1 cup thinly cut cabbage
1/2 cup (4 pieces) bacon, crisped and diced*
4-6 green onions, finely sliced
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a big Dutch oven or sauce pan, place the potatoes, A tbsp of salt, and adequate water to merely cover the tops of the potatoes. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer. Allow to cook at a simmer until just fork tender, approximately 20 minutes.

2. Inside a 2nd pot, set chopped cabbage together with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Include 1/2 cup water, and bring to a simmer. Cook cabbage for just about 10 mins. You need to soften cabbage, but not too much so that it will become too soft. A little resistance or crunch is required.

3. When cabbage is tender, put in the milk or cream along with 1/2 stick of butter. Add several cranks of black pepper. Bring heat upwards merely till whole milk is very hot and butter gets melted. Never allow the milk to boil. Stir in spring onion and the bacon or country ham.

4. The moment potatoes are soft, strain the water and then return them to hot, dry cooking pot. Reserve a cupful of the potato cooking liquid. Mash potatoes, stirring in enough of the milk to help. If you prefer a extra fluid, include some of the potato cooking water. Be mindful - the cooking liquid can be quite salty, as is also the bacon/ham. Use the milk first. Ensure you mix in any of your solids with the hot milk -- the spring onion, bacon, and cabbage.

5. To serve, place potatoes inside the serving dish. Make a well into the middle and place the rest of the half stick of butter, melted.

*You are also able to utilize country ham - the salt cured type -- if you wish. Normally, I would like.

Irish Colcannon is actually the old fashioned recipe for potatoes mashed along with cabbage, kale, butter in addition to bacon. Often called Potatoes Colcannon, Colcannon Potatoes, or Colcannon Mash, this particular Colcannon recipe is as easy as it is delightful.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies

Every now and then I've got strikes of culinary creativity that seize even myself unexpectedly. I heard
'heavenly' so frequently any time my taste testers got their hands on these oatmeal cranberry cookies that I'm fairly certain St. Epic, The Patron Saint of Awesome, sent me a divine personal message. These oatmeal cranberry cookies are just insanely fabulous.These oatmeal cranberry cookies are the finest cookies that I've ever created. And I've produced a good deal of cookies. A pair of The Horde declared them better than chocolate chip cookies, and my sitter stated they were her all-time favorite
cookie. My neighbor stated these were the best cookies he had ever tasted.

Big and fat, with a sweet soft and chewy middle, the tang of dried cranberries, a buttery crunch along
the lacy sides, the perfect amount of coconut to dress it up, however homey enough to say "grab me by just the double handful". I do think my work here is done.

You'll Need:
* 1 cup butter, softened
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup packed light brown sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 2 tsp vanilla extract
* 2 cups flour
* 1 tsp. baking soda
* 1 tsp salt
* 3 cups quick cooking oats
* 2 cups sweetened coconut
* 2 cups dried cranberries -- craisins

1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Within the bowl of electric mixer, cream together butter, white and brown sugars plus vanilla extract. Add baking soda with salt and then stir very well to blend, scraping down the edges of the
3. Add eggs, one at a time, blending well right after each inclusion. Add flour, then mix very well.
4. Stir in oats, cranberries and coconut.
5. Using a tablespoon or small scooper (such as ice cream scoop), drop oatmeal cranberry cookies on
to baking sheets. Bake for 14 minutes, rotating cookie sheets halfway through the baking time.
Note: start checking oatmeal cranberry cookies at 8 minutes -- cooking may differ depending on exactitude of the oven and also the size of your cookies. You would like them to become a light golden.
6. Let cookies to cool upon the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to
finish cooling totally.

Monday, February 20, 2012


A bit of history...

If you ask people what their favorite flavor is, chances are they'll respond with 'chocolate'. Vanilla however consistently ranks at the top of most polls as the most popular flavor of sweets and baked goods. Vanilla is often used to describe a Plain Jane situation, but true vanilla is anything but simplistic. Like chocolate, it is most often seen in sweet dishes, but it is just as appealing when making savory appearances. So what is vanilla?

Vanilla is the only edible fruit of the largest flowering plant family in the world - orchids. It is harvested from the seed pods of two tropical members of the species, commonly known as Tahitian or Bourbon. These are the only two types that are grown commercially, although there are well over 100 different members of the vanilla family.

Centuries ago The Totonaca and Olmeca peoples of the Gulf Coast of Mexico were the first to use vanilla in beverages and to domesticate it for cultivation. Both peoples considered vanilla as sacred and as gifts from the gods, and used the plant in sacred ceremonies, as parts of amulets and in temples for the fragrance.

In the early 1500's, vanilla beans left Mexico, bound for Spain, where it was initially used as a perfume, and later as a flavoring, and it gained rapid popularity. Thomas Jefferson is credited with bringing vanilla to the US on a return trip from Europe as ambassador to France.

About the plants...

Vanilla is native to tropical South and Central America more specifically to Mexico, although it is now grown in multiple locations throughout the world. Soil and climate changes in various locations lead to subtle, but distinct flavor and aroma variations. Therefore, you'll often see very distinct locations in the branding of different vanillas - i.e. Mexican, Madagascar, Indonesian etc. No matter where the beans come from, good beans should have a distinctive, rich, full aroma, and be smooth in appearance. They should also be quite pliable - you should be able to bend them without breaking them. Don't buy vanilla beans that show signs of being dry (wrinkled), brittle or those which have a 'smoky' or musky smell.

Because growing vanilla involves a minimum of three years for the plants to develop, and the pods require a nine month on-the-vine development, growing vanilla is extremely labor intensive, leading to the high cost (second only to saffron!). After harvest, the beans must be 'killed' or cured correctly by drying in order to fully develop the signature vanilla aroma and taste. Once dried, the beans have reduced to 1/5 their original size, but they are now the familiar dark color and sport the rich, intense aroma for which they are prized.

Almost all vanilla beans, regardless of the location where they are grown, originated in Mexico. The exception is Tahitian beans, which are considered distinct botanically, although even the root stock for this species had origins in Mexico. Therefore, Mexican vanilla, if grown in Indonesia, is Indonesian. Only vanilla grown in Mexico is known as Mexican - which is one of the finest in the world.

The US is the world's largest consumer of vanilla, followed closely by France. The US dairy industry is one of the largest consumers of our vanilla imports, using it liberally in ice cream, drinks and yogurts. Other uses involve a myriad of food applications, but also in fragrances of all kinds. Most labels which identify 'vanilla flavoring' actually contain imitation vanilla. "Natural" vanilla flavor is often a mix of real and imitation vanilla, whereas pure vanilla is often proudly labeled as such, often with the country of origin. Taste of few of these side by side, and you'll quickly realize why true vanilla is so highly prized, and can command premium prices. There's nothing like it in the world.

Forms of Vanilla

Most of the time you'll encounter vanilla in two forms - either the whole bean as pictured at the top of the article or in an extract. The whole beans are primarily used by splitting the bean and scraping out the tons of tiny seeds - the tiny black dots you see in high quality vanilla products such as ice cream. Those bitty dots are gorgeous little flecks of flavor.

You'll also see vanilla extract - in which vanilla beans have been steeped in alcohol in order to capture the flavor. Because the alcohol is the vehicle by which the flavor is delivered, if you add vanilla extract to hot ingredients, you run the risk of the alcohol evaporating and having the flavor dissipate too much. Always look for 'pure' vanilla extract - keep away from anything labeled 'imitation' or vanilla 'flavoring'. The flavors are harsh and rather bitingly 'chemical' in nature.

Other than these, if you wish to get a bit more adventurous, look for some of the other form in which vanilla has begun appearing in recent years. Many times these can be found in specialty or high end grocery stores, and of course there are numerous online sources.

Ground vanilla beans are just what it sounds like - whole vanilla beans which have been ground. Don't confuse this with vanilla powder - ground vanilla is pure vanilla. The flavor is unbelievable, intense and heavenly. It's not sweetened, and doesn't dissolve completely, but the flavor makes it worth the trade off.

Vanilla powder on the other hand is a powder made from dextrose or sucrose, which has been sprayed with vanilla extract. It is sweetened by nature of the base powder, and the flavor and aroma are lighter than in other products.

Vanilla paste is a mix of intense vanilla extract and ground vanilla beans. It's a thick liquid, not truly a paste, and it wonderful to use in baking where you want an intense, pure vanilla flavor. It is often used in applications involving cream - ice cream, custards and puddings.

Use and Storage

Use the whole bean! Every bit of the beans are full of flavor. If you only need the seeds scraped out for one recipe, make sure that you save the pods for use in another. You can steep the pod in hot liquid - coffee, cream or tea - for a beautiful additional flavor.

If you've used a pod, rinse and dry it. It can then be added to a sugar container or coffee tin, and it will continue to impart flavor, although admittedly less intense. If you come across beans that have dried out, you can rehydrate them. Simply soak them in the liquid your recipe calls for. Alternately you can use a spice or coffee grinder to grind over-dry vanilla pods for use in recipes in place of, or in addition to vanilla extract or paste.

Vanilla is typically thought of as a flavor to be paired with sweets - but try it in savory dishes as well. It's particularly lovely in sauces.

Store vanilla beans indefinitely in a cool dry place. Don't refrigerate them - this increases the likelihood of the beans mildewing. Simply use an airtight container or jar, and keep them out of direct sunlight. Check them occasionally for moisture, which can lead to mold. If you happen to cut open beans that show signs of having developed crystals inside - then celebrate! These occur naturally in some types of Bourbon vanilla beans which have stored for some time. These are beautiful in taste - have a party!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

How to Make Homemade Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookie Recipe - How to Make Sugar Cookies from Scratch

Every home cook really should have an awesome easy sugar cookie recipe around. They are among the simplest types of cookies to create, and are pretty much globally beloved. Who doesn't enjoy a sugar cookie? This specific recipe -- after years of making a million different types - is the greatest sugar cookie recipe I've found. They're delicate, buttery and excellent for holding icing if you like. Furthermore? Sugar cookies from scratch are so quick you will never need another mix.

The following recipe is actually the one that I use whenever a holiday comes around. We bust out the cookie cutters, and I also permit the children go loco with the dough. Creating rolled sugar cookies is quite simple, specifically when you've got a recipe as basic and easy with this one. We've transformed these into Valentines, Shamrocks, Easter Eggs and Bunnies, Ghosts and Pumpkins, not to mention, more Christmas Trees and Cookie People than you can count. I have furthermore made these by the thousands for more grade-school classes than I choose to attempt to count! A number of of our best holiday memories are from teaching my children the steps to making sugar cookies, as well as enjoying all of them decorate to their hearts' content. If you're feeling like it, a a bit of food coloring gel will shade the dough, and naturally you can color the sugar cookie icing too if you like.

Test these for your forthcoming 'cookies from scratch project'. They'll come to be your own go-to cookie recipe in no time!

Ingredients -- Simple Sugar Cookies

* 1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
* 3 cups white sugar
* 4 eggs, room temperature
* 2 tsp vanilla extract
o Or 1 tsps. almond extract
o Or 2 tsps orange extract
o Or 2 tsps lemon extract
* 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 tsps baking powder
* 1 tsp . salt
* Confectioner's sugar -- for dusting the board while rolling out cookies

Instructions -- How to Make Sugar Cookies from Scratch

1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in large eggs and vanilla extract (or any other extracts). Inside a separate bowl, sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Mix flour in to the butter and sugar mixture. Make sure you mix very well, scraping along the sides of the bowl, to fully incorporate your flour with the other ingredients. Cover, and chill cookie dough a minimum of an hour (or overnight). That step is very essential -- when not really well chilled, your dough is going to be way too sticky to roll.

2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on a board or a countertop sprinkled with confectioner's sugar to around 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any sort of cookie cutter. Position cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie trays. When you are baking multiple batches and don't wish the subsequent batches to stick to the sheets, try lining the cooking trays using parchment paper or a Silpat.

3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool fully prior to frosting or decorating.

A great sugar cookie is a beautiful thing, plus sugar cookies from scratch will be even better. Right here is the best sugar cookie recipe around, and when you want to learn how to make sugar cookies, this can be a ideal starting point!

A good sugar cookie is a gorgeous thing, and sugar cookies from scratch are even better. This is the very best cookie recipe around there is, and to get to know how to help make sugar cookies, this is the best place to begin!

Coca Cola Frosting

One of the most
remarkable elements of the Coca Cake is the frosting. This frosting is rich and chocolaty, sure. But it has the most delightful caramel notes as well. Cooking the frosting ingredients together before mixing in the sugar brings out the caramel that is already present in Coke, making Coke Frosting a one of a kind icing. The chocolate flavors take a back seat to the caramel, and the buttery, intense, rich flavors are perfect for the moist and delicious Coca Cola Cake.
This is also an extremely easy recipe ? it really takes just a few minutes on the stovetop, then a couple more minutes for mixing in the sugar. Something to keep in mind however is that this frosting will stiffen up pretty quickly. By the time that it is cool, it?s too difficult to work with ? it sets and you can no longer spread it. This Coca Cola Frosting recipe makes enough to fill and frost the two layer Coca Cola cake, but you will need to plan ahead just a bit. Make sure you have this frosting on the stove while the cakes are just about to come out of the oven. That way by the time they cool in their pans for a few minutes, the frosting will be ready to use while both the cakes and the frosting are still warm. This will ensure that you have the best results, and an incredibly delicious cake!

For the Coca Cola Frosting:

* 1/2 cup butter
* 1 tablespoon cocoa
* 6 tablespoons Coca Cola
* 1 box confectioner's sugar, (1pound)
* 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions: Coca Cola Frosting

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring butter, cocoa, and Coca-Cola to a boil. Remove from heat, then stir in the sugar and mix well. Fold in nuts. Use the frosting immediately while it is still warm.