Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cranberry-Orange White Fudge

I remember when I was younger, my mom always used to get those round chocolate whack and unwrap orange balls during the holidays. She has always loves orange flavors around the holidays. So to me the holiday isn't the same unless there is a little orange inspiration lingering somewhere in the goodies. 

Cranberry-Orange White Fudge

3 Cups White chocolate chips
1 14 oz. can Sweetened Condensed Milk (Not Evaporated)
1 1/2 tsp.  Orange Extract
1/2 C. Chopped dried cranberries
Dash of Salt

In heavy saucepan over low heat, melt white chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk with salt. Remove from heat, stir in cranberries and orange extract. (My tip is to let the fudge cool just a bit so the extract doesn't evaporate from the heat).

Line a 8" or 9" square pan with wax paper. Spread fudge mixture evenly into pan. Chill 2 hours or until firm. 

Turn the fudge onto cutting board; peel off paper and cut into desired size squares. Store fudge covered in refrigerator. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

When life throws you lemon peels?

There is a recipe I have that makes  lemon pistachio shortbread cookies, but the price of purchasing dehydrated lemon peel is pretty scary, so I learned how to do it myself. It is a time consuming process, but worth the effort.

First, you take a clean lemon and you begin to peel the skin off of it with a knife, trying to get as little of the bitter white part as possible.
Second, you lay the lemon peel on a plate, cover with a towel if you like (suggested for keeping bugs and pet hair off), but you won't want to cover it with plastic wrap or foil, you want the peel to be able to breathe.
Third, let it air dry on your counter top for about 4 days
Fourth, take the small grates on a cheese grater, and begin to grate the lemon peel.
Fifth, store in an airtight container.

You can also do this with pretty much any citrus fruit! I plan on grating it first next time I decide to do this. I usually grate the part that has the hole where it was attached to the tree, or the part of the lemon just opposite of that, while it is still on the fruit and not dried. I do that when I zest over meats or into salads, because the skin is thicker in those parts and makes it much easier to zest.

I hope you find this information useful, thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

My trial and error

I hope everyone had a happy and safe July 4th! These last few days I've been brainstorming what I can put up here recipe wise, and the last few things I've made trying to label as my own recipe is still in the trial stages. Something that is new to me cooking wise is these pretty little dried beans called Black-Eye Peas. I've heard of them before, and remember having them once before, though I can't remember where or when, but I most certainly remember the flavor.

So after trying them a couple of days ago, and putting in random ingredients that I figure would be good with beans, I decided to make them again today in the slow cooker. I took approximately 1 cup of the black-eye peas, 1/4 sweet onion, 1 tablespoons minced garlic,  2 tsp. dried fennel seeds, then salt and pepper to taste. Black-eye peas are super yummy with meat. I know a common meat used with black-eye peas is pork, but I don't eat pork so I have been using turkey product. I add the fennel because I use turkey, I like to give the dish a little bit of a sausage flavor with the fennel.

Something in my mind told me that black-eye peas need cornbread. So when I was trying to make a cupcake with the flavor I wanted, I had sifted the flour and had a bit extra, which in turn I used for the cornbread. A lot of cornbread I've had or made has been dense, but the sifted flour seemed to make it a bit fluffier, I also added a little extra milk than the recipe called for.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Wrapping up cozy for the 4th!

I love to buy fun cupcake liners, but sometimes the oil from the batter seeps through and makes the image less appealing. That is why I like cupcake wrappers! I've seen it's been a trend for a while, and there are times I get ideas in my head on what I would like on a wrapper personally, but I never find anything that is what I was looking for. If I can't find what I want, then I make it myself! I wanted to share my 4th of July cupcake wrappers with you. The only way I have been able to get it to work is right clicking the open picture and saving it to disk. I will be looking for an easier print from the browser method. Thanks for reading and have a happy and safe holiday!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A great Edition for any home!

I can't emphasize enough, that anybody who wants to learn to cook, is passionate about doing so, and would like to save money by cooking fresh rather than a box, this cook book is a MUST have. The edition I have was given to me by my Mom when I was in high school, to put away in my hope chest. What I absolutely love about the cookbook is that it is like a little culinary school for self teaching. I like it as my go to book for a lot of the basic recipes (I.E. Chocolate Chip cookies, banana bread, etc.). Another feature of the book that I LOVE is the part where you learn about the different produce, spices, meats, measurements, canning tips and substitutions. There is also a recipe index at the back of the book with the different color labels for each section that is easy to see and direct yourself to, and even at the very back of the book there is another section that is alphabetized based a specific ingredient so that if you have more of an ingredient than you needed for one recipe (or you bought a lot and became afraid it will go bad before you use it) you have an idea of something else you can make with it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

At yeast we can now be friends.

Yeast: One word in the dictionary that could paralyze me at the very thought of working with it. While some things in baking just come naturally to me, yeast took a little more time and effort to be friends with. By the way, yes I can work with yeast! I don't have all the answers, but I do have some answers to questions I had when I first started baking bread.

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast in a jar = 1 packet of Active Dry Yeast.

There are different kinds of yeast, make sure you have the correct one your recipe calls for. 

When using yeast in a jar from fridge, measure the amount you need and allow it to get to room temperature before adding it to your recipe.

A thermometer for cooking is very helpful to have on hand, especially when getting the correct temperature water so you don't kill the yeast. When dissolving yeast directly in the water before adding it to the flour mixture I have seen the water temperature needs to be between 105-115 degrees(F). If you add the yeast to the direct flour mixture and then add a water mixture to that, I have seen the water needs to be between 120-130 degrees(F). (This is for the Active Dry Yeast blend). 

The bread dough needs to rise in a warm place away from any draft. I use the inside of my warmed up microwave (30 seconds), which I warm up before putting my gigantic bowl of bread dough into it. I have also heard of people using the inside of their warmed oven to do this.

A rolling pin is great when getting the gas bubbles out before forming the loaf to allow it to rise a second time. I personally use a french rolling pin because the tapered edges are easier for me to use.

I hope some of the input will help some of you bakers out there. I bake my bread by hand and do not use a bread machine, I do not know if the same rules apply to yeast when using the bread machine, but I can only imagine they are similar if they aren't the same. For those of you new bakers out there, don't give up on the yeast, it's tricky but I promise that with enough trial and error you will learn how to work with it.